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Historic Preservation: A Guide to Resources: Selected Titles

Historic Preservation is a guide to strategies and resources for students beginning research on the conservation, preservation or restoration of historic buildings, landscapes or cities, with an emphasis on California and the Bay Area.

General Research Methods

Print Resources

Online Resources

History & Philosophy

Below is a selective list of publications that provide an introduction to the history and philosophy of historic preservation, with an emphasis on California and the U.S.

  • Ethics in preservation, (PDF) Lectures Presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council for Preservation Education, Indianapolis, Indiana October 23, 1993, Council for Preservation Education, 1995.

Economic Aspects

  • Development Case Studies, UCB Only Urban Land Institute, formerly Project Reference File. Case studies with detailed information, including costs, designers, statistics, plans, etc. Ask at Environmental Design Library for logon and password. Limit search to type of project, location, and use keywords preservation or adaptive use. Extremely important to logout after each use.
  • Economic incentives for historic preservation: Oakland, California / prepared by Carolyn Douthat for Oakland Heritage Alliance. Oakland, CA: The Alliance, c1994.
  • The economics of historic preservation, a community leader's guide / by Donald D. Rypkema. Washington, D.C. : National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2nd ed. 2005.
  • Financial incentives for historic preservation projects (PDF), California Office of Historic Preservation, 2004. A linked list of state and federal incentives and other information.
  • Marketing heritage : archaeology and the consumption of the past / edited by Yorke Rowan & Uzi Baram.Walnut Creek, Calif. : AltaMira Press, c2004.
  • Preservation and property taxes: capitalizing on historic resources with the Mills Act / by Carolyn Douthat and Elizabeth Morton. 2nd ed., rev. by Michael Buhler. Oakland, Calif. : California Preservation Foundation, [1997]
  • Preservation for profit: rehabilitation tax credits / William F. Delvac. Oakland: California Preservation Foundation, 1990.
  • A preservationist's guide to the development process / edited by William F. Delvac, Christy Johnson McAvoy & Elizabeth Morton. Oakland : California Preservation Foundation, [1992]
  • Urban places in nonmetro areas: historic preservation and economic development / Peter L. Stenberg. Washington, DC : Economic Research Service, Rural Economy Division, [1995] ERS staff paper ; no. 9512.
  • Valuing cultural heritage: applying environmental valuation techniques to historic buildings, monuments, and artifacts / ... Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA : Edward Elgar, c2002.

Handbooks & Manuals

  • Building Technology Heritage Library. An online collection created by the Association for Preservation Technology International to provide access to period documents on building construction. The initial collections in this library are period architectural trade catalogs. Trade catalogs are important primary source materials for anyone interested in documenting the construction materials and processes of older buildings.
  • Buying time for heritage: how to save an endangered historic property / J. Myrick Howard. Raleigh, N.C.: Preservation North Carolina ; Chapel Hill, N.C.: Distributed by University of North Carolina Press, c2007.
  •  Choosing an appropriate treatment for the historic building, Introduction to Standards and Guidelines, National Park Service.
  • Conservation of historic buildings / Bernard M. Feilden. 3rd ed. Oxford ; Burlington, MA : Architectural Press, 2003.
  • Conservation skills: judgement, method, and decision making / Chris Caple. London; New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Conserving buildings: guide to techniques and materials / Martin E. Weaver ; with F. G. Matero. Rev. ed. New York : Wiley, c1997.
  • Cultural resources archaeology: an introduction / Thomas W Neumann and Robert M. Sanford. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, c2001.
  • Disaster management programs for historic sites / edited by Dirk H.R. Spennemann and David W. Look. San Francisco, CA: U.S. National Park Service: Association for Preservation Technology, Western Chapter; Albury, Australia: Johnstone Centre, Charles Sturt University, 1998.
  • Historic preservation handbook / J. Kirk Irwin. New York : McGraw-Hill, 2003. McGraw-Hill handbooks. Architecture
  • Historic preservation: project planning & estimating / Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. Kingston, MA: R.S. Means Co., CMD Grou, c2000.
  • Managing change, sustainable approaches to the conservation of the built environment: 4th Annual US/ICOMOS International Symposium (4th : 2001 : Philadelphia, Pa.) Los Angeles : Getty Conservation Institute, c2003.

 National Register bulletins and brochures, Guidance to document, evaluate and nominate historically significant sites to the National Register. The series is divided into four sections: the Basics, Property Types, Technical Assistance, and General Guidance.

  • Practicing archaeology: a training manual for cultural resources archaeology / Thomas W. Neumann, Robert M. Sanford. Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c2001.
  • Preservation briefs. Washington, D.C.: Interagency Historic Architectural Services Program, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, National Park Service, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1975-- Also available online.
  • Preservation tech notes, Case studies for historic preservation, Heritage Preservation Services, National Park Service.Many print copies in the Environmental Design Library.
  • Rehab right: how to realize the full value of your old house / by Helaine Kaplan Prentice and Blair Prentice, City of Oakland Planning Department. Berkeley, CA : Ten Speed Press, c1987.
  • The Secretary of the Interior's standards for the treatment of historic properties: with guidelines for the treatment of ... Washington, DC : U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service, Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships, Heritage Preservation Services, Historic Landscape Initiative, 1996.
  • Structural analysis of historic buildings: restoration, preservation, and adaptive reuse applications for architects and engineers. New York, NY: Wiley, 2000.

Preservation Planning

  • The California history plan. Sacramento : State of California, Dept. of Parks and Recreation, 1973
  • Guidelines for local surveys: a basis for preservation planning / Anne Derry ... [et al. Washington : National Register of Historic Places, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, U.S. Dept. of the Interior: [for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. Govt. Print. Off. 1977 NPS publication; no. 189 formerly National Register Bulletin 24). Anne Derry, H. Ward Jandl, Carol D. Shull, and Jan Thorman; revised by Patricia L. Parker, 1985.
  • Historic preservation, an element of the Oakland general plan. Oakland: City of Oakland, 1998
  • Historic preservation planning program, National Park Service, Heritage Preservation Services, website/gateway with description of this program, excellent online publications, and links to important organizations, standards, and guidelines.
  • Preparing a historic preservation plan / Bradford J. White & Richard J. Roddewig. Chicago, Ill. : American Planning Association, Planning Advisory Service, c1994. Report (American Planning Association. Planning Advisory Service); no. 450. Critical issues (National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States)
  • Preservation element of the general plan / [Planning Department, City and County of San Francisco]. San Francisco, Calif. : The Dept., 2000.
  • Reaching out, reaching in: a guide to creating effective public participation for state historic preservation programs / by Barry R. Lawson, Ellen P. Ryan, Rebecca Bartlett Hutchison; edited by Susan L. Henry. [Washington, DC] : U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Interagency Resources DIvision, 1993.

Landscape Architecture

Below is a selective list of publications that focus on the general conservation, restoration or preservation of the landscape. Be sure to consult the sections above for more specific aspects.

  • Balancing natural and cultural issues in the preservation of historic landscapes: selected papers from the National Association for Olmsted Parks Conference, Hancock, MI: George Wright Society, 1996. George Wright forum; v.13, no. 1
  • Beyond takings and givings: saving natural areas, farmland and historic landmarks with transfer of development rights and density transfer charges / Rick Pruetz. Marina Del Ray, Ca. : Arje Press, c2003.
  • California Garden & Landscape History Society, private, non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of the beauty, wealth, and diversity of California gardens and landscapes.
  • General guidelines for identifying and evaluating historic landscapes (PDF). Sacramento: California Dept. of Transportation, Environmental Program, Feb. 1999.
  • Historic American Landscapes Survey, HALS, U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Like HABS and HAER, HALS is a federal program charged with recording historic landscapes in the United States and its territories. Homepage has excellent information and links.
  • Landscapes and gardens for historic buildings: a handbook for reproducing and creating authentic landscape settings. 2nd ed., rev. Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c1997. American Association for State and Local History book series.
  • Making educated decisions: a landscape preservation bibliography / edited by Charles A. Birnbaum, Cheryl Wagner ; research ... Washington, D.C.: Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Cultural Resources, Preservation Assistance Division, Historic Landscape Initiative, 1994.
  • Making educated decisions 2: a landscape preservation bibliography / edited by Charles A. Birnbaum, Heather L. Barre... 
    Washington, DC : Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Historic Landscape Initiative, 2000.
  • National Historic Landmarks Program, National Park Service, homepage website with information about the program, list of landmarks, how to nominate, advice and other assistance.
  • The necessity for ruins, and other topics / by John Brinckerhoff Jackson. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980.
  • Preserving cultural landscapes in America / edited by Arnold R. Alanen and Robert Z. Melnick ; foreword by Dolores Hayden. Baltimore, Md. : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Center books on contemporary landscape design.
  • Preserving modern landscape architecture: papers from the Wave Hill-National Park Service Conference / edited by Charles A. Birnbaum. Cambridge, Mass. : Spacemaker Press, [1999] Landmarks (Washington, D.C.) ; 10.
  • Vanishing America: in pursuit of our elusive landscapes / James Conaway. [Emeryville, CA]: Shoemaker & Hoard, c2007
  • Views from the road: a community guide for assessing rural historic landscapes / David H. Copps. Washington, D.C. : Island Press, c1995.

Social & Cultural Aspects

  • A geography of heritage: power, culture, and economy / Brian Graham, G.J. Ashworth, J.E. Tunbridge. London: Arnold; New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Historic preservation: collective memory and historical identity / Diane Barthel. New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, 1996.
  • Monuments and memory, made and unmade / ed. Robert S. Nelson and Margaret Olin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • Preservation of what, for whom? a critical look at historical significance / Michael A. Tomlan, editor. Ithaca, N.Y. : National Council for Preservation Education, 1998.
  • Restoring women's history through historic preservation / edited by Gail Lee Dubrow & Jennifer B. Goodman. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003. Center books on contemporary landscape design.
  • Tribal cultural resource management: the full circle to stewardship / Darby C. Stapp and Michael S. Burney. Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c2002. Heritage resources management series; v. 4

Legal & Political Environment


Be sure to check Melvyl catalog for additional titles in the Law Library.

  • California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA requires that public agencies consider the effects of their actions on historical resources eligible for listing in the California Register of Historical Resources
  • California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and historical resources (PDF), California Resources Agency, Office of Historic Preservation, Technical Assistance series 1,
  • California State Law, Code, Regulation Links, California Office of Historic Preservation.
  • CEQA deskbook, a step-by-step guide on how to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. Point Arena, Calif. : Solano Press Books. Continues: Successful CEQA compliance. Sections on historical and archaeological resources.
  • Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan for California 2006-2010 update to 2000-2005. Describes the vision for historic preservation in California and outlines future direction for the Office of Historic Preservation.
  • Cultural resource laws and practice: an introductory guide / Thomas F. King. 2nd ed. Walnut Creek, Calif.: AltaMira Press; Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004. Heritage resources management series ; v. 1
  • Federal Historic Preservation Laws, Regulations, and Orders.  National Park Service, 
  • Federal planning and historic places : the section 106 process by Thomas F. King. Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c2000.
  • General Guidelines for Identifying and Evaluating Historic Landscapes (PDF), Sacramento: Environmental Program, California Department of Transportation. Feb. 1999. Recognizing, describing, and recording historic landscapes. Excellent bibliography. February 1999
  • Guidelines for the rehabilitation of existing buildings. Whittier, CA :International Conference of Building Officials, c2000.
  • Historic preservation in California: a legal handbook / J. Bradley O'Connell, Thomas J. Owen, Mary Warner. [Rev. ed.] [Stanford, Calif.]: Stanford Environmental Law Society, 1982.
  • Historic preservation law : an annotated survey of sources and literature / Gail I. Winson. Littleton, Colo.: F.B. Rothman & Co., 1999.
  • Laws, Executive Orders, and Regulations, National Park Service links to full text of laws, regulations and standards related to cultural resources management.
  • Legal perspectives on cultural resources / edited by Jennifer R. Richman and Marion P. Forsyth. Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, c2004. Heritage resources management series; 7
  • Mills Act property tax abatement program, California Office of Historic Preservation, enacted in 1972. Website with explantions, links, 2004.
  • National law, codes, regulations links, California Office of Historic Preservation. Links to many important laws.
  • The preservation of historic architecture: the U.S. government's official guidelines for preserving historic homes / Guilford, CT : Lyons Press, c2004.
  • Rehabilitating older and historic buildings: law, taxation, strategies / Stephen L. Kass, Judith M. LaBelle, David A. Hansell. 2nd ed. New York : J. Wiley, c1993.
  • Section 106 (PDF), of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), requires federal agencies consider the effects of proposed federal undertakings on historic properties. NHPA's implementing regulations found in 36 CFR Part 800, require federal agencies (and their designees, permitees, licensees, or grantees) to to initiate a consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) as part of the Section 106 review process. See also Working with Section 106 (PDF) and User's Guide to Section 106.
  • State (California) Codes and Regulations related to CEQA and historical resources (PDF) , California Office of Historic Preservation
  • State (California) law, codes, regulations links. California Office of Historic Preservation.
  • What is the Mills Act? California Office of Historic Preservation, Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program.


See also Building Codes and Regulatory Resources.

  • Building code issues in historic preservation: selected case studies / prepared by the California Preservation Foundation in cooperation with the State Historical Building Safety Board. Oakland, Calif. : The Foundation, [2001].
  • How to use the state historical building code : a one-day technical workshop / sponsored by the California Preservation. Oakland : The Foundation, [1994] .
  • Index to Current Urban Documents, UCB Only full text (PDF format) of local government publications from approximately 500 selected cities and counties in the United States and Canada.  Search by topic (historic preservation, historic buildings, historic sites, etc.) and limit by location, date, etc. Includes many useful plans and reports from numerous California local agencies.
  • Smart Codes in your Community: a guide to building Rehabilitation Codes (PDF). HUD User Publication, 2/2002. Overview of regulatory environment governing the use and reuse of existing buildings. (PDF file)
  • State historical building code (PDF): State of California, Title 24, Building standards, part 8. Sacramento: State Historical Building Safety Board, 2007.


See a complete list of all the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines, as amended and annotated.

Political Climate​​

  • Historic preservation in California: a handbook for local communities / California Office of Historic Preservation; Sacramento: The Office, 1986.
  • Innovative tools for historic preservation / Marya Morris. Chicago, IL : American Planning Association, [c1992] Report (American Planning Association. Planning Advisory Service); no. 438.
  • The politics of historic districts: a primer for grassroots preservation / William E. Schmickle. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, c2007. 
  •  Rehabilitating older and historic buildings: law, taxation, strategies / Stephen L. Kass, Judith M. LaBelle, David... 2nd ed. New York: J. Wiley, 1993. Real estate practice library.

Neighborhood & District Preservation

  • America's downtowns: growth, politics & preservation / Richard C. Collins, Elizabeth B. Waters, A. Bruce Dotson for the ... Washington, D.C.: Preservation Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1990.
  • California Main Street Program, California Office of Historic Preservation, part of national program to improve the quality of life in America's towns, cities and neighborhoods by restoring the economic health of Main Streets historic, traditionally designed central business districts.
  • The community design assessment: a citizens' planning tool / by Kennedy Smith and Leslie Tucker. Washington, D.C.: National Trust for Historic Preservation, c2006.
  • Conservation and the city / Peter J. Larkham. London ; New York : Routledge, 1996.
  • Developing downtown design: guidelines / by Janice Pregliasco. [Sacramento, Calif.] : California Main Street Program, 1988.
  • Historic cities and sacred sites, cultural roots for urban futures / Ismail Serageldin, Ephim Shluger, Joan Martin-Brow... Washington, D.C. : World Bank, 2001.
  • Historic preservation in the USA / Karolin Frank ; Patricia Petersen (editor) ; [translated by Hannah M. Mowat, Jeff Smit... 
    Berlin ; New York : Springer, 2002.
  • Main Street Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation. website of a program that combines historic preservation with economic development to restore prosperity and vitality to downtowns and neighborhood business districts. Excellent publications.
  • The politics of historic districts: a primer for grassroots preservation / William E. Schmickle. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, c2007.
  • Revitalizing downtown / by Kennedy Smith, Kate Joncas and Bill Parrish; Suzanne G. Dane and Linda S. Glisson, editors. Washington, D.C.: National Main Street Center, National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1991. National Main Street Center.
  • Tourists in historic towns: urban conservation and heritage management / Aylin Orbasli. London; New York: E&FN Spon, 2000.
  • Urban planning, conservation, and preservation / Nahoum Cohen. New York : McGraw-Hill, c2001.


Below is a selective list of publications that focus on the general conservation, restoration or preservation of buildings. Be sure to consult the sections above for more specific aspects.

  • Conservation of historic buildings / Bernard M. Feilden. 3rd ed. Oxford; Burlington, MA: Architectural Press, 2003.
  • Historic building facades, a manual for inspection and rehabilitation / prepared by Robert E. Meadows. [New York, N.Y.?]: New York Landmarks Conservancy, Technical Preservation Services Center, c1986.
  • Illustrated Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings, National Park Service, Heritage Preservation Services. Helps property owners, developers, and Federal managers apply the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation during the project planning stage by providing general design and technical recommendations. Unlike the Standards, the Guidelines are not codified as program requirements.
  • Modern movement heritage / edited by Allen Cunningham. London; New York : E & FN Spon, 1998. Policy, planning, and construction issues on the conservation of 20th century buildings.
  • The necessary monument; its future in the civilized city. Greenwich, Conn., New York Graphic Society [1970]
  • Places that count: traditional cultural properties in cultural resource management / Thomas F. King. Walnut Creek, CA : Altamira Press, c2003. Heritage resources management series; v. 6
  • Preservation Briefs, National Park Service, Technical Preservation Services. Series of publications offering detailed, technical advice and instruction on all aspects of historic preservation and restoration of buildings, 1975 to the present.
  • Rehab right: how to realize the full value of your old house / by Helaine Kaplan Prentice and Blair Prentice, City of Oakland Planning Department. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 1987.
  • Retrofit right: how to make your old house energy efficient / City of Oakland Planning Department ; prepared by Sedway Cooke Associates with Sol-Arc. [Oakland, Calif.]: The City, c1983.
  • Structural aspects of building conservation / Poul Beckmann and Robert Bowles. 2nd ed. Oxford ; Burlington, MA : Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2004.
  • Structural investigation of historic buildings: A case study guide to preservation technology for buildings, bridges, towers, and mills. David C. Fischetti. Hoboken: John Wiley, 2009.

Interviewing & Oral Histories

  • Creative interviewing: the writer's guide to gathering information by asking questions / Ken Metzler. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, c1997.
  • Oral history for the local historical society / by Willa K. Baum. 3rd ed., rev. Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1987.
  • Researching life stories and family histories / Robert L. Miller. London; Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE, 2000. Introducing qualitative methods.
  • Using oral history in community history projects / Laurie Mercier and Madeline Buckendorf. Rock Springs, WY (P.O. Box 2715, Rock Springs 82902) : Oral History Association, 1992. Pamphlet series (Oral History Association); no. 4.

Documentation & Interpretation


  • State and federal registration programs, California Office of Historic Preservation, links to forms and procedures for California Historic Landmarks, California Points of Historical Interest, California Register of Historical Resources, and National Register of Historic Places.



  • A different path for historic walking tours / by Ron Thomson. Nashville, TN : American Association for State and Local History, 1996. Technical leaflet (American Association for State and Local History); 194.
  • Heritage: management, interpretation, identity / Peter Howard. London; New York: Continuum, 2003.
  • Interpretation of cultural and natural resources / Douglas M. Knudson, Ted T. Cable, Larry Beck. State College, PA : Venture Pub., c1995.
  • Interpreting historic house museums / edited by Jessica Foy Donnelly.Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c2002. American Association for State and Local History book series.
  • Presenting archaeology to the public: digging for truths / edited by John H. Jameson, Jr. ; technical editing by Virginia Horak. Walnut Creek, Calif., U.S.A. : AltaMira Press, c1997.
  • The reconstructed past: reconstructions in the public interpretation of archaeology and history / edited by John H. Jameson, Jr. Walnut Creek, CA : AltaMira Press, c2004.