Archival Collections

Oral History Program

Contact Information

Ali F. Igmen, Ph.D., Program Director
Office: FO2-116
Phone: (562) 985-8765

General Information

We are in the process of putting many of our oral history collections online at the Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive site.

You can go directly to that site to access many of our oral histories in Labor History, Long Beach History and Women’s History, or you can click on any of the following items to learn more about the collections and to determine if they are available online.

Archival Collections

The Oral History Collections at California State University, Long Beach have been assembled from a number of sources. Some interviews were conducted by faculty as part of larger research projects. Others were done by students as part of their course work, including Masters of Art theses. Still others come from nonuniversity related sources and have been deposited in the library because they are relevant to other materials available there.

Except for the 45 volume set of transcripts in the Rosie the Riveter collection, and the donated collection on Women in the Military, WWII, most of the interviews have not been transcribed. However, each is accompanied by a tape summary/log that enables the researcher to select the appropriate passage for audio review. As noted above, major holdings in the Long Beach Area History, labor history, and women’s history collections are now available on line at

Arts in Southern California
Begun in 1974, this collection consists of oral histories of over ninety composers, performer and educators in southern California. They focus on the 1930s to the 1950s, with particular emphasis on the emigre experience.

Asian/Asian-American History
The three series in this collection include: Southeast Asian immigrants; the former residents of the Terminal Island fishing community and the Signal Hill area, and Asian American women’s movement activists. The latter two series are incorporated into the Long Beach Area history and Women’s History Collections, respectively.

The Southeast Asian series consists of recorded interviews in English, Khmer and Laotian, as well as English summaries of unrecorded and/or untranslated interviews. A portion of the Cambodian interviews were conducted by students engaged in either individual research projects or as part of their course work for Cambodian History Culture and Immigration. In addition to several full length life histories, the interviews cover a range of topics, including life under French colonial rule, World War II, the independence movement, peasant life and community, and religion. Another set of interviews, conducted in Cambodia, in Khmer, focuses on life after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.

The Southeast Asian series also includes a few interviews with Laotians (in Lao) and Hmong (in English). However, these are not yet available for general use.

Chicano/a Mexican-American History
These interviews, conducted by students with members of the Mexican American/Chicano community deal with the Mexican revolution, immigration to the US, the movimiento and Chicano politics, and Chicana feminism. See also Women’s History collection for interviews that focus on the daily lives of Mexicanas/Chicanas, and their WWII work experiences, and the Labor History collection, for interviews with Chicano furniture workers. A few interviews with Mexican-American/Chicano labor activists are presently available online at

Community History
This collection includes interviews with early residents of Huntington Beach, various segments of the city of Klamath [some of these interviews will remain closed until 2004], and members of the Wilmington-San Pedro area.

Labor History
Interviews with both recognized labor leaders like Genora Johnson Dollinger and Stan Weir as well as those with more obscure labor activists, particularly women, are included in this collection. In addition to the life history interviews with these labor movement activists, this collection includes interviews with Chicano furniture workers, Long Beach area oil workers, and a special project on the desegregation of the Los Angeles labor movement during WWII. These, as well as interviews women garment workers are all available online at

Long Beach Area History
The interviews in this series focus on the three harbor area communities. Included are interviews with Issei and Nissei who lived in the Japanese fishing village on Terminal Island (LA Harbor) or on Signal Hill until their forced evacuations in 1941-2; men and women who recall the impact of the discovery and exploitation of petroleum and the building of social institutions in Signal Hill and Long Beach; narrators who struggled to find the cause of and ways to end subsidence in Long Beach harbor; and the subsequent impact on the community of the establishment of the state college in 1949. All of these interviews are available online at

University History
The history of CSULB is traced through interviews with some of its faculty, staff, and students. Some of these will be incorporated into Long Beach History pages of the

Women’s History
Gluck, which documented the lives of women in the early 20th century, and includes interviews with suffragists, early twentieth century labor activists, birth control advocates, and women involved in radical and revolutionary social movements in the US. Additionally, there are life histories interviews that document the daily life of ordinary women dating back to the early part of the twentieth century. These were conducted by Gluck