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Hello! from the State of Arizona Research Library. We are delighted to help answer your questions on a variety of topics, law, legislation, legal history, genealogy, State and Federal Documents and more.  While we can help you locate information on legal issues, we can’t give legal advice.  Some of our resources can be accessed only by coming in to the library while others can be accessed 24 x 7 x 365.

These resources may not be comprehensive, but will lead you to resources at our library and other external resources. If there is a topic that is not addressed here you can contact us here. Happy browsing!

Posted in News | Tagged

How did Arizona get its shape?

Johnson's California with Arizona, 1864

Johnson’s California with Arizona, 1864

The State of Arizona Research Library has just launched a new digital Story Map called, How Did Arizona Get its Shape? A Story Map is an interactive platform that combines digitized maps, images, and text to provide a narrative. The maps are overlaid on  current topographical layers to allow a modern comparison.  This Story Map lets you explore historical maps of North America and see how Arizona evolved into its modern borders over several centuries, from 1679 to 1912.

The Story Map highlights thirteen periods in history in which significant events occurred on the North American continent. Every historical period includes a digitized map that shows how borders on the continent changed as a result of the events within that period.

The maps start out covering large geographic areas, as large as the entire North American continent. As the story advances through time, the maps begin narrowing in on smaller geographic areas until the focus is entirely on Arizona as its borders are shaped today.

This Story Map is a great resource to view historical maps and it is a fun way to learn more about the history and importance of Arizona in a larger global context.

Launch the Story Map, How Did Arizona Get its Shape?

Posted in Uncategorized

Researching Property History in Arizona, Part 5: Flood Control District Aerial Photos

(This is Part 5 of a series written by team member Chris Seggerman. Read Part 1. Read Part 2. Read Part 3. Read Part 4.) 

What was in a vacant lot, in the time before it became vacant? Was there ever anything there? Photographs freeze time, helping researchers to see what a house or landscape looked like in the past. Google Earth shows current aerial views, but for historical aerial photos across the decades, consult the Maricopa County Flood Control District website.

By default, the site shows the most recent available year. Clicking on “Change Aerial” on the right side of the screen opens up a small menu to the left of the screen, with choices of “View a Single Year Aerial”, “Compare 2 Years of Aerials” and “View Oblique Aerial”.

Comparing two years divides the screen with a slider, showing decades of change with a drag of the mouse. The “View Oblique Aerial” option is only for 1930 and shows the map with associated oblique photos and instructions on how to view them. Resolution varies yearly, and some years had very limited coverage. Zooming out completely shows total coverage for each year.

Portland St, Phoenix 1930

Portland St, Phoenix 1930

Researchers will likely want to zoom in on a particular mile or half-mile, then note changes for each photo set. For instance, the area in the Simm’s Addition subdivision, part of which now contains Hance Park, shows change each decade. 1930 shows a row of houses south of Culver, with larger, wooded lots north of Westmoreland. By 1959 some of the lots have emptied, with nearly no houses by 1979.

Portland St, Phoenix 1979

Portland St, Phoenix 1979

The 1986 image shows something like a large quarry, but what was Westmoreland Park is still there. 1991 shows the beginning of the current park, but large blank patches and signs of construction remain. The green lines of what would become I-10 are overlaid throughout, and these photos show how, over the decades, land was cleared along its path.

4. Portland 1986

Portland St, Phoenix 1986

Portland 2013

Portland St, Phoenix 2013

For historians studying development in Phoenix, quick access to these photos proves an invaluable resource.  They can witness neighborhoods expand and contract, or just find out if a house had a pool—or was simply a vacant lot.

Posted in Genealogy, Research, Resources

Book Curses

Libraries have long employed book curses to protect their volumes, and the State Research Library is no exception! However, instead of calling upon ravens to pluck out the thieves’ eyes, ours invoke honor, history, and money.

Mulford Winsor, State Librarian from 1932-1956, affixed this warning to newspaper folio volumes kept at the State Library, noting they are “compiled and bound at considerable expense of time, labor, and money.” Winsor was active in newspaper work as well as politics. As State Librarian, he developed the newspaper collection for “all investigators, research workers and historians who may have need of it.”
Book PlateIronically, the changing nature of preservation and access would make such measures unnecessary.  The warning correctly notes “The pages become brittle with age, and are easily broken.”  But, to preserve the newspapers for the future generations, State Library staff have had to disobey many, many of these printed warnings.

Unbinding and cutting apart the volumes is the first step in microfilming and digitizing newspapers. Researchers who have seen microfilm of bound pages, with important details swallowed up in the bound crease of the page, know why.  Collators over the years have encountered stitched bindings, and newspapers held together with staples as thick as carpenters’ nails. At first the papers were merely microfilmed for preservation and access, but beginning in 2004, the National Digital Newspaper Program began funding digitization of the microfilm, which the State Research Library has participated in since 2007, leading to the Arizona Digital Newspaper Program, where researchers can enjoy what those massive newspaper folios protected—without the threat of a curse!


Posted in Arizona Digital Newspaper Project, History

Researching Arizona’s place names

place names 3Questions regarding colorful Arizona place names often take place on the highways, where exit signs point to places like “Bloody Basin Road.” If curiosity survives the miles, where can someone look up how these places get named?

There are two standard works for such research: Arizona Place Names by Will C. Barnes and Arizona’s Names: X Marks the Place by Byrd Howell Granger, and both have a place in the State Research Library’s ready reference collection due to frequent use. The library’s copy of original edition of Barnes’ book is heavily annotated and the first few pages are falling apart.

The two books have an intertwined history: Arizona Historian Will C. Barnes’ book was first printed in 1935. Granger revised Barnes’ book for the University of Arizona Press in 1960. Granger published her own book in 1983, and the current edition of Arizona Place Names was published in 1988, and remains in print.
place names 2
The bibliography for the current Barnes book is two pages. Granger’s book contains nine pages of cited publications and three pages of persons interviewed for oral history. Granger explains “Where a family name is cited, the reference is to information learned during visits with “old timers” or those knowing local history. During the early years of research, the oral sources were most important, for the true pioneers were increasingly being silenced by time.”
Both Barnes and Granger give the location of the place name. Sometimes more than one place in Arizona has the same name!

So to answer the question of Bloody Basin, according to Barnes, it is “Said to have been so called because of the many battles with Indians that took place in this region.” (Barnes,54). Granger repeats this, but also adds that “Fred Henry and four other prospectors were attacked here by Apaches in May 1864 and all were wounded. Henry went for help despite having been wounded in both legs.” She also notes the story of a bridge over a gorge where Bloody Basin is: “During one of these crossings, the suspension bridge collapsed and the sheep fell to a bloody death in the “basin” below.” (Granger, 76).

Posted in Genealogy, Resources

New Hampshire State Library: 300 Years!

One of our fellow state libraries, New Hampshire, is turning 300 this year! The New Hampshire State Library began with two books and a proclamation by the New Hampshire General Assembly.

To learn more: http://nhpr.org/post/nh-state-library-first-nation-celebrates-300-years#stream/0

To learn about the history of the Arizona State Library: http://azmemory.azlibrary.gov/cdm/ref/collection/ann/id/62


Posted in Education, History, Libraries, News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Join us for an upcoming event!

February 22, 2017 – ReferenceUSA Workshop



Learn to use ReferenceUSA!

Get fast and easy access to details on more than 42 million U.S. businesses and more than 260 million U.S. residents. Information includes; company name, address, phone, executive contact names, employee size, SIC and NAICS codes, credit ratings, etc…..

Use ReferenceUSA to:

  • Conduct market research
  • Build a business plan
  • Locate Sales leads and download lists
  • Locate companies for employment opportunities
    And much more…..

Presented by Kam Draper.

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Location: State Library of Arizona, Con Cronin Commons (formerly 3rd Floor Training Area) 1700 W. Washington St. (State Capitol), Phoenix, AZ 85007


Posted in Business, Education, Entrepreneur, Events, Information, Patent and Trademark Resource Center, PTRC, Research, Resources, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Bookmark Design Contest!

Governor Ducey’s 2nd Annual Bookmark Design Contest begins today!

GOE logo

Governor Ducey launched his 2nd Annual Bookmark Design Contest on February 1, 2017. Arizona children grades K – 6 are encouraged to design bookmarks showcasing a “My Favorite Book” theme. The winners of Governor Ducey’s 2nd Annual Bookmark Design Contest will have his/her design reproduced and printed on bookmarks that are distributed to students touring the Arizona State Capitol Executive Tower. The winners will also be invited to the Executive Tower for a meet and greet with Governor Ducey.

Rules and guidelines for this voluntary contest are included below.

Contest Rules:

    • One winner will be selected from each of the following grade brackets:
      • K-1 Grades
      • 2-3 Grades
      • 4-6 Grades
    • Artwork and information must be completed on the Governor’s Office of Education “Bookmark Template” form (included below).
    • The theme for the 2017 contest is “My Favorite Book,” and all designs must reflect this theme. Participants must include a short description of their illustration, which may be dictated by a parent/teacher if necessary.
    • All artwork must be original.
    • Contestants must be in grades K – 6.
    • Entries should only be submitted on 8 ½” x 11” white paper
    • All artwork submitted becomes the property of the Governor’s Office of Education.

Recognition for Selected Child:

    • The distinction of “creating” one of the official 2017 Governor’s Office Bookmarks, which will be reproduced, printed, and distributed to students touring the Arizona State Capitol Executive Tower from May 2017 through April 2018.
    • Winners will be invited to the Executive Tower for a meet and greet with Governor Ducey.
    • Winners’ names will be printed on the back of the 2017 Governor’s Office Bookmarks.
    • Winners will receive an official plaque commemorating the selected artwork.
    • Winners’ names and pictures will be included in related publicity materials.

Entry Information:

Artwork must be received by March 31, 2017, and must be submitted via mail. The winner of the contest will be notified by April 14, 2017.

Mail to: Governor’s Office of Education
1700 W. Washington St., Suite 503
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Additional Notes:

    • Teachers: Please collect all submissions for your class and mail them in a SINGLE envelope.
    • Teachers, parents, and legal guardians are encouraged to use social media to share designs, photos of children working on designs, etc. Use the hashtag #MyFavoriteBook AND tag our twitter handle – @AZGovEducation – and we will do our best to share out as many designs as possible!

For more details and resources check:


Posted in Arizona, Education, Fun, Literacy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,