Historic Collections

The Special Collections & Archives Reading Room is now open to the public Tuesday - Thursday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. If you would like to make an appointment, please schedule here.

You are welcome to submit questions or requests via email. Please allow up to five days for our response. Thank you for your patience.

Instruction Requests

The faculty of Special Collections also offer instruction. Utilizing primary source materials, Library faculty can create course-specific assignments and lead customized classes to support primary source literacy. Faculty can request instruction through our Primary Source Instruction Request form.

Using the Collection

The Historic Collections at the J. Paul Leonard Library houses a variety of materials that support University curriculum for over a century; these materials have been deemed by subject selectors to need special housing and because they are unique, valuable, rare, or holding special cultural value.

To find items from Historic Collections using OneSearch, use Refine my Results to select Special Collections in the Library facet.


Monday – Thursday, 1pm – 5pm

or by appointment



University Archivist: Meredith Eliassen
(415) 405-4073


University Archives & Historic Collections
J. Paul Leonard Library
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

About this Collection

An eclectic array of materials that includes rare books dating back to 1551, scribed and printed leaves dating back to the 1450s, Gentleman’s Magazine and other rare periodical and historic government documents, manuscripts, artist books and small press books, original artwork by students participating in an NYA work-study program, along with two historic children’s book collections. We also have a selection of publications by faculty and alumni authors, though we do not collect these works comprehensively. 

Woman Drawing
sample document
Small Press Collection
Illustration silk