California Ephemera Project

California Ephemera Project


The California Ephemera Project produced a searchable, online catalog linking the ephemera collections of four institutions: California Historical Society (CHS); Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society (GLBTHS); San Francisco Public Library (SFPL); and Society of California Pioneers (SCP). These collections comprise materials, much meant to be discarded--brochures, catalogs, menus, billheads, mining certificates, theater programs, bylaws, political flyers, travel guides, wine labels, and more--whose content and graphic richness are a historical and cultural resource for scholars, students, and the public. There is overlap in topics between collections, yet many of the items themselves are unique. Often the only existing documentation for some topics, the material is relevant for research into 19th- and 20th-century California history. CHS: California, California cities and counties, San Francisco, businesses, theater, and people (biographical clippings); history of printing and publishing; 1850s-1980s. GLBTHS: Focus on Bay Area GLBT businesses, sites, people, organizations, events, guides, and directories; c. 1910-present; bulk is 1970-1990. SFPL: San Francisco (e.g., buildings, businesses, ethnic groups, neighborhoods, streets, parks), California (county files); prominent San Franciscans; 1850-present. SCP: General California information, and bio files about SCP members and notable Californians; 1850-1915; some county files to 1940s.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded


Year Added



  • David Featherstone

Collaborating Institution(s)

San Francisco Public Library; Society of California Pioneers; GLBT Historical Society

Collection Size

1410 linear feet, 493500 objects

Date Range

1850 - 2008

Geographic Scope

Primarily San Francisco and the Bay Area, as well as all 58 California counties; some materials from other western states.