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CSRC Archival Projects

Since 2001, the CSRC Library has launched major preservation projects related to music, cinema, the visual arts, and the social sciences. Our goal is to preserve the rich and diverse history of the Chicana/o and Latina/o communities for future research, classroom instruction, and the public at large. We work closely with community groups to ensure that our projects not only safeguard the historical record (by archiving important documents) but also contribute to the more immediate needs of the community itself.
 
To date, these projects have received support from the Center for Community Partnerships, Ford Foundation, Getty Foundation, John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, Los Tigres del Norte Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts - Houston, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, National Endowment of the Humanities, Rockefeller Foundation, and UC MEXUS.
 

Current Projects

Chicano Cinema Recovery Project

The CSRC has launched a multi-year initiative in collaboration with the UCLA Film and Television Archive to identify, preserve, and make accessible the independent productions of Chicano and Latino filmmakers. The project is currently restoring six films and trailers by pioneer filmmaker Efraín Gutiérrez, to be followed by a national tour of these films and the publication of a scholarly anthology evaluating the filmmaker’s career. This project features several other components that allow it to serve as a model for future efforts in this area: a pilot study to survey 8mm home movie collections in Chicano-dominant communities, a new course on archival issues for Chicano-produced films, and an acquisitions program aimed at increasing Chicano archival holdings.
 

Documenting & Preserving the Post-WWII Generation of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles

This is a three-year project to arrange, describe, digitize, and provide access to five collections that provide invaluable materials related to the histories of the post–World War II generation of Mexican Americans in Los Angeles. These collections – the Edward R. Roybal Papers, the Grace Montañez Davis Papers, the Julian Nava Papers, the Dionicio Morales Papers, and the Ricardo Muñoz Papers – document three broad areas: (1) nearly a century of personal, familial and social life among Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, (2) the rise of Mexican American civic participation following World War II, and (3) the professional development and careers of exemplary civic leaders in local, national, and international contexts since the late 1940s. Common threads and historical connections run through the collections, making for a dynamic resource that goes beyond the documentation of individual biographies, providing evidence for the difficult entrance of a minority generational cohort into civic participation, first at a local level, then with respect to national politics and international relations.
 

Frontera Collection Online Archive

In October 2001, then CSRC Director Guillermo E. Hernandez initiated the digital preservation of the Arhoolie Foundation’s Strachwitz Frontera Collection, the largest repository of Mexican and Mexican American popular and vernacular recordings in existence. To preserve this unique heritage, the CSRC is digitizing the collection, consisting of 41,000 78-rpm phonograph recordings. The Frontera Collection Online Archive was launched on March 26, 2009. A related documentary on the project is available here. The digital archive is hosted by the UCLA Music Library in partnership with the UCLA Digital Library Program. The Arhoolie Foundation's Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings, volume 6 in the CSRC’s Chicano Archives book series, is based on the project and was released in 2012.
 

La Raza  Newspaper and Magazine Records: Providing Access to the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement

This project is dedicated to preserving, describing, digitizing, and making publicly available a collection of 24,698 photographic negatives documenting the Mexican descent community of Los Angeles between 1967 and 1977. These long inaccessible negatives were recovered in 2013, and represent an unprecedented decade-long photographic project involving eighteen photographers associated with La Raza. The bilingual publication – a tabloid newspaper from 1967-1970 and a magazine from 1970-1977 – developed in the context of community-based journalism that sought broad documentation of events, achievements, and issues reflecting readers’ lives. Since La Raza could only print a small portion of photographs, this collection constitutes a rare and broad visual record of the community during this period.

The LGBT and Mujeres Initiative

The CSRC is committed to increasing its LGBT and women’s collections. This initiative has a fourfold mission: to educate women and LGBT communities about the importance of documenting and preserving Latina and Latino history; to educate Latina and Latino communities about the importance of women’s stories and LGBT history within their archival efforts; to provide women and LGBT Latinas and Latinos with archival materials that can function as a source of pride, inspiration, and new scholarship; and to educate “mainstream” archival institutions about the need for both women’s and LGBT archival holdings and for culturally sensitive collecting and archival practices. To do this, the CSRC will increase its collecting efforts in this area of study. As part of this project, in 2009 the CSRC developed a guide for community archiving that can be used as a model by other repositories and community organizations when working with underrepresented communities and their historical materials.
 

The Los Angeles Chicano and Latino Photograph Documentation Project

The CSRC is addressing the issue of preservation through the digitization of vulnerable image-based collections. The primary goal is to make original photographs from some of our image heavy collections available to the public through an online archive hosted by the UCLA Digital Library. To meet this challenge, the CSRC began by digitizing The Edward R. Roybal Photograph Collection and the Yolanda Retter-Vargas Collection of Orphan Photographs. The first collection documents Edward Roybal’s public service career from the 1940s to the 1990s as a Los Angeles city councilman and a U.S. congressman. The second was collected by the late CSRC librarian Yolanda Retter-Vargas, who found the photographs at various flea markets. This collection consists of “orphan” photographs—images with no provenance information. They appear to belong to six families. Both collections are completed and available on the UCLA Digital Library. The Haynes Foundation has generously continued their support of this important project and the CSRC is currently digitizing the Grace Montañez Davis Papers, the Julian Nava Papers, the Dionicio Morales Papers, and the Ricardo Muñoz Papers. Each of these collections documents the lives of key Mexican American civic leaders in Los Angeles history and their families.
 

Completed Projects

Chicano Studies Archival Program Processing Project

This project responded to the fact that the CSRC’s numerous special collections—housed in the Southern Regional Library Facility (SRLF)—had never been processed. The CSRC established an archival program, hire an archivist, process existing collections, and prepare grant proposals for the acquisition and processing of new collections. The CSRC also established a pipeline of new collections in the following areas: Latino Los Angeles (all areas); and, nationally, in music, media, performing arts, and the visual arts.
 

Los Angeles Latino Art Survey

The goal of this project is to survey documentary materials related to the development of Latino art organizations in Southern California dating back to the 1960s. The project has consisted of interviewing personnel from various Latino art organizations in the Los Angeles area and individuals—many of them artists—who participated in arts organizations and artist collectives. The intention is to collect not only the social and institutional history of the entities that supported, exhibited, and otherwise circulated Chicana/o and Latina/o art in this area but also the histories of the individual artists involved in these movements.
 
This project identified historical materials, including organizational records and artists’ personal papers, which needed to be archived for preservation. Among them were four collections that have now been incorporated into the CSRC Archive:
 
The Mexican Cultural Institute of Los Angeles Archive [1984-2004]
The Plaza de la Raza Archive [1970-2000]
The Adobe L.A Collection [1992 – 2005]
The Nancy Tovar Murals of East L.A. Collection
 

Making Invisible Histories Visible: Preserving the Legacy of Lesbian / Feminist Activism and Writing in Los Angeles Project

This was a collaborative project between the CSRC, the UCLA Library, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW), and the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives. It was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities for 2011-2014. The project was aimed at documenting early Lesbian history in Los Angeles since the 1930s. It included the preservation of 93 archival collections and over 700 hours of recorded sound and moving images that were digitized and will be made accessible through the UCLA Digital Library. A resource guide to these collections was published by the CSW in 2014 and is available online.

Serving the Community, Preserving Cultural Heritage

This project represents a community partnership with Self-Help Graphics and Art in East Los Angeles. Work included an inventory of Self-Help’s on-site collections and development of a computer management system and archival internship program. Self-Help also donated a representative suite of prints to the CSRC Library. In February 2004, the CSRC and Self-Help hosted a Latino Arts Summit for L.A.-based Latino arts organizations in order to address preservation and access issues related to their archival holdings.
 

Visiones Archival Project

Visiones was a collaborative project with the CSRC, the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), and Hector Galan Productions. There were three components to the CSRC Visiones Archival Project: (1) the acquisition and processing of NALAC’s document collection, (2) the acquisition of the Visiones documentary series archive, and (3) the solicitation of NALAC member organizations nationwide to participate in the Visiones archival project. NALAC’s holdings document the organization’s role in developing arts spaces and maintaining connections among established arts organizations. Galan’s documentary collection is stored at the UCLA Film and Television Archive. This raw footage includes hundreds of hours of interviews with Latino writers, musicians, arts scholars and artists.