In Search of California’s Legal History: A Bibliography of Sources

Oral Histories:

Selected Oral Histories of the California Supreme Court
Regional Oral History Office, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

California Appellate Court Legacy Project
This oral history archive comprises more than 80 videotaped interviews of retired justices of the Courts of Appeal, as well as active justices who may be nearing retirement.

Women Trailblazers in the Law Oral History Project
The American Bar Association’s Women Trailblazers in the Law Project (WTP) captures the oral histories of women pioneers in the legal profession nationwide. Several Californians are included in this project including CSCHS Board member Selma Moidel Smith.

Historical Documents:

1878-1879 California Constitutional Convention Working Papers
This site contains the records produced during the convention and includes administrative records, minutes, resolutions, and other document types. The California Supreme Court Historical Society provided financial support to digitize these documents.


“California as I Saw It:” First Person Narratives of California’s Early Years, 1849-1900. American Memory Project, Library of Congress
This site contains the full texts of 190 works, in searchable format, documenting the formative era of California’s history through eyewitness accounts.

Bench and Bar in California: History, Anecdotes, Reminiscences by Oscar T. Shuck
1887 Edition  |  1888 Edition  |  1889 Edition

History of the Bench and Bar in California by Oscar T. Shuck (1901)

History of the Bench and Bar of California by J.C. Bates (1912)