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Update: Moffitt Library is closed for seismic work, but most other libraries are open. Learn more.
Primary sources were either created during the time period being studied or were created at a later date by a participant in the events being studied (as in the case of memoirs). They reflect the individual viewpoint of a participant or observer. Primary sources enable the researcher to get as close as possible to what actually happened during an historical event or time period.
See associated pages on Archives (archival collections at local institutions and beyond), Digital Collections (digital archives on Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies), and Newspapers (information on how to access historical newspapers).
Primary Source Resources at UC Berkeley and Beyond
Below are institutions and collections at UC Berkeley and beyond where Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies-related primary source material can be viewed.
Bancroft Library (see Archives for more information) The Bancroft Library is the primary special collections library at the University of California, Berkeley. One of the largest and most heavily used libraries of manuscripts, rare books, and unique materials in the United States, Bancroft supports major research and instructional activities and plays a leading role in the development of the University's research collections. We are located on the east side of Doe Library, just northwest of the Campanile.
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives Film Library & Study Center In addition to providing access to the more than 14,000 films and videos in the collection, the Library and Film Study Center also makes a wide range of film-related materials available to the public for research purposes. Its collections include more than 8,000 books, 150 journal titles, 7,500 posters, 35,000 stills, and 1,500 audiotapes of filmmakers who have appeared at BAMPFA, as well as screenplays, international film festival programs, and distributors’ catalogs. The library’s largest and most heavily used collection comprises some 95,000 documentation files containing film reviews, press kits, and articles on filmmakers, performers, national cinemas, genres, and other topics. Some materials from the documentation files are available online through CineFiles. BAMPFA has a collection of Asian Pacific American film and clippings including the Asian Pacific American film, video and audio collection 1995-1996.
Chinese American Early Arrival Records Search at Bancroft Library A database searchable by name of early arrival records. During the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act and its successors (1882-1943), the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) investigated or interrogated most non-whites arriving or departing through the ports of San Francisco and Honolulu. A typical investigation case file contains the individual's name, place and date of birth, appearance, occupation, names and relationships of other family members, and family history. Specific INS proceedings are also documented. Because of the nature of INS investigations, case files also provide links to file numbers for related cases, including those of other family members.
The Chinese Historical Society of America collects, preserves, and illuminates the history of Chinese in America by serving as a center for research, scholarship and learning to inspire a greater appreciation for, and knowledge of, their collective experience through exhibitions, public programs, and any other means for reaching the widest audience.
Directory of Ethnic and Multicultural Archives and Special Collections Directory of Ethnic and Multicultural Archives: A directory of collections that document diversity through history strives to recognize collections that highlight diversity, with the hope that organizing and describing these collections in a central location increases discovery of the collections for information professionals, students, instructors, and researchers.
Environmental Design Archives The Environmental Design Archives is committed to raising awareness of the significant architectural and landscape heritage of Northern California and beyond through collecting, preserving, and providing access to the primary records of the built environment of the region and landscaped environment of the world. The work of most of the San Francisco Bay Region's historically significant architects and landscape architects are represented in the collections of more than 200 architects and firms. These collections contain drawings, plans, specifications, photographs, audio-tapes, personal papers, business records, furniture, art, models, and artifacts. The Environmental Design Archives provides primary source material for scholarly research, teaching support, preservation, and public service, and actively encourages and promotes the use of its collections.
A gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. Includes a sampling of early American films, including works by the Edison Company, recordings of vaudeville and other popular entertainments, early animated films; recordings of early 20th Century presidents, and scenes of American work and leisure.
A gateway to primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. The site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than 100 historical collections. Includes a sampling of early American films, including works by the Edison Company, recordings of vaudeville and other popular entertainments, early animated films; recordings of early 20th Century presidents, and scenes of American work and leisure, 1894-1915.
A newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for significant newspapers dating back to the 18th Century. Every issue of each title includes the complete paper-cover-to-cover, with full-page and article images. (New York Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Wall Street Journal - Washington Post - Chicago Defender - Chicago Tribune - Los Angeles Times) [1849 - 2003]
A newspaper digital archive offering full-text and full-image articles for significant US newspapers. Our subscription includes access to Chicago Defender (1910-1975); Chicago Tribune (1849-1990); Los Angeles Times (1881-1990); The New York Times (1851-2010) with Index (1851-1993); San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922); The Wall Street Journal (1889-1996); and The Washington Post (1877-1997).
Digitized images including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other unique cultural artifacts that reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history.
Gateway to digitized images from the libraries and museums of the University of California campuses, cultural heritage organizations in California, and UC-created websites and collections.
Digitized archive that documents the relationships among early North American peoples and the environment.
Includes prints, drawings, paintings, maps, bibliographies, letters, photographs, and original facsimile pages documenting the relationships among peoples and with the environment in North America. Focuses on personal accounts and providing unique perspectives from all the protagonists, including traders, slaves, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, Native Americans as well as a wide range of Europeans.
Images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes. [1800 - 1920]
Providing access to primary source material from the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History, Duke University and The New York Public Library. It comprises thousands of fully searchable images (alongside transcriptions) of monographs, pamphlets, periodicals and broadsides addressing 19th and early 20th century political, social and gender issues, religion, race, education, employment, marriage, sexuality, home and family life, health, and pastimes.
Digitized archive of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. A good source for 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Full-image reproductions of Harper's Weekly from its beginning in 1857 to 1912. Provides access to information about 19th and early 20th century advertising, illustrations, culture, history, literature, and notable figures.
Digitized archive of primary documents of key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America. Includes letters, diaries, oral histories, posters, broadsides, pamphlets, advertisements, and rare audio and video materials. [1960 - 1974]
Documents the key events, trends, and movements in 1960s America. Includes 70,000 pages of letters, diaries, and oral histories; more than 30,000 pages of posters, broadsides, pamphlets, advertisements, and rare audio and video materials. Enhanced by dozens of scholarly document projects, featuring annotated primary-source content that is analyzed and contextualized through interpretive essays by historians.
Full-text of books, serials, manuscript collections as well as court records and reference materials documents related to the antebellum era.
Includes more than 1.5 million pages, 7000+ books, 80+ serials, 15 manuscript collections as well as court records and reference materials documents related to the antebellum era. Published through partnerships with the Amistad Research Center, Oberlin College, Oxford University, & many other institutions.