The San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects was organized to protect the integrity of the profession and to standardize the conduct and practice of its members. Prior to the AIA charter, trained architects in California formed a short-lived professional society in 1869. A second and larger association, the Pacific Society of Architects, was founded in May 1881. In 1927 the San Francisco Chapter was renamed the Northern California Chapter, and became The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter in 1980. The most recent name variation, AIA San Francisco, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was adopted by members in 1992.
The AIA/SF records primarily consist of Board and Executive Committee minutes for the years 1907 through 1989 and membership files as well as a few photographs and artifacts. The membership files mainly document past members from the 1950s and 1960s and include biographical, professional, and membership information for many architects who worked in San Francisco and the Bay Area. Photographs document various chapter events and individuals.