Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Angel Island State Park Collection
Date (inclusive): 1839-2014
Date (bulk): (bulk 1950-2010)
Collection number: CSPA-231
Angel Island State Park
32 linear feet, including 3 map folders.
California State Parks
McClellan, California 95652
Abstract: Angel Island State Park, the largest island in the San Francisco Bay, is a park dedicated to the preservation of the island's
natural and cultural resources. The park was added piece by piece to the California State Park System over a period of eight
years. In 1962, the island was turned over to the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Angel Island State Park
Collection is arranged in fifteen series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Histories, 3. Interpretation, 4. Subject Files, 5. Facilities,
6. Financial Documents, 7. Legal Documents, 8. Publications, 9. Ephemera, 10. Cartographic Material, 11. Photographic Material,
12. Scrapbook, 13. Media, and 14. Reports. Items span the years 1839-2014 with the bulk of the material falling between 1950-2010.
Physical Location: California State Parks Archives
Languages: Languages represented in this collection:
The collection is open for research. Cultural and archaeological site maps are restricted. Reports with sensitive data may
be restricted. Consult repository for details.
For permission to reproduce or publish, please consult the California State Parks Archives archivist. Permission for reproduction
or publication is given on behalf of the California State Parks Archives, McClellan as the owner of the physical items. The
researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement that may arise from reproduction or publication of materials
from the California State Parks Archives.
[Identification of item], Angel Island State Park Collection, CSPA-231: [box: folder number], California State Parks Archives,
Angel Island State Park donated the majority of the material in this collection in 2002. Additional correspondence, maps,
and reports were added from Central Records in 2015.
Margo Lentz-Meyer processed this collection and created and encoded its finding aid in 2015.
Angel Island State Park, the largest island in the San Francisco Bay, is a park dedicated to the preservation of the island's
abundant natural and cultural resources. The park was added piece by piece to the California State Park System over a period
of eight years. In 1954, the California State Park Commission acquired Ayala Cove. In the following months Parks acquired
additional acreage above the cove. In 1962, the island was turned over to the California Department of Parks and Recreation,
with the exception of Coast Guard stations on Point Blunt and Point Stuart.
Prior to its designation as a California State Park, Angel Island served an array of functions. For thousands of years the
island was used as a hunting and fishing outpost by the Coast Miwok. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries
Angel Island was used as a base for Spanish Navy Lieutenant Manuel de Ayala's survey of the San Francisco Bay, a storage site
for Russian sealers, a hideout for smugglers, and a cattle ranch. On 6 November 1850 the U.S. government seized ownership
of the island under President Millard Fillmore's Executive Order, reserving "for public purposes" certain lands around the
bay including Angel Island.
During the Civil War the Army took control of the island establishing Camp Reynolds in 1863. Camp Reynolds became the first
military installation on the island, constructed to serve as part of the Civil War's west coast defense system. Located at
West Garrison, the camp included sleeping quarters for over 200 soldiers, a chapel, bakery, trading store, hospital, school,
and cemetery. The post served as a small town for soldiers stationed on the island during the Civil War, and later to suppress
Native American uprisings, and maintain the island's gun batteries.
In 1891 the Angel Island Quarantine Station opened for operation. Located in Hospital Cove, the station was initially a port
where ships suspected of carrying infectious disease were isolated for inspection. During its sixty-six years of operation
the Station was comprised of approximately fifty buildings including: a 400-bed detention barracks, a hospital, laboratories,
a disinfecting plant, and quarters for employees.
In response to the global insecurities of the twentieth century, the U.S. military expanded significantly and an additional
army post was established at East Garrison. In 1900 the Army posts on the Island were renamed Fort McDowell, in addition,
each site was given a new name. Camp Reynolds became West Garrison, and new installations were developed at sites that became
North Garrison and East Garrison.
East Garrison was initially developed to quarantine and process soldiers returning from operations in the Philippines during
Spanish American War. During World War I and World War II Fort McDowell was used for processing soldiers leaving for and returning
from posts overseas. Fort McDowell served as an all-purpose site for soldiers. It included a 600-man barracks, mess hall,
hospital, Post Exchange, guardhouse, railroad ticket office, Wells Fargo Express Company office, and a number of recreation
sites. Recreation has long been an important feature on Angel Island. During the Army period soldiers passed the time bowling
and playing baseball.
In 1910 the Angel Island Immigration Station opened. During its thirty years in service approximately 500,000 immigrants were
processed. Immigrants from Asia, Europe, and South America passed through Angel Island, with Chinese immigrants making up
the vast majority of immigrants processed. In 1940, the Immigration Station was relocated to San Francisco following a fire
that destroyed the Administration Building. On 4 February 1941 the site reverted back to military and was used to process
and detain prisoners of war during World War II.
In the 1970s Chinese poetry and other carvings were rediscovered in the Immigration Station barracks. Since then Angel Island
State Park has become a popular destination for genealogical research, for discovering the history of immigration on the West
Coast, and has remained a popular site for recreation.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Angel Island State Park Collection is arranged in fifteen series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Histories, 3. Interpretation,
4. Subject Files, 5. Facilities, 6. Financial Documents, 7. Legal Documents, 8. Publications, 9. Ephemera, 10. Cartographic
Material, 11. Photographic Material, 12. Scrapbook, 13. Media, and 14. Reports. Items span the years 1839-2014 with the bulk
of the material falling between 1950-2010.
Series one, Correspondence, consists of correspondence, memoranda, telegrams, and compiled correspondence. The series is arranged
by subject starting with general correspondence and ending with bound volumes of correspondence copied from the National Archive.
Series two, histories, documents the history of Angel Island from the Miwok to the U.S. Army's Nike Missile Site. It includes
timelines, bibliographic card files, theses, and histories written by parks employees and/or contractors. Series three, Interpretation
is divided into five subseries: Park, North Garrison, West Garrison, East Garrison, and Natural Resources. The records included
in this series consist of interpretation plans, exhibit plans, and guides.
Series four, Subject files is divided into six subseries: General Plan, Transportation, Oil Spill, Peace Tower, Presidio Army
Museum, and Archaeology. The subseries consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, plans, and reports. Series five, Facilities
and Structures, contains correspondence, building inventories, restoration project plans, and building descriptions and sketches.
Series six, Financial Documents, includes proposed budget plans, project estimates, and project requests. Series seven, Legal
Documents, consists of California Senate and Assembly Bills, agreements, and permits.
Series eight, Publications, encompasses articles, newspaper and magazine clippings, workshop materials, and guides not published
by parks. Series nine, Ephemera, includes certificates, brochures, programs, flyers and postcards. Series ten, Cartographic
Material, includes maps, plans and drawings. Series eleven, Photographic Material, consists of negatives, slides, and photographic
prints. Series twelve, Scrapbook, consists of one scrapbook comprised of pictures and letters donated by an Angel Island park
ranger. Series thirteen, Media, contains floppy discs, diskettes, audiocassettes, CDs, and DVDs.
Series fourteen, Reports, includes reports produced by State of California Department of Parks and Recreation and Parks contractors.
Series fifteen, Restricted Material, consists of reports and maps that contain confidential, and culturally sensitive information.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Angel Island (Calif.)
Angel Island Association
Angel Island Conservancy
Angel Island Immigration Station (Calif.)
California. Department of Parks and Recreation
San Francisco Quarantine Station (Angel Island, Calif.)
United States. Army. Camp Reynolds (Angel Island, Marin County, CA)
United States. Army. Fort McDowell (Angel Island, Marin County, CA)
Angel Island SP Photographic Collection