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University Library

Chicana(o) & Latina(o) Studies

The following is a selective guide of resources available in the Cal State LA Library or through the internet useful for researching the Latino/Chicano community in the United States.

Primary Source Databases

Primary Sources

Primary sources are first-hand evidence related to the time or event you are investigating. This includes accounts by participants or observers and a wide range of written, physical, audio or visual materials created at the time or later by someone with direct experience.

In the sciences and social sciences, primary sources or 'primary research' are original research experiments, studies, or observations written about by the researchers themselves.

Primary Sources by Subject

Discipline Primary Source Examples Secondary Source Examples
  • Letters
  • Photographs
  • Diaries
  • History books
  • Journal Articles
  • Documentaries
Art & Literature
  • Novels
  • Paintings
  • Poems
  • Art criticism article
  • Literature criticism article
  • Art history textbook
Communications & Journalism
  • Speeches
  • Investigative Journalism
  • Newspapers & magazines
  • Journal articles on communication theories
  • Book on Journalism practices
  • Public speaking manual
Political Science
  • Laws
  • Court documents
  • Public opinion surveys
  • Article by a legal scholar
  • American government textbook
  • Encyclopedia of political theory
Science & Social Science
  • Research studies
  • Lab tests
  • Mental Health surveys
  • Reviews of other studies
  • Systematic reviews
  • Textbooks

Websites for Primary Sources

Primary Sources in Books

Primary sources such as autobiographies, diaries, letters, photographs, and other documents are often reprinted in books. Search the library with OneSearch and combine your topic with descriptions like these. Sometimes just adding the word "sources" to a search can help you find primary sources.

Below are examples of books containing primary sources that can be found in the CSULA Library.

Primary Sources at CSULA

The East LA Archives at Cal State Los Angeles

Gloria Arellanes Papers (View Collection Guide)

Gloria Arellanes (1946- ) was born in East Los Angeles and raised in El Monte, California. She attended El Monte High School in the early 1960s and in the mid 1960s she worked in the Neighborhood Adult Participation Project in South Los Angeles. In the late 1960s she became Minister of Finance and Correspondence of the Chicano Brown Beret organization’s founding East Los Angeles Chapter. As Minister of Finance and Correspondence she wrote press releases, letters, and edited La Causa, the East Los Angeles based Brown Beret Newspaper. She also served as administrator of El Barrio Free Clinic and was a member of the National Chicano Moratorium Committee (1969-1970). She attended the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, D.C. (1968), and the Denver Youth Conferences (1969 and 1970). After leaving the Brown Beret organization in early 1970, she organized the women’s group, Las Adelitas de Aztlan. She also coordinated la Clinica del Barrio and continued as a health care worker through the late 1970s. 


East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) (View Collection Guide)

Founded in 1968, The East Los Angeles Community Union (TELACU) is a non-profit community development corporation with a mission to create greater opportunities, services, and affordable housing in undeserved communities. TELACU also provides scholarships for Latino students through the Latino Education Foundation.


Jose R. Figueroa Collection (View Collection Guide)

The materials in this collection were created from 1970-2010. The bulk of the collection includes posters and publications. The posters pertain to Chicano Theatre and rallies through the 70s and 80s. The theater productions were produced by El Teatro Campesino, Teatro de la Gente, and Teatro Urbano. The collection also contains publications of theatre programs, magazines and newspapers. Some of the magazines and newspapers include El Foro del Pueblo, Huelga, and La Raza. In addition, the collection contains photographs of the guerrilla military and political organization in El Salvador, Fuerzas Populares de Liberacion (FPL). The collection contains information and history of Chicano/Latino struggles and activism during the Chicano movement in Los Angeles.


InnerCity Struggle Collection (View Collection Guide)

InnerCity Struggle (ICS) works with youth and community residents to promote safe, healthy and non-violent communities in the Eastside of Los Angeles. ICS began as a project of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission and launched as its own independent community organization in 1994. The founding Executive Director Maria Teixeira, led the organization forward based on a vision of building and promoting a safe, healthy and non-violent community in Boyle Heights by organizing and mobilizing community members to achieve that mission.  As co-founder of InnerCity Struggle, Luis Sánchez launched the youth organizing component United Students and the parent organizing component Familias Unidas. 

The collection contains a wide variety of InnerCity Struggle (ICS) publications, youth program materials, student writings and photographs, newspaper clippings and graduation sashes. The collection also includes ephemera related to its youth activist component with items such as posters, buttons, t-shirt and a commemorative ICS anniversary pocket watch.


Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles Exhibit Collection (View Collection Guide)

Mexican-American Baseball in Los Angeles: From the Barrios to the Big Leagues was a collaborative event developed by the Baseball Reliquary, a Pasadena-based nonprofit organization, and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. The project focused on the historic role that baseball played within the Mexican-American communities of Los Angeles County and the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. In addition to the exhibition (March 26-June 9, 2006), the CSULA University Library hosted a reception on April 9, 2005.The exhibition and the project moved to CSU, San Bernardino in 2008 and was renamed, The Latino Baseball History Project: The Southern California Experience.


Carlos Montes Papers (View Collection Guide)

Carlos Montes (1947- ) is a nationally respected leader in the Chicano, immigrant rights, and anti-war movements. Montes was born December 28, 1947 in El Paso, Texas while his family lived in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. As a leader in the Brown Berets, he organized the first protest at the East L.A. Sheriff’s station against police brutality in the winter of 1967. He helped to lead the Brown Berets into a national organization with chapters in the Southwest. Additionally, he was a leader and organizer in the historic East L.A. Walkouts in March of 1968, which led to major reforms and changes in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was indicted by a secret L.A. County Grand Jury and arrested for conspiracy to disrupt the school system with many other charges in what became known as the East L.A. 13 case; charges later dropped. 


David Sandoval Papers (View Collection Guide)

David Sandoval is the former Director of the Cal State L.A. Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) from 1981-2008. An EOP graduate, Sandoval entered the program in 1969 as a special admit student. During the 1960's, he was a student and community activist (UMAS, MECHA, Brown Berets); combining his media talents with his concern for the community by writing and producing short video and film documentaries.


More collections related to Los Angeles and it's Chicana/o & Latina/o residents.


Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibition Catalog Collection

An exhibition catalog is a work published to document an exhibition, and includes a list of works exhibited. It may also contain illustrations, introductory essays, analyses of the works of art, biographical information on the artists, etc. 

Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles. Led by the Getty, Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA is the latest collaborative effort from arts institutions across Southern California.

Use this link to view The Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA Exhibition Catalog Collection


Boyle Heights Archive (View Collection Guide)

Boyle Heights is a historic neighborhood of Los Angeles, California which was diversely populated by Jewish, Latino, Russian, and Japanese Americans in the mid-Twentieth century. It was once home to the largest Jewish community in the Western United States, however many Jewish families left because of the freeway development in the community and banks redlining the neighborhood. 

The Breed Street Shul was built as a place of worship in 1922. After the Jewish community left Boyle Heights, the Breed Street Shul was the last synagogue in Boyle Heights; there had been around thirty when the Jewish population was at its peak. In the 1980s, the Shul was essentially abandoned and damaged by vandalism, earthquakes, and neglect. Today the mission of the Breed Street Shul project is to bring together the Jewish, Latino and other communities of Los Angeles by rehabilitating the landmark Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights. By transforming the campus into a center of arts, culture, education and service for its current neighbors.

This collection represents the initial accession of the Boyle Heights Archive in 2005. This archive was initiated to serve as a setting for studies that explore the ongoing history of Latino/Chicano/Jewish community relations of Boyle Heights.    


Central American Solidarity L.A. Network Collection (View Collection Guide)

The collection comprised of publications and materials related to Central American Solidarity Networks in Los Angeles from the late-1970s to mid-1990s. The collection also contains publications and political posters relating to advocacy for militant revolutionary organizations in the country, liberation theology, human rights, U.S. intervention in Central America, and literacy projects in Nicaragua.



Julian Nava (uncataloged)

Julian C. Nava (1927-) served on the Los Angeles City Board of Education, and was a United States Ambassador to Mexico. Nava grew up in East LA and studied at East Los Angeles Community College before transferring to Pomona College. In 1955 Nava received his Doctorate in Latin American History from Harvard University. Nava is currently retired, he holds the title of emeritus professor at CSU Northridge.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300