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Historical Records Commission Research Grants

Call for Applications

Applications will be accepted until funds are depleted

The Sonoma County Historical Records Commission offers several research grants of $100-$500 each year. Grants are intended to encourage researchers to make use of the public records of Sonoma County and to help further illuminate and breathe life into those records through interpretation, compilation, organization and publication. Grants may be used for microfilming, photography, or photocopying; borrowing or access fees; and similar research expenses -- a list of purposes that is meant to be merely illustrative, not exhaustive.

Eligible Projects

  • Involve research in the public records of Sonoma County
  • Include scholarly papers, papers aimed at a general audience, OR a portion of a larger work such as an exhibition, book, thesis, dissertation, or professional report.
  • Bibliographies (including annotated bibliographies)
  • Guides to materials in the County Archives on a particular subject such as roads and/or bridges. 

Organizations may apply for the grant in order to pay for research assistance as long as the project meets with the criteria listed above. 

Grant applications must include the following

  1. A cover letter detailing your eligibility, research project, and time frame of project.
  2. A completed application form which includes: An abstract, not exceeding 300 words describing the topic of the proposed research and summarizing its purpose and objectives; a preliminary listing of materials to be consulted; a description of the final product to be delivered and a description of how the project will advance understanding or accessibility of Sonoma County public records.

Applications will be judged by the HRC Commissioners at the next regular meeting of the HRC after the date of submission or in a special session if circumstances require it. Projects will be judged on the strength of their approach and methodology, and the extent and importance of the use of the public records.

    Application forms are available below, the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Library (“The Annex”) behind the Sonoma County Library. All applicants, including those who have not been given a grant, will be notified of their status within thirty days of the date of submission. Grants will be distributed within thirty days of notification.

    Historical Records Commission Research Grant Application

    Post Award Requirements

    1. Researchers must conduct research in the public records of Sonoma County, including those housed in the County Archives or other depositories of public records within the county.
    2. Researchers must submit a completed paper, report, thesis, dissertation, bibliography, research guide, book or a portion of a larger work, such as a chapter or section, relevant to the research in Sonoma County public records; or an annotated bibliography of the public records used.
    3. Researchers are encouraged to submit an article based on their research to be made accessible at the Sonoma County History and  Genealogy Library. 

    Project Review Criteria

    Projects will be evaluated on the following criteria

    • Strength of research questions and approach to research
      • Are there clearly stated goals and questions for the project?
    • Potential for project to illuminate Sonoma County public records and enhance existing knowledge of history
      • Does the project add to our understanding of the records and history in general?
    • Potential for project to advance the work of future researchers
      • Will the project benefit future researchers by illuminating records in some way or making them more accessible?
    • Potential impact of project and sources to be explored
      • Does the project address significant questions of broad interest to scholars and researchers?

    Previous Project Awarded Funds

    Previous projects awarded funds by the Historical Records Commission

     Year Recipient Project Amount
    2005 Diana Painter, PhDM. Vonsen Company and the First Street Warehouses $500
    2005 Courtney ClementsMobilizing Main Street: Civil Defense in Sonoma County 1950-1962 $500
    2006 Anthony J. SilvaTo Overthrow The Enemy: Opposition to the California Workingmen’s Party in Sonoma County, 1877-1882 $500
    2009 Emilie E. RoyThe Personal is Historical: The Impact of Lesbian Identity on the Sonoma County Women’s Movement and Beyond
    2010 Carmen J. FinleyColonel James Boydston Armstrong: Recreating History Through Land and Court Records $250
    2010 Rebecca McGillivaryThe Sonoma County Museum: Perseverance and Pride $150
    2011 Carmen J. FinleyLizzie Armstrong Jones; Businesswoman $250
    2011 Fiona BeckerHotel La Rose $150
    2011 Greg ElliottThe Comstock House $150
    2011 Jasper O’LearyStaying on Track: The Sebastopol Depot in West County History $150

    Contact Information

    Secretary of the Commission
    Historical Records Commission
    County of Sonoma
    Business Hours
    Monday – Friday
    8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Contact us by Phone

    Mailing Address

    Sonoma County Historical Records Commission

    PO Box 1709

    Santa Rosa, CA 95402

    Meeting Location

    Local History & Genealogy Annex 
    Sonoma County Library

    211 E Street

    Santa Rosa, CA 95404
    38.441216, -122.7128078

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