Located at 600 South Central Avenue, Glendale, the American Heritage Library and Museum is supported by the generous donations of patriotic Americans who value our nation’s heritage. The Library specializes in genealogical and early American history resources with emphasis on the Colonial and Revolutionary War period. It also has a fine collection of 18th and 19th century vital records, family histories, American military history and English genealogy.
Monday - Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Closed all National Holidays,
4th of July and Labor Day weekends.
Closed December, 2016 - January 8, 2017
Ventura Fwy (134) east to Central Avenue (Glendale), south two blocks past the Glendale Galleria.
600 South Central Avenue
Glendale, California 91204
FRIENDS OF THE LIBRARY
The American Heritage Library, in Glendale, California, has been provided as a public service to the public since 1893, its purpose being to act as a repository for books and reference materials relating to the American Revolution; early American, California and local history; and genealogy.
For more than 110 years the Library and Museum has been operated and maintained as a service to the community by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of California, a IRC 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Use of the Library is free to anyone in keeping with the purpose of the Society "to encourage interest in the early history of the United States . . . to perpetuate the memory of the brave men who fought in the Revolutionary War, and to collect and preserve the manuscripts, records and documents relating to our past."
By the turn of the twentieth century, the Library's collection consisted of 5,000 volumes, an impressive size for the time. Growth of the collection, through direct acquisition and gifts, has been steady over the past 100 years, and has included by gift several major private collections. Today, the Library comprises over 25,000 titles and is well known as one of the largest collections relating to the American Revolution and Colonial America in the western United States. An ongoing fund, supplemented by gifts from the community, facilitates an aggressive books and acquisition program to maintain, broaden and update the collection. The Sons of the Revolution owns the building and collections outright.
During 2002 the Library began the process of creating a computerized catalog of its holdings. Since late 2003 the catalog has been searchable on-line at this web site.
Over the past few years many wonderful improvements have taken place at the Library, making it even more significant as one of the largest genealogical libraries of its kind.
Among the significant accomplishments is the tripling of shelf space to make available more books, manuscripts and records for patron use. Thousands of new books have been added to the collection. See the page on Recent Acquisitions for our most recent additions.
We completed a quarter-million dollar modernization and collection organization project, bound many years of journals and periodicals of varying titles, expanded our book collection by several thousand titles, added shelving, computers, and more. We installed a new two-zone heating and air conditioning system to replace our 30-year old system, laid insulation in the attic and installed attic fans.
The American Heritage Library is a member of OCLC, a worldwide library cooperative, through which more than 53,548 libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world have access to our catalog. The Friends of the Library held another successful event this year and plans are already underway for an event scheduled for February.
In 2006, the Society received the Award of Merit from the American Association of State and Local History, the most prestigious national award for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. See the AASLH Award page linked above for more information.
In addition to a fine collection of books, periodicals and manuscripts, many of which are rare out-of-print first editions, the Library is blessed with a magnificent collection of artifacts, many of which are on display, including:
WASHINGTON'S LEOPARD SKIN SADDLE PAD
An original leopard skin saddle pad owned by Gen. Edward Braddock when he was killed in 1755 in an Indian massacre is one of the Society’s prized possessions. The saddle housing was used by General Braddock on his march on Fort Duquesne. It was later presented to George Washington by Braddock's heirs in recognition of his heroism during the battle and was used for a time by the future first President. Descendants gave the saddle pad to the California Society. To study the saddle pad in more detail, click below.
FLAG REVIEWED BY PRESIDENT WASHINGTON (1789)
A silk flag carried in the First Trade Procession of Boston on Oct 24, 1789 as part of a celebration honoring the visit of President George Washington is in the possession of the Society. General Washington passed through the open ranks of the procession on a white horse and then reviewed the procession from a balcony outside the central west window of the Boston State House specially constructed for the occasion.
The procession was made up of representatives of forty-six different trade organizations, then called guilds, each group carrying a flag specially made for the occasion. Only two of these flags, including this one, were known to be extant in 1922 when it was loaned to the Sons of the Revolution in the State of California by Capt. Josiah A. Osgood, a long time member. It had been previously on display in the Boston State House for many years. The flag, symbolic of the Plumber’s and Glazier’s Guilds, was carried in the procession by the great grandfather of Capt. Osgood, Freeman Pulsifer. Subsequently, the flag was gifted to the Society.
JOHN C. FREMONT
PAINTED FROM LIFE
In 1974, a handsome and valuable original oil painting of Gen. John Charles Fremont was received by the Society from Hugh Hinton Evans, Sr., Chairman of the Executive Committee of Western Federal Savings and Loan Association. Given in honor of the late Gladys Crail Evans, with Hugh Evans, Jr., Chairman of the Board and President of Western Federal present, it was accepted for the Library by Richard E. Coe, State Secretary and Vice President of the General Society, at whose suggestion the generous donation was made.
The painting, done from life in 1856 by T. Buchanan Read, was commissioned and originally owned by Fremont and his family. While on loan to a club in New York City, during the New York Civil War Draft Riots of 1863 a rampager put a bullet hole through the canvas just below the General’s left hand. Subsequent to that time, it hung in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles for some thirty years, the property of a New York socialite. In 1962, on the settlement of her estate, the painting was acquired by Mr. Evans. It hung at the Evans Manor for a time and for nearly ten years was on display at the Savings Association’s regional office in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Both Messrs. Evans, Sr. and Evans, Jr. were Life Members of the Society.
Fremont (1813-1890) was an American explorer, soldier and political leader. It was Fremont who signed the Treaty of Cahuenga with Mexican General Andreas Picó during the Mexican War of 1847 that ceded the western territory that included California, Arizona and Nevada to the United States. He had much to do with the establishment of California as a state and was one of its first senators, elected in 1849. Fremont ran unsuccessfully for the Presidency against James Buchanan and later was proposed as a candidate to oppose Abraham Lincoln, which he declined. It is quite fitting that his likeness occupies a place of prominence in the Society’s Library devoted to preserving the history of our nation and its families.
The Library and Museum continues to grow in whole new ways and in new directions to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century, but our mission is the same as when the Library first opened 114 years ago: 1.) to perpetuate the memory of those who risked their lives and fortunes to form this great nation, and 2.) the collection, preservation and sharing with the public manuscripts, records and writings relating to American Independence and our nation’s heritage. It is our mission to ensure that succeeding generations know what it means to be an American.
In 2007 the Library's name was changed to the American Heritage Library to reflect not only our genealogical and historical focus, but to encompass our overall mission, and commitment to telling the American story.
The American Heritage Library and Museum is an affiliated library and museum of the California State Military Museum.
Persons interested in providing volunteer services in support of the maintenance, operation or leadership of the Library are encouraged to become part of our support group.
Contributions and donations of books are encouraged. The Library receives no financial support from the city, state or Federal government, and depends on donor generosity to provide the means of continuing, improving and expanding service to the community.
Click to make a donation. The Society, a §501(c)(3) non-profit, is debt free and relies on community support. Donations are tax deductible the fullest extend of the law.