Humboldt State University Library Special Collections Humboldt Room Humboldt State University Special Collections HSU Library Humboldt Room

Searching for "Place" in the Humboldt Room, HSU Library

Compiled by Joan Berman, 1999, revised 2006, revised 2008, revised 2012, revised 2017

"The Library's Special Collections complement the resources of the general Library collections. They are acquired and maintained in support of the University's curriculum with emphasis on the natural resources, Native peoples, and primary industries of Northwestern California, including the history of Humboldt State University. The two areas of collection, Humboldt County Collection and University Archives, include written, pictorial, cartographic and oral history materials. Access to the collections is provided primarily through the Library's catalog. Materials are available for use in the Humboldt Room by visiting scholars and the general public as well as HSU students, faculty and staff."

Begin your search BEFORE you enter the Humboldt Room. Start with the Library Catalog and the Humboldt County/Klamath Bioregion Research Guide on the Library's website.

There are several indexes in addition to the Library's catalog. These indexes may or may not be located in the Humboldt Room; increasingly they are accessible on web sites.

A major source of information is the journals published by the various historical and genealogical societies. Some of these are indexed.

General histories of Humboldt County may be a useful place to begin research. The very first entry is the newest and it is a wonderful addition to this genre even though it only comes up to 1882; it is supplemented by Rohde's Both Sides of the Bluff: History of Humboldt County, Places:1.  A nice, readable introduction is provided in the third of these titles; the others are the "standards," and they definitely reflect the time at which they were written or compiled. Here is A Briefest of Histories by Susie Van Kirk. For a promotional perspective, see the titles in Boosterism - Humboldt County.

An underutilized category of books about the County is edited or collected volumes which are not easily accessible precisely because they cover more topics than are usually indicated in a library catalog. Fourteen of these are indexed in a card file index at the Humboldt County Library. Some of the more important of these titles are listed here; the table of contents for the first two titles are in the Library's catalog.

And then there are City Directories and Census Schedules and Photos and Maps and Websites...