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Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906: Topics in Chronicling America

In 1906, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake caused 3,000+ deaths in San Francisco. This guide provides access to materials related to the "1906 San Francisco Earthquake" in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Destructive work of the elements. View of the northeast corner of the Rialto building." April 20, 1906. Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA), Image 1. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

Horrific shrieks of pain and grief pervade San Francisco as the most violent earthquake in modern history slams the city in the early morning hours of April 18, 1906. EARTHQUAKES DEAD MAY NUMBER 3,000; FIRE IS NOW RAGING, screamed the Final edition of the New York Evening World. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


April 18, 1906 Earthquake occurs at 5:12-5:13 a.m.; fires begin; many aftershocks occur.
April 19, 1906 Fires continue; several newspapers print a combined newspaper on the presses of the Oakland Tribune.
April 20, 1906 Fires continue.
April 21, 1906 Fires end.
April 22, 1906 Rebuilding efforts widely announced.