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Asian American Studies: Archival Institutions (primary resources)

This guide is a good place to start in doing research related to Asian American Studies.

Archives and Special Collections


California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, CEMA    (University of California, Santa Barbara)

  • The California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives, also known as CEMA, is a division of the Special Research Collections Department of the University of California, Santa Barbara Library. CEMA is a permanent program that advances scholarship in ethnic studies through its varied collections of primary research materials.

American Memory Collection, Library of Congress

Densho Archives

Densho documents the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy and promote equal justice for all.

Densho is a Japanese term meaning “to pass on to the next generation,” or to leave a legacy. The legacy we offer is an American story with ongoing relevance: during World War II, the United States government incarcerated innocent people solely because of their ancestry.


National Archives and Records Administration

NARA contains documents and records created by the United States Federal government on various topics including family records, US military records, immigration and many more. Some significant collections on Asian and Pacific Americans are noted below.

Library of Congress, American Memory Collection

The oldest federal cultural institution and serves as the research arm of congress. The LOC is the largest library in the world with millions of books, recordings, maps, photographs, and manuscripts in its collections.

Search the Library of Congress online catalog

Library of Congress Finding Aids

South Asian American Digital Archive

The South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA) was founded in 2008 in order to preserve, document, and provide access to primary historical materials that document the history of South Asian American communities. Our collection reflects the vast range of experiences of the South Asian diaspora in the United States, including those who trace their heritage to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the many South Asian diaspora communities across the globe