Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Title: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection
Collection Number: Various;
8920 digital objects (approximately 14,000 images and 7,000 pages
The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection
is a compilation of selected holdings from collections housed in the archives and
special collections of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; the
California Historical Society, San Francisco; The California State Library,
Sacramento; Stanford University, Stanford; The Huntington Library, San Marino; and
The Society of California Pioneers, San Francisco. Presenting approximately 14,000
images and 7,000 pages of text, the digital collection makes accessible material
related to the history of the earthquake and fire in San Francisco, as well as
presenting material on other areas affected throughout the state. The project
The 1906 San
Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection
includes a full
introduction to the collection, online exhibit, panoramic image, interactive map
search and other ways to explore this rich collection.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Please consult the individual repositories for
current information on the location of these materials. Many of the Bancroft Library
collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use.
Information for Researchers
Access procedures and restrictions vary by repository. In most cases advance
notice or an appointment is required for use. For more information contact the
Some of the materials in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital
Collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (title 17, USC) and/or by
the copyright or neighboring rights laws of other nations. Additionally, the
reproduction of some materials may be restricted by privacy or publicity rights.
Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and
securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to
reproduce or use the item.
The owning institutions encourage use of these materials under the fair use
clause of the 1976 copyright act. For the purposes of research, teaching, and
private study, you may reproduce (print, make photocopies, or download)
materials from this collection without prior permission of the owning
institution, on the condition that proper attribution of the source is provided
in all copies.
[Identification of item], [Collection Formal Title & number], The
Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Published Material That May Be Useful To Researchers
The Earth Shook, the Sky Burned. Garden
City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1959; San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 1986.
Douty, Christopher Morris.
The Economics of Localized Disasters: The
1906 San Francisco Catastrophe
. New York : Arno Press, 1970.
The Great Earthquake and Firestorms of 1906: How
San Francisco Nearly Destroyed Itself.
Berkeley: University of
California Press, 2005.
Becoming Citizens: The Emergence and Development of
the California Women's Movement, 1880-1911. (Women in American
Champaign: University of Illinois Press. 2000. Especially
Chapter 4, "Politics of Altruism."
Hansen, Gladys and Emmet Condon.
Denial of Disaster. San
Francisco: Cameron and Co., 1989.
James, Charles D. and Susan Fatemi.
Aftershocks: Photographs of the
1906 San Francisco and 1923 Tokyo Earthquakes.
Berkeley, Calif. :
Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University of California : National
Information Service for Earthquake Engineering, 2002.
Disaster!: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and
Fire of 1906.
New York: William Morrow, 2001.
Morris, Charles ed.
The San Franciso Calamity by Earthquake and
Intro by Roger W. Lotchin. Philadelphia : J.C. Winston Co.,
1906; Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2002.
Pan, Erica Y. Z.
The Impact of the 1906 Earthquake on San
New York : P. Lang, 1995.
Saul, Eric and Don DeNevi.
The Great San Francisco Earthquake and
Millbrae, California: Celestial Arts, 1981.
Stellmann, Louis J.
The Vanished Ruin Era; San Francisco's Classic
Artistry of Ruin Depicted in Picture and Song.
San Francisco, P.
Elder and Company, [c1910].
Thomas, Gordon and Max M. Witts.
The San Francisco
New York, Stein and Day, .
Anderson, Douglas Firth."We Have Here a Different Civilization": Protestant
Identity in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1906-1909.
The Western Historical
Vol. 23, No. 2. (May, 1992), pp. 199-221.
Baker, Simon. "San Francisco in Ruins: The 1906 Aerial Photographs of
George R. Lawrence."
Landscape (1989) vol. 30, no. 2: 9-14.
________. "The Hitherto Impossible Photography Is Our Specialty,"
Air & Space/Smithsonian (1988)
no. 4: 64-68.
Bolton, Marie. "An Endless Cycle of Crisis? Housing in Post-Earthquake San
Revue FranÇaise d'Etudes
vol. 64: 289-297.
Egan, Kathryn S."A Constructivist's View of an Earthquake: Edith Irvine
Photographs San Francisco 1906."
Journalism History vol. 20 no.
2 (Summer 1994): 66-73.
Godfrey, Brian J. "Urban Development and Redevelopment in San
Geographical Review, Vol. 87, No. 3. (Jul.,
1997), pp. 309-333.
Hartley, William G. "Saints and the San Francisco Earthquake."
Brigham Young University Studies (1983)
no. 4: 431-459.
Holm, Ed. "Death of a City."
American History Illustrated
vol. 25, no. 1: 24-33.
Phillips, Ronnie. "Coping with Financial Catastrophe: The San Francisco
Clearinghouse during the Earthquake of 1906."
Research in Economic
vol. 23: 79-104.
Pond, William M. "The Navy and the Fire: San Francisco."
America's Military Past (1994)
vol. 21, no. 1: 57-72.
Smith, Carl. "Urban Disorder and the Shape of Belief: The San Francisco
Earthquake and Fire."
Yale Review vol. 74 (Autumn 1984): 79-94.
Stehle, Randy, "Auxiliary Markings: 'Burned Out' in the 1906 San Francisco
Earthquake and Fire—Recent Discoveries and a Re-examination of the
Resumption of Normal Postal Service,"
La Posta 29 (June-July
Strobridge, William. "Soldiers in the Streets,"
(1978) 1: 3-8.
Unpublished Items and Dissertations:
"Recovery for Whom? Social Conflict after the San
Francisco Earthquake and Fire, 1906-1915,"
California, Davis, 1997.
"The Effect of the Earthquake and Fire of 1906 on
the San Francisco Building Law."
Berkeley, California: 1980.
Rozario, Kevin L.
"Nature's Evil Dreams: Disaster and America,
Yale University, 1996.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection:
San Francisco Earthquake, Calif., 1906
The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection is a
multi-institutional gathering of material related to this important historical
event. The project consisted of collecting and digitizing numerous rich and
varied materials resulting in the content found in this archival finding aid, an
interactive website and online exhibit. Many people contributed to the success
of these endeavors.
The grant was initially conceived and written by Tim Hoyer, former Head of
Bancroft Technical Services. Merrilee Proffitt provided technical expertise and
management of the project. After Mr. Hoyer and Ms. Proffitt left the Bancroft
Library, Theresa Salazar, Curator of The Bancroft Collection of Western
Americana, served as Project Manager until David de Lorenzo was appointed Head
of Technical Services in 2001. At that point, given the scope and size of the
project, duties and responsibilities were divided among individuals with
specific knowledge and expertise and a formal Project Group was created.
Philip Fradkin was hired as a consultant to the project. Ms. Salazar served as
the primary selector of textual material, coordinating activities at the other
contributing Libraries, and creating descriptive metadata for textual materials.
James Eason, Principal Pictorial Archivist and Chris McDonald, Pictorial
Processing Archivist, selected and processed the pictorial materials at both The
Bancroft Library and the California Historical Society. Assisting in the
selection portion of the project as well as with research, data input, and
editing of content, were Amy Hellam, Francisco Casique, Anna Arentrout, Jennifer
Redmond, Stephanie Abel, Dylan Esson, and Joyce Mao. Mao and Esson wrote the
text for the online exhibit.
Mary Elings, Archivist for Digital Collections, managed the digital production
and metadata creation for the project. Much of the data entry and tracking was
handled by Jeffrey Hookom and LuAnn Sleeper, both Digital Project Assistants.
Jeanne Gahagan proofed and edited much of the TEI encoding toward the end of the
Mary Morganti, The Director of Research Collections at the California Historical
Society was a major contributor to this project, providing expertise about the
holdings in her repository. In addition, Abby Bridge at The California
Historical Society helped with selection and input related to their collection.
The staff of Library Photographic Services at UC Berkeley, Dan Johnston, Amy
Yang, Jiro Marubayashi and Sarah Grew worked untiringly and more importantly
with the utmost professionalism to provide the highest quality digital work.
From the Digital Publishing Group at UC Berkeley, Lynne Grigby-Standfill
coordinated much of the digital and database export work on the project. Alvin
Pollock and Erin Nhaminerva processed the encoded texts and Michael Conkin
exported the METS digital objects and finding aids. Brooke Dykman created the
designs for the website, designed the flash entry screen, and also built the
The Bancroft Library would like to thank the California State Library for its
support of the Library and Services Technology Act (LSTA), and for the
opportunity to present the rich and tragic history of The 1906 San Francisco
Earthquake and Fire.
Scope and Content of Collection
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 it's 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.
The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire Digital Collection is a compilation of
selected holdings from collections housed in the archives and special collections of
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley; the California Historical
Society, San Francisco; The California State Library, Sacramento; Stanford
University, Stanford; The Huntington Library, San Marino; and The Society of
California Pioneers, San Francisco. Presenting approximately 14,000 images and 7,000
pages of text, the virtual archive makes accessible material related to the history
of the earthquake and fire in San Francisco, as well as presenting material on other
areas affected throughout the state. The materials were selected to illustrate broad
- Pre-1906 earthquakes
- San Francisco on the eve of the earthquake and fire
- The 1906 Earthquake
- The Ensuing Firestorms
- The Relief Effort
- The Reconstruction effort, culminating in the Panama-Pacific International
- Earthquake damage outside San Francisco
- The Science of the Earthquake
The materials selected are drawn from a variety of printed sources and archival
collections, compiled by institutions and libraries with varying missions. Many of
the collections have distinctive histories of their own. In some cases entire
collections have been included; more often a selection of materials relating to the
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire has been selected from a collection with broader
scope. While the materials presented in The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire
Digital Collection are extensive, they are only selective and do not include
comprehensively the wealth of historical and archival materials documenting this
topic at participating institutions. Users should note the source of the materials
found on this site and contact the holding libraries or archives for further