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Special Collections

About Special Collections

Collecting Scope

Special Collections comprises unpublished and published materials relating to local, regional, and state history. Unpublished materials include visual materials, manuscripts, and organizational archives. Published materials include books, periodicals, newspapers, maps, posters, and ephemera. 

Our holdings include of primary historical materials documenting the South Bay Los Angeles and other subject areas. Such materials are within larger collections and have been donated by members of the CSUDH community and local area. 

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.