Sunday, July 15, 2012

Research Location - Sherman Foundation Library

Sherman Library & Gardens located at 614 Dahlia Avenue in Corona del Mar is open Tuesday through Thursday,  9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (closed 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. for lunch).  I spoke with Jill Thrasher, Head Librarian, who showed me through the collection and explained the protocol for using the materials.  When one first visits, you are asked to fill out a FREE registration and show your photo I.D.  Then (and every time thereafter), you are asked to sign in at the register.

According to the website (, the Library acquires, organizes, and preserves all kinds of materials pertaining to the history of the Pacific Southwest.  It contains approximately 25,000 books, pamphlets and other printed items, a very sizable number of maps and photographs, several hundred thousand papers and documents, and more than 2,000 reels of microfilmed material, including the Los Angeles Times from its beginnings in 1881.

The collections include City Directories from all over California, as well as some from Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii.  The Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Diego directories begin in approximately 1886-1888.  There are also local histories of Orange and Los Angeles Counties, including information about transportation, waterways, etc.

Only pencils are allowed in the library and there is no photocopying of directories; however, transcriptions and/or digital photos are allowed.  There are a couple of microfilm and microfiche readers available.

Downstairs, there is an archives which includes maps, letters, scrapbooks, photos, newspapers, magazines, loose papers, oversized materials, and other miscellaneous files.  The staff works with you to determine what you need and will pull the specific materials requested.

To maximize your time at the Library, it is suggested that you call ahead (949-673-1880) to determine the availability of materials helpful to your search as well as receiving suggestions from the staff.  I have found that everyone is most helpful when I have called.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Research Location - Santa Ana Public Library—History Room

The Santa Ana Library is located at 26 Civic Center Plaza in Santa Ana.  The History Room has been relocated to the back of the main floor and is open Monday through Thursday, 12 Noon to 6 p.m. and at other times by appointment.  The phone number to speak to the archivist Manny Escamilla is 714-647-5280.  Parking is in parking structure P-3 entered off Civic Center Drive and will be validated by the library if one visits the History Room. 

Some resources available include parish birth and death records from 7 parishes in Central and South Central Mexico from the 1710s through 1925 in book format (UCI has the same collection); and on microfilm, the Orange County Register and Santa Ana Register from about 1905 through present (searchable on NewsBank on the library’s computers).  Other newspaper collections include the Santa Ana Standard, 1883-1901, the Pacific Weekly Blade and Evening Blade, 1888-1889 and some issues through 1918, the Santa Ana Leader, 1901-1903 and some issues of the Los Angeles Times. 
In addition, the collection includes Orange County Directories and Phone Books, Santa Ana High School Yearbooks, Neighborhood Association Meeting Notes, the Orange County Pioneer Council Oral Histories (also available at Cal State Fullerton), and 1906, 1914, and 1927 Sanborn Maps.

Check the website for more information.  Everyone at the library was most helpful.  I especially enjoyed speaking with Manny Escamilla.  He was very informative.

Manny told me that the microfilm reader is new but still needs to be set up by the IT Department, which should be accomplished by May or June 2012.  Also, they will do an obituary search for you from their holdings for a fee of $20 per search.  The library is deciding at this time whether to continue their subscription to NewsBank or to get a subscription to ProQuest.  Ask when you call what is available.