On April 18, 1906, San Francisco was wrecked by a powerful earthquake and for the next few days was consumed by fires that destroyed a large portion of the city. The earthquake's epicenter was located near the city along the San Andreas Fault. Damage from the earthquake was widespread, occurring for hundreds of miles along the extensive fault line. As San Francisco was then the West Coast's most populous city and its leading economic and cultural center, the repercussions of the earthquake and fire throughout the region were tremendous.
Since then, documentation pertaining to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire has been collected and preserved these many years at various libraries and archives throughout the state. In preparation for the 100th anniversary of the disaster, some of these institutions have collaborated in an effort to make selected primary source materials accessible in a digital format. The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection is the result of this effort. Some 14,000 digital images and 7,000 pages of text documents have been prepared for the digital collection.
The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection web site includes an online exhibit, the ability to search and browse the collections, an interactive map of the city of San Francisco, and the presentation of a 360-degree panoramic view of the ruined city. A list of resources for further study is also provided.
The project was organized by The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The project includes material contributed by the Bancroft Library, California Historical Society, the California State Library, Stanford University, The Huntington Library, and the Society of California Pioneers. The project was made possible by a grant from the federal Library Systems and Technology Act under the auspices of the California State Library during the tenure of State Librarian Kevin Starr.
This exhibition looks at four key events and celebrations in California during the last 150 years of statehood and examines a few aspects of California's unique development, noting accomplishments as well as a few missteps. The exhibition begins with the Constitutional Convention and California's campaign for statehood in 1850; then looks at two grand world's fairs: The Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939; and ends with the celebration of California First Days, 1962-63, when California overtook New York as the most populous state in the Union. California has been perceived by many as the embodiment of "progress," a place that not only looks towards the future but also shapes it.
New Online Exhibitions
Building Bancroft: The Evolution of a Library presents the documentary history of The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The exhibit traces the development of The Bancroft Library, from its beginnings as the personal collection of businessman and historian Hubert Howe Bancroft to its current role as one of the premiere archival and special collections repositories in the nation. Documents, photographs, illustrations, and other materials offer an introduction to more than one hundred and fifty years in the life of The Bancroft Library.
In 1853, at the age of seventeen, Samuel Langhorne Clemens left his home in Hannibal, Missouri, for his first extended trip. Over the next fifty-seven years he crisscrossed the globe, at first working as an itinerant typesetter in several major eastern cities, then as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River, and later as a prospector and newspaper reporter on the American frontier, where he first used the pseudonym "Mark Twain." He made one-night lecture stops at hundreds of small towns, settled down for months in hotels and rented villas in England and Europe, escaped life's hurly-burly on tropical isles, and basked in society's limelight in many of the world's great cities. He visited five continents, steamed across the Atlantic twenty-nine times, and crossed the Pacific and Indian oceans as part of one complete round-the-world circuit.