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Special Collections and Archives

Tips and tools for researching primary sources in Special Collections and Archives and online

Special Collections and Archives areas of focus

There are millions of primary sources in our archives! But they aren't all digitized and aren't all in the library catalog. So how do you know what is here?

Most archives have areas they focus on, such as geographic areas, organizations, communities, and topics. Here some of our areas of focus and point to additional information on these areas.

University Archives

The University Archives includes records created about Cal Poly from 1900 to the present. Learn more at the University Archives Guide here

San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast

Researching the Central Coast in Special Collections and Archives and beyond? Visit our Researching SLO County History Research Guide.

Architecture and the Built Environment in California

Learn more about the architecture, landscape architecture, and built environment collections in Special Collections and Archives. 

Learn more about the Julia Morgan architectural archives and the William F. Cody architectural archives.

Artists' Books

Learn more about the ever-expanding artists' books collection at the Artists' Books guide.

Browsing the archives on OAC

You may just want to browse the archives! In addition to the guides above, you can also browse lists of our archival collections at the Online Archive of California. Learn more about the OAC here.

Archives by communities, subjects, and themes

Sometimes, when you are just getting started with research in an archives, it can help to see collections from communities, or about topics and subjects, to get familiar. Here we've listed some of the archival collections that may be of interest as you begin your research. This is a selection to get you started. You can also browse many of our collections on the Online Archive of California.

The archives holds a variety of materials that document the history of California Travel and Boosterism history, from train schedules to city brochures. These materials are cataloged in the library's catalog OneSearch. Explore the collection.