Local History Collection

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The Local History Collection collects and preserves our community’s memory for current and future generations. The collection consists of a variety of materials relating to many aspects of South Pasadena history. Some major categories include: Historic Photographs, South Pasadena Newspapers and Quarterly, Local Yearbooks, City Records and Directories, Biographical Files, Home Research, Obituaries, City Landmarks, and early Library History. Some of these materials have been scanned and are available in digital format at the Library. For more information download the Local History Collection brochure or finding aid.

The City of South Pasadena has dozens of properties and sites designated as local historic landmarks. Some of these also have the distinction of being included on state and national registers as well. The Local History Collection maintains information and documents on all of the City’s Landmarks. View a map of Historic Landmarks

There are many sites around town that, though they may not qualify for official registers, are local “landmarks” in their own right. Several of them have been in and around the Library for generations, including Awston the Ostrich, the large Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Leo Politi’s artwork in the Children’s Room, and more! Read more about Library Landmarks.

Historic Photographs

In 2009, the South Pasadena Public Library began working to digitize the historic photographs in the Local History Collection, making them available in a way that they never were before. More than 1500 photographs are now available online through the Local History Collection’s Flickr site. Images can be searched and shared by accessing www.flickr.com and searching for the South Pasadena Public Library. One of the great features of this site is the ability for users to leave comments. Should you have additional information regarding any of the photos, or if you can help us to identify people of places, please feel free to leave photo comments.

Prints of many of the images can be viewed at the Library’s Reference Desk as well. Photographs are available for reproduction for a small fee, and any use must be credited, “Courtesy of the South Pasadena Public Library.”

Local Authors
The Local Author list
highlights current and former residents of South Pasadena whose books are included in the South Pasadena Public Library collection. Suggestions of additional authors are welcome and may be emailed to Maida Wong, Public Services Manager at mwong@southpasadenaca.gov.

Local History Articles for Students

Requests, Services, and Fees
There are many types of requests and queries that are answered through the Local History Collection. Some of the most frequent questions pertain to persons of interest to South Pasadena and important places, particularly information about individual residences. To research your home, first stop by the Library’s reference desk to review the surveys of city properties. If you need more information, you may submit a request for further archival research to be completed on your behalf. You never know what we might find!

Local History Requests may be submitted to the Library's Reference Desk at rdesk@southpasadenaca.gov. Download the Request Form.

For more information about services and fees, please click here.

Support the Collection
Many of the materials in the Local History Collection would not be available without the thoughtful donations of private individuals. Items such as photographs, journals describing early city life, letters or postcards documenting key events, and any materials pertaining to South Pasadena properties are particularly desirable. Should you have any materials that pertain to the City’s history that you would like to be considered as new additions to the Collection, please contact the Library's Reference Desk at (626) 403-7350 or rdesk@southpasadenaca.gov for further information.

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