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The Smith-Layton Archives at the Sourisseau Academy

The Smith-Layton Archives at the Sourisseau Academy contain historical materials that primarily document the history of the city of San José and the Santa Clara Valley from the late 1800s through the 20th century. The archives contains over 6,000 scanned and cataloged photographs depicting individuals, families, buildings, regions, agriculture, education, transportation, and businesses. The photographs document a broad spectrum of life, including the area’s agricultural past, its residents and their activities, and the development of the urban landscape. Included in the photograph collection are several albums from prominent local families as well as photographs of the city San José during the early 20th century.

Besides photographs, the Smith-Layton Archives also holds newspapers, research papers, books, diaries, ledgers, maps, civil records, directories, and other documents that contribute to the written record of the San José and Santa Clara area. Materials in the collections document Bracero and farm workers, early architecture in San José, the development of water and sanitary districts in early 20th century Santa Clara County, documents and photographs of the New Almaden Mine and mining community, genealogical and biographical notes on various Californians, and life on Mount Hamilton at the Lick Observatory from 1928 to 1956.

One of the major collections in the Archives, the Edith Corrine Smith Collection, is comprised primarily of historic photographs, ephemera, bound historical newspapers and business ledgers, research collections and other records that relate to the built environment, women’s history, boosterism, ethnicity, and photographers of Santa Clara Valley and Central California.

Photograph Reproduction and Usage Permissions

Reproductions of photographs that are a part of the Sourisseau Academy's collection may be purchased for one-time use. Please contact us with your request. Upon approval, please visit the Sourisseau Academy's eMarket website to complete the purchase transaction.


Over 200 books in the collections library cover many aspects of San José, Santa Clara County, and California history. The book collection can be searched via the King Library's online catalog. The books can not be checked out for personal use and are not available for interlibrary loans, but are available to read and use in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Business Records: Ephemera, Oral Histories

  • Lamolle Hotel and Restaurant Collection: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, this collection includes photographs, ledgers, menus, and china that relate to this early popular restaurant located at the northeast corner of Santa Clara and San Pedro Streets.
  • Ferrari Family Bakery: Photographs and other emphemera that relate to the El Dorado Bakery on North San Pedro Street during the early twentieth century.
  • Lemoine, Gambert & Co./City Store Grocery Ledgers:

Civil Records and City Directories

The collection has numerous civil records relating to the city of San José and the County of Santa Clara. Some of these records are originals and others are photocopies. The photocopies are part of the Edith Corinne Smith Collection and were acquired as part of a research project in the 1990s and do not represent a complete collection of documents.

  • Abstract of Title, Laguna de Tache Rancho, late 1800s.
  • Abstract of Title, AB Miner Property, 1888. Formerly this land was part of Stockton Ranch and Potrero de Santa Clara.
  • Abstract of Title, Lots 1, 2, and 5 of Froment's Survey, 1889. Made at the request of William Matthews, by Pomeroy & Howe, regarding former lands of the Stockton Ranch and the Rancho El Potrero de Santa Clara. Property bounded by Autumn St., the Alameda, Stockton Av., and Montgomery St.
  • Abstract of Title, Rancho de las Animas, 1869. Made at the request of William Matthews, regarding Rancho de las Animas, formerly owned by Josepha Romera, widow of José Mariano Castro. Present-day Gilroy is located within these lands.
  • Mission San José baptism and marriage records, 1850: Photocopies of baptism records from May-Dec 1850; and marriages records from Oct-Nov 1850
  • Mission San José de Guadalupe Registers, 1849-1900: Photocopies of baptism records: 1849-1875; marriage records: 1849-Jan.1900 (2 copies); confirmation records: 1851 (2 copies)
  • Mission Santa Clara baptism, marriage and burial records, 1850: Photocopies of baptism, marriage and burial records, 1850
  • San José City Building Permits, 1920-1931: includes an Index to the City of San José Builidng Permits, 1920-1929
  • San José Death Certificates (Oak Hill): Photocopies of the volume "Certificates of Death: Aug 5, 1862- Feb 3, 1869"
  • San José, California, Government Documents, 1792-1859: A collection of copies of documents relating to civil and military communications written by the Spanish government of San José during the years 1792 to 1848, translated from Spanish into English. Included in the collection is an index to the collection of Spanish materials owned by the City of San José.
  • San José City Directories: a broken series from 1870-1979
  • Santa Clara County Cattle Brands, 1850s-1920s: A collection of 31 scraps of leather and wood with the brands of local ranchers burned into them. The brands were registered at the Santa Clara County Courthouse between 1850 and 1920.
  • Santa Clara County Coroner's Reports: Bound photocopies of volumes of reports: 1891-1898, 1898-1904, and 1904-1907

Maps and Aerial Photographs

  • California, 1852
  • City of Santa Clara: 1847, 1866.
  • Quicksilver Mining Company, 1880
  • Southern Pacific Railroad, San José to Gilroy: 1866
  • Southern Pacific Railroad supplement, Gilroy to Monterey County, 1871
  • Western Pacific Railroad, 1865
  • Western Pacific Railroad through Santa Clara County, 1865
  • Wall map displaying ranchos of California, 1866
  • Aerial Photograph of San José and adjacent areas, 1924
  • Del Carlo Aerial Photography, 1950s-1960s


  • The Daily Times May-August, 1887, October 1888. Includes coverage of the burning of the Market Street Chinatown.
  • Santa Clara Argus Bound Newspapers 1866-1878
  • Santa Clara Journal Newspaper Index 1853
  • Newspaper Clippings  
    • Ernie Renzel Newspaper Clipping Scrapbook (copy). Chronicles former San José City Mayor Ernie Renzel’s career from the 1930s-1970s
    • Hank Calloway Scrapbooks. Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings on local historical events or persons dating between the 1930s-1940s
    • George McMurry Collection. Clippings related to local history.

Personal and Family Collections

  • A. P. Hill Jr. Collection: The bulk of the Andrew P. Hill, Jr. Collection chronicles the training and career of a professional educator and architect over the course of sixty years (1910-1975), including correspondence, photographs, architectural renderings, newspaper clippings, and biographical and family memoirs. The collection spans nearly 130 years, including photographs created by Andrew P. Hill, Sr.
  • Carrie Stevens Walters Family Collection: Family photographs, books, and ephemera relating to Ms. Walters, a Semper Virens and women’s suffrage activist.
  • Charles B. Polhemus Family Albums, 1886-1914: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, these albums are a rare collection of photographs taken by members of this important California family of their various estates, family members and their activities, and excursions throughout Central California.
  • Edith Corinne Smith Research Collection: Papers relating to Smith’s various interests, including her 1850 Census Reconstruction database, James Alexander Forbes, and Adolph Sutro.
  • Ellington Family Photographs and Ephemera: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, the Ellington family photo represent the family of Philip and Essie M. Ellington who inherited the house formerly owned by John B. and Annie McCall. Mr. Ellington was the son of N.B. and Bertha Ellington, a well known African American family in San José. Materials include photos relating to school years, military service, Philip’s career with the Post Office, and family life.
  • Fred W. Crandall Photograph Collection: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, this group of photographs documents the history of one fruit growing and drying company in the Santa Clara Valley. Photographs of the Sorosis Fruit Farm, buildings, and workers depict aspects of this
  • Grant Family Album: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, the Josephine Grant album includes photographs relating to the Joseph Grant family and their various properties in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, including the Grant Ranch, now a Santa Clara County Park.
  • George McMurry Papers: Includes research, photographs and newspaper articles on San José and New Almaden, some written by McMurry who was a local journalist and historian. Clippings also include historical columns written by other local historians
  • Gilmore Collection: Farm Worker research materials and ephemera on Bracero program and migrant farm workers gathered by Gladys Gilmore, SJSU History professor. Includes pamphlets, reports from US Congress, newspaper clippings, issues of various journals, handwritten notes, fliers, etc
  • Hayes Mansion Collection:Compiled by Nancy Newlin, this collection relates to the Hayes family who built the Hayes Mansion in Edenvale area of San José.
  • Herbert C. Jones Collection: The Jones Papers is made up of the personal files of Senator Herbert C. Jones (1902-1969). The papers relate to Jones’ personal involvement with the local community, including his work with nonprofit groups such as Semper Virens, the First Congregational Church, the YWCA, local history associations, and his agricultural interests.
  • Horton Family Collection: Photographs in the the Horton Family collection document the family of William Riley Horton who settled in San José in 1909. The photographs chronicle the life of this African American family from about 1905 to the 1940s and are the generous donation of Jayne Evelyn Cooper Foster and her daughter Barbara Thomas Kinney.
  • James A. Clayton Family Papers: A collection of correspondence and photographs that document life in the Clayton family of Santa Clara County in the latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The family correspondence records aspects of life events and personal dynamics among its members; this is especially the case with James Adkin Clayton and his wife Anna.
  • McCall Family Photographs and Ephemera Collection: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, this album is a rare collection of about 300 photographs of family and friends of the John B. and Annie McCall, an African American couple who lived in San José in the early 20th century. Ms. McCall was active in the Garden City Women’s Club, an important group that has chronicled African-American history of San José.
  • Leonard McKay Research Papers: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, these papers consist of McKay’s research files on local history, scrapbooks, and negatives and slides. McKay was a local historian, as well as a publisher of many books of historical interest.
  • Waterhouse/Mills Family Photos and Letters: Part of the Edith Corinne Smith Collection, this collection consists of photographs taken by members of the Waterhouse and Mills family who lived in Saratoga from the late 1890s to the 1950s. The collection includes the Clark B. Waterhouse Photographs, 1916 compiled as part of a landscape architecture project. These images include many of the great estates of California during that period, many of which no longer exist.
  • William Talbot Family Albums: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, these three family albums chronicle the life through early portraits and personal family photographs of this early Bay Area family associated with the Pope & Talbot Lumber Company that operated the Puget Mill Company in Washington. The photos date from the 1860s to the 1920s and document the family in California, Washington and Oregon.

Photographer Collections and Post Cards

  • Late 19th and Early 20th Century Photographs: The primary Sourisseau photograph collection and the Edith C. Smith Collection includes samples of the work of well-known local photographers, including Clayton, Heering, Watkins, Loryea, Hill and Tucker and many others.
  • John C. Gordon Photographs (1913-1950s): Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, the John C. Gordon collection consists of about 500 commercial photographs of San José and Santa Clara County between 1913 and the 1950s. The prints focus primarily on the built environment and agriculture, but many personal photographs of the Gordon family are included in the collection.
  • Del Carlo Photographs (1940s-1960s): This collection represents more than twenty years of work by local commercial photographer Arnold Del Carlo. The collection includes negatives and prints of local businesses and the built environment, including aerial photographs of the Santa Clara Valley, as well as portraiture of local families and individuals. The collection documents the growth of the valley during this period of rapid change.
  • Leonard McKay Photographs: Part of the Edith C. Smith Collection, the Leonard McKay Research Papers includes original and copy negatives of many important historic photographs relating to San José and the Santa Clara Valley.
  • Edith Corinne Smith Postcard Collection: The Edith C. Smith Postcard collection consists of thousands of postcards that document life in San José and Santa Clara County in the early 20th century. The collection has many real photo postcards that document many local homes, buildings, and landscapes. Emphasis has been placed on collecting the works of various photographers that focused on creating post cards such as Edward O. Webb and Robert Law. Portions of the collection were collected by Leonard McKay, Jack Douglas and Steve Carlson, as well as 100s of cards collected by the Edith C. Smith Trust.