An extraordinary system of cultural and historical resources.

Archives Collections

Access Idaho State Archives Collections

The Idaho State Archives provides public access and archival management for the State of Idaho's permanent records - records of enduring legal, historical or cultural value. Permanent government records are transferred to the archives when retired by the agencies and offices that create them, following a detailed retention schedule. The Archives also collects a broad range of documents and other resources which bear significance to the history of Idaho and surrounding region. View an outline of our holdings below to begin exploring Idaho history through primary resources!


Manuscripts and Archival Materials

123,000 cubic feet of manuscript (non-governmental records) and state government material, includes:

  • Personal papers of Senator William E. Borah
  • Records of the Territorial government
  • Gubernatorial papers from George Shoup through James E. Risch
  • Records of the Idaho Soldiers' Home
  • Carey Act materials dealing with water rights and irrigation


32,000 maps, includes:

  • Hand-drawn and hand-colored maps prepared by Lafayette Cartee, Idaho's first Surveyor General
  • State highway maps
  • Fire insurance maps for a variety of towns and businesses
  • Blueprints and architectural plans from the state's premier architectural firms including Tourtellotte and Hummel, Sundberg and Sundberg and Edgar Jensen

Newspapers and Records

40,000 rolls of microfilm, includes:

  • Idaho newspapers dating from 1863 to present (Juliaetta Sun)
  • County-level records (land and property, citizenship, court, vital and tax) dating from 1863
  • Sanborn fire insurance maps for many Idaho cities
  • Idaho death certificates (1911-1937), federal census schedules (1790-1930), and a variety of materials related to Idaho history and purchased from the National Archives

Oral Histories

3,100 individual interviews (audio and video formats), documenting topics such as:

  • African-Americans in Southeast Idaho
  • Czechoslovakian culture in the Buhl-Castleford area
  • Women and political activism in Idaho 1945-1980
  • Bureau of Land Management in Idaho
  • Basque and Hispanic communities in Idaho
  • Veterans History Project

Photographs and Motion Pictures

Over 500,000 photographic images (prints, negatives, slides and transparencies), includes:

  • Images taken by Jane E. Gay during the allotment of lands for the Nez Perce Indians 
  • The life work of Boise photographer R. Harold Sigler
  • Images from the Sherwood family, pioneer settlers of the Henry's Lake area of Idaho
  • Inmate 'mug shots' from the Idaho Territorial/State Prison
  • Photographs are also available for purchase

5,000 motion picture films and videos, includes:

  • 16mm copy of a 1916 film celebrating the 10th anniversary of the town of Buhl
  • Footage of a 1935 National Geographic Society expedition on the Salmon River
  • Promotional films produced by the Idaho Department of Commerce (1960's-1990's)

And More

    • Idaho yearbooks from 1909-2006
    • Open-stack reference collection of book and periodical titles for the study of regional, state, community and family history
    • Comprehensive list of Idaho Territorial and State Penitentiary inmates including men, women and children between 1864-1947.


Do you have something you want to donate to the Idaho State Archives?

Idaho State Archives accepts donations of historic documents that help in meeting our mission of preserving and promoting Idaho's cultural heritage. ISA relies on the generosity of donors to enhance and expand the collections.

In addition to the online resources, visit us Tuesday through Saturday from 11am until 4pm at 2205 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, Idaho 83712 or e-mail.