Our Mission

The mission of Napa County Historical Society is to discover and keep history alive through exhibits, lectures, and events, as well as research, publications, and educational activities. We are a membership-based archival and educational organization dedicated to the discovery, preservation and presentation of the people and history of Napa County and its place in California history.

Historical Research

Get started on your local history research project by learning more about Napa history and studying our research guides.

What’s New

History and fun collide in these upcoming events. We hope to see you soon!

Get Involved

Get up close and personal with Napa County history by becoming a member, joining our team as volunteer or intern, or making a donation.

Learn more

Online Catalogue

Explore thousands of historic photographs, manuscripts, scrapbooks, maps, blueprints, books, and ephemera on Napa County history in our online catalogue.


Contact Us


Get in touch with NCHS.

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NCHS offers a variety of guided and self-guided tours of Napa County. Visit our Napa Valley History Tours page to see what we have available.


Visit our shop to buy books, postcards, photo prints, and more!

Earthquake Updates

The 2014 South Napa Quake threw us for a loop, but we are moving forward thanks to your generous support.

Our Story

Jess and Mary Doud, ca. 1979Napa County Historical Society was founded in May 1948 by locals passionate about preserving local history. In the late 1970s, then Executive Director Jess Doud secured the Goodman Library to house their ever-expanding historical research library, as well as for use in displays, exhibits, and educational programs.

Our active Board of Directors, Executive Director, and Research Librarian keep the organization running, and our corps of volunteers and interns assist with research, cataloguing, and publication. We are a small non-profit sustained by your membership and donations.

Blog Roll


Ask a Librarian: The KKK in Napa

Is it true that there were KKK rallies in Napa? The Ku Klux Klan saw a great resurgence after its reestablishment in 1915, heralded in part by D. W. Griffith’s Klan homage film Birth of a Nation. Many Americans were fearful of the violent and chaotic events taking... read more


Horace Lockwood Gibbs was well known in his day. Born in New York about 1851, Horace married Wisconsin native Nora P. his same age. In 1881, Gibbs had a vineyard of 2.5 acres with 2,500 vines in Calistoga (perhaps on or near his Money Lane property). The Selected U.S.... read more

Port Chicago Mutiny

The Port Chicago explosion on July 17, 1944, was the tragic result of ordering undertrained men into “manifestly unsafe working conditions at the base where only blacks were assigned the dangerous duty of loading ammunition.”[1] The Napa Daily Journal described the... read more

Remembering Salvador Vallejo

This is an excerpt of an article written by Nancy Brennan, local historian known as “The Cemetery Lady” for her Tulocay Cemetery Tour. It was first published in the Vol. 21, No. 1 edition of Tidings, our quarterly newsletter. To get your copy of Tidings,... read more

Protect Your History!

Congress is drafting a new Copyright Act, and while there is no official bill yet, if the proposals made by the US Copyright Office are put into effect it could prove detrimental and devastating. The recommendations hurt not only archival institutions such as Napa... read more

Ask A Librarian: Kearney Street

Where did Kearney Street in St. Helena get its name? Kearney Street in St. Helena, California, is one of the older streets in the city. Although it contains mostly modest single-family homes, many well-known public servants grew up on there. For more than 125 years,... read more