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California Cultures

About California Cultures

California Cultures documents California's rich history of diversity and multicultural contributions. This collection — including photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, political cartoons, works of art, oral histories, and other primary sources — draws from Calisphere’s total content, and also features more than 20,000 specially digitized primary sources from charter contributors.

Ethnic Groups

The California Cultures project was specially charged with correcting the historic lack of digitized primary source materials for four major ethnic groups:

Primary source sets tell their stories, struggles, and contributions in the context of California and national history.

Historical Eras

Comprehensive essays and related images explore California’s evolving ethnic diversity:

Related Lesson Plans

These teacher-created lesson plans for grades 4-12 build on selected images in California Cultures. Use them just as they are, or as springboards for your own creative ideas.

History of California Cultures

California Cultures was created by the scholars and curators of the University of California in response to H.R. 1905, an appropriation from the US Congress through Library of Congress’s American Memory program, which made funds available to digitize archival materials relating to the ethnic groups of California.

Charter Contributors

More than 20,000 primary sources in California Cultures were initially selected from the libraries and special collections at University of California campuses. California Cultures continues to grow. We thank the following charter contributors for sharing their resources for this project:

UC Berkeley:

The Bancroft Library
Regional Oral History Office

UC Davis:

Special Collections

UC Irvine:

Special Collections and Archives


Department of Special Collections
Fowler Museum
Oral History Program
Clark Memorial Library

UC Riverside:

Special Collections Library

UC San Diego:

Mandeville Special Collections Library

UC San Francisco:

Special Collections

UC Santa Barbara:

California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
Oral History Program

UC Santa Cruz:

Special Collections and Archives, University Library

Explore Further

Themed Collections

Calisphere Themed Collections are specially organized primary source sets with historical overviews that provide context. They make it easy to find unique primary source materials that support the California Content Standards across disciplines.