Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Moffitt Library is open, and other libraries have updated services and hours. Here’s what you need to know.

San Francisco Bay Area Architects and Architecture: Home

A bibliographic research guide to finding information on Bay Area architects and architecture.

Research Guide

This is a bibliographic research guide to finding information on Bay Area architects and architecture. Unless otherwise specified, materials are held in the UC Berkeley libraries. For further assistance consult our Architectural Research GuidesVernacular Architecture, or consult the Environmental Design Library reference staff, 210 Bauer Wurster Hall.

Getting Started

Use these resources to learn about the process of investigating the history of a building or neighborhood.

Architecture everywhere, investigating the built environment of your community, Joseph A. Weber. Tucson, Ariz.: Zephyr Press, 2000.

"Basic Procedure: Buildings Constructed Before 1905," (Oakland) IN Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey manual.Oakland, Calif.: Oakland City Planning Dept., 1980. Flow chart showing steps to researching early Oakland buildings.

"Conducting Architectural Research in the San Francisco Bay Area," by Waverly Lowell, Architectural Records in the San Francisco

Bay Area, A Guide to Research, p. 1-21. Also indexes collections of architectural archives in the Bay Area.

Doing community history, prepared by the San Francisco Community History Project. San Francisco: The Project, 1983.

Eureka, a guide for historical research in Alameda, Ca. [by Woody Minor]. [Alameda, Calif.: W. Minor, 1979]

Getting to know your 20th-century neighborhood, by Greta Terrell. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1996. Historic Preservation Information Booklet. Focuses on American neighborhoods developed from 1900-1950; identifies architectural styles and landscaping trends.

The history of a house: how to trace it. Linda Ellsworth. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1976. Technical leaflet (American Association for State and Local History); 89.

House histories: a guide to tracing the genealogy of your home. Sally Light. Spencertown, New York Golden Hill Press, 1989.

The house research guide, a step by step manual for owners, occupants and other old house lovers [prepared by Brownstown Biographies. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Brownstone Biographies, [1978?].

Houses and homes, exploring their history, Barbara J. Howe … [et al.]. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1987.

How old is this house? Hugh Howard for Home Renovation Associates. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989.

How to research your house (PDF), by Betty Marvin and Bill Sturm and Jeff Norman. Oakland Heritage Alliance and Oakland Public Library, Oakland History Room. Excellent guide with emphasis on Oakland.

How to research your San Francisco building, San Francisco Public Library, History Center, Research Guides and Collections. Additiional guides hosted by SFPL: Jean Kortum's How to Research Your San Francisco Building (1993); William Kostura's Researching Historic Buildings (1997).

"If your walls could talk," Lyle York. San Francisco Chronicle, Home Section, 17 March 1993.

Paper trails: a guide to public records in California, Stephen Levine and Barbara T. Newcombe. 2nd ed. Sacramento : California Newspaper Publishers Association, 1996.

Places of worship, exploring their history, James P. Wind. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1990. Nearby history series; v. 4.

"Preparing Research Forms," (Oakland) IN Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey Manual. Oakland, Calif.: Oakland City Planning Dept., 1980. Guide to researching Oakland buildings using their research forms, p. 51-90. Includes archival and public records sources, and bibliography.

Public places, exploring their history, Gerald A. Danzer. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, published in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History, 1997. American Association for State and Local History book series. Nearby history series.

Research Resources Useful for Researching Historic Buildings. William Kostura, San Francisco Public Library, San Francisco History Center. 1997. Emphasis on San Francisco.

"Researching a Building's History," by Jones, IN Landmark yellow pages, National for Historic Preservation. [2nd ed.] Washington, D.C. Preservation Press, 1993.p. 11-14. DC: Preservation Press, 1993.

Researching a historic property, Eleanor O'Donnell. [Washington, D.C.?] : U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources Division, 1991. National Register bulletin; 39.

Researching Your Own Home. Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Outlines the steps in researching your house.

San Francisco History by Subject , Museum of the City of San Francisco. Once in, there are sections for SF--Buildings; SF--Municipal Buildings; SF--Museums; SF--Streets; SF--Theaters, etc.

San Francisco Museum & Historical Society Research links. Links and contacts for researching San Francisco subjects, including architecture.

Secretary of the Interior's standards and guidelines for architectural and engineering documentation: HABS/HAER standards. Washington, D.C.: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record, Cultural Resources Program, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, 2003. Clearly lists criteria to assess when exploring and documenting the history of buildings.

Selected reference material available in the BAHA archives. Berkeley: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, [1986?] Includes a section at the end, "Researching Berkeley buildings in the BAHA Archives and elsewhere."

"[Stylistic] glossary," IN: The Guide to architecture in San Francisco and northern California, by David Gebhard,[ et al.]. Rev. ed. Salt Lake City: G.M. Smith, 1985, pp. 553-583. Specifically San Francisco Bay Area architectural styles.

"Tracing Your Home History," by Yepsen. IN Practical Homeowner, Vol. 3, Jan. 1988, p. 66-70.

The visual dictionary of American domestic architecture, by Rachel Carley; illustrations by Ray Skibinski and Ed Lam. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1994.

Contact Information