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Local History and Resources at the Library

The History Reference Area of the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library contains many general and specific resources to help you with your research. Below are listed just a couple of general popular resources that may help you to get started on your history project. Remember, if you can't find your topic please ask one of our talented Reference Librarians.

R973.9 A512 American Decades
American Decades documents and analyzes periods of contemporary American social history.

R 979.493 S528 Historic Torrance by Dennis Shanahan
The most comprehensive account of Torrance history.

R 973 C557 1997 Chronicle of America by Daniel Clifton 
The Chronicle of America is a year by year chronology of America. The entries, in this well illustrated book, read like a newspaper account of the times.

R 973.03 D554 2003 Dictionary of American History by Stanley I. Kutler 
A revised edition of a standard work in American History.

R 973 T583 This Fabulous Century
This Time-Life series highlights all aspects of life in the 20th Century. If your looking for a well illustrated history that captures the feeling of an era, try this series.

For local history be sure to consult our R2 pamphlet file. In R2 you will find articles, maps, letters, architectural information and other documents about the City of Torrance.

Also, almost the full run of the Torrance Herald, 1914-1970, is available on microfilm in the library's audiovisual department. The Torrance Herald was the newspaper of record for Torrance and contains all the gossip, corruption, personalities and some news concerning Torrance for some 60 years. Have your dates ready, the newspaper is unindexed.

The library also has the following city directories and high school annuals available at the Katy Geissert Civic Center Library:

School Bishop Montgomery North High Hawthorne High South High Torrance High West High El Comino College
Years 1968-1994 1956-1959,
1961, 1963,
1972, 1973
1989, 1991
1976-1988, 1990
1971, 1972, 1974-1987
1957, 1960

Older City Phone Directories Torrance Lomita San Pedro Redondo Beach Gardena Compton
Long Beach
Year 1931, 1946, 1949,
1956, 1959, 1967-1968, 1970-1972,
1931, 1968 1931, 1949, 1956, 1957, 1968 1927, 1952 1957 1940 1957

Lastly, consult the Torrance Historical Society , 1345 Post Ave., Torrance, CA 90501, (310) 328-5392. The Torrance Historical Society is the custodian of rare photographs, documents, artifacts and other materials concerning Torrance's past. For a current listing of the days the Museum is open, visit their website at