Archives and Collections
The Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research primarily documents and preserves the history of twentieth-century radicalism and social change through progressive movements in the greater Los Angeles area. The materials held by the library relate to the labor, peace, social justice, civil rights, women’s, gay and lesbian, and various other grassroots movements. While the library’s print holdings—numbering approximately thirty thousand books and three thousand periodical titles—range well beyond the subject of Los Angeles to socialism, Marxism, and the Cold War, its special collections focus on Los Angeles. These collections include twenty-five thousand pamphlets, fifteen hundred posters, two thousand photographs, one hundred documentary films, one hundred videos, thirty-five hundred audio tapes, organizational files for Los Angeles and national grassroots groups, and extensive subject files containing newspaper clippings, magazine articles, and reports. Among the library’s major archival collections are the papers of civil liberties defender Leo Gallagher, California Eagle editor and publisher Charlotta Bass, and Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research founders Emil and Tassia Freed, as well as papers from the Los Angeles chapter of the Civil Rights Congress, the Los Angeles Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born, the Los Angeles International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and the Los Angeles Congress of Industrial Organizations. The archival collections on the Watts Rebellion of 1965, the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panthers, and Chicano activism are heavily used, as are the documentary films of the 1930s from the Film and Photo League and those of the 1960s from the Newsreel (SDS) collective. The library is committed to making its collections on the multicultural history of Los Angeles widely available and to working with other institutions and organizations to ensure that a broadly based historical record of the city’s people is preserved for future generations.