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Guide to Special Collections & Archives


California State University, Los Angeles Special Collections and Archives supports the discovery, learning and engagement goals of the University by identifying, acquiring, preserving, and providing access to unique and rare materials of enduring value in support of the academic mission of the university, the educational and research needs of the Cal State LA academic community, scholars, and the research community at large.  

The SC&A collects unpublished and published materials relating to university, local, regional, and state history.  In addition, materials which enhance the educational resources in the Los Angeles area and other distinctive materials are also collected.  Items may include but are not limited to unpublished works such as personal papers and manuscripts, institutional and university records, photographs, and ephemera. Published materials may include books, periodicals, newspapers, and posters.

History of Cal State LA

The Cal State LA University Archives acquires university records, professional and research papers of Cal State LA faculty, materials that relate to Cal State LA student life and culture, and other archival materials affiliated with Cal State LA. University records can include, but are not limited to, correspondence, reports, minutes, directives, announcements, publications, architectural and building plans, and any other material produced by the university in pursuance of its functions in all media both analog and digital, including photographic and audio visual materials. The archives also manages the publications, newsletters, or booklets distributed by the university including dissertations and theses. The archives may consider retaining selected artifacts relating to the history of the university.

Example of Holdings:

  • Yearbooks
  • College Times/ University Times
  • Pictures of Our Past Collection
  • Faculty Papers
  • Faculty Publications

Collecting priorities:

  • Official university records in accordance with the Cal State LA University Records management policies
  • Papers of Cal State LA Faculty
  • Student Life and Culture, Student Organizations and Affiliated Organizations
  • University photographs and audio visual materials
  • University publications

History and Culture of Los Angeles

Cal State LHiA Library Special Collections documents the history and culture of communities in Los Angeles. Areas of focus include publications in Los Angeles history, literature, the arts, and public official papers, and ethnic communities.

Examples of Holdings:

  • East LA Archives
    • Gloria Arellanes Papers
    • Carlos Montes Papers
    • East Los Angeles Community Union
  • Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibition Catalog Collection
  • Compton Communicative Arts Academy Collection
  • Richard Alatorre Papers
  • Mervyn M. Dymally Papers

Collecting Priorities:

  • Los Angeles Public Official Papers
  • East Los Angeles History
  • Social Justice Movements
  • Ethnic Community history
  • Asian American Oral Histories

Mesoamerica and Colonial Mexico

The collection is divided into three large groups: The Mesoamerican, the Colonial, and the Independent periods that form the sequence of the history of Mexico.  The collection includes facsimile editions of the Pre-Columbian Codices, such as the Borgia, Nuttall, Fejervary-Mayer, Vaticanus A and B, Selden, Borbonicus, Boturini, Mendoza, De la Cruz-Badiano, Florentine Codex. Some of the editions are accompanied by analysis and annotations by Nineteenth and Twentieth century scholars such as Alfredo Chavero, Francisco del Paso Y Troncoso, Eduard Seler, Jose Fernando Ramirez, among others.

Current Holdings:

  • John B. Glass Papers
  • Wayne Ruwet Papers
  • Mesoamerican and Colonial Mexico Rare Books

Collecting priorities:

  • Rare books
  • Personal Papers
  • Artifacts

Performing Arts

The collections provide documentation of American popular culture in the Los Angeles region during the twentieth century. The majority of the music holdings cover the Los Angeles region in the twentieth century and include papers of Los Angeles composers and jazz musicians.

Music Current Holdings:

  • Stan Kenton Collection of Musical Recordings & Personal Papers
  • Roy and Johana Harris Collection of Musical Scores & Personal Papers
  • Jeffery Jones Collection of Sheet Music & Music Anthologies

Film and Television Current Holdings:

  • Motion Picture and Television Script Collection
  • Anthony Quinn collection of Film Scripts

History of Printing and Publishing

Cal State La holdings support research in the art and science of typography, paper making and color printing, graphic design, and book binding.

Examples of Holdings:

  • Perry R. Long collection of Books on Printing and Graphic Design
  • Bookplate Collection
  • John K. Pollard Collection of Children’s Books

Growth Areas

  • Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • Poetry in California
  • Central American Communities in Los Angeles
John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300