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Arcadia History Room

The Library's Arcadia History Collection supports the Library's mission to collect and preserve materials relating to the cultural and intellectual heritage of the City of Arcadia.

Highlights of the Collection:
Significant holdings include Arcadia Tournament of Roses float photographs along with many Rose Parade programs; a collection of 100 watercolors by Edna Lenz and Justine Wishek which depict the history of the San Gabriel Valley; photographs of the Santa Anita Assembly Center for the Japanese and digitized copies of the "Santa Anita PACEMAKER"; U.S. Army Balloon School papers; and a collection of books written by Arcadia authors.  Other print and non-print materials focus on Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin, the Arboretum of Los Angeles County, and the Santa Anita Racetrack.  The history of the City of Arcadia is documented from its incorporation in 1903 and includes information on local businesses, maps and local government.
Scope and Size of the Collection: 
Holdings currently comprise some 1500 photographs, two file cabinets of newspaper clippings, Arcadia City Directories from 1923 to the present,  Arcadia school yearbooks, scrapbooks, Arcadia newspapers on microfilm from 1931 and Arcadia census on microfilm.  Most of the collection ranges in date from the 1870's to the present.
Access to the Collection: 
The Collection is housed in the Arcadia History Room and is available for research and viewing by appointment only. Email Yvonne Ng  or call at (626) 294-4808 to set up an appointment.

635929501712930000The Arcadia History Documents Index and Arcadia History Newspaper Index provides subject, keyword or title access to newspaper clippings, newsletters, pamphlets, maps, brochures and other miscellaneous loose-leaf materials relating to Arcadia.  The documents are housed in the Arcadia History Room.  Researchers may request print copies of these documents by emailing ref247@ArcadiaCA.gov or scheduling an appointment to view the documents, please call the Reference Desk at (626) 821-5569 or Yvonne Ng at (626) 294-4808.  Click on this link:

Arcadia History Documents Index--search for documents located in the History Room
Arcadia History Newspaper Index--search for obituaries and news on microfilm 

Arcadia, California 1903 to 1978, Diamond Jubilee Celebration:

The City of Arcadia celebrated its 75th birthday in 1978.  At that time, articles that looked at the City’s history ran in the Arcadia Tribune and other worthwhile projects were undertaken.  In September 1978, the grand celebration for the Diamond Jubilee was held. A community breakfast, a parade, even a gala ball were given in Arcadia’s honor.



 One of the projects was a pamphlet written by Richard E. Miller, former City of Arcadia Librarian, and published by the Home Federal Savings and Loan.  Through a Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) grant, the Department of Library and Museum Services of the City of Arcadia was able to have this interesting piece of Arcadia history digitized.  Click on the link above to view the story of Arcadia.

The Arcadia Public Library and The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage participated in the Local History Digital Resources Program (LHDRP) in 2006-07. This project was supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

During this time period two hundred photos were chosen for inclusion in the University of California's California Digital Library's databases reflecting some of the unique and varied history of the City of Arcadia and the surrounding area. Images include: William Parker Lyon and the Pony Express Museum; Ross Field, a U.S. Army balloon school during World War I; Rose Parade floats sponsored by the Arcadia Tournament of Roses Association; and representative people, places, and events from Arcadia's past.

The photographs were assembled from the collections in the Arcadia Public Library and The Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage. These were digitized in order to provide broader access to the collections by the public.
These images are now available on:

  • Online Archive of California - This database brings historical materials from a variety of California institutions. There are over 120,00 images, 50,000 pages of documents, letters, etc., and 8,000 guides to collections.
  • Calisphere - This database is the University of California's free public gateway to a world of primary resources, including over 150,000 digitized items.
Suggested subjects to try are: "Lucky Baldwin", "Balloon School" "Arcadian Observer" and "Pony Express Museum".
We are very excited to have these photos available for all to enjoy.

Published: November 07, 2019