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1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook, 1906

By Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook, 1906

ID: MSS SFEarthquake

Primary Creator: Clark, T. S., Mrs.

Extent: 0.05 cubic feet. More info below.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2015

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook is comprised of newspaper clippings and supplements depicting the city of San Francisco, California and surroundings before and after the 1906 earthquake and fire that devastated the area. Included are published images of buildings before and after their destruction, the city after the disaster, and the city's refugee population.

Scope and Content Notes

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook is comprised of 30 newspaper clippings and 7 supplemental posters depicting the city of San Francisco and surrounding areas before and after the 1906 earthquake and fire. The scrapbook, titled "Views of San Francisco Disaster, April 18th, 1906"  was assembled by Mrs. T. S. Clark and is comprised of supplemental posters from the San Francisco Examiner and newspaper clippings, which were also likely sourced from the Examiner. The clippings, which were trimmed to include captions, have been pasted into a booklet of teaching certificate blanks.

The scrapbook's pre-earthquake images of San Francisco include City Hall, the Call Building, the Palace Hotel, the Post Office, and Union Square. Photographs of the aftermath of the earthquake include images of the Call Building, Palace Hotel, San Francisco Opera House, Mills Building, Fairmont Hotel, Columbia Theater, Flood Building, Examiner Building, Winchester Hotel, City Hall, Emporium Building, Valencia Street Hotel, St. Ignatius Church and College, and Colonel Andrew's Diamond Palace. Post-earthquake street scenes include several views from Market Street (3rd St., 4th St., and Powell), the corner of Page and Gough, the corner of Montgomery and Bush, and Chinatown. Also present are images of the city's homeless and refugee population at Golden Gate Park, Jefferson Square, and in a bread line at St. Mary's Cathedral. Of particular interest is a diagram comparing the extent of the San Francisco fire to the 1871 Chicago Fire and the 1904 Baltimore Fire.

The scrapbook also contains several images from the area around San Francisco. Included is a pre-earthquake image of the Chapel at Stanford University and post-earthquake images of the entrance to Stanford University, the Santa Rosa Bank Buildings, and the Sonoma Courthouse. There is also an image of a stagecoach in Sacramento, California delivering news of the status of northern California.

The loose posters found within the scrapbook were published as supplements to issues of the San Francisco Examiner and include several panoramic and elevated views of the city and depict landmarks such as Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, the San Francisco waterfront, and Chinatown. These supplements were published by the Examiner between May 13 and July 22, 1906.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake struck the coast of California on the morning of April 18, 1906. The earthquake is estimated to have been a magnitude 7.8 on the Richter scale. In addition to the damage caused by shaking in San Francisco and neighboring cities, the earthquake also started numerous fires throughout San Francisco which burned across the city for several days and caused significant damage. Ultimately, more than 3,000 people were killed and more than half of the city's population was left homeless. Estimates suggest as much as 80% of the city was destroyed.

Author: Trevor Sandgathe

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 oversize box, 1 map folder

Statement on Access: This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: This scrapbook was acquired by the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center in 2015.

Related Materials: The Thomas John Autzen Notebooks (MSS Autzen) contain an essay on the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. The William Evans Lawrence Photographs (P 286), Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook (MSS Biddle), E. E. Wilson Photographic Collection (P 101), Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums (P 303), and the John W. Green Papers (MSS Green) include photographs and materials related to the city of San Francisco. Other collections related to earthquakes and urban fires include the Lincoln County Chronic Geologic Hazard Maps (MAPS LincolnHazard), the Maps of Washington (State) and the Pacific Northwest (MAPS PNW), and the Corvallis Fire Department Young American Engine Company No. 1 Records (MSS CorvallisFire).

Preferred Citation: 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook (MSS SFEarthquake), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: The supplemental posters included in this collection have been removed and stored separately from the scrapbook due to preservation concerns.


Clark, T. S., Mrs.

People, Places, and Topics

Earthquakes--California--San Francisco.
Fires--California--San Francisco.
San Francisco (Calif.)--Newspapers
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, Calif., 1906
San Francisco Examiner

Forms of Material


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.