The Archives are open by appointment only.

Have a question about the county’s history? The Archives are your first stop for research.

The Archival Collection ranges from 1830 to the present and includes books, clippings, documents, films, fine art, ledgers, letters, manuscripts, memorabilia, microfilm, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, transcripts, posters, records, scrapbooks, slides and students monographs. The materials are available for research in the Archives.

Archives Reading Room Update

Appointments are available Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Visitors can email or call 650.299.0104 and ask to speak to the Archivist to make appointments.

Please contact us to schedule appointments at least two days in advance. To address concerns around COVID-19, one group at a time will be allowed in the Archives Reading Room per appointment. We will also be sanitizing surfaces between visits in addition to asking everyone to continue mask use and social distancing while in the building.

More information on using the Archives Reading Room.

More information on the Rights and Reproductions Policy.


Explore over 300,000 photographs and negatives. Included are special collections from the San Mateo Times, Bay Meadows and local photographers.

Photographic and document reproductions available for a fee.


Girls Baseball Team, c. 1890. Photograph by James Van Court.

Archive book of the History of San Mateo County. Inscribed by Benjamin G. Lathrop. Presented to Virginia Turnbull By one of the Original Organizers of San Mateo County, B. G. Lathrop Oct 15th. 1883.


The Archives has 1,500 volume book collection. It ranges from local history books to telephone and city directories.


Read the breaking news from yesteryear. The archives include complete runs of many newspapers including the San Mateo County Gazette, Burlingame Advance, Foster City Progress, Redwood City Tribune and So. San Francisco Enterprise.

Burlingame Advance newspaper cover from Feb 5, 1952 with headline SM 'Tote Board' King Wiped Out by Bomb Blast