RESEARCH THE HISTORY OF MARIN!
Founded in 1935, the Marin History Museum provides the facility and resources for researching the historic innovation and creativity of the people of Marin County. The large number of collections includes historic artifacts and documents that relate to the history of Marin County and consists of some 20,000 artifacts and more than 200,000 historical photographs.
The Marin History Museum maintains numerous collections containing a wide and rich array of historic items covering Marin County newspapers, Louise Boyd, Brady/Aero Photography, etc. A partial list of the Museum's collections is provided below. The materials include books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets, databases, files, electronic resources, maps, and photographs.
Tuesday - 10:00 AM - noonWednesday - Thursday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Call to schedule an appointment: 1-415-382-1182.
The Ed Brady Photographic Collection
In 1949, Ed Brady bought a plane and began flying out of the San Rafael Airport in Santa Venetia. Partnering with Jack Van Wart they founded Aero Photographers, Inc. (API) in 1954, documenting the rapid growth of California during the latter half of the 1900s.
Neither man was a photographer, but Brady owned his own plane and recognized the need for aerial photography in the rapidly expanding San Francisco Bay Area and throughout California.
In August 2006, the Marin History Museum acquired the Brady Collection from Grethe Brady. The collection contains more than 10,000 photographic negatives and prints.
The process for digitizing the photographs is requires an extensive amount of time. In the future, every city in Marin will be digitized and included in the Brady Collection. The city of Mill Valley is currently being digitized.
To view these photographs click on one of the following links:
Marin History Museum
Prominent Collections Listing
Louise Boyd Collection
The Louise Arner Boyd Collection includes a unique combination of personal correspondence and expedition files donated to MHM in the 1960s by the explorer and socialite Louise Boyd. The bulk of the archive collection consists of approximately 2,500 paper files recording Louise Boyd’s seven Arctic expeditions spanning the years of 1926-1955. The files include everything from telegraph communications to expedition supply lists to charts and maps used during her explorations. This collection also includes 18 oversize rolled maps, 15 photo albums, 4 scrapbooks and 7 travel journals dating from 1909 to 1960.
San Rafael Military Academy Collection
The SRMA was located on 5th Avenue in San Rafael and operated between 1925 and 1972. The SRMA Alumni Association has deeded their entire collection to MHM and helps support its upkeep with donations from SRMA members. MHM cares for yearbooks, uniforms, swords, sabers, rifles, academy papers, photographs, pins, medals, ephemera and the academy’s business records.
Mount Tamalpais Military Academy Collection
One of Marin County’s first military academies established in 1892, it continued in operation until 1925 when it was purchased by a local businessman, A.L. Stewart, and turned into the San Rafael Military Academy. The collection includes uniforms, blankets, dance cards, yearbooks, calendars, graduation programs, hymnals, prospectuses, photographs, scrapbooks and misc ephemera.
San Rafael Improvement Club Collection
The San Rafael Improvement Club was once housed in the original RCA Victrola Music Pavilion from San Francisco’s 1915 Panama-Pacific Expositions currently located at Fifth Avenue and H Streets in San Rafael. The club began in the late 19th century and existed until the late 20th. The MHM SRIC Collection includes photographs, meeting notes, scrapbooks, “Nipper” the three foot tall RCA dog, trophies, audio tapes, videos, club rosters as well as many other materials from the clubs many years in existence.
The Optimists Club Collection
This collection includes approximately 3,000 rolls of 35mm film documenting the activities of the Marin County’s Optimists Club.
Historic Marin County Newspaper Collection
MHM’s newspaper collection includes issues from the county’s earliest paper, printed in 1861, through to modern editions. Newspapers include: The Marin Journal, Marin County Tocsin, The Independent, San Rafael Daily Independent, the Independent Journal, the Marin Independent Journal, Marin Scope, Marin Magazine, The Sausalito and the Mill Valley Record-Enterprise.
Independent Journal Photography Collection
In 1982, when Gannet bought the Marin Independent Journal from local businessman Jack Craemer, a large portion of the newspaper’s photography collection came to MHM. It includes negatives from late 1940’s – 1970’s and prints from 1970’s – 1980’s totaling approximately 3,000 images. In it one can see the rapid development of the county after the population boon which came with the completion of the Golden Gate Bridge.
After returning from the Second World War, Ed Brady started a photography company in Sausalito using army surplus camera equipment and his private plane. Between 1949 and 1994 he photographed Marin County, the Bay Area and California resulting in approximately 50,000 negatives and prints. In 2006 Grethe Brady, Ed’s widow, donated the entire collection to MHM. We receive many requests for access to this amazing collection.
John Graham Photography Collection
The collection numbers 500+ photographic images of Marin’s historic trains including stations, locomotives and rolling stock from the Northwestern Pacific railroad, North Shore railroad, North Pacific Coast Railroad, and others. This collection has become more popular due to our recent exhibition Riding the Rails: Marin Historic Trains and interested in the new rail system, SMART.
The County Record Collection
This collection includes original bound volumes of the county’s records beginning in 1851. They include mortgages, chattel mortgages, release of mortgages, bonds, marriage licenses, candidates for office statements, certificates of sale and real estate assessments.
The Marin County Supreme Court Report Collection
In 2006 the County gave MHM their Marin County Supreme Court’s law library collection consisting of over 200 California Reporter Law books and a revolving bookcase originally used in the Fourth Street county court house.
Roy Farrington Jones Real Estate Collection
Roy Farrington Jones was a real estate appraiser for Marin County. He began his career in his father’s real estate office in 1947. The RFJ Real Estate Collection includes appraisers’ information, maps and photographs related to Marin properties. The collection spans decades of Marin history and includes appraisal reports on the land once owned by the Mt Tamalpais & Muir Woods Railroad right-of-way owned by the Marin Municipal Water District as well as appraisal reports on private holdings across the county.
The Junior Museum of Marin – Louise A. Boyd Natural Science Museum
The Junior Museum of Marin later evolved into Wildcare, located in San Rafael, and continues to educate the public and while caring for Marin’s injured and endangered animals. The Collection includes correspondence, financial plans, guild organization information, publicity, and scrapbooks from 1953 through the 1960’s.
William & Ada Fusselman Collection
William Fusselman was an elected official in Marin County for over 45 years and is best known for his 15 years on the County Board of Supervisors. Ada Fusselman was also an active member of the community and president or member of nearly every club and organization in Marin. The collection includes awards, scrapbooks, county and city master plan studies, receipts, Board of Supervisors minutes, Marvelous Marin memorabilia, books, photographs and audio tapes of board proceedings including the creation and completion of the Marin County Civic Center.
Verna Dunshee Collection
This collection includes Ms. Dunshee’s personal correspondence, awards, photographs, correspondence and documents from her efforts with the Marin Conservation League regarding Angel Island State Park, Mount Tamalpais, Marin Parks, Point Reyes National Seashore, Samuel P. Taylor State Park, Stinson Beach, Tomales Bay State Park.