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Collecting Highlights

Collection Highlights

The Gerth Archives and Special Collection at the CSUDH University Library is home to our university archives, digital and special collections, rare books, and the archives of the California State University. We support campus, community, and visiting researchers, and encourage students to discover primary sources. You can read the full scope of our collecting areas here.

Special Collections

Tradeswomen moving wood beam

Collection Highlights

Special Collections materials include personal papers, community archival materials, manuscripts, organizational papers, and a wide variety of primary source materials for enhancing student research.


The Tradeswomen Collections contain materials related to women working in construction and other non-traditional fields in southern California, nationally and around the world.

The Rancho San Pedro Collection comprises records of the business, water, and real estate companies established by Dominguez heirs in and around the Los Angeles area, the Del Amo Foundation, Del Amo Nurseries, and Del Amo Estate Companies, and the Watson Land Company.

The Archive consists of materials relating to the legacy of African Diaspora musicians, composers and performers including Albert McNeil, Don Lee White, Jester Hariston, Hansonia Caldwell, and The Shambrey Chorale.

Papers of the former California Congressman with extensive materials about the South Bay Los Angeles transportation issues including the Watts Rebellion, highways, and the Port of Los Angeles. The Archives also has the papers of the late Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald.

South Bay of Los Angeles Collections include materials on Compton, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Torrance, the Long Beach Fire Department, Gardena, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, the Spanish American Institute in Gardena, Rozelle Family Collection and the James Osborne Collections.

The collection includes photographs, ephemera, newspapers, magazines and other materials relating to the first Aviation meet in the United States in 1910.

The Esperanto collection include periodicals, dictionaries, vocabularies, grammar books, yearbooks, directories, correspondence, photographs, ephemera, and realia related to Esperanto and the Esperanto speaking community. Subjects include the Esperanto Klubo of Los Angeles, Esperanto studies, and Esperanto associations.

Collections focus on all aspects of African American life in Los Angeles and elsewhere. Collections include African American Servicemen Scrapbook, Afro-Futurist Comics, Charles Blanton Collection, a variety of sacred music collections Jester Hairston and Albert McNeil, the Ligon Aquarian Collection, the Juanita Millender-McDonald Collection, WLCAC Collection, Pasadena School Board Collection, Watts Rebellion Collection, Marguerite P. Justice Papers, Irving Jazz Collection, Ernest C. Smith Family Collection, Dadisi Sanyika Collection, African Periodical Collection and the Beloved screenplay, Selma Alabama Civil Rights Movement Collection, various Compton Collections including the Ira Clark Collection, Black Panther Party Newspaper Collection, African American pamphlets in the Holt Collection, Mob Violence in American Collection, Berta Green Langston Collection (with Robert F. Williams materials) and hundreds of pamphlets and books in the Rare Book Collection.

Japanese American Collections, Holt Labor Library Collections, Activist Collections

covers of Topaz incarceration anniversary publication and labor publication

Collection Highlights

The Gerth Archives possess a large number of individual collections on related topics. These topics include Japanese American Incarceration during World War II, the Holt Labor Library focuses on radical poltical and labor movements, and the Archives also has a variety of collections and publications on activism.


CSUJAD is a statewide database consisting of primary documentation from 20 California institutions related to the history and progress of Japanese Americans in their communities. CSUDH has well over 25 physical collections on Japanese Americans including the Ninomiya Photo Studio Archives with over 100,000 images.

The Holt Labor Library was a library in San Francisco, California from 1992 to 2019 that collected and made accessible primary and secondary source material related to labor history and the history of the radical left, with an emphasis on the activities of American Trotskyist political organizations. The Library also collected materials related to various anti-war movements, the women's movement, gay liberation, and the African American Civil Rights Movement, among other social justice causes. The Holt Labor Library closed in 2019, thereafter donating its holdings to the Gerth Archives and Special Collections at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Collections include the Berta Green Langston papers and the Asher Harer papers, among many others.

University Archives

Tradeswomen moving wood beam

Collection Highlights


The collection includes materials related to the creation of California State College (later University), Dominguez Hills. Reports, correspondence, legislative bills, studies, maps, photographs, and news clippings document the state of California’s decision to build a college in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. There are also papers, correspondence, and news clippings related to the college gathered by A. Quincy Jones, the Master Architect for the campus.

Includes records from the administrations of Leo Cain, Donald Gerth, Richard Butwell, John Brownell, Robert Detweiler and others.

Includes records CSUDH Campus catalogs and class schedules from CSUDH General session, Summer session, Extended Education, and Statewide nursing program. Follow this link to view the entire collection

California State University System-wide Archives

Collection Highlights

The CSU System was brought together by the Master Plan for Higher Education in 1960. The Dominguez Hills campus was designated as the System’s archival repository in 1979. As each of the CSU campuses has its own campus archives, the CSU Board of Trustees designated the CSU Archives as the repository for materials of system-wide importance. The CSU System Archives consists of documents, oral histories, minutes, memos, and records of the Board of Trustees, Office of the Chancellor, Academic Senate, the Master Plan for Higher Education, and other offices and committees.


The Board of Trustees Agendas and Minutes Collection and Board of Trustees Meeting Audio Recordings both are records of the meetings of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Trustees Committees. The Agendas and Minutes Collection begins in 1961 and is ongoing to the present, and the Audio Recordings is record of meetings from 1963-1973 and 1975-1978.

Reports, correspondence, memos and other materials generated by various offices at the Office of the Chancellor (CSU headquarters); Offices including Academic Affairs, Public Affairs, Executive Council, pre-system offices, Government Affairs and many other offices. .

Materials relating to the longest serving Chancellor of the CSU System. Includes materials from his time as Chancellor, as an academic and writer and his early life.

Rare Books

front covers of rare books at CSUDH

Collection Highlights

The Rare Book Collections consists of South Bay of Los Angeles local history collections, Zamorano 80 collection, Boni-Liveright publications (1915-1930), late 19th and early 20th-century bestsellers, pulp paperbacks, World War II pocket paperbacks, as well as collections of materials on Mexico and Latin America, aviation and railroad history, social justice, and politics. The oldest book in the collection was printed in 1496.

The University Library catalog is best way to search for books in the Rare Books Collections. If there is a book or archival collection that matches your search term, the results page will list the item and indicate its location as Archives/SpeColl-5th Floor South.


The Collection consists of books, documents and media on African American history and culture, metaphysics, occultism and black gnostic studies collected by the owners of the longest operating African American bookstore in LA.

This collection features hundreds of Sinclair books, pamphlets, ephemera, documents and other items relating to Sinclair’s long career in the literary, socialist and political world.

The Glen Schwendemann Collection includes nearly 500 books, dated 1556-1990, and was donated to the library in 2005. Schwendemann, a retired Torrance history teacher and bookbinder, personally rebound and repaired over 300 of the books. Mr. Schwendemann's interest in rare book collecting reflects both his interest in historic exploration and excavation, and his skill at repairing books damaged by misuse or age. In his garage/book bindery, Schwendemann would de-acidify the book, sew the binding and cover the book with decorative paper and a leather, cloth or vellum casing. The books are both beautiful and useable thanks to Schwendemann's expertise. Topics in the collection cover a wide range, including European expeditions of the Arctic, Africa, South America, and Tibet; ancient history; excavations and travel memoirs.

The Latin American Rare Book Bibliography Project partners the Gerth Archives & Special Collections with the History Department to present a valuable opportunity for students. The objectives are to help students develop bibliographic skills by exposing them to rare book collections at the University, sharpen skills needed to preserve history, introduce students to rare book digitization and cataloging and to create an exhibition in the Library. It is also a pilot project that we hope can be used as a model for books on other subjects.

The Buckner Collection consists of American popular culture reading materials, especially from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.

Includes the local history collection, which consists of published material about Southern California, with a special focus on the South Bay of Los Angeles. The local history book collection complements the historic manuscripts in the Special Collections about the Rancho San Pedro.

Historic Periodicals, Underground Newspapers, Catalogs

Black Panther and La Raza newspaper covers

Collection Highlights

A variety of publications are located throughout the Archives. Collections of periodical, newspapers and catalogs are both cataloged and un-cataloged. The Library’s online catalog has single periodicals, pamphlets and catalogs listed throughout the catalog.


Black Panther Newspaper, La Raza, Berkeley Barb/Tribe, The Guardian, American Opinion, and over 100 leftist periodicals in the Holt Labor Collections, a broad variety of African periodicals, LGBTQ Periodical and Newspapers includes copies of ONE, The Ladder, Ache, The Advocate, and over 300 other LGBTQ titles.

Periodicals from the late 19th and early 20th centuries include: The Atlantic, Bookman, Sunset, Outwest, Cosmopolitan, Golden Book, Touring Topics, Youth's Companion, Harpers Monthly, Munsey's Magazine, The Century, McClure's, The Mind, and many others.

A Variety of periodicals including Mexican art & history, Latin American Art and history, Latin American anthropology, Mercurio Pervano (1918-1973), Revista Cubana, Journal of Latin American Studies, Boletin Archivo Nacional (Havana), Revista de los Archivos Nactionales de Costa Rica, Boletin la Societadad Geografica Y Estadstica, and many others.

Periodicals include Aero Digest, Air Facts, Aviation, American Aviation, American Aviation Historical Society, Aircraft Yearbook and many others.