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Primary Sources on Napa Valley History

This guide provides a starting place for researchers interested in people, places, and events related to Napa Valley History. The collections linked here contain primary sources that are appropriate for scholarly research.

Tips for searching Napa County sources

For local history beyond the town of Angwin, Howell Mountain, and PUC, there are many cultural heritage institutions throughout Napa County that have collections to explore. Holdings range from the Napa County Historical Society's expansive collections that cover the whole county to the singular focus of the Robert Louis Stevenson museum. To get started, visit websites to discover what topics are covered at each institution. Sample search the digital collections, if any exist. And finally, plan an in-person visit to perform research and learn more. Contact information is found on each website, or your PUC Special Collections Librarian can help you. 

Napa County Newspaper Archive

The full archives of Napa County's local newspapers are available online and can be searched by keyword. These newspapers are a good resource for hometown coverage of local, state, or world events. Businesses, people, and town histories are also reported through the articles found here. To begin a newspaper search, remember these tips:

  • Think of keyword phrases that can be placed in quote marks to pull up exact matches. For example, try searching "Edwin Angwin" rather than Edwin Angwin.
  • Try various keywords / keyword phrases to pull up different matches.
  • Skip keyword searching and instead browse a particular newspaper by date. Individual issues can then be keyword searched. This is a very good method for finding articles about historic events. For example, searching several Napa Register issues on and after October 29, 1929 will show local reactions unfolding after the stock market crash that caused the Great Depression.

Napa Valley Historical Society

Napa Valley Museum (Yountville)

The permanent exhibits at the Napa Valley Museum include museum objects, photographs, and curated archival documents that tell stories about local history topics. Although the museum has no digitized collections, an in-person visit to the exhibits may prompt a later planned research appointment.  

St. Helena Historical Society

Robert Louis Stevenson Museum

Sharpsteen Museum (Calistoga)