The collections are primarily archival materials including manuscripts, photos, maps, newspapers, and rare books. Our holdings also include a small collection of art and artifacts. The scope of collections includes geographically the west area of Marin County, California which includes Point Reyes, Olema Valley, Inverness, Marshall, Tocaloma and the surrounding Tomales Bay.
Research our collection by appointment or contact us with your research questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the archives at 415-669-1099.
Our holdings document Peninsula history, particularly the settlement of the area by a major landholders who operated prosperous dairy farms and local businesses, and the influx of immigrants to the area following the gold rush populating the small towns that sprung up around their enterprises.
The collections contain local genealogy materials and oral histories, documentation of the areas homes and businesses, local organizations, social history, politics, ranching, maritime, and land transportation during the mid-19th century when the Peninsula established itself as a major provider of dairy products, lumber, and seafood.
In the 20th century the area became a primary destination for recreation and the establishment of a national park unit in 1962, Point Reyes National Seashore. The area has often been a battleground for land and resource conservation movements and spurred the nations first land trust to be formed. Discover the voices, images and documents that speak of living and working in this special place.
Photos- some of our major collections
More than a thousand excellent and varied photographs of West Marin people and towns, Point Reyes ranches, the lighthouse and life-saving stations, the North Pacific Coast Railroad, and boating on Tomales Bay dating back to the 1860s.
Family albums and scrapbooks.
Photographer M. B. Boissevain, the first Marin County Farm Adviser, agricultural scenes, 1921- 1940
Photographer Seth Wood, West Marin scenes, events and portraits in the late 1940s.
Photographer M. Woodbridge Williams, Inverness and Point Reyes area in the early 1950s.
Photographer Lee Sims collection of local scenes from the early 1970's.
An illuminating collection of local family photos and events, historic houses, buildings, and businesses.
Archives - some of our major collections
The Louise and Bill Watt Collection of Point Reyes’ Shafter family letters, diaries, photographs and ephemera, from The Oaks, their mansion at Olema.
The Sir Francis Drake Association papers and photographs dealing with the historic landing of Drake in 1579.
19th-century bound ledgers and daybooks from local businesses.
Local maps including an 1871 ranch parcel map of the Peninsula, 1873 and 1892 official maps of Marin.
County, and local subdivision and planning maps dating back to 1889.
Historic fine art, including an excellent large waterfront scene by Jack Wisby; and portraits of prominent people, including Mr. and Mrs. James McMillan Shafter and Alexander Baily.
Oral history interviews.
Jack Mason's research files.
Almost all issues of the Baywood Press/Point Reyes Light since 1948.
Olema Cemetery records.
History and out-of-print publications library.
Fees are on sliding scale for high resolution files for publication, non-profits, or personal research. Inquire.
West Marin History Sources
- Bolinas Museum
- California Historical Society
- Inverness Association (or Foundation)
- Marin County Free Library, Anne T. Kent California Room
- Marin History Museum
- Marin Museum of the American Indian
- Nicasio Historical Society
- Petaluma Historical Library & Museum
- Point Reyes National Seashore Museum and Archives
- Tomales Regional History Center