Asian American Studies Collection


The Mission of the Asian American Studies Collections (AASC) is primarily to support the curriculum program of the undergraduate and graduate students and the research of the faculty in the Ethnic Studies Department. It is also to provide support in this area to the other University of California campuses and the general community at large.

Often the term “East Asian” and “Asian American” cause confusion in relation to library collections. Traditionally, the East Asian collections focused on East Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and China rather than on the distinct experiences of Asians in America or of Chinese in other countries, known as Chinese Overseas. Asian Americans include the following groups: Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, South Asians (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka Americans), and Southeast Asians (Burmese, Cambodian (Kampuchean), Lao, Lao Hmong, Lao Mien, Thai, Vietnamese Americans) .

The Asian American Studies Collection (AASC) is the result of intensive acquisition for more than twenty five years. It is today one of the most comprehensive and unique Asian American resources in the United States. It contains materials on the cultural, political, and socio-economic life of Asian Americans. Aside from developing a core collection on the identified Asian American groups—Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian American (Cambodian, Lao, Lao Hmong, Lao Mien, Thai, and Vietnamese Americans), the AASC also contain the largest Chinese American archival collection in the world.


Chinese American Archives
These contain manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, newsletters and other primary source materials, including the largest collection of biographies on prominent people in different fields and on active community members. There are over hundred unique archival collections including, to name just a few, the collection of Mr. Him Mark Lai and Mr. Yuk Ow, both renowned Chinese American historian and the documents of the Chinese Empire Reform Association (it also called Baohuang Hui) on the political activities of Chinese Overseas, particularly the activities of Kang You-wei, Liang Qi-chao and Xu Qin.

To find the entire list of archival collections, go to OskiCat, Berkeley's online catalog, and search the "Other Call Number" field for AAS ARC.

The AAS Collection has these electronic finding aids in the Online Archive of California:

Chung (Margaret) Papers
East West Research Files
Wey (Nancy) Papers
Lai (Him Mark) Papers

The AAS Collection has the following finding aids in an alternative format to that of the OAC:

You may also visit The Chinese in California: 1850-1925 at the following location for a look at some images included from the AASC archives:


The catalog record to the archive entitled San Francisco (Calif.). International Hotel Block Development Citizen Advisory Committee Records, 1979-2005 is at this link:

The history of the International Hotel Block Development Citizen Advisory Committee can be found at this link:

A brochure entitled International Hotel's Final Victory (2010) is at this link:

For more information about the AASC and its archival artifacts, please visit the following website, which is the digital version of a recent exhibit catalog:

Chinese Overseas
Globalization and online technologies have shrunk the world and have shifted the ratio of the ethnic populations in the world. According to the Overseas Chinese Confederation, in May 2000 there were 34 million Chinese residing in 140 countries in the world. Chinese is the largest percentage (23.7%) of the total Asian American populations in the United States. To facilitate the comparative study of these changing populations and without compromising the main objectives of supporting of the curriculums of Asian American Studies Program, Asian American Studies Collections have taken the lead in promoting the importance of collecting and preserving the documents of the international Chinese Overseas communities. This project depends on cooperative efforts among librarians, archivists, scholars, and administrators. Asian American Studies Librarian Wei Chi Poon looks forward to opening a dialog as to how to create cooperative agreements among international library communities for the common goal of preserving Chinese Overseas materials. For further discussion, please email her at wcpoon [at] library [dot] berkeley [dot] edu or call: (510) 642-2220.

Related Links
For information and activities of the Association for Asian American Studies, a national scholarly association, please visit


The International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO) was foundedin 1993 by Professor L. Ling-chi Wang of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley, along with other colleagues. Its purpose is to advance research and scholarly exchange on Chinese Overseas studies. ISSCO provides channels for research and publications, organizes international conferences and publishes conference proceedings.


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