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Photographs from the Sourisseau collection

Smith-Layton Archives
at the Sourisseau Academy

The Collections in the Smith-Layton Archives
The Smith-Layton Archives contains photographs, newspapers, books, and ephemera such as brochures and letterheads that shed light on San José and Santa Clara County history.

About the Smith-Layton Archives
The Smith-Layton Archives at the Sourisseau Academy is named for two Sourisseau Academy champions: Professor Thomas N. Layton and Edith C. Smith. Tom Layton was a long-time Sourisseau Academy Board member and Edith Smith was a long-time archivist for the Sourisseau Academy. Their contributions have had far-reaching and significant impacts on the development of the collections maintained and preserved at the Sourisseau Academy. In 2012 the Sourisseau Academy Board of Directors recognized their support by naming the archival collections in their honor.

Four collections make up the Smith-Layton Archives:

  • The Sourisseau Academy Collection
  • The Edith C. Smith Collection
  • The Arnold Del Carlo Collection
  • The Thomas N. Layton Collection

The materials in these collections primarily document the history of the city of San José and the Santa Clara Valley from the late 1800s through the 20th century. They contain over 30,000 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.