Collection comprises duplicate and original records of the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), dated between circa
1790 and 2011, with most records dating between 1933 and 1965. The bulk of the collection consists of duplicate HABS documentation
for historic buildings and places in California and the National Park Service's Western Region, although the collection also
includes fragmentary records for non-Western states, Panama, and Mexico. Buildings of historical merit, both “antique” (pre-1860)
and newer, are recorded. Copies of official HABS documentation include photographic prints, negatives, photographic pages,
inventory work sheets, photograph-data book reports, measured drawings, and other materials, prepared and submitted by the
program’s surveyors. These materials are supplemented by administrative files, correspondence, survey notes, sketches, field
notebooks, essays, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and other published materials. Many photographs in the collection were taken
by HABS photographers Roger Sturtevant and Jack E. Boucher.
At the height of the Great Depression, architect Charles E. Peterson of the National Park Service proposed an innovative New
Deal program that would relieve unemployment among architects, draftsmen, and photographers, while documenting the nation’s
threatened architectural heritage: the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). Inaugurated in 1933, the program would be
administered by the National Park Service, with professional support from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and funding
from various public works programs, including the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Since 1934, the Library of Congress
has preserved HABS’ documentary legacy in hundreds of thousands of photographs, drawings, and other materials.
63 boxes and 1 oversize box
(30 linear feet)
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director
of Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended
to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Restrictions
also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational
Collection is open for research.