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University of California, Los Angeles, Asian American Studies Center

The Reading Room/Library of the Asian American Studies Center houses a significant archive on Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. The holdings include books, documents, printed ephemera, photographs, films, paintings, and videos that chronicle the development of Asian American communities in Los Angeles and nationwide. In collaboration with Special Collections at the university’s Young Research Library, the Asian American Studies Center has established collections that preserve and provide access to hard-to-find materials donated by members of the Asian Pacific community in Southern California. The Japanese American Research Project is the largest of these collections. It contains more than one hundred groups of personal papers, several thousand responses to surveys conducted in the 1960s, approximately four hundred audiotaped oral histories, artwork created by internees during World War II, and other rare records and publications related to Japanese Americans.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics

The Center for the Study of Political Graphics is an educational and research archive that collects, preserves, documents, and exhibits domestic and international poster art. The Center’s domestic and international collection of more than 60,000 political posters dates from the early 20th century to the present, and includes the largest collection of post World War II political posters in the United States. The posters are produced in a variety of artistic mediums— offset, silk screen, lithography, woodblock, linocut, stencil, photocopy, and computer-generated prints. The collection is focused on international, domestic, and Los Angeles-specific human rights issues, with an emphasis on progressive movements in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Poster topics include the women’s movement, racism, peace, apartheid, labor, liberation theology, AIDS, gay and lesbian rights, immigrants’ rights, children’s rights, and ecology. Between one and two thousand posters are acquired annually, primarily through donation. Approximately half of these are given by collectors in Los Angeles and reflect the diverse political interests of the donors. This has yielded a collection that, in part, documents important but often underrepresented aspects of local history and life in the Los Angeles area. The collection contains approximately three thousand human rights and protest posters produced in Los Angeles from 1965 to the present. The earliest of these came out of the Watts Uprising of 1965, while the more recent posters not only reflect prevailing concerns but commemorate older events, such as the U.S. government’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. Altogether, the posters illustrate the commitment of many Los Angeles-based artists, organizations, and individuals to a variety of social and political issues over the last five decades.