The local history collection focuses on the people, places, and events of the Salinas area. The material is for in-library use only. To begin your search, visit the John Steinbeck Library at 350 Lincoln Street in Salinas, and ask the reference librarian for assistance, or call (831) 758-7311 and follow instructions to connect with the Information Desk.
Books, Microfilm, Microfiche
Listed in the Library Catalog
organized by: Subject, Title, Author, or Keyword
Directories, Census Documents, and other indexes
||Written Directory *
||This document provides a list of directories, census documents, and other indexes that list people, through 1940.
Only available for in library in exchange for identification. By agreement, tapes cannot be copied. Ask at the information desk for details.
Historical Salinas Newspapers
||Local Newspaper Continuations *
Historical newspapers are available at the Steinbeck Library. Most are on microfilm. Microfilm readers and printers are available at the John Steinbeck Library. If you don’t live in this area, contact your local public library for an inter-library loan of the Salinas Californian from the California State Library for issues published between September 1, 1945 through March 3, 1990. For additional research services contact the Monterey County Genealogical Society or Books We Own, both of which are listed in the list of Websites for Salinas History.
Download a Short Short History (1930-2009) of the town known for its California Rodeo, its International Airshow, and its unforgettable teller of tales, John Steinbeck.
Follow the chronology of the beloved Salinas Public Library built with the help of Andrew Carnegie, the Civic Club, and Salinas residents. This Salinas institution used extensively by the young John Steinbeck and was rescued from extinction by concerned citizens in 2005.
Cooper Family - Essay about one of the town's most memorable and respected African American Families.
Carrie Striening - Essay about an early Salinas resident who was well-known to hundreds in Salinas including the Steinbeck Family.
Conley/Garlinger Interview - Listen to the Adcock sisters and Mr. Conley remember the Alisal and the War Years (World War II).
Vierra Interviews- Charles C. Vierra was a Moss Landing native and a school teacher at the Moss Landing Union Elementary School for 34 years. This audio interview was conducted by George Robinson at Mr. Vierra's home in Moss Landing on April 30, 1977. The interview is provided courtesy of the Vierra Family.
Elise Lois Falbo, Elise Lois Keithly before her marriage, talks about her family, her growing up years in Salinas, and her remarkable career choice.
Florence Margaret Baker and Helen Baker Currie, granddaughters of I.J. Baker, the first Salinas mayor, share their recollections of early Salinas in this interview recorded on October 28, 1976 for the Salinas Public Library. The First Mayor’s House, a Salinas landmark, is now at 20 Station Place in Salinas.
In 2009 Genevieve Simunovich with Josephine Morris and Louis Epp provided materials about the Salinas Salvation Army for the Salinas Public Library which you can download here.
Andy Fulton Interview
To view the Andy Fulton interview please click here.
Anna Gertrude Elkington Interview
To view the Elkington interview please click here.
April Medina & Family Interview
To view the April Medina interview please click here.
Ariana Augustine Sani Interview
To view the Augustine Sani interview please click here.
Baktun 12 Interview
To view the Baktun 12 interview please click here.
Delphina Diaz and Laverne Wilcox Interview
To view the Diaz Wilcox interview please click here.
Frank Pierce Interview
To View the Frank Pierce Interview please click here.
Gary Martinez Interview
To View the Gary Martinez Interview please click here.
Jesus Barajas Interview
To view the Jesus Barajas interview please click here.
Lucille Diaz Interview
To view the Lucielle Diaz interview please click here.
Marlys Maher Interview
To view the Marlys Maher interview please click here.
Robin Lee Interview
To view the Robin Lee interview please click here.
Only available for use in the library, in exchange for identification. Ask at the reference desk for assistance.
View the USDA 1925 Soil Map for the Salinas Area.
Websites For Salinas History
- American Memory: American Memory at the Library of Congress website has photographs of Salinas agriculture, the Salinas guayule project, and the Salinas Japanese Relocation Center.
- Books We Own: A volunteer will search some local directories or the Salinas Californian. Choose "United States Resources", scroll down to Monterey County and choose your volunteer.
- Obituary Lookups: A volunteer will check the microfilm copies of the local newspaper, the Salinas Californian, in Salinas, Monterey County, Calif. for obituaries from 1875 to date. Use the form provided to provide the full name of the deceased and the exact date of death.
- Calisphere: Calisphere, the University of California’s free public gateway to primary resources like photographs.
- Monterey County Geneological Society: Non-profit organization providing research for a fee.
- Monterey County Historical Society: Monterey County Historical Society is where you can find many full length articles about area history.
- Online Archive of California: Online Archive of California is a union database of materials held by institutions across California
- Steinbeck House: Steinbeck House, run by the Valley Guild, a non-profit volunteer organization, whose purpose is to maintain and preserve the birthplace and boyhood home of John Steinbeck, and to create new revenues for charities in the Salinas Valley.
Billy Emery Photographs
Billy Emery’s Photographs courtesy the Bustle and Emery Families - Photographer Billy Emery moved to Salinas in the Thirties and opened Emery’s Photo Studio at 110 Carr Street. He gave these photographs to the Salinas Public Library in 1979. His iconographic compositions display the inherent beauty in everyday scenes of Salinas and nearby areas.