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SJSU Special Collections & Archives

Historical Research Topics and Collections

About SJSU Special Collections & Archives (SC&A)

SJSU Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) acquires, preserves, arranges, describes, and provides access to its rich, diverse holdings of rare and unique books, manuscript collections, institutional records, and other primary sources to support the diverse teaching and research needs of students, faculty, staff, and the larger SJSU community. SC&A is the central repository for the history of San José State University and has a large collection of university, faculty, and student publications, administrative records, photographs, and ephemera. Of particular interest are materials of archival value pertaining to California State Politics, Social Activism, Chicano History and Culture, Women’s Studies, LGBTQ Studies, California and U.S. History, and other holdings of local, regional, and national significance.

SC&A is dedicated to acquiring books and collections that enhance our department’s strengths as well as increase the diversification of our holdings, in formats as well as subjects, e.g., original correspondence, writings, photographs, financial and legal records, pamphlets, journals, artwork, and artifacts. SC&A is also active in digital initiatives and welcomes physical materials that may be digitized, as well as born-digital or electronic records.

SJSU Special Collections & Archives items are non-circulating, and use of archival materials will be permitted in the SC&A Reading Room during open hours only.

Using SJSU Special Collections & Archives

Before coming to the Reading Room, maximize your time with these strategies:

1.  Consult the Library Catalog (OneSearch), SJSU Digital Collections, and the Online Archive of California (OAC) to identify relevant materials. The library catalog can be searched for books and collections. The OAC is collection-specific and features finding aids for collections of personal papers and institutional records at SJSU.

2.  If you need research advice, call the Reading Room at 408-808-2062 or e-mail

3.  The Reading Room is open M-F by appointment only. We are part of a secure area on the 5th floor of the MLK Library that includes our neighbors, the Center for Steinbeck Studies, the Center for Beethoven Studies, and the California Room.

When you arrive, we'll ask you to leave all food and drink outside the Reading Room, place belongings in the storage area, and to register with us.


Classes and Tours

SJSU Special Collections & Archives (SC&A) is available to host visiting classes throughout the year to provide students with hands-on experience using rare books, fine press and artist books, as well as original correspondence, photographs, writings, artifacts, and other materials from our archival collections. Our books and collections are acquired to fit with the SJSU curriculum, including courses in History, Literature, Ethnic Studies, Art History, and Photography. Faculty are encouraged to contact Craig Simpson, Director of Special Collections & Archives, to discuss incorporating SC&A materials in class projects:  Please give us at least two weeks' notice before a proposed class visit as we have to check classroom availability and make a reservation.

To schedule a tour, either for an individual or a group, please contact us at: