May 23, 2022

Reference: California State Archives Releases Online Digital Collection of 19th Century California Trademarks

From the California Secretary of State:

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla [recently] announced the release of nearly 4,000 digitized California trademark images and applications filed with the Secretary of State between 1861 and 1900. These images and documents are the largest digital collection ever assembled by the State Archives, a division of the Secretary of State’s office.


The explosion of population and commerce after the Gold Rush led to California’s first-in-the-nation trademark law which resulted in this collection of product labels and logos registered with the California Secretary of State. Champagne, cigars, peaches and patent medicines were affixed with trademarked labels depicting the California landscape, Native Americans, and iconic images of California grizzly bears, gold miners, Minerva, the Capitol dome and colorful produce.

These “Old Series Trademarks” provide a fascinating view into commerce and consumer goods in the Golden State at a time when the industrial revolution and transcontinental railroad brought transformative change and expansive new markets for products from California.


Padilla has made digitization and online access a priority for the archives. “The State Archives is home to so many treasures that reflect California’s rich history. Digitizing key collections and exhibits will provide Californians, and the rest of the world, greater access to the history of our amazing State,” Padilla said.

[Our emphasis] Padilla is sponsoring AB 2674, authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) to establish an Online Archives Program.  The State Archives currently has about 125,000 cubic feet of paper records, but less than one-quarter of one percent of that total is digitized. 

The trademark project was made possible by grant funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission which awarded The Friends of California Archives funding to support this effort to digitize approximately 24,000 pages from the collection of Trademark Registrations and Specimens, Old Series, 1861 – 1900 at the California State Archives.

Direct to California’s “Old Series Trademarks” Collection


A Trove of Newly-Digitized Trademarks Offers A Capsule History of Late-19th-C California (by Rebecca Onion, via Slate)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.