Sausalito Historical Society Collections

The Sausalito Historical Society has been building its collections since 1975. They are located in the Phil Frank History and Research Room and the Exhibit Room on the third floor of the Sausalito Center at 420 Litho Street, Sausalito, CA 94965. If you have any collectibles that could be a part of Sausalito's history and would like to donate them to the Historical Society please contact us.

Donation hours are Wednesdays and Saturdays, 10-1 or by appointment: 415-289-4117.


Our collections are listed below with brief descriptions following:


The Sausalito Historical Society (SHS) has an assortment of artifacts of various types and origins that relate to the history of Sausalito. They include vintage garments, items related to maritime activities, items related to military activities in the region, bottles, banners, and various artifacts from households and building sites.



The SHS has a variety of books available for research on the premises. However, we do not lend books. Our collection includes books on the history of California in general outside of Marin County, and a number of books on the history of Marin County, with an emphasis on Sausalito in particular.

We also have a number of books written by people who live or lived in Sausalito, both fiction and non-fiction, with authors as diverse as Richard Henry Dana, Jack London, Shel Silverstein and Alan Watts.


The SHS has a large collection of documents related to the history of Sausalito and its people, organizations and buildings. This includes material on the Sausalito waterfront and houseboat communities. We have a selection of the following: directories, local government documents including tax records, history of individual buildings and businesses, history of local public and private organizations, family letters and histories and records of specific events in the town’s history.


The SHS has a collection of over 100 maps, some 18 architectural and boat plans and some 20 posters and art drawings. They are available for study under docent supervision. 





SHS has selected hard copies of several different local Sausalito newspapers: the Sausalito News, the Marin News, the Marin Citizen and the Marinscope.  Bound copies of the Sausalito News (1885-1922) are in our archives, as well as unbound boxed copies (1923,1927-48, 1963-64) but, due to their fragile condition, access is limited. In 2009, SHS and the Sausalito Library Foundation cooperated to have the Sausalito News issues from 1885-1922 digitized and put on line.

They are accessible to all at Click on UCR Newsroom:Digital Newspaper Project; Scroll to bottom of “Newsroom” page; Click on California Digital Newspaper Collection; Scroll to Sausalito News. Select it and choose your search word(s).

Copies of the Marin News (1963-1965) and the Marin Citizen (1943-45) are available in hard copy in boxes. Copies of the  Marinscope  are available in hard copy in boxes for the years 1971-81,1986-96, 1998-2000, 2002, 2004-2009).

The Sausalito Library has copies of the Sausalito News  from 1885-1960 and the Marin News, which it became, from 1961-1966. The Sausalito Library keeps one current year of hard copy of the Marinscope and has all issues from April 1971-January 2009.

ORAL HISTORIES (Embed Audio and or Podcast)

This collection includes 250 oral histories representing a broad cross section of perspectives on all aspects of life in Sausalito. The oral histories are standard cassette tape recordings of interviews by SHS docents beginning in the mid-1980s and continuing, with the help of Friends of the Library, to the present time. Tape recorders are available in our research room for the use of interested persons. 


This collection includes more than 200 original works of art - paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture - from artists who lived and worked in Sausalito from the early 1900s to the present. These works were donated to SHS beginning in 1975 and represent nine decades of original creations by local artists. Artists include but are not limited to: Ruth Alexander, Val Bleeker,  Ted Christianson, Enid Foster, Ed and Loyola Fourtane, Nan Fowler, Walter Kuhlman, Virginia Merrill, Peggy Tolk-Watkins, Jean Varda and Leonard Sutton Wood.




Several of the important collections within the SHS photo archives of over 3000 photographs are: The Edwin S. Long Collection, the Holman Collection, the Craig Sharp Collection, Documentary Photographs of the Downtown Historic Buildings, the Houseboat and Early Art Community of Sausalito Collection and the Marinship at the Close of the Yard in 1945 Album. All are available for viewing under docent supervision.

VIDEOS  ( Embed Videos)

The SHS video collection currently includes 20 VHS tapes on subjects of historical interest to Sausalito. Titles include ferry boats, Sally Stanford, World War II Liberty Ships, Northwest Pacific Railroad history 1890-1950, Sausalito Schools, artist Jean Varda and local historian and cartoonist Phil Frank.







You can now read, copy and print back issues of Sausalito News from 1895 through 1957. Just print out these instructions for searching the newspaper, click on the green Sausalito News link, and follow your printed instructions.

A new website ( opens up to a page that will allow you to enter a search term (date, keyword, title of newspaper, etc.).  Or, use the tab at the top of the page to browse by date. When you find an article that interests you, right click on it and use the commands that open up in a black drop-down menu to view the entire page of the paper, to zoom in or out, to "clip" a printable copy of the entire article, or to view the article as scanned text, which then should be saved to your word processor and proofread against a printed clip for accuracy.