MAH Reference Library

Overview +

The reference library contains telephone directories, city directories, books, journals, oral histories, museum exhibit research, history project reports, archeological research, guides and pamphlets related to Santa Cruz County History.  Some of this material is unpublished.  An account was created with LibraryThing to catalog all of this material, the link is provided below:

Link to the LibraryThing Account:

To obtain access to the reference librarian please contact the archivist at

eReference Library +

This is a digital collection of books, reports, articles and other materials related to Santa Cruz County history.

Life in an Industrial Village: The Archeology of Cabin B at the Cowell Lime Works Historic District (.pdf)  This Master’s Thesis Report was donated by the author, Patricia Paramoure.  It details her research and work at the Cowell Lime Works.  Key words: archaeology, workers, santa cruz, architecture, homes.

Cora May Otto Diary (1898-1899) (.pdf) Cora Otto was born May 23, l873 to George and Sophie Otto, pioneer family in Santa Cruz, California.  Key words: loma prieta, teacher, santa cruz.

Fowler_Pope_Diary_1876 (.pdf) This diary chronicles a year in the life of Fowler W. Pope. As first engineer on the “San Lorenzo road” (Santa Cruz and & Felton), Pope witnessed the resurgence of railroad construction in the county. He documents making trips to Felton, transporting lime, lumber, and wood.  Key words: railroads, workers.

Georgiana Bruce Kirby Journal (1852-1860) (.pdf) An intellectual, humanitarian, and suffragist, Georgiana (1818-1887) raised her family at 177 Jordan Street from 1854 until her death in 1887.  She was born in England and educated in the east by America’s leading thinkers and writers.  Upon emigrating to the United States she became interested in the Brook Farm experiment.  While at the Brook Farm she became acquainted with Hawthorne, Emerson, and Charles Dana.  Following her stay at the Brook Farm she became an assistant to Eliza Farnham, Matron of Sing Sing Prison.  In 1850 she came west, borrowing money from Horace Greeley.  She brought to California an intellectual fervor difficult for the pioneer town of Santa Cruz to comprehend.  An early advocate of women’s rights, she founded the first Santa Cruz society of suffragists in 1869 and lobbied passionately for the vote.  Her outspoken ideas on social reform played a significant role in shaping attitudes in the new land.

Sister Rosa Castro – Don Joaquin (.pdf) On August 30, 1851, Maria Antonia Jacinta Castro donned the white veil of the Dominican Order at the Santa Catalina Convent in Monterey, California.  She was the second Californian to join Sister Mary Goemaere at the newly established school in the former capital of Alta California.  Concepcion Arguello had been the first hija del pais (native-born daughter) to enter the convent in April of that same year.  She was born near the Santa Cruz Mission on January 21, 1815 to Jose Joaquin Castro and Maria Antonia Amador de Castro, she was baptized in the parish church on January 31, 1815, by Father Marcelino Marquinez.  Jacinta’s childhood years were spent in and round the Santa Cruz Mission.  In 1818, when she was three years old, her father was serving as the Mission’s mayordomo.  That year the pirate Bouchard entered the Monterey Bay roadstead and sacked Monterey, causing great anxiety and excitement at both the Santa Cruz Mission and the Villa.  During the ensuing years, the pious little Jacinta was known to have assisted the padres at the Mission.

Diaries of Benjamin Knight (1854-1881) (.pdf)  The Knights first came to Santa Cruz in 1869 and quickly became a prominent family in the area, involved in both state and local politics. Four generations of the family produced a doctor, a state senator, two district attorneys, and a judge. The bulk of the collection focuses on four generations of Benjamin Knights: Benjamin Knight, Sr. (1803-1883), a machinist; Dr. Benjamin Knight, Jr. (1836-1905), a Civil War veteran, medical doctor, owner of Knight’s Opera House, and state senator of California; Benjamin K. Knight (1874-1947), a district attorney and judge; and Benjamin B. Knight (1899-1989), a district attorney and veteran of World War II. The collection represents both the personal and professional lives of the Knight family.

Santa Cruz County, California: Illustrations Descriptive of its Scenery, Fine Residences, Public Buildings, Manufactories, Hotels, Farm Scenes, Business Houses, Schools, Churches, Mines, Mills, etc. This is a link to a Free Google eBook.

History of Santa Cruz County, California by E.S. Harrison This is a link to e Free Google eBook.

The House That Vicente Built and Some Aptos History by Allen Collins (.pdf)  Vicente Castro was the great-grandson of Joaquin Castro. Vicente’s parents Rafael and Soledad deeded him 700 acres just north of Aptos. Keywords: spreckles, mangels, southern pacific railroad, porter, tillman, hawks, crum, miller.

Rispin – The Man and His Mansion by Carolyn Swift (.pdf)  Henry Rispin was a speculator who bought nearly all of Capitola in 1920 but ended up utterly destitute and alone at the end of his life. Keywords: capitola, soquel, capitola hotel, rispin house.

Rancho del Oso How It Was, 1914 – 1945 (.pdf)  This is an autobiography of Hulda Hoover McLean from her travels on the Ocean Shore Railroad to staying at the Rancho del Oso. Keywords: santa cruz, davenport, pescadero, palo alto, farming, agriculture.

The Tales of Old Mother Chapar by Phil Reader (.pdf)  Chapar was born, Maria Josefa Incarnacion Perez y Rodriguez, at The Pueblo de Branciforte  in the year 1806, to pioneers Jose Maria Perez and Margarita Rodriguez. Keywords: santa cruz, branchiforte, Indians, native americans.

The Native Peoples of Santa Cruz County by Allan Lonnberg (.pdf)  This article is an attempt to synthesize what is known about the indigenous inhabitants of Santa Cruz County. This paper is extrapolated from archaeological and historical sources and covers the past up to Spanish contact in 1769. Keywords: santa cruz, Indians, native americans.

Sarah Gourley Autobiography (.pdf)  Sarah Gourley was a young girl when her family migrated from Indiana to California in 1856. Keywords: railroad, isthmus of panama, Anthony, hinds.

Panama Railroad Accident (.pdf)  This is an account from Alfred L. Armstrong, a passenger on the same train as Sarah Gourley in Panama.  This was published in the New York Daily Times on 17 May 1856.

Toward Rediscovering the Monterey Bay Region by Sandy Lydon  This article explores the history of Monterey Bay from when Captain Portola looked on the bay in 1769 to the 1990s. Keywords: santa cruz, wharf, Watsonville.

Al Castagnole (.pdf)  This interview with Santa Cruz Mayor Castagnole conducted by Debbie Mellinkoff.

Collin Dong (.pdf)  This speech by Collin Dong was given to the Pajaro Valley Historical Association on 4 July 1971.  His father Dong Song emigrated to California in 1873 and was one of the first businessmen in the Watsonville Chinatown.

Cooper Family (.pdf)  John Cooper and his brother William Cooper migrated to California in 1849, settling in Santa Cruz in 1851.  They established the Cooper Brothers Mercantile Store.

Cooper Brothers Mercantile Store (.pdf)

Grand Old Man (.pdf)  Story of F.A. Hihn, founder of The City Bank and The City Savings Bank and a history of the banks by Frederick Douglas Baldwin.

Helen Denton (.pdf)  Story by Helen Denton about Felton, the church, and her father in 1899.

Joaquin Castro (.pdf)  This article by Patricia Ooley about Joaquin Castro.  He settled in Branchiforte near Mission Santa Cruz in 1798.  Includes a translated and transcribed copy of his last will and testament.

Rancho San Andres Adobe (.pdf)  Adobe home built by Joaquin Castro.

Merle Finnerman (.pdf)  Autobiography, Soquel Memories of the 1920s.

John Davenport (.pdf)  John Pope Davenport after living in Monterey moved to Soquel in 1867.  He later moved to and created the township of Davenport.  He built a wharf to support the local lumber industry.