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About the Room

Early in 2003, Los Gatos Public Library began a local history project in response to a community that loves its cultural heritage. Staff set about organizing and cataloging existing library materials of an historic nature, some dating to the 19th century. Many of the items are fragile and needed to be stored in appropriate acid-free containers. A small Local History Room was established at the library in order to provide work space for staff and volunteers and to increase security for the many valuable and irreplaceable materials in our archives. 

The library was soon joined in its preservation efforts by the Museums of Los Gatos. Both the public library and the history museum wish to preserve and make accessible those materials which can help residents know and better understand the community's heritage. Both organizations have limited staff and funding, but both also have valuable, important, and often complementary collections relating to our history. The idea of a partnership, formed especially in an effort to digitize our historic images, seemed like a natural thing to do. The two institutions had existed “side-by-side” for many years, and in fact are located across-the-street from each other, but had not worked together in a significant way in the past. Collaboration between Peggy Conaway, Los Gatos Public Library Director, and Laura Bajuk, Executive Director of the Museums of Los Gatos, resulted in the 2004 creation of Hooked on Los Gatos - the Library and Museum History Project. Today, that project has evolved into the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection.

In order to obtain funding for the digitization project, the library and museum applied for grants as partners. Those efforts met with success as grant money was awarded and gifts were received from the community and beyond. Funding was adequate to support a part-time librarian for oversight and management of the project, and to purchase a server and software to host the digitized images. This beginning soon evolved into plans for a large shared database of historic images available over the Web. The database, accessible at, came to full fruition in July, 2009, when our digital library of nearly 6,000 photographs and other historic images was completed after five years of effort by staff and a core of dedicated volunteers. 

Outcomes of the History Research Collection, in addition to the comprehensive database, include four local history books and a full-length documentary film. The books, all from Arcadia Publishing, include: Images of America: Los Gatos, 2004, by Peggy Conaway; Images of Rail: Railroads of Los Gatos, 2006, by Edward Kelley with Peggy Conaway; Images of America: Los Gatos Generations, 2007, by Peggy Conaway; and Postcard History Series: Los Gatos, 2009, by Stephanie Ross Mathews and the Los Gatos Library and Museum History Project. In 2005, the History Project provided many of the images and much of the research for a state-of-the-art documentary film titled Los Gatos: Then and Now, written and produced by local filmmakers Valerie Archer and John Wainwright of Lyric Media, Los Gatos. The documentary film represents a unique partnership among a public agency (the library), a non-profit agency (the museum), and private enterprise.

Well over 100 individuals and 30 companies, organizations, clubs and associations have contributed funding, equipment, time and historic images to the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection. About 30 family collections are represented in our cooperative database. To date, our digital library includes photographs, maps, death records, letters, meeting minutes, programs, and some newspaper articles and other printed materials. The Los Gatos Weekly Times has generously allowed scanning of their photo archives. Students, researchers, genealogists and people who just love history will appreciate the wealth and depth of information now available on the history of Los Gatos.

Research is often necessary to date and identify historic images. If you have information to contribute or wish to suggest corrections, please e-mail the project at Donations of physical materials are no longer accepted due to space limitations. However, we are able to scan photographs or other historic printed materials to be used solely on our website. Materials do not have to be permanently donated to the project in order to appear in the database.



About the Collection

The development of the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection digitized database is a collaborative effort between Los Gatos Public Library and The Museums of Los Gatos, with collections of the two institutions forming the core of the project. Additionally, many individuals, families, and organizations have generously shared their photo archives in order to preserve and make accessible the cultural memory of the town. Collections are primarily composed of photographs, but also include maps, letters, postcards, scrapbooks, programs from events, and other materials of historic interest. In using these images, please refer to the Reproduction and Use Policies. In all cases, please give credit to the Los Gatos Library and to any additional credits that may be indicated in the information included with the photograph or image.



John Baggerly Collection

John Baggerly was a beloved local newsman who wrote local history articles for the Los Gatos Weekly Times for many years. His "Pictures From the Past" pieces were a Town favorite.




Hundreds of class photographs from 1936 through 1957 are available for viewing under this subject heading. If you attended school in the Los Gatos Union School District during those years, enter your name to see your class photo.



Hamsher Collection

The Hamsher Collection consists of approximately 100 historic photographs, many currently hanging on the walls of Los Gatos Library, in the lower level. Most were copied from original images taken between the late 1860s and 1920. Clarence Hamsher was a banker who was elected President of the First National Bank of Los Gatos in 1927. He was also an avid local historian with an intense interest in preserving the past. Mr. Hamsher collected these photographs in the 1920s, had them framed, and hung them on the walls of the bank building. When the bank was purchased by the American Trust Company in 1955, the photographs were presented to the library as a gift.


Los Gatos Death Records

Local Certificates of Death issued by the California State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics from 1905 - 1933. A few of the deaths recorded here occurred as early as 1875, with this paperwork prepared at the time of removal from the Old Los Gatos Cemetery on Cemetery Lane to the New Los Gatos Cemetery on Los Gatos-Almaden Road in the early years of the 20th century.



Local History Mysteries

Of the thousands of historic Los Gatos photographs scanned, only a fraction were originally identified and dated. Research is ongoing at the library to create accurate metadata to accompany each image as it is added to the database. Can you help identify or date any of these mystery photographs? Please send an email to with your facts or suggestions.



Los Gatos Pageants

The Los Gatos Pageants ran most years from 1919 - 1947. These large outdoor plays were staged on the Pageant Grounds behind the current Civic Center buildings. This collection contains programs from most of the productions, and rare photographs of the actors and elaborate sets.


Residences and Historic Homes Map

Historic Los Gatos homes are featured in this collection. An accompanying map, developed by Library Manager Henry Bankhead, allows you to quickly locate homes on a Google map of Los Gatos.


Project Contributors

The Los Gatos Library and Museum History Project was founded in 2003 by Peggy Conaway, Los Gatos Library Director, Laura Bajuk, Executive Director of the Museums of Los Gatos, Paul Kopach, History Librarian and Henry Bankhead, Principal Librarian and Technical Support


Financial Support

The Valley Foundation $50,000

Royalties - Arcadia Publishing $10,000

Borders Books of Los Gatos $2,200

Friends of Los Gatos Library $2,000

Testarossa Vineyards $1,200

Barbara Baggerly $1,000

Gil and Sandy Decker $1,000

FMC-UDI $1,000

Kenneth and Beverly Haughton $1,000

History Club of Los Gatos $1,000

Los Gatos Community Foundation, Inc. $1,000

Wells Fargo Foundation $1,000

Lyric Media $400

Anonymous $300

Los Gatos Heritage Preservation Society $300

M. M. Sasaki $200

Doris Epstein $100

Wendy Fox $100

Investment Realty $100

Egon Jensen $100


Other Contributors

Gilda Alfieri

Elizabeth Ansnes

Rachel Bacola

Rita Baum

Florence Bell

Maxine Bouchard

Frank Burrell, 1937 Trust

John J. Citrigno

Marilyn and Laurence Cosden

Diane Diggins

Joanne Egerton

Dr. Norman Egger

Jason Farwell

Dietrich Fellenz

Ron Fink

John and Elizabeth Germer

Wilkes and Ann Joy

Bob and Kitty King

Joseph and Susan Lam

Judy Marlin

Ann Martin

Phoebe Newlove

Jean Nelson

Karl and Lorelda Pearson

Troy and Anne Conaway Peters

Jean Shuh 


Bob Weeks

Pat White

T. M. Yuki


Donations of Equipment and Services

IBM Corporation - Dr. Robert Morris - workstation

Lions Club of Los Gatos - flatbed scanner

Talisman Networks - wiring the History Room



Photographic Images


California Province of the Society of Jesus, Br. Daniel J. Peterson, S. J., Archivist

California Room, San Jose Public Library, Bob Johnson - Lead Librarian

Hillbrook School, Paul de Marco, teacher

History Club of Los Gatos, Sara Morabito, Archivist

Los Gatos Chapter - Daughters of the American Revolution

Los Gatos Parent School - Lisa Hogan

Los Gatos Public Library

Los Gatos Union School District

Los Gatos Weekly Times - John Baggerly Collection

Oregon Historical Society, Moving Image Archives

Sourisseau Academy, San Jose State University

St. Mary's Catholic Church of Los Gatos - Kathy Cusick

St. Mary's Catholic School of Los Gatos - Bob Bresniker

Santa Clara City Library

The Museums of Los Gatos

We and Our Neighbors Club



Carl Ambrosini, descendant

Gay Arnott, descendant

Barbara Gibson Baggerly, descendant

Bruce Baker Bill Balch, descendant

Charles Bergtold, descendant

Frank Burrell, descendant

Nadine Caperton

Betty Balch Chase, descendant

Eddie Chase, descendant

Stan Chinchen, descendant

Bill Cilker, descendant

Lena Barbieri Conley, descendant

Paul E. Curtis, Jr., descendant

Paul De Marco

Joseph P. Doetsch, descendant

Betty Jones Ermert, descendant

Jason Farwell, descendant

Alice Scott

Fink Chappell, descendant

Ron Fink, descendant

Bruce Franks, descendant

Rebecca Biddle Wood Hardesty, descendant

Shirley Henderson

Lisa Hogan

Jim Holmes

Beatrice Cilker Hubbard, descendant

Bob and Meryl Jellinek

Egon Jensen, volunteer

Edward J. Kelley, volunteer and author

Melita Kelly, descendant

Mary Balch Kennedy, descendant

Daniel and Sarah McCoy Family Collection, descendants

Seval Oz Ozveren

Gavin Pate

Geraldine Jones Peters, descendant

Brother Daniel J. Peterson, S.J., Novitiate Archivist

Joyce Macabee Ridgely, descendant

Beth Grover Rondone 

Scott Rose

Dick Shore, descendant

Martin Shore, descendant

David M. Shuman, descendant

Elayne Shore Shuman, descendant

Elinor Spencer, descendant

Eleanor Sussman

Claudia "Sunshine" Tomlinson, descendant

Justin D. Vanderlaan

Linda Ward, descendant

Betty Weltz, descendant

Marlene Wiley, local historian and publisher, Mountain Network News

Mary Christina Wood, descendant

William A. Wulf, local historian

Wark, Nancy, Los Gatos Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution


Others Who Helped

Valerie Archer and John Wainwright, filmmakers, Lyric Media

Marian Cilker Armstrong, descendant

Sue Anderson, Los Gatos Public Libary, Librarian

Thomas Atkinson, Friends of the Library

Robert Balzar, descendant

Mike Barbieri, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department, Detective Sergeant, Ret.

Rita Baum, Los Gatos Library Board

Phillip Bergtold, descendant

Io Berreitter, volunteer

Joseph P. Bowman, M. Sgt. (Ret.)

Vonda Lee Breed, volunteer

Audreyanne Castellucci, descendant

Mary Ann Cook, Los Gatos Weekly Times, columnist

Kathy Cusick, volunteer

Sandy Decker, former Mayor, event producer, fund raiser

Thien Dinh, Los Gatos Public Library, Library Assistant

Patrick and Lyn Dougherty, volunteers

Patricia A. Dunning, local historian

Charlene Duval, Sourisseau Academy, SJSU

Linda Dydo, Los Gatos Public Library, Assistant Director

Harry Farrell, newsman and author

Ron Fink, Macabee Gopher Traps, manager

Brian Fowler, San Jose Public Library, Librarian

Dana Frank, UCSC, Professor of History

Duino Giordano, Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Department, Captain, ret.

Frank Gualtieri, volunteer

Mary Hanel, Santa Clara City Library, History Librarian

Denise Harr, The Antiquarium

Shirley Henderson, The Antiquarium

Dale Hill, Los Gatos Library Board

Bob Hill, volunteer

Bob Johnson, San Jose Public Library, Lead Librarian California Room

Egon Jensen, former Mayor, volunteer

Rob and Diana Jensen, Testarossa Vineyards Proprietors

Doris Keh, volunteer

Mary Kenney, volunteer archivist

Kitty King, Los Gatos Library Board

Christine Lias, volunteer

Heidi Long, Los Gatos Public Library, Principal Librarian

Andy Lund

Stephanie Mathews, author and volunteer

Harry C. Meserve, San Jose State University Library, Librarian

Chris Miller, Los Gatos Union School District Board, member

Sara Morabito, History Club of Los Gatos, archivist

Kathy Morgan, local historian, pageant director

Robby Morris, volunteer

Joe Neely, volunteer

Jean Nelson, retired school librarian

Marta Novo, Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, archivist

Stephanie Olson, descendant

Diane Otter, Los Gatos Public Library, Librarian

Karl Pearson, Los Gatos Library Board

Jim Reed, History San Jose, Curator

Jan Robinson, Los Gatos Public Library, Secretary

Maureen Roll, Los Gatos Public Library, Librarian

Margaret Yocco Ross, descendant

George Sampson, KCAT Manager

Carleen Schomberg descendant

Dr. Susan Shillinglaw, Center for Steinbeck Studies, SJSU, Professor

Shirley Skellenger, Los Gatos Public Library, Librarian

Sara Wood Smith, descendant

Judi Snyder, Los Gatos Public Library, Associate Librarian

Dick Sparrer, Los Gatos Weekly Times, Editor

Ira Spector

Dr. Kevin Starr, State Librarian Emeritus

Marie Tallman, former Opera House Event Manager

Rick Tharp, graphic artist

Mike and Rose Thompson, Southern Kitchen Proprietors

Rita Torres, San Jose Public Library, Sr. Librarian

Dudley Warner, volunteer

Donn Waters, volunteer


Photographs from the Los Gatos Local History Research Collection are on display at these locations:

• Los Gatos Public Libary

• Main Street Burgers

• Montebello Condominiums

• Trader Joe's - Los Gatos


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