Special Collections & Archives Banner

You are here

Main Content

About the Collections

Special Collections & Archives is comprised of six areas within the library that were independently established between the 1970s and 1990s. In 1993 the Urban Archives Center, University Archives, and Special Collections areas were combined, and became Special Collections & Archives. The Old China Hands Archives was added in 1996, the International Guitar Research Archives in 2000, and the Tom & Ethel Bradley Center in 2018. While each group of collections has a unique history, patrons can access all materials in the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room (Library, Second Floor, room 228.) See also our list of former directors, curators, and archivists.

Materials in all of Special Collections & Archives' five areas have been used in several grant-funded projects on campus. These include a Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant Project, a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant, and others.

Antique booksSpecial Collections

Special Collections was formally established in the early 1970s to house the Library’s manuscripts, rare books, periodicals, maps, prints, and art. Collections are open for research.



photograph of Vahdah Olcott BickfordInternational Guitar Research Archives (IGRA)

The International Guitar Research Archives (IGRA) was founded in 1980 by Professor Ronald C. Purcell upon the donation of the Vahdah Olcott-Bickford Collection to California State University, Northridge.



Chinese characterOld China Hands Archives

The Old China Hands Archives was established in the fall of 1996 by Professor Robert Gohstand to preserve and publicize the heritage of the many people from other countries who have lived in China.



san fernando valley state collegeUniversity Archives & Campus History

The University Archives is the repository for the historical papers of California State University, Northridge's administration, Faculty Senate, schools and departments, and student activities on campus.



cascadesUrban Archives

The Urban Archives was established in 1979 to collect historically significant records of the organizations and citizens who have contributed to the growth of Los Angeles County.



thumbnail from bradley center collectionsTom & Ethel Bradley Center Collections

The Bradley Center was established in 1981 by Dr. Kent Kirkton to disseminate the visual history of Southern California with an emphasis on ethnic minority communities and photographers.