They have an online catalog, but also a card catalog (!) that is not online. That's where most of my treasures came from. You find what you want and then fill out a slip of paper and turn it in. I did a bunch at a time.
The librarian takes your slip down underneath the building and pulls your requests. She brings them to you and then stands there waiting for a hug because she knows you are going to cry when she brings you this giant poster:
The sadish part is that while I'm currently completely engrossed in "my" Mariani family, I'm not actually related to them. Long story, but old family friends. For generations.
The other wonderful thing about the Historical Society is that it is small and helpful. They have a gallery out front and a bookstore. Seriously highly recommend for any researcher. Becoming a member is only $30 annually and these treasures as well as all they do to preserve history and share it, make it more than worth giving up a few lattes.
Thank you, CGS for another remarkable awakening to the wonderful resources available.
California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
Gallery/Store Hours: Tues-Sun, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Library Hours: Wednesday-Fri, 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.