Asian American Studies Collection

Asian American Studies Library brochure with two people reading a book next to a ceramic jar.

The Asian American Studies Collection is open for visitors! 

Drop-in during our open hours to browse the books, journals, vertical files, or special collections. To view archives, please e-mail Sine Hwang Jensen, Asian American Studies Librarian ( to schedule a research appointment.



The Ethnic Studies Library is excited to announce the processing of the Loni Ding archives! Read more about the collection and stay tuned for updates by following our website. 

For more information on library resources related to Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, visit the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Library Guide


Mission and Overview

The mission of the Asian American Studies Collection is to preserve and make accessible interdisciplinary knowledge and history of Asian diasporic communities in the United States and the diaspora and to support scholarship, research, and activism that uplifts Asian communities. 

The term "Asian American" was coined by historian Yuji Ichioka in the late-1960s in conjunction with the emergence of Asian American, Third World, and decolonization social movements. It described a new internationalist and pan-ethnic identity formed out of solidarity amongst Asian communities as well as with Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color. The term "Asian American" emerged as a political identity, rooted in movements like the Third World Liberation Front.

Today, the term "Asian American" is often used as a demographic marker, one that is not always embraced by Asians in the United States. The terms "Asian" and "Asian American" are not static and encompass a large number of national, ethnic, and sometimes religious, identities. The Asian American Studies collection includes materials by, about and from Southeast Asian, South Asian, East Asian, Arab American, SWANA (Southwest Asian and North African), MENA (Middle Eastern) communities and diasporas.

The terminology "AAPI" or "API" is also problematic in that it has historically marginalized Pacific Islands Studies. At the Ethnic Studies Library, many works that contain information about Pacific Islander communities can be found in Native American Studies, Comparative Ethnic Studies, and Asian American Studies. They are brought together under the heading "Pacific Islands Studies Collection" which can be used in searching the online catalog. Native American Studies Librarian Melissa Stoner leads collection development for Pacific Islands Studies. For more information, see the Critical Pacific Islands Studies Library Guide

Vertical files contain smaller pamphlets and papers that would not be able to be shelved in the general collection. The Asian American Studies vertical files contain two major collections: the Asian American Studies Organizations/Newsletters and the Asian American Studies Newsclippings collections.

The Asian American Studies Organizations/Newsletters are an extensive collection of flyers, newsletters, meeting minutes, booklets, pamphlets, and other materials produced by over 1,000 Asian American community organizations. These files are library use only and can be accessed by visiting the Ethnic Studies Library. The Asian American Studies Newsclippings contains newsclippings related to Asian American history, politics, arts, culture, and community. While the Organizations/Newsletter file continues to be updated, the Asian American Studies Newspaper Clippings ceased collecting in 2004. 

Please see the following documents for more information on these collections:

The Asian American Studies Collection at the Ethnic Studies Library consists of one the largest collection of materials dedicated to Asian American communities in the United States and the largest collection of archives related to Chinese American history. The mission of the archives is to support research conducted by students and faculty in the Ethnic Studies Department as well as to increase public knowledge of Asian American history and life by making accessible our rich historical resources to the campus community and the general public. The Archives contain manuscripts, diaries, correspondence, newsletters, photographs and other primary source materials documenting Asian American communities in the Bay Area, nationally, and internationally. The archives document social movements and political activism as well as community life of diverse Asian American communities. 

There are over one hundred unique archival collections including, to name just a few, the collection of renowned community historian Mr. Him Mark Lai and his mentor, Mr. Yuk Ow, the documents of the Chinese Empire Reform Association (also called Baohuang Hui), Chinese American Democratic Youth League (also known as Mun Ching), the Filipino National Historical Society - East Bay Chapter, the International Hotel struggle in San Francisco, materials related to the Vincent Chin case, and much more. In addition, the archives contain a rich collection posters, artwork, buttons, music, ephemera from a wide range of Asian and Asian American communities. 

In addition to documenting the broader he Asian American Archives is actively building archival documentation on topics including but not limited to: Arab Americans, South Asian Americans, Southeast Asian Americans, LGBTQ Asian Americans, Asian American activism and radicalism, Asian American student organizations, and the history of Asian American Studies. For more information on our holdings or to discuss donating archival materials, please contact the Asian American Studies Librarian. 

A full list or our archival collections which are processed and available is provided below. Please note that there may be multiple records available for each collection. If you have any questions, please contact the Asian American Studies Librarian. 

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

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

Links to Other Archival Collections

Archival Collections in Process (currently unavailable for use):

  • Chinese Folk Dance Association archives
  • Loni Ding archives
  • Trinity Ordona papers
  • Toshio Mori papers
  • Chinese for Affirmative Action records

Exhibits and Virtual Collections

  • The Asian American Political Alliance Oral History Project was led by Elaine Kim, Harvey Dong and Hannah Choe and consists of in-depth oral histories with AAPA veterans. 
  • The Chung Sai Yat Po Newspaper Collection consists of published issues from 1900 to 1905. Chung Sai Yat Po (Zhong Xi Ribao) was a Chinese language newspaper founded by Ng Poon Chew and published in San Francisco, California from 1900 to 1951. The newspaper was an important part and reflection of the San Francisco Chinatown community. Issues from 1901 to 1905 were digitized and are available on Calisphere. Microfilms of these and other years are available at the East Asian Library and the Ethnic Studies Library.
  • The Chinese in California, 1850-1925 is a virtual exhibit of selected holdings from collections housed in the archives and special collections of The Bancroft Library, The Ethnic Studies Library and the California Historical Society. Presenting approximately 8000 images, this virtual archive makes accessible material related to the history of the Chinese people in California between 1850 and 1925. A guide to the virtual collection is available at the Online Archive of California.
  • Chinese Overseas: Challenges & Contributions was an exhibit at the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery, Doe Library, University of California, Berkeley in Fall 2002. The exhibit was the result of the collaboration of five libraries: The Bancroft Library, the Center for Chinese Studies Library, the East Asian Library, the Ethnic Studies Library, and the South/Southeast Asia Library. The resources displayed documented the challenges and triumphs of Chinese Overeas as well as their contributions to their adopted and host countries and to their homeland.

Documents Relating to the International Hotel in San Francisco:

Related Links