|[The Castro in 1945], May 26, 1945. Courtesy San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection, San Francisco Public Library.|
A good place to start your research is the library's online catalog, where you can search and identify most of what we have in our collections. To search the catalog with the Encore search tool, go to the library's home page at www.sfpl.org. In the upper right-hand search box, type the name of your neighborhood. From the search results page, limit by place. You can also limit by library location to search San Francisco History Center specifically. Don't forget to try clicking on Related Searches, or Refine by Tag. You can also search the catalog in "classic" mode here. Search by subject e.g. Bayview (San Francisco, Calif.) or by keyword.
Some collections are to be found via search tools other than the library catalog:
Clippings and ephemera are in the San Francisco History Center's vertical files. A guide containing folder listings for these files is available at the Online Archive of California website, which can be accessed here. Search by keyword or scroll to Districts. The San Francisco History Center also has a card file with citations to newspaper articles and other sources. You can request these cards by visiting in person and asking for them by neighborhood.
To search for photographs, begin with our San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection database. Here you can search digitized images from our San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection. To browse by neighborhood, click here. You can look at the actual photographic prints by visiting in person during Photo Desk hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays 1-5 and Sat. 10-12 and 1-5.
For an example of a small archival collection documenting a neighborhood, take a look at our new guide for the Eureka Valley Promotion Association Records, 1926-2008. This three-box collection has membership and financial records, minutes, subject files, and newsletters documenting what is purportedly the oldest continually-active neighborhood association, started in 1881. Visit the website of the current association, now named Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association (EVNA).
For more ideas on doing neighborhood research, ask for a copy of Doing Your Neighborhood History, a pamphlet published by the Society of California Archivists, available in person when you visit the reading room desk in the San Francisco History Center.