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Best Archive Full of Tricks 

San Francisco History Center

Heat rises, and so does the quality of materials at the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library. The San Francisco History Center is tucked behind closed but not locked doors on the sixth floor, where the entirety of the city and county archives live. The research collection includes police records on prostitutes and pickpockets of the Barbary Coast, aerial views taken in 1938, 19th-Century menus, more than 10,000 postcards, 600 broadsides, sheet music from 1847, and "pocket lawyers" circulated throughout the LGBT community during the 1960s. They have ephemera related to everything from fortune cookies to the Zodiac killer, but unlike most archives, you don't need a Ph.D. to request materials — just a good ol' library card.

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