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Politics and Protest: Collections from The Bancroft Library

UC Library Search

Advance Searching

Use the Advanced Search module in UC Library Search to narrow down or specify search results. After inputting your search term, go to the right to select various filters such as Material Type. Journals and Articles can find periodicals and newsletters of activist organizations. Selecting Manuscripts is a quick way to find primary sources, and Images will retrieve photographs and posters.

In the Search for menu at the top, selecting UC Berkeley special collections and archives will help narrow the search to Bancroft Library holdings. However, relevant material is held throughout the UC Berkeley Library system. Other useful repositories are the Ethnic Studies Library, the Social Research Library, and the Newspapers & Microforms Library.

To find publications of organizations, select Author/Creator in the first Any Field and input the name of the organization. To narrow down to newsletters and other serials, in the Refine your results menu on the left side, under Resource Type select Newspapers and/or Journals . Examples include The Black Panther of the Black Panther Party and The Dispatcher of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union. Please note that some of Bancroft's serials holdings may be incomplete and are missing issues. Some serials are included in the organization's archival collection and may not be discoverable through UC Library Search. See the Online Archive of California section for searching tips.

The Bancroft Library has many small individual collections featuring correspondence, petitions, speeches, and other documents created by politicians and activists. Many of these items can only be found through UC Library Search, and are cataloged separately from the larger collections featured in this guide. Some items, especially petitions and speeches, are cataloged as Books and will not be findable if using the Manuscripts limiter. Search using the person's name in the Author field. For example, using the author search Phelan, James D. will yield Japanese in California: statement of Hon. James D. Phelan of California before the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization, House of Representatives and Edward Robeson Taylor letters to James D. Phelan.

To find oral histories, select Subject in the first search filter line and type the search term "oral histories" - then add additional key words in the other search filter lines as needed.

Pictorial Material

Many of the personal, organizational, and industry collections at Bancroft have pictorial components that have been cataloged separately. In the UC Library Search catalog record, check the Location note in the Details section to see if there are related pictorial materials and the call numbers if these materials exist.

Subject Headings

When you find a relevant item through a keyword or author search, scroll down in the UC Library Search record to the Subject section to get a sense of the various terminology used to categorize the item found. Clicking on the subject headings shows other materials in the UC Library system on similar topics. For subject headings with a large amount of material, you can narrow down the results using the Advanced Search module. In the first search filter line, select Subject, and input the entire subject heading into the search field. Then you can select various filters (Material Type, Start Date, End Date, etc.) in the right side section.

Sample Subject Headings (based on materials highlighted in this guide):

  • Academic freedom -- California -- Berkeley
  • Anti-apartheid movements -- California -- Berkeley
  • Affirmative action programs -- California -- Berkeley
  • African Americans -- Civil rights
  • Agricultural laborers -- California
  • Antinuclear movement -- California
  • Berkeley (Calif.) -- Politics and government
  • California -- Governors
  • California. Legislature. Assembly
  • California. Legislature. Senate
  • California -- Politics and government
  • Civil rights -- California
  • Civil rights movements -- California
  • College students -- Political activity -- California -- Berkeley
  • College students with disabilities -- California -- Berkeley
  • Democratic Party (Calif.)
  • Demonstrations -- California -- Berkeley -- Photographs
  • Discrimination in education -- West (U.S.)
  • Discrimination in employment -- California
  • Discrimination in housing -- California
  • Elections -- California
  • Employee rights -- Political aspects -- California
  • Freedom of speech -- California
  • Free Speech Movement (Berkeley, Calif.)
  • Gay liberation movement -- California -- San Francisco
  • Gay rights -- California
  • Labor movement -- California
  • Labor unions -- California
  • Legislators -- California
  • Local government -- California
  • Loyalty oaths -- California
  • Mayors -- California -- San Francisco
  • Migrant agricultural laborers -- California
  • Migrant labor -- California
  • Minorities -- California
  • Peace movements -- California -- Berkeley
  • People with disabilities -- California -- Berkeley
  • Political activists -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area
  • Political campaigns -- California
  • Politicians -- California
  • Protest movements -- California -- Berkeley
  • Race discrimination -- California
  • Republican Party (Calif.)
  • Riots -- California -- Berkeley
  • School integration -- California -- Berkeley
  • Social movements -- California
  • Strikes and lockouts -- Agricultural laborers -- California
  • Strikes and lockouts -- California
  • Student movements -- California
  • Student protesters -- California -- Berkeley
  • Suffrage -- California
  • University of California, Berkeley -- Faculty -- Political activity
  • University of California, Berkeley -- Students -- Political activity
  • Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements -- California
  • Women -- Political activity -- California
  • Women political activists -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area
  • Women politicians -- California
  • Women -- Suffrage -- California
  • Women's rights -- California
  • Working class -- California

Online Archive of California


Searching via the main Online Archive of California (OAC) website will yield results from all participating institutions across California. To limit your search to The Bancroft Library's holdings, be sure to search by institution using either OAC (Bancroft Library) or OAC (University Archives). University Archives is a subset of the Bancroft collection that is centered on the history of the University of California, particularly the Office of the President and the Berkeley campus.

Keyword Searching

For large archival collections, UC Library Search is only able to give a general overview of their contents, but collection finding aids in OAC oftentimes provide an in-depth listing of contents. Keyword searching by people or event names can yield results not findable through UC Library Search. For example, searching a person's name (the format Last Name, First Name works best) may uncover correspondence that have been incorporated into multiple collections. Searching event names (eg. "Longshoremen's Strike" or "Port Chicago") can lead to collections that contain relevant subject and research files.

Organization Newsletters and Publications

In the case that UC Library Search does not have a full run of an organization's newsletter (or none at all), try an OAC search using the publication title. If you are unable to get results by this method, search instead for the name of the organization. If Bancroft has its records, the finding aid will indicate if the collection has a section on its publications. Depending on how the collection was processed, the finding aid may provide either a general overview or a detailed inventory of that section.

Digitized Material

When searching collections in OAC, the icon indicates that digitized material is available for viewing online, either as a JPG or PDF depending on the item. Please note that just a handful of collections are fully digitized. The vast majority have just a small selection available.

Other Resources

Oral Histories

Not all of Bancroft's recent oral histories have been added to UC Library Search. Augment your research by using the Search the Oral History Center feature. Once you submit your search term, available online transcripts will appear via the UC Berkeley Library Digital Collections database. On the left side of the search results page, you can toggle the Fulltext Search button to On to expand your initial search.

Both the Governmental History Documentation Program and the State Government Oral History Program interviews are indexed on the California State Archives website, and are linked to PDFs of the transcripts where available.


Calisphere is the digital repository of all ten campuses of the University of California as well as other libraries, archives, and museums throughout the state. For Bancroft material, you can limit your search using Calisphere (Bancroft Library) and Calisphere (UC Archives). While these images are also accessible via the Online Archive of California, searching through this portal may be more efficient if you are only interested in already digitized items.

UC Berkeley Library Digital Collections

Digital Collections provides online access to UC Berkeley Library's rare and unique digitized special collections, books, manuscripts, images, photographs, newspapers, and more. While many (but not all) of the images are also findable through OAC and Calisphere, this repository also includes audiovisual material that has been digitized through the California Audiovisual Preservation Project. Advanced Search can be used to refine your queries and allow you to specify the publication type (eg. Photograph).

California Revealed

The digital repository California Revealed is the product of a State Library initiative to digitize, preserve, and provide online access to archival materials. Participating institutions include public libraries throughout the state and local heritage groups. Select audiovisual material from Bancroft's collections is accessible through California Revealed (Bancroft Library) Browsing by themes, such as Activism: Civil Rights and Black Power is recommended.