Favorite History & Historical Fiction Links

Bancroft Library Stacks, UC Berkeley

Bancroft Library Stacks, UC Berkeley
By C.S. Imming (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Listed in no particular order, my go to history and historical fiction links for research, inspiration, and all around fun. Enjoy!


Lapham’s Quarterly: intriguing, in-depth excursions into a wide variety of historical topics.

Historical Novel Society: If you’re a writer, you should belong to this organization. If you’re a reader, you’ll find the quarterly reviews of new books invaluable.

Reading the Past: Sarah Johnson edits the Historical Novel Society’s review section and provides even more important information, opinion, and reviews here on her personal blog.

San Francisco Genealogy Project: For history about the San Francisco Bay Area, this should be your first stop. A wealth of articles, newspapers, photos, and directories.

Writing Historical Novels: Articles about history or historical fiction written by authors of the genre. An excellent resource for locating authors and their websites as well as stories behind the stories.

Mixed Race Studies: If you’re researching race/ethnic relationships, oppressed cultures, how minorities survived or thrived in certain eras, this site offers a tremendous amount of material. Much of the content is offered free of charge. Anything requiring payment is noted.

Historical Novels: Whether you’re researching competing novels in your chosen century or looking for a good read of a particular type, you’ll find a comprehensive list of books by time period on this site.

This Itch of Writing: While not strictly focused on historical fiction, Emma Darwin is a noted author of the genre and often covers related material in her always compelling blog.

The Odd Salon: This is a group of self-described knowledge nerds that holds live salons monthly on a variety of topics. They also provide reading/resource lists on their website. In 2014, they collaborated with the California Historical Society on a series devoted to San Francisco history that was fabulous.

California Historical Society: While there is an online search of the archives, you’ll find the real treasures by visiting the Society’s archives. Use the online search for some preliminary reconnaissance, if you will, but you’ll find their staff to be friendly and helpful.


The remaining links are more specific to my work in progress and focus on 19th century Northern California, particularly Mendocino County.


Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society: This group has assembled one of the most comprehensive collection of Northern California logging and railroad history anywhere. In addition, their online resources provide information about long forgotten towns like Rockport and Pine Grove, links to online books, and some photos that you are unlikely to find anywhere else.

Kelly House Museum: This is a small but well organized museum in the town of Mendocino. They have an online resource search, publish a number of historically-themed articles, and offer a variety of books related to area history. For authors and genealogists, they also offer a research service for hire.

Navarro-by-the-Sea Center: The mission of this group may be to restore and protect the Navarro Inn, but their site offers a great deal of historical material and links to other sources.

Anderson Valley Historical Society: Since the backstory to my work in progress extends to surrounding areas, I found this site to be invaluable. You’ll find detailed material about the first settlers to Anderson Valley, Pomo settlements, and even a Boontling lexicon, complete with a video of Bootling being spoken.

FoundSF: A site dedicated to San Francisco history that can be navigated by neighborhood or decade.

The Maritime Heritage Project: I couldn’t have survived without this site. Lists of ships arriving and departing, passenger lists, captains. Great maritime history of San Francisco.

The Virtual Museum of San Francisco: SFMuseum.org’s online resource searchable by subject or year.

Thoughts, questions, or comments?