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This collection contains 48 sheets of hand-tinted lithographs, each approximately 11 ¾ x 8 ½ inches, depicting 61 different ranches, residences, hotels, commercial and civic buildings throughout San Luis Obispo County in 1883. These lithographs illustrated the History of San Luis Obispo County, California, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers, produced in 1883 by publishers Thompson and West of Oakland, California.

The lithographs in this collection were produced for publication in a county history in 1883. During the late nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth century, county and local histories were quite popular as American communities expressed pride in their economic achievements and attempted to boost further development and growth. Many county histories and so-called county "mug books" were published on a "subscription basis" — those profiled paid to be included. As a result, the biographical sections and illustrations of the paying subscribers or "patrons" formed a substantial part of each history. In cases such as the Thompson and West histories of this period, artists' renderings of the ranches and properties of the subscribers and of other prominent citizens added an additional dimension to the publication.
1 box
In order to reproduce, publish, broadcast, exhibit, and/or quote from this material, researchers must submit a written request and obtain formal permission from Special Collections, Cal Poly, as the owner of the physical collection.
Collection is open to qualified researchers by appointment only. For more information on access policies and to obtain a copy of the Researcher Registration form, please visit the Special Collections Access page. Collection stored remotely. Advance notice for use required.