Skip to Main Content

Primary Source Research and Discovery

An introduction to primary source research

Primary Sources at CSUDH

Our Collecting Areas

The Gerth Archives and Special Collections department houses manuscripts, photographs, publications, personal papers, rare books, ephemera, and other primary source material including institutional histories relating to CSUDH and the CSU System. The collection also contains material on South Bay Los Angeles history and African Americans; Japanese Americans; tradeswomen; and Dominguez Family history.

Archives and Special Collections at CSUDH relate to the history of our geographic area, as well as the history of the campus, the CSU system, and higher education in California. We also collect other topic areas. For more information about what we hold, please visit our website.

Browse Website

Collection Finding Aids

Collection Finding Aids

 Finding aids are documents that provide descriptive information about archival collections and their content to determine the relevancy of information in a collection to your research. For a more detailed description of the parts of a finding aid, see the page What is a finding aid? >>

Our finding aids are listed in the Online Archive of California. See the button below to locate finding aids in our two repositories: Special Collections and University Archives, and The California State University Archives.

View Finding Aids

Collection Topic Research Guides

Research Guides are available for you to browse our collections by topic. These topics include

  • African American History
  • Aviation 
  • City of Compton 
  • CSUDH Origins
  • Disability Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Long Beach
  • Politics
  • Sacred Music
  • South Bay/ Dominguez Family
  • Tradeswomen
  • Labor History

View Research Guides

Digital Collections

Digital Collections

Digital collections include photographs and documents from CSUDH Collections. Digital collections do not represent all of the content of a collection. Digital collections also include descriptive information about each item, giving researchers contextual information about the material. Several projects have resulted in the creation of digital collections all of which are available by going to our digital collections website.

Collections include

  • Rancho San Pedro Collection
  • Trades Women Archive Project
  • South Bay Photograph Collection
  • 1910 Los Angeles International Aviation Meet Research collection
  • CSU Japanese American Digitization Project
  • Long Beach Fireman's Historical Museum Collection
  • California State University Digitization Project
  • Watts Labor Action Committee
  • The J. Tilman Williams, Oazo de Esperanto, and Esperanto Club of L.A. Collection

View Digital Collections


Rare Books

The volumes in our Rare Book Collections are non-circulating, available for on-site use only. 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.

Browse Rare Book Highlights