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Santa Ana & Orange County Bibliography

Bibliography of Santa Ana and Orange County History Books

by Guy Ball, © 2001-2003 

We often get emails or other queries from people with interests in early Santa Ana and Orange County history.  Obviously you can start your searches at the Santa Ana Public Library's history room, but some people prefer to work from home or live too far away.  I have completed this bibliography to help you get started in your quest. 

Below is a collection of references regarding Santa Ana and Orange County history.  It is by no means complete – though it should help you a bit.  In many cases, these are books you would have a decent chance of finding today through historical societies or used book sellers or even on some of the internet auction sites. I welcome additional information (both on “new” books or regarding better descriptions) from you.  Please contact me (Guy Ball) at  I have tried to note where books are especially good or have particular content.  The comments may be good starting points – but, as a disclaimer, I have not spent a lot of time with all the books listed and there may be others equally good for the new researcher.  (Again, my dear readers, please let me know what you think and I may publish it here for the benefit of others.)

Where can you view these books?  Check out the Santa Ana Public Library’s History Room for many.  Also, some of the bigger Orange County local and college/university libraries may have some.  If you would like to purchase them, the Society has a few titles for sale – these are noted with a reference to contact us if the book is not listed on this site for sale.  When a book is still available through a historical society, I have noted that with a contact phone number.  (Remember most societies are run by volunteers and are not full-time operations.  Leave a message if need be.) Otherwise, you should check out used book stores and antiquarian book dealers.  There are some good Southern California dealers who have stocks of Orange County history books (look in the yellow pages under book stores). A great source of books is on the internet source at or possibly the sites listed in the left column.  They have a database of hundreds of used-book sellers and you can easily  search on specific books, authors, or just on keywords.


Please Help Us! -- We are presently building a research library of Santa Ana and Orange County books.  The Society already has committed over $600 towards this project, but we could use your help with donations toward buying additional  books and creating a larger, more comprehensive library.  Please consider sending us $25 to $50 (or more) to help us buy a book.  For your donation, we will place a label in the book noting your generosity.  Please help us create this library to help document our history and provide a wonderful resource for those interested in researching our history.  Send your donations to SAHPS, Research Library Project, 120 Civic Center Dr. West, Santa Ana, CA 92701.  Note in your letter that the donation is for this purpose.  Thank you!


The Alpha Beta Story, by Esther Cramer, 436 p, published 1973 by Alpha Beta Acme Markets.  Story of the Alpha Beta Supermarket with interesting information of their Santa Ana beginnings.

America’s Past in Pencil: a Sketchbook of Historic Homes, by Eugene Gilbert and Olive Fielding Marrical, 114 p, published 1976 by First American Title Insurance Company. Illustrations of noteworthy historic homes across America including a few from Orange County.

Architecture: A Window on the Past (part of the Orange Countiania series – Volume IV). Richard Voelkel, editor, 160 p, published 1988 by Orange County Historical Society. Very good information on Santa Ana and Orange County history with good illustrations and pictures.

George Barter, Pioneer Editor, by Leo Friis, 18 p, published 1962.

Charles W. Bowers Memorial Museum and It’s Treasures, by Leo Friis, 62 p, published 1967 by Pioneer Press. History (to that date) of the Bowers. Book included many of its contents. Well illustrated.

Celebrate!: Orange County’s First 100 Years, Volume 1, editor Davilynn Furlow, 176 p (with advertising), advertising supplement published 1988 by Los Angeles Times, Good collection of articles and pictures on Orange County history.

Celebrate!: Orange County’s First 100 Years, Volume 2, editor Davilynn Furlow, 152 p (with advertising), advertising supplement published 1988 by Los Angeles Times,. Good collection of articles on Orange County history.

Centennial Bibliography of Orange County, by Roger Berry and Shirley Stephenson, 339 p, published 1989 by the Orange County Historical Society.  This large handsome volume is a monumental compilation of Orange County material based on the holdings of 28 libraries. Lists 5,321 items under categories of Bibliographies & Indexes; County Histories; Census Publications; Great Registers; & General Directories, plus listings for 30 towns & cities. Available from OCHS (see below).

A Century of Reflection: the 100th Anniversary of Masonic Lodge 124, by Roy Wheeler, published 1974 by the Santa Ana Masonic Lodge. History of the lodge with biographies of many of the Masons – quite a few who were early Santa Ana civic and business leaders.  Good book for people information!

A Century of Memories, 1873-1973: Highlights of the first one hundred years of the First United Methodist Church of Santa Ana., published 1973 by First United Methodist Church. Has an excellent history of the church with some Santa Ana community information.


Early Santa Ana, by Guy Ball and Marge Bitetti, 120p, published 2006 by Arcadia Publishing. Over 200 vintage photographs with captions. Available from SAHPS (see below).

Episcopal Church of the Messiah, by Doris Loewnau, 44p, published 1989 (?) by the Episcopal Church of the Messiah. History of the 100 year old church with some references to local happenings at the time.

50 Years a Barrister in Orange County: 1915-1965 by Charles Swanner, 165 p, published 1965 by Fraser Press. The story of a lawyer in the early days of Orange County.

From One to One Hundred: The Life of Myrtle Head Schneider & Family, by Muriel Head Menasco, 122 p, published 1990 by Shumway Family History Services.  Mainly the story of this family with some small references to Dr. Willella Howe-Waffle and Santa Ana.

From Jennies to Jets. the Aviation History of Orange County, by Vi Smith, 214 p, published 1985 by Sultana Press. A wonderful story about early Orange County aviation history including the people, the planes, and the airports. Wonderful photos.

Glenn L. Martin, Boy Conqueror of the Air, by Ruth Harley, 198 p, published 1967, The Bobbs-Merrill Company.  A children's book on the life of Glenn Martin.

The Golden Promise: An Illustrated History of Orange County, by Pamela Hallan-Gibson, 432 p, published 1986 by Windsor Publications. Wonderfully illustrated with good information.

The Growth and Economic Stature of Orange County, November 1961, 80 p, published 1961 by the research department of Security First National Bank. Statistical information for Orange County in 1961.


The Hayburners of Orange County, by Edrick Miller, 104 p, published 1978 by Hendricks Printing and Costa Mesa Historical Society. Excellent book on Orange County’s early horse-drawn railway lines of the late 19th century (mainly Santa Ana, Orange, and Tustin). Available from CMHS (see below).

Historical Volume and Reference Works: Volume I Orange County (including Garden Grove, Santa Ana, Tustin), editors Talbert, Yorba-MacArthur, and Meadows, 901 p, published 1963 by Historical Publishers.  An excellent resource with great community information and biographical sketches of leading citizens.

History of Orange County, California, by Samuel Armor, 705 p, published in 1911 (and revised in 1921) by Historic Record Co. This is a classic and has great biographies of early Orange County residents.

History of Santa Ana City and Valley: Its Past, Flourishing Present, and Bright Future, 40 p, reprint of 1887 book, published 1999 by Paragon Agency. Wonderful little reprint.  Available at

A History of the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner's Department, Glenn Miller,160 p, published 1976 by the OC Sheriff-Coroner's Department. More like a yearbook, with lots of good history and photos.

A Hundred Years of Yesterdays: a Centennial History of the People of Orange County and their Communities, multiple editors, 244 p, published 1988 by the Orange County Centennial, Inc. and sponsored by the Orange County Register. Wonderful collection of articles on Orange County history by topic and by city.

The Irvine Ranch, by Robert Glass Cleland, 167 p, published 1952, multiple revisions and reprints, The Huntington Library.

Just Call Me Eddie: My Life as a Pioneer Pilot in Orange County, by Judy Liebeck, 200 p, published 1998 by the Eddie Martin Family.  Wonderful story on Eddie Martin, early pioneering pilot.

Legacy: the Orange County Story, editor Ruth Ellen Taylor, 224 p (with advertising), published 1980 by the Orange County Register in honor of their 75th anniversary, collection of articles on Orange County history.


The Orange Blossoms: 50 Years of Growth in Orange County, editor John Sorenson, 310 p, published 2000 by Heritage Publishing. An anthology of people in Orange County -- their dreams and accomplishments. Available from SAHPS and OCHS (see below).

Orange County, An Economic Celebration, by Janet Graebner, 190 p, published 1988 by Windsor Publications. Promotional, coffee table style book of modern Orange County.

Orange County Answer Book: Centennial Edition, editor Jim Colonna, 320 p (with advertising), advertising supplement published 1988-89 by Orange County Register,. Good collection of articles on Orange County history.

Orange County: the Biggest Little County on Earth, editor Terry Stephenson, 130 p, published 1913 by the Santa Ana Daily Register for the Orange County quarter centennial.

Orange County History Series: Volume One 1931, published 1968 by Orange County Historical Society, 147 p, reprint of 1931 book featuring a number of articles on Orange County’s history.

Orange County: Indians to Industry, by C.E. and Marilyn Parker, 96 p, published 1963 by First American Title Insurance. Wonderful little book on early county history.  Has excellent pictures.

Orange County Medical History, by C.D. Ball, 205 p, published 1926 by A.G. Flagg.

Orange County Local History: 1869-1971, a Preliminary Bibliography, by David Rocks, 14 p booklet, published 1972 by Saddleback Books. Extensive listing of books, articles, and important papers regarding Orange County history.

Orange County: The Golden Promise. An Illustrated History, by Pamela Hallan-Gibson, 440p, published 2002 by American Historical Press. Wonderful collection of text of and photos of the birth and growth of Orange County.

Orange County Through Four Centuries, by Leo Friis, 225 p, published 1965 by Pioneer Press. Available from OCHS (see below).

The Orange County Experience, by Louis Reichman and Gary Cardinale, 182 p, published 1987 by Pacific Shoreline Press. Collection of articles on Orange County history.

Orange County California, by Randy Collings, 80 p, published 1980 by Randy Collings Productions.  Mainly a color promotion book with lots of current pictures of Orange County highpoints.  Not a good historical reference.



Orange County’s Pioneer Architect: Frederick Eley, by Robert Richardson, 36 p, published 2001 by Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society (through Wilson/Barnett Publishing). Excellent illustrated biography of Frederick Eley, one of Orange County’s first architects.


Panorama: A Picture History of Southern California, by W.W. Robinson, published 1953 by the Title Insurance & Trust Company of Los Angeles.  Little on Orange County, but interesting book on the birth and growth of Southern California. Well illustrated.

Postsuburban California: the Transformation of Orange County Since World War II, by Rob Kling, Spencer Olin, and Mark Poster, 308 p, published 1991 by University of California Press.  Focuses on Orange County changes including Santa Ana.  Interesting information and perspectives on changes to Santa Ana and other older communities due to the new Irvine and South County suburbia growth.

Rails through the Orange Groves, (Volume 1 and 2) by Stephen Donaldson and William Myers. Volume 2 is 280 p and published 1990 by Trans-Anglo Books.  Two volume set recounting the history of rail growth in Orange County (including Santa Ana).  Excellent information and pictures.


Rawhide and Orange Blossoms: Stories and Sketches of Early Orange County, by members of the Quill Pen Club, 359 p, published 1967 by Pioneer Press. Collection of stories of pioneers and interesting moments of Orange County history.Santa Ana - A Narrative of Yesterday, by Charles Swanner, 158 p, published in 1953. Wonderful reminiscences of early Santa Ana history.

The SAAAB Story, by Edrick Miller, 247 p, published 1989 by the  Costa Mesa Historical Society. Story of the Santa Ana Army Air Base (which was located in early Costa Mesa). Available from CMHS (see below).

The Santa Ana Afghan: Celebrating the Unique Historic Buildings of Santa Ana, California, by Diann Marsh, published 1997 by Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, 16 p, pamphlet featuring history of nine historic buildings in Santa Ana that were illustrated on a commemorative afghan sponsored by the Society. Available from SAHPS (see below).

Santa Ana - An Illustrated History of Santa Ana, by Diann Marsh, published 1994 by Heritage Publishing. This book is an excellent resource for Santa Ana history and a great book to start with.  Available from SAHPS (see below).

Santa Ana's Architectural Heritage, by Kathleen Les, published 1980 by the Environmental Coalition of Orange County. Nice overview of Santa Ana architecture with lots of pictures of recent houses and commercial buildings. Also has some interesting historical information in its captions.

Santa Ana’s 100 Years: Prelude to Progress, by Allen and Francelia Goddard; 113 p, published 1969 by Century I Historians. Excellent information with some pictures.

Santa Ana & Vicinity: California the Wonderland, by Frank Benton, 28 p, published 1923 by Benton Publishing.

Santa Ana in Vintage Postcards, by Guy Ball, 120 p, published 2001 by Arcadia Publishing. Over 200 vintage postcards with captions. Available from SAHPS (see below).

Saddleback Ancestors: Rancho Families of Orange County, various writers, published 1969 by the Orange County California Genealogical Society, 182 p, collection of stories about the early Spanish, Mexican, and America immigrants from 1769 to 1869 who established themselves on the ranchos of the pre-Orange County area.

Shadows of Old Saddleback, Terry Stephenson, 209 p, published 1931 by the Santa Ana High School and Junior College Press.

Jim Sleeper’s Orange County Almanac of Historic Oddities, by Jim Sleeper, 96 p, third edition published 1982 by Ocusa Press. Fun and very interesting collection of Orange County facts and folklore.

Southern Pacific, by Neill Wilson & Frank Taylor, 256 p, published 1952 by McGraw-Hill. Little regarding Orange County directly but good overall history on the Southern Pacific Railroad and its growth in Southern California.  

The Spurgeon Story, by Richard Bertrand Dimmitt, published 1971 by the Orange County Public Library. Illustrated oral history from Bee Dee Abbott Spurgeon.

The Story of Company L “Santa Ana’s Own,” by Charles Swanner, 90 p, published 1958 by Fraser Press. Good narrative of the history and the men of Company L, an early National Guard company who fought for their country.  


Those Were the Days: Recollections of Charles D. Swanner, by Charles D. Swanner, 78 p, published 1971. Limited edition.

This was Mission Country: Orange County, California: the Reflections in Orange of Merle and Mabel Ramsey, by Warren Morgan, 256 p, published 1973 by Mission Printing Co. This has a variety of interesting information and stories regarding early Orange County and Santa Ana.

Turn the Rascals Out! The Life and Times of Orange County’s Fighting Editor, Dan M. Baker, by Jim Sleeper, 414 p, published 1973 by California Classics. Wonderful biography with excellent historical information on the Santa Ana and Orange County community.

A Victorian Reclaimed: Pre-Restoration Images of the Dr. Howe-Waffle House, photos by Yolanda Morelos Alvarez, 28 p, published 1998 by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society (through Wilson/Barnett Publishing). A wonderful limited production book of hand-colored photographs of the Dr. Howe-Waffle House before it was restored by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society. Available from SAHPS (see below).

Visiting Orange County’s Past: Commemorating Orange County’s 95th Anniversary, editor Elizabeth Shultz, 72 p, published 1984 by Orange County Historical Commission, focuses on historical and noteworthy locations and buildings in Orange County.

Yesterdays in Orange County, various authors, 82 p, published 1977 by the Orange County Historical Commission. Three winning essays in a historical writing contest.  Good stories with historical information. Lots of details. Includes bibliography.

Don Bernardo Yorba, by Terry Stephenson, 115p, published 1941 by the Fine Arts Press.


To contact the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society for book availability and shipping prices, visit our online store or contact To contact the Orange County Historical Society, call (714) 543-8282.  To contact the Costa Mesa Historical Society, call them at (949) 631-5918.

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