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Chicana and Chicano Studies in Library Special Collections

This guide assembles a selection of UCLA Library's primary source holdings in Chicana and Chicano history and is intended as a starting place to point researchers to significant collections that cover the history of Mexicans in North America.

Online Archive of California (OAC)

Keyword search for primary source materials in UCLA's online finding aids:


Manuscript Collections

Carey McWilliams sitting in a chair and holding a cigarette

Title: Carey McWilliams seated in chair, Los Angeles, Calif., circa 1941

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California Records (Collection 900)

The ACLU of Southern California was established in Los Angeles in 1924. Collection consists of legal, educational, and organizational files of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California. Includes minutes, correspondence, memoranda, clippings, case files, and briefs, some pertaining to Mexican-Americans.

Bound Manuscripts Collection  (Collection 170) 

The bound manuscripts collection consists of over 700 manuscripts from the 7th to the 19th century and covers a wide variety of topics, including many that are of interest to Chicano/a Studies scholars.

Diseños (manuscript maps of Southern California ranchos)

When the United States took possession of California and other Mexican lands in 1848, it was bound by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo to honor the legitimate land claims of Mexican citizens residing in those captured territories. In order to investigate and confirm titles in California, American officials acquired the provincial records of the Spanish and Mexican governments in Monterey. Those records, most of which were transferred to the U. S. Surveyor General's Office in San Francisco, included land deeds, sketch-maps (diseños), and various other documents. The Land Act of 1851 established a Board of Land Commissioners to review these records and adjudicate claims, and charged the Surveyor General with surveying confirmed land grants. Collections consists of an oversize folio of approximately 150 hand-drawn maps of Mexican land claims in California.

Lopez (Enrique Hank) Papers (Collection 1519)

Enrique Hank Lopez (1920-1985) is believed to be the first Hispanic-American to graduate from Harvard Law School. Lopez edited and published a Hispanic literary journal and wrote a number of books. The collection consists of manuscripts, research materials, and articles by or about Enrique Hank Lopez. The collection also includes biographical information and books inscribed to him by various authors.                                     

McGrath (Alice Greenfield) Papers (Collection 1490)

McWilliams (Carey)

Carey McWilliams was born December 13, 1905 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He completed his Juris Doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1927. From 1927-1938, McWilliams was an attorney at the law firm Black, Hammack in Los Angeles. In 1938, he was appointed as chief of Division of Immigration and Housing of the State of California, a position he kept until 1942. During the period from 1945-1955, he began his long association with The Nation, becoming successively contributing editor, associate editor, and then editorial director. From 1955-1975, he was The Nation's editor. In addition to his editorial duties, McWilliams was a prolific lecturer and writer, speaking on many subjects and contributing articles and essays to numerous publications. After his retirement from The Nation, he continued to write a regular column for that publication. His monographs include Ambrose Bierce, a biography (1929); Louis Adamic and shadow America (1935); Factories in the field: the story of migratory farm labor in California (1939); Ill fares the land: migrants and migratory labor in the United States (1942); Brothers under the skin (1943); Prejudice: Japanese-Americans, symbol of racial intolerance (1944); Southern California country: an island on the land (1946); A mask for privilege: anti-Semitism in America (1948); North from Mexico: the Spanish-speaking people of the United States (1949); California: the great exception (1949); Witch hunt: the revival of heresy (1950); and his autobiography, The education of Carey McWilliams (1979). In the late 1970s, McWilliams was briefly a Regents Lecturer at the University of California Riverside and then taught one quarter at the University of California Los Angeles in the History Department. He died of cancer at the age of 74 on June 27, 1980 in New York, New York.

Roybal (Edward Ross) Papers (Collection 847)

Edward Ross Roybal was born into a family that traced its roots to Spain's colonization of northern New Mexico in 1598. In 1922, a railroad strike prevented his father from being able to work, and Roybal moved with his family to the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights, where he attended local public schools, graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1934. After graduation, Roybal joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a New Deal program that provided him with an experience that both reflected and reinforced his developing commitment to public service. After serving in the CCC, Roybal attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and later studied law at Southwestern University. The collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, notes, photographs, and printed material related to his career as a Los Angeles City Councilman.

Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee Records (Collection 107)  

The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee (formerly the Citizen's Committee for the Defense of Mexican American Youth) formed in 1942 in reaction to the indictment of 22 young men for murder. 12 defendants were convicted of first degree murder. The Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee raised funds to appeal the case and roused public opinion through education and publicity programs. In 1944 the original judgment was overturned. The collection contains correspondence, publications, publicity materials, radio scripts, office records, a transcript of the Sleepy Lagoon trial, and research materials including articles about Mexicans and Mexican Americans in Los Angeles. Portions of the collection are in Spanish.