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Researching San Luis Obispo County History

Resources for researching San Luis Obispo County and the Central Coast

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.

Special Collections and Archives materials

Special Collections and Archives at Cal Poly's Kennedy Library holds many collections and resources that document the experiences of communities and organizations on the Central Coast of California. 

What do we have?

Many of our collections are described at the Online Archive of California. Some search tips:

  • You can search by name of individual, family, organization
  • You can search by city or county

What is digitized and online?

Some of the materials from these collections above are digitized and searchable on our Online Archive.

  • Browse our digitized materials by collection
  • Search across all the Online Archive by keyword or date:
    • search names of individuals, families, organizations
    • search by location, including city and streets
    • search keywords we use today to describe the place/topic AND keywords that would have been used historically to describe the place/topic/time
    • use the filters to narrow your search

Additional collections are not yet searchable online. Contact Special Collections and Archives staff to discuss your research topic and learn if there are more materials that can support your research at Cal Poly.

Searching the library catalog for books, magazines, and other published materials

Any published materials in Special Collections and Archives are cataloged separately and are searchable on the library's catalog OneSearch.

Learn more about advanced searching in OneSearch.

Senior projects and masters theses can also relate to local research topics. Here is more information about searching senior projects.