Community Service Organizations

Chicano Resource Center, LA County Library

The Chicano Resource Center was established in 1976 to serve the information needs of the Chicano population of Los Angeles and to make available materials related to the history and culture of the second-largest minority group in the United States. The center’s collection comprises books, journals, on-line databases, subject notebooks, videos, audiocassettes, microforms, and original documents on subjects such as immigration, the Chicano movement, mural art, folklore, health, and Mexican history. A core multimedia collection documents many aspects of Chicano history and culture. The center provides reference assistance, subject bibliographies, referral information regarding community resources and public agencies, and workshops on collection-related topics. Its activities are entirely supported by funds from the County of Los Angeles Public Library.

American Indian Resource Center, LA County Library

The American Indian Resource Center was established in 1979 by the County of Los Angeles Public Library to address information needs for and about American Indians. With over 10,000 items, AIRC is the largest collection of its kind in an American public library. Our clientele is local, national, and international. The scope of the collection is the continental U.S. and Alaska from pre-Columbian times to the present, with emphasis on California and the Southwest, tribal studies, history, current affairs, and legal issues. Because of the large volume of specialized materials, AIRC has a unique subject classification system under such categories as California Tribes, Urban Indians, American Indians in Film, Teachers' Resources, Tribal Sovereignty, Federal Indian Law, and other specific categories under general categories of history, education, economics, culture, languages, genealogy, health, law, and current affairs. In addition to books, tribal and American Indian newsletters and newspapers, government documents (some dating from the mid-1800's), theses and dissertations, audio and audio-visual materials including audio cassettes, VHS, DVD's, CD's, and 8 and 16mm films, and a Community Information section, AIRC has copies of rare materials, primarily on microfilm, usually found in academic institutions and government archives including U.S. government documents such as Indian Census Rolls dating from the 1820's, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, California Superintendency, 1849-1880, the complete set of the Records of the Indian Claims Commission 1946-1976, and others. Microfilm holdings also include 131 tribal and American Indian organization newspapers, dissertations and theses, records of Indian organizations, oral histories, rare microfilmed books, government publications, and other materials. AIRC has files of clippings about cultural practices, historic events, historic figures, and information about American Indian community issues, community organizations, and community members accumulated from 1979 to 2000. AIRC staff participate in powwows and other American Indian community events, with local American Indian organizations, colleges and universities, and local and national government institutions, all of which are continuous sources for additional materials. Because AIRC is in a public library environment, the collection is not confined by the rules and restrictions standard in academic and government institutions, providing better and easier access to the materials.

Historical Society of Long Beach

The Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) was formed in 1962 with the mission to collect, preserve, and present the city’s history. Throughout the years the HSLB has occupied many locations around the city, settling at its current location in Bixby Knolls in 2007. Operations are sustained at the HSLB by grant funding, membership dues, and community fundraising through programs and events. Collections at the HSLB include an extensive photograph collection, City Manager’s Files ranging from 1923 through 1953, maps, blueprints, city directories, and bound volumes of local newspapers including the Press-Telegram and Independent. The HSLB hosts various programs throughout the year including a recorded oral history series, an architecture and hors d’oeuvres tour, panel discussions, and a historical cemetery tour.  The storefront gallery space in Bixby Knolls is utilized to present rotating exhibitions. Past exhibits include Long Beach Remembers Pearl Harbor, Black Gold: Oil in the Neighborhood, Coming Out in Long Beach, and the current exhibit is Chrome! Cruisin’, Clubs & Drag Strips, exploring the car culture in and around Long Beach from the 1940s to the mid-1970s.

Los Angeles Police Museum

This collection is limited to material from, and relative to, the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. The collection consists of retired and replica police vehicles, a retired helicopter and police motorcycles. Uniforms, equipment and artifacts dating to the beginning of the LAPD are also held within the collection. The non-public archive houses annual reports, photos and motion picture film. The majority of the holdings consist of material donated from private persons and sources and should not to be confused with the official holdings of the LAPD and the City of Los Angeles.

Downey Historical Society

The Downey Historical Society is located at the Downey History Center in Apollo Park. For more than thirty years, the society's all-volunteer staff has been gathering and preserving records and artifacts from and about the southeastern part of Los Angeles County. The society's collection includes original photographs from 1870 to the present (copy negatives, duplicate prints, or 35-mm slides are available for various images of historic and current events), postcards, artifacts of Downey's past, and local realia. The books, pamphlets, and periodicals in the library focus on Downey, Los Angeles County, and California. Among the subjects addressed are Native Americans, missions, archaeology, architecture, photography, biography, ethnology, and necrology. The holdings on Governor John Gateley Downey and on the aerospace industry are particularly strong. There are also directories for Los Angeles County dating back to 1871 and, on microfilm, the federal censuses of Los Angeles County from 1850 to 1920 and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps for the Los Angeles region. In the society's archive are a broken run of Downey newspapers from 1888 to 1917 and a complete run from 1918 to 1969. Also available are Downey school account books; insurance registers; pioneer water company records; burial and cemetery records from Downey Cemetery; Los Angeles County court dockets for the townships of Los Nietos, Downey, and Norwalk from 1873 to 1957; and Los Angeles County District Attorney's registers of arrests from 1883 to 1919.

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.

UCLA Library Special Collections

Library Special Collections is the largest of the special collections units administered by the university and encompasses the following divisions: Rare Books; Manuscripts, Prints, Photographs, and Maps; Oral History; and University Archives. It acquires, organizes, preserves, and provides access to rare and unique materials in the humanities and social sciences. The holdings include three hundred thousand rare books, forty-two thousand linear feet of manuscript and archival collections, and four million photographic negatives and prints. In addition, the department’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century collections contain a variety of artifacts, audio recordings, videos, printed ephemera, oral history transcripts, phonograph records, postcards, and posters. The department acquires principally materials relating to the arts; California; area studies; ethnic studies; the history of printing, including atlases and early Italian books; and literature, including children’s books. Some of the department’s areas of specialization are Hebraica and Judaica; the history of philosophy; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies; natural resources; photography; travel and exploration; and women. The more than twenty-four hundred collections in the Department of Special Collections are managed by the divisions of. Each division’s holdings are selected or created to complement those of the other divisions. Researchers are welcome to discuss holdings at greater length with the staff.

South Pasadena Public Library, South Pasadena Historical Archives

The City of South Pasadena Historical Archives contain primarily material pertaining to the history of the South Pasadena area, with some of the material dating to before the city’s incorporation. Included are files on city buildings listed in the National Registry of Historical Landmarks, biographies of prominent government officials, city telephone directories dating back to 1885, and an extensive collection of photographs. The business, residential, and city documents in the archives range from chamber of commerce publications to records related to the history of the city’s school system.

Pomona Public Library, Special Collections

Special Collections at the Pomona Public Library maintains extensive pamphlet files of clippings, photographs, brochures, and other ephemera related principally to Pomona Valley and especially to the City of Pomona. Also preserved in Special Collections are papers from businesses, organizations, churches, schools, families, and individuals from the City of Pomona and nearby areas; records of the Los Angeles County Fair; a scrapbook that contains newsletters from the World War II Japanese internment/relocation camp in Pomona; wine labels from wineries across the United States; and books on California history in general and Southern California and Pomona Valley in particular. Special Collections also encompasses a number of discrete collections. Among these are the Frasher Photo Collection, which consists of images of the American Southwest during the early twentieth century; the Citrus Industries Collection, which has unique manuscripts and printed records relating to approximately twenty-eight California citrus companies, along with more than four thousand different citrus crate labels; the Water Industries Collection, which includes manuscript records from seventeen private water companies of the Pomona Valley; the Padua Hills Theater Collection, which contains the bulk of the company’s archives; and the Postcard Collection, which comprises approximately thirty thousand picture postcards from all over the world.

Claremont Colleges, Honnold/Mudd Library, Special Collections

The Special Collections holdings reflect the diverse communities of the Claremont Colleges and the local area and region. Among the collections especially pertinent to Los Angeles and Southern California are the following: • McPherson Collection: books on California history, particularly Southern California and Orange County; records and papers, the bulk of which are about agriculture and avocado culture, and miscellaneous correspondence, 1773-1856 • Mission San Gabriel Marriage Investigation: manuscript records of matrimonial investigations, 1788–1861 • Lindley Scrapbooks: documentation of business and civic events in Los Angeles, late 1800s–early 1900s, compiled by Dr. Walter Lindley, founder of the California Hospital, mayoral candidate in 1904, and board member of the Los Angeles City Library • Kewen Dorsey Collection: twenty-five manuscript diaries, 1879–1904, documenting Dorsey’s life in Spadra, Pomona and Los Angeles • Archives of the Claremont Colleges: includes publications, records, photographs, and ephemera that document the history of the seven Claremont Colleges (Pomona College, Claremont Graduate University, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College [formerly Claremont Men’s College], Harvey Mudd College, Pitzer College, Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences), 1880–present • Claremontiana: early documents, maps, photographs, oral histories, and publications of the town of Claremont, circa 1887–present • Congregational Church Records: institutional records, circa 1888–1963, from a number of Congregational Church organizations in Southern California; papers from women’s organizations account for more than one-third of the collection • Rude-Frankenfield Papers: papers that present the daily lives of at least six generations of the female side of the Rude-Frankenfield family, circa 1895–1971 • Water Resources Collection: includes ephemeral materials on the distribution, augmentation, and use of water in Los Angeles and Southern California, circa 1900–present • George Martin Scrapbooks: one hundred three scrapbooks, 1900–1962, assembled by this California banker and civic leader • Elbert A. Wickes Collection: materials from this Los Angeles-based impresario and manager of lecture tours for celebrities who also acted as the American representative for various English and Irish theatrical groups, including the Abbey Players, early 1900s • H. Jerry Voorhis Papers: papers, circa 1919–1984, from this founder of the Voorhis School for Boys in Claremont, U.S. congressman for California’s twelfth district (1936–1946), member of the Dies Committee on Un-American Activities, and head of the Cooperative League of America after losing his congressional seat to Richard M. Nixon in 1946 • Zamarano Club Keepsake Collection: publications from book collectors, printers, and librarians who are members of this famous Los Angeles book collectors club, 1928–present • Marion Parks Papers: historical photographs, some possibly by Charles Fletcher Lummis; manuscripts and printed pamphlets, 1930s–1950s, used by Parks while researching for publications and historical pageants on Southern California • Rev. Walton E. Cole Papers: correspondence, newspaper clippings, and publications by this Unitarian minister from Toledo, Ohio, who in the 1930s challenged through radio broadcasts the pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic views of “radio priest” Father Charles E. Coughlin • Howard D. Mills Collection: documentation of the U.S. government’s World War II finance efforts, including war bond drives, in Southern California, 1940–1945 • Carey McWilliams Collection of War Relocation Authority Records: reports, opinions, books, periodicals, and correspondence with evacuees that were assembled by McWilliams while he was writing Prejudice (1944), as well as sixty-six volumes of newspapers from War Relocation Authority centers and the minutes of the Japanese American Citizens League National Conference; 1942–1947