Teaching Materials
Ask a Master Teacher
Lesson Plan Gateway
Lesson Plan Reviews
State Standards
Teaching Guides
Digital Classroom
Ask a Digital Historian
Tech for Teachers
Beyond the Chalkboard
History Content
Ask a Historian
Beyond the Textbook
History Content Gateway
History in Multimedia
Museums and Historic Sites
National Resources
Quiz
Website Reviews
Issues and Research
Report on the State of History Education
Research Briefs
Roundtables
Best Practices
Examples of Historical Thinking
Teaching in Action
Teaching with Textbooks
Using Primary Sources
TAH Projects
Lessons Learned
Project Directors Conference
Project Spotlight
TAH Projects
About
Staff
Partners
Technical Working Group
Research Advisors
Teacher Representatives
Privacy
Quiz Rules
Blog
Outreach
Teaching History.org logo and contact info

California as I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California, 1849-1900

Image, Miner and Pack Burro, unidentified publication, California as I Saw It

The 190 works presented on this site—approximately 40,000 written pages and more than 3,000 illustrations—provide eyewitness accounts covering California history from the Gold Rush through the end of the 19th century. Most authors represented are white, educated, male Americans, including reporters detailing Gold Rush incidents and visitors from the 1880s attracted to a highly-publicized romantic vision of California life.

The narratives, in the form of diaries, descriptions, guidebooks, and subsequent reminiscences, portray encounters with those living in California as well as the impact of mining, ranching, and agriculture. Additional topics include urban development, the growth of cities, and California's unique place in American culture. A special presentation recounts early California history, and a discussion of the collection's strengths and weaknesses provides useful context for the first-person accounts.

 
Content