About this collection

For the past 50 years, Professor Emeritus Max Kirkeberg has documented the urban geography of the the San Francisco Bay Area in almost 60,000 slides.  Kirkeberg arrived in San Francisco in 1965 to take a position in the San Francisco State University Geography Department, and quickly became enamored with the city. His collection of just under 60,000 photos were a by-product of his field classes, walking tours, and related slide lectures of the various San Francisco neighborhoods, offered since the early 1970s.  These images of streets, architecture, development, landscapes, culture, and geographical highlights provide an encompassing picture of the diverse neighborhoods that make up San Francisco, as well as the features and regions beyond it in the greater Bay Area.  

Kirkeberg's "SF on Foot" classes generated a unifying theme in his slides - change.  As he toured San Francisco's many neighborhoods repeatedly, he became aware that the city, like most cities, was changing.  Gentrification, ethnic succession, industrial abandonment or conversion, the shift in workforce demographics, the rise and decline of the hippy era, the growth of gay San Francisco, and countless other socio-economic factors and events contributed to this change.  

As the slides accumulated, Kirkeberg developed a neighborhood index.  Boundaries were usually streets, and when the number of slides on a particular neighborhood grew above several hundred, the neighborhood was subdivided and sometimes slides were indexed by their corresponding blocks.  The slides date mostly from the mid 1970s through the early years of the 21st century, and include the entirety of his collection and other related images; Kirkeberg's collection is unique in that it is essentially un-curated in order to provide the fullest picture of the development and change to the city.  Note that these are not specifically his best slides; they are all his slides.

Although Kirkeberg retired from San Francisco State in 1995, he continued his neighborhood tours for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute until 2013, and continued to document the neighborhoods.

We continue to work to bring new neighborhoods to DIVA.  Check back soon.


The Max Kirkeberg Collection is maintained by Academic Technology in collaboration with Emeritus Geography Professor Max Kirkeberg and the SF State Geography Department.
All resources are available for public use provided that images and content are cited and attributed to the Max Kirkeberg Collection.

For questions about the collection please contact geog@sfsu.edu.