Local History
The local history collection focuses on the people, places, and events of the Salinas area. The material is for in-library use only. To begin your search, visit the John Steinbeck Library at 350 Lincoln Street in Salinas, and ask the reference librarian for assistance, or call (831) 758-7311 and follow instructions to connect with the Information Desk.


Grade map for the City of Salinas, dated May 1878, St. John Cox, Surveyor
Grade map for the City of Salinas, dated May 1878, St. John Cox, Surveyor.

Books, Microfilm, Microfiche

Listed in the Library Catalog organized by: Subject, Title, Author, or Keyword


Books About Salinas
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Clipping Files

Annotated Subject Index
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Biography Index
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Directories, Census Documents, and other indexes

Written Directory *
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* This document provides a list of directories, census documents, and other indexes that list people, through 1940.



Only available for in library in exchange for identification. By agreement, tapes cannot be copied. Ask at the information desk for details.


Historical Salinas Newspapers

Historical Newspapers
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Local Newspaper Continuations *
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Historical newspapers are available at the Steinbeck Library. Most are on microfilm. Microfilm readers and printers are available at the John Steinbeck Library. If you don’t live in this area, contact your local public library for an inter-library loan of the Salinas Californian from the California State Library for issues published between September 1, 1945 through March 3, 1990. For additional research services contact the Monterey County Genealogical Society or Books We Own, both of which are listed in the list of Websites for Salinas History.


The Town

Download a Short Short History (1930-2009) of the town known for its California Rodeo, its International Airshow, and its unforgettable teller of tales, John Steinbeck.

History of Salinas
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The Library

Follow the chronology of the beloved Salinas Public Library built with the help of Andrew Carnegie, the Civic Club, and Salinas residents. This Salinas institution used extensively by the young John Steinbeck and was rescued from extinction by concerned citizens in 2005.

Salinas Public Library History
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City of Letters

Step into the pages of books as you explore history and literature through the Literary Landmarks of Salinas!

Literary Landmarks include sites that have been mentioned in stories, sites relevant to stories and the people who create them. They also include Salinas’ new Public Art for a City of Letters, a series of granite boulders with inspiring inscriptions that have been placed throughout Salinas. View these sites by category or geographical area, view and print maps, and visit them all!

Who Created this Project? This project was developed through a collaboration between the Salinas Public Library and the National Steinbeck Center, funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) www.imls.gov

What is a Literary Landmark? To date, seventy-eight Literary Landmarks have been identified in Salinas. Literary Landmarks include sites that have been mentioned in literature or stories, including fiction, first-person memoir, or oral tradition; sites that are related to the life of an individual involved in literature or stories (e.g., a writer, journalist, etc.); or sites strongly related to issues or locations mentioned in relevant literature. Sites have not been designated a Literary Landmark simply because they have been mentioned in a history book. This series explores just some of the many literary landmarks hidden in the streets of Salinas.

Suggest a Literary Landmark! This discovery is an ongoing process, and the Salinas Public Library and the National Steinbeck Center welcome suggestions of additional landmark sites. If you would like to suggest a Literary Landmark, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Salinas Literary Landmark
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John Steinbeck

Steinbeck Fact Sheet / Hoja de Hechos de Steinbeck

Books by John Steinbeck

The People


Cooper Family - Essay about one of the town's most memorable and respected African American Families.

Cooper Family Story
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Carrie Striening - Essay about an early Salinas resident who was well-known to hundreds in Salinas including the Steinbeck Family.

Caroline (Carrrie) Striening Story
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Conley/Garlinger Interview - Listen to the Adcock sisters and Mr. Conley remember the Alisal and the War Years (World War II).

Conley Interview Part One
42 MB
Conley Interview Part Two
19 MB


Vierra Interviews- Charles C. Vierra was a Moss Landing native and a school teacher at the Moss Landing Union Elementary School for 34 years. This audio interview was conducted by George Robinson at Mr. Vierra's home in Moss Landing on April 30, 1977. The interview is provided courtesy of the Vierra Family.

Vierra Interview Part One

Vierra Interview Part Two
Vierra Interview Part Three


Elise Lois Falbo, Elise Lois Keithly before her marriage, talks about her family, her growing up years in Salinas, and her remarkable career choice.

Falbo Interview


Florence Margaret Baker and Helen Baker Currie, granddaughters of I.J. Baker, the first Salinas mayor, share their recollections of early Salinas in this interview recorded on October 28, 1976 for the Salinas Public Library. The First Mayor’s House, a Salinas landmark, is now at 20 Station Place in Salinas.

Baker-Currie Interview


Junis Raymond Childers, An Interview with Junis Raymond Childers.

Childers Interview Part One
42 MB
Childers Interview Part Two
19 MB


Dorothy Lacey, A 1977 Interview with Dorothy Lacey.

Lacey Interview Part One

Lacey Interview Part Two
Lacey Interview Part Three

Genevieve Simunovich

In 2009 Genevieve Simunovich with Josephine Morris and Louis Epp provided materials about the Salinas Salvation Army for the Salinas Public Library which you can download here.


Andy Fulton Interview

To view the Andy Fulton interview please click here.


Anna Gertrude Elkington Interview

To view the Elkington interview please click here.


April Medina & Family Interview

To view the April Medina interview please click here.


Ariana Augustine Sani Interview

To view the Augustine Sani interview please click here.


Baktun 12 Interview

To view the Baktun 12 interview please click here.


Bill Ramsey & Family Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.

To view Part 3 please click here.

To view Parts 4&5 please click here.


Bunny Stevens Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.

To view Part 3 please click here.


Closter Family Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.

To view Part 3 please click here.


Conley & Garlinger Interview

To view the Conley & Garlinger interview please click here.


Delphina Diaz and Laverne Wilcox Interview

To view the Diaz Wilcox interview please click here.


Dennis Donohue Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.


Elise Lois Falbo Interview

To view the Elise Lois Falbo interview please click here.

Frank Pierce Interview

To View the Frank Pierce Interview please click here.


Gary Martinez Interview

To View the Gary Martinez Interview please click here.


Interviews on the Japanese American Internment

To View Part 1 please click here.

To View Part 2 please click here.

To View Part 3 please click here.


Jesus Barajas Interview

To view the Jesus Barajas interview please click here.


Linda Teague Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.


Loretta Williamson Interview

To view Part 1 please click here.


Lucille Diaz Interview

To view the Lucielle Diaz interview please click here.


Marlys Maher Interview

To view the Marlys Maher interview please click here.


Mike Ford Interview

To view the Mike Ford interview please click here.


Robin Lee Interview

To view the Robin Lee interview please click here.


Library Events

Watch events from the Salinas Public Libraries.

Dust Bowl Stories

To view Dust Bowl Stories click here.


Local Authors Forum: April 27, 2013

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.

To view Part 3 please click here.


James B. Golden, Salinas Poet Laureate: November 29, 2012

To view Part 1 please click here.

To view Part 2 please click here.



Only available for use in the library, in exchange for identification. Ask at the reference desk for assistance.


Soil Map

View the USDA 1925 Soil Map for the Salinas Area.


Salinas Soil Map
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17 MB


Websites For Salinas History

  • American Memory: American Memory at the Library of Congress website has photographs of Salinas agriculture, the Salinas guayule project, and the Salinas Japanese Relocation Center.

  • Books We Own: A volunteer will search some local directories or the Salinas Californian. Choose "United States Resources", scroll down to Monterey County and choose your volunteer.

  • Obituary Lookups: A volunteer will check the microfilm copies of the local newspaper, the Salinas Californian, in Salinas, Monterey County, Calif. for obituaries from 1875 to date. Use the form provided to provide the full name of the deceased and the exact date of death.

  • Calisphere: Calisphere, the University of California’s free public gateway to primary resources like photographs.

  • Monterey County Geneological Society: Non-profit organization providing research for a fee.

  • Monterey County Historical Society: Monterey County Historical Society is where you can find many full length articles about area history.

  • Online Archive of California: Online Archive of California is a union database of materials held by institutions across California

  • Steinbeck House: Steinbeck House, run by the Valley Guild, a non-profit volunteer organization, whose purpose is to maintain and preserve the birthplace and boyhood home of John Steinbeck, and to create new revenues for charities in the Salinas Valley.

  • Latino American History: These videos are a production of WETA Washington, DC; Bosch and Co., Inc.; and Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB); in association with Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Gallery of Local History Photographs

These photographs are part of the Salinas Local History Collection. These images are provided for research, teaching and personal viewing. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate descriptions and respect copyrights. Reproduction of all images are subject to copyright law and Salinas Public Library Policy. If you have additional information concerning these images, please contact MaryJean Gamble at the Salinas Public Library.

Billy Emery Photographs

Billy Emery’s Photographs courtesy the Bustle and Emery Families - Photographer Billy Emery moved to Salinas in the Thirties and opened Emery’s Photo Studio at 110 Carr Street. He gave these photographs to the Salinas Public Library in 1979. His iconographic compositions display the inherent beauty in everyday scenes of Salinas and nearby areas.

Disclosure & Use Policy
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