Nevada County Historical Society

Searls Historical Library

Searls Historical Library

"A Researchers Goldmine"

The Searls Historical Library is the archive of the Nevada County Historical Society. The original building was donated to the Society by the descendants of one of the earliest attorneys in the area, Niles Searls. Established in 1973, the Searls Library has become one of the premier libraries of materials on the area’s history, people and mines which contributed to the development of this county.

Researchers are welcome to access over 30,000 Nevada County historical photographs (search here), nearly 3,000 printed books on early California and Gold Rush history, and several thousand maps of the area.

The Searls Library also contains innumerable original documents, including ledgers, diaries, old county records, and letters. The Searls family of attorneys also left their early law case records, many of which are the only copies in existence.

The volunteer staff is happy to help with research. Fees for use of the library are by donation. There are small fees for reproduction of photos, maps, photo- copies of items and photographing our documents or books.

If you cannot personally come to the Searls, inquiries are accepted by mail and the volunteers will do the research. The charge for this service is $20/hour, plus copying charges. If you are planning a visit, it is recommended that you call during business hours to verify that we will be available to help you.

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 1pm – 4pm or by appointment

Phone: (530) 265-5910

Contact: Pat Chesnut, Director

Where: 161 Nevada City Hwy, Nevada City, CA 95959

Searls Library Photo Search & Preview

The Searls Historical Library has over 30,000 of historical photos celebrating Nevada County’s history, with large collections from Nevada City and Grass Valley and other locations, including over 2,000 beautiful glass-plate photographs and 4,000+ family portraits. Now you can search, preview and buy these online!

Search and Explore Searls Historical Library Online

Nevada County’s largest collection of historical records, including photos, property and court records, old maps, wills, letters and books. Over 575,000 index records in all! The documents, records and photos themselves are only  available in person, but you can now start you research online and explore 170+ years of Nevada County, Nevada City, and Grass Valley history.

Photo Gallery