The focus on the Library & Archives is the history of railroads, and railroading in California and the adjacent states from the 1850s to the present. Collections also cover selected railroad topics throughout North America, including Canda, Mexico and Central America. Emphasis is on acquiring materials relating to the social, economic, political, cultural, technological and environmental impacts that the industry has had, and continues to have, on the region.

The collection is assembled primarily through donations from individual and corporate benefactors. Gifts range in size from a single menu to hundreds of cartons. The 1982 deposit of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society collection expanded the Library’s resources. Collections include a wide range of books, periodicals, manuscripts, photographs, technical drawings, maps, timetables, corporate collections, trade catalogs and ephemera. The Library & Archives also collect manuscript materials and corporate records. 

Digital Collections

  • Calisphere – Digital collections from California’s great libraries, archives, and museums.
  • Sacramento History Online – Historic Sacramento Photograph and Document Archive 

For more in-depth information on what the Library holds, click here.

To be certain the collection you want to see is available, contact the Library & Archives ahead of time.