We’re happy to announce that The California Historical Society (CHS) joins the Commons on Flickr today. The CHS is a membership-based, non-profit organization with a mission to inspire and empower people to make California’s richly diverse past a meaningful part of their contemporary lives. Founded in 1871, CHS was reorganized and revived in 1922 by a small group of distinguished San Franciscans, among them California bibliophile C. Templeton Crocker. To support the Society’s fledging library, Crocker deposited his superb private collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, and periodicals in rooms adjacent to CHS headquarters. Formally acquired by the Society in 1940, the Crocker Collection – with its emphasis on voyages of discovery, Western overland travel, California’s transition from a Mexican province to statehood, and the Gold Rush – remains at the heart of the CHS library collection today.
The CHS Collection represents the environmental, economic, social, political, and cultural heritage of the entire state, including materials from outside California that contribute to a greater understanding of the state and its people. Collection materials include: 50,000 volumes of books and pamphlets; 4,000 manuscript collections; 500,000 photographs; printed ephemera, periodicals, posters, broadsides, maps, and newspapers; the Kemble Collection on Western Printing and Publishing; 5,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and lithographs; and numerous artifacts and costumes, of which you can now see a portion in the society’s Flickr account.
If you are in the San Francisco area, the CHS Library is located at the Society’s San Francisco headquarters at 678 Mission Street and open to the public, free of charge, between noon and 5 pm Wednesday through Friday. We’d like to encourage you to visit the Library and explore hands-on the rich history of the Golden State. In the meantime, enjoy the photographs already uploaded and contribute your knowledge about the shown images and scenes by adding tags and comments that will help make the content more discoverable.