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03 October 2018

CGS Library Collections: California, Part 3

George Richard Dorman, donor of many
of the books in our California collection
Last in Chris Pattillo's 3-part series about the library's California Collection. For a fuller listing of our books, journals, and more, consult the CGS Library catalog. Our catalog is also listed in WorldCat.

As mentioned at the start of this series, our library's largest collection is California materials. As always, offsite visitors can browse the catalog on our website to get a sense of the holdings. It is far too extensive to describe in detail, but here are some highlights.

Many of the books in our California collection were donated by George R. Dorman. They are easy to spot – each book is marked on the bound edge with a letter “D.” A blog post by Kathryn Doyle dated 31 March 2008 tells us that we received his collection in 1984 and that it was the single largest book donation to the library. Kathryn noted, “Mr. Dorman, a CGS member for 47 years, served in various capacities on the Society’s Board. A dedicated genealogist, his research on the signers of the California Constitutional Convention was published as a long-running series in the Society’s newsletter and later in The Nugget.”

One of many high-quality portraits
in the CGS collection

One of the things that stands out about the Dorman collection is the large number of "Who’s Who"-type books. Many of these provide substantial biographies of important California citizens (almost all men), and they include beautiful, high-quality portraits of the subject with their signature. If you have an ancestor of some prominence in California, there is a reasonably good chance you'll find information about that person in our library.

Although not about California, the 226-volume American
 Genealogical Biographical Index is housed
in the "California Room."
Other books in this collection include many indexed vital records that have been compiled by CGS members. For example, there are twenty-two volumes of San Francisco Call, Vital Records of Births, Marriages, and Deaths starting in 1899 and continuing to 1907. Also, copies of our published volumes – San Francisco Probate 1906-1942, Raking the Ashes and the four-volume set of San Francisco Deaths 1865-1905. We have a twelve-volume set of Vital Records from the San Francisco Bulletin

California has fifty-eight counties, and our library has books on fifty-seven of them. Anyone want to donate a book on Mono County so we’ll be at 100 percent?

In addition, we have a fairly large collection of books about individual cities. These include multiple books for Berkeley, Oakland, Livermore, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Sacramento, San Francisco, and San Diego. We have five full shelves of books on San Francisco.

Don't forget the many state maps kept in our map drawer, and the oversize books found along the back wall. Come on in and explore!

San Francisco books occupy five shelves
in the California Room
Copyright © 2018 by California Genealogical Society