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Rare Books

About the Rare Books and Periodicals Collections

The Rare Book and Periodicals Collections consist of published items that are considered unique or rare. Many of the collections are focused on specific and specialized topics or time periods, including California, Los Angeles, and Compton history, late 19th/early 20th century bestsellers, pulp and World War II pocket paperbacks, aviation, Latin and South America, social justice, labor movements, and politics.

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.