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Searching for "Place" in Special Collections

"The Library's Special Collections complement the resources of the general Library collections. They are acquired and maintained in support of the University's curriculum with emphasis on the natural resources, Native peoples, and primary industries of Northwestern California, including the history of Cal Poly Humboldt. The two areas of collection, Humboldt County Collection and University Archives, include written, pictorial, cartographic and oral history materials. Access to the collections is provided primarily through the Library's catalog. Materials are available for use in Special Collections by visiting scholars and the general public as well as Humboldt students, faculty and staff."

Begin your search before you visit Special Collections. Start with the Library Catalog and the Humboldt County/Klamath Bioregion Research Guide on the Library's website.

  • Cal Poly Humboldt Library Catalog. Enter your place name in a "keyword (anywhere)" search. Select all possible matches and write down the call numbers, noting whether copies are also in the main collection.
  • Humboldt County/Klamath Bioregion (no longer updated)  Select "Humboldt Room." This set of pages provides a description of the collections, often with links to more information about the specific collection; the Humboldt Room hours and policies regarding photocopy and duplication of materials; and a set of links to other web sites with information about many different aspects of the area's past as well as its present.

There are several indexes in addition to the Library's catalog. These indexes may or may not be located in Special Collections; increasingly they are accessible on web sites.

  • Turner, Dennis W. 2010. Place Names of Humboldt County (F 868 H8 T87 2010) Copies of this dictionary are located in Special Collections, as well as in the reference and main collections.
  • Susie Baker Fountain Collection. 119 volumes of local history, with index. A second set is at the Humboldt County Library. The collection is also on microfilm.
  • Southern Humboldt Papers. (F 868 H8 S69 1997 HumCo) 12 volumes of local history, with index.
  • Pamphlet Collection. The subject index is updated online. Links to web pages matching many of the topics covered in the Pamphlet Collection may be found here: Humboldt Tags.
  • Newspaper indexes. A card file index outside Special Collections is available for the Arcata Union, 1977-1988. There is an index to the Times-Standard prepared by the Humboldt County Library covering 1989-2005. The full text of the Northcoast Journal is searchable online from 1995. For information about local newspapers, see the Newspaper Collection.
  • Parker, J. Carlyle. 1960. An Annotated Bibliography of the History of Del Norte and Humboldt Counties (F 868 H8 P37 HumCo) Although dated, this still is the best index to materials published about Humboldt and Del Norte Counties and is a useful beginning point for research.
  • Berman, Joan. 1986. Ethnography and Folklore of the Indians of Northwestern California: A Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography (E 78 C15 B47 HumCo) Copies of this bibliography are located both in the Humboldt Room and in the Reference Collection on the first floor. This serves as an introduction to the extensive literature on the local Native peoples. (Full text is online at Southern Oregon Digital Archives)
  • Sathrum, Robert, 1913. Natural Resources Guides by Robert Sathrum.
  • Schwarzkopf, Chet. 60 newspaper articles on local history have been scanned.

A major source of information is the journals published by the various historical and genealogical societies. Some of these are indexed.

  • Humboldt Historian. The indexes to this publication of the Humboldt County Historical Society are shelved with the journal itself (F 868 H8 H82 HumCo).  The subject index for 1974-1994 is online and more than 411 articles are indexed from 1990 to 2015 in the California Information File II. It is also indexed in America: History and Life from 1970 to date.
  • Siskiyou Pioneer. The Index to Siskiyou County's historical journal (F 868 S6 S53 HumCo) is online.
  • Trinity.  The yearbook of the Trinity County Historical Society (F868 T6 T7 HumCo) is indexed online.
  • California History. California Historical Society's journal (F 856 C24 Periodicals) is indexed in JSTOR and America: History & Life.

General histories of Humboldt County may be a useful place to begin research. The very first entry is the newest and it is a wonderful addition to this genre even though it only comes up to 1882; it is supplemented by Rohde's Both Sides of the Bluff: History of Humboldt County, Places:1.  A nice, readable introduction is provided in the third of these titles; the others are the "standards," and they definitely reflect the time at which they were written or compiled. Here is A Briefest of Histories by Susie Van Kirk. For a promotional perspective, see the titles in Boosterism - Humboldt County.

  • Raphael, Ray and Freeman House.  2007.  Two Peoples, One Place  (F868 H8 R37 2007 HumCo)
  • Rodhe, Jerry. 2014. Both Sides of the Bluff (F868 H8 R583 HumCo)
  • Fields, Virginia M. 1986. 100 years of Humboldt County Culture and Artistry: 1850 to 1950 (F 868 H8 F54 1986 HumCo)
  • Coy, Owen. 1929. The Humboldt Bay Region, 1850-1875 (F 868 H8 C88 HumCo)
  • Bledsoe, A.J. 1885. Indian Wars of the Northwest: A California Sketch (E 83.84 B64 HumCo)
  • Eddy, J.M. 1893. In the Redwood's Realm, Humboldt County, California (F 868 H8 E18 HumCo)
  • Elliott, W.W. 1882. History of Humboldt County, California (F 868 H8 H67 HumCo)
  • Hoopes, Chad. 1971. Lure of Humboldt Bay Region (F 868 H8 H77 HumCo)
  • Irvine, Leigh. 1915. History of Humboldt County California, with Biographical Sketches (F 868 H8 I69 HumCo)
  • Lewis, Oscar. 1943. The Quest for Qual-A-Wa-Loo (F 868 H8 L4)

An underutilized category of books about the County is edited or collected volumes which are not easily accessible precisely because they cover more topics than are usually indicated in a library catalog. Fourteen of these are indexed in a card file index at the Humboldt County Library. Some of the more important of these titles are listed here; the table of contents for the first two titles are in the Library's catalog.

  • Carranco, Lynwood. 1971. The Redwood Country: History, Language, Folklore (F 861 C3 Humco) All of his books are useful.
  • Genzoli, Andrew. 1962-71. Humboldtiana: A Collection of History of Humboldt and Her Neighboring California Counties (F 868 H8 H885 HumCo)
  • History of Humboldt County Schools: by High School Districts 6 volumes (LA 222 H588 1987 HumCo)
  • Karshner, Gayle B. 1979- The Way It Was: Stories and Essays from The Way It Was Contest 4 volumes (F 868 H8 W39 HumCo)
  • A Taste of Humboldt: An Historical and Ethnic Cookbook of Humboldt County, California 1987 (TX 715 T212 1987 HumCo)

And then there are City Directories and Census Schedules and Photos and Maps and Websites...

Compiled by Joan Berman, 1999, revised 2006, revised 2008, revised 2012, revised 2017