In the reading room, databases allow access to the following collections: books, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, and special collections.

Many of the collections are fragile and there are restrictions on the use of some original documents. Photocopy requests are filled at the discretion of the librarian.

The following portions of our library collections are available to you via the internet.


Online Archive of California – Search this database by Keyword for manuscripts in our Alice Phelan Sullivan Library.


WorldCat – Search for books by Author, Title and Keyword and more.  If our Library owns the title, we will be listed under “Holdings”.


California Newspaper Project – Use the “Institution” field, and search with the phrase: Soc. of Calif. Pioneers. This abbreviation must be used exactly to retrieve our 189 records.

Sheet Music

19th Century California Sheet Music – Use Search 1, and then in “Any Word” field put in the phrase “Society Pioneers”. This will retrieve 661 records, the bulk of which our in our collection. This database provides complete digital images of the music.


California Ephemera – Click on “Browse all collections”, and you will find our three collections: Biographical Files, California Files and County Files all listed.