Skip to main content

USP 166: History of San Diego: Home

Special Collections Resources

Mandeville Special Collections in the Geisel Library Building has a wealth of resources available for researching San Diego History. There are hundreds of pamphlets describing the neighborhoods and suburbs, or advertising tourist diversions. The Fletcher Papers are an incredibly rich and detailed source documenting the development of the city, especially as related to water, transportation, and real estate development. The Goodman Papers contain photographs, theatre programs, and the Ephraim Morse Papers document early life in San Diego. These are just a few of the major collections in Special Collections. Search the catalog to find resources on your topic - some topic areas will be better covered than others, but if you are not finding much on your topic, email, call, or drop in with questions, and we will help you find primary sources on your topic.

Searching Roger

Selected Subject Headings

When starting a search for a new topic, try a keyword search first using some of the keywords (or your own) and add a genre term to find that type of primary source. Example: San Diego and Newspapers, OR Railroads and Maps. You may wish to sort your results by date, or limit by language or  library location (Special Collections = Special Collections).

Look at the detailed description of an item you are interested in. REad the description for details about when the item was created, who created and/or published it and of course, where to find it in the library!  Click on subject headings near the bottom of the description to find other materials like it.

Here are just a few examples that may work for your topic, or give you ideas of your own search terms to try:

Selected Subject Headings Genre Terms
San Diego (Calif.) - Description and Travel Pamphlets
San Diego County (Calif.) - Pamphlets Newspapers
San Diego (Calif.) – Guidebooks Maps
San Diego (Calif.) - History Diaries
Water Rights Correspondence
Real Estate Development Letters
California - Politics and Government Memoirs
Urbanization Photographs
Railroads Interviews

Subject Headings may consist of a long string of georgraphical, topical, and genre information. These can be hard to remember how to construct, so I have included a few useful subject heading strings here. These are just a few examples and by no means an exhaustive list:

Subject Guide

Heather Smedberg's picture
Heather Smedberg
Special Collections & Archives

Geisel Library Building