California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives Logo

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.

These unique collections document the lives and activities of African Americans, Asian/Pacific Americans, Chicanos/Latinos, and Native Americans in California. The collections represent the cultural, artistic, ethnic, gender, and racial diversity that characterizes the state's population. Its materials are widely used not only by scholars but also in K-12 classrooms and museum exhibitions. Organizations and individuals have committed to establishing their personal papers and archival materials for preservation and to be made accessible for research and study.  

Antonio Salazar  Photograph found in the Antonio Salazar Chicanismo Photograph Collection (CEMA 177).

CEMA was established to:

  • Enable and enhance research efforts to study the ethnic and racial diversity of the state and nation and attendant demographic and social issues
  • Support study and research in many disciplines, such as art, history, literature, sociology, political science, and economics
  • Enrich the academic work of the ethnic studies departments in the University of California
  • Enhance the recruitment of underrepresented faculty and students
  • Develop monographs, exhibition catalogs, and other publications
  • Ensure, by preserving the materials, that future generations have access to the important historical documents

Types of Acquisitions Sought

There are two categories of materials which form CEMA. The first consist of personal papers of individuals including correspondence, diaries, speeches, photographs, manuscripts, and memorabilia. The second type consist of organizational records. These document the history of an institution and include reports, minutes of meetings, agenda, memoranda, and publications.

The UCSB Library has committed major funding to CEMA. Supplemental funding has come from sources such as the Ford Foundation, the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States, the Federal Library Services and Technology Act and the University of California Office of the President. This support has made it possible to organize, process, catalog, and make accessible the materials that are being made available for study and research.

Makers of History

Scholars tell us that thousands of records are destroyed every day. These include hand-written meeting notes, correspondence, and drafts of creative works. Those who make history are usually too close to the process to note that their desks and files are filled with primary source material. They may also have the mistaken notion that libraries are not interested in the day-to-day records of individuals, groups, and organizations.

What You Can Do

Please consult with us so that together we can determine the future research value of manuscript and archival materials in your possession. Your donation could be a unique opportunity for you to leave a legacy for future generations. You can also help us identify other collections that should be preserved as part of the social, cultural, political, and economic history of the ethnic minority community. We will take full responsibility for organizing and processing your materials; at UCSB they will be located in a repository that is both secure and available to researchers.


Additional Resources

To access finding aids and view more information about our collections, please visit the CEMA Collections page.

For assistance submitting requests call (805) 893 - 3062 during normal hours of business.
For reading room and general inquiries:
For other specialized research inquiries, browse the department directory: Curators & Staff

Chancellor's Statement