The Department of Archives and Special Collections is the Library's major resource for rare and archival materials covering an extensive range of topics, formats, and periods. Research strengths include Jesuit and Marymount history, Catholic history of Los Angeles, the Reformation with an emphasis on Thomas More, seventeenth-nineteenth century English and American literature, twentieth century Japanese art, and postcards. The Department houses the historical archives of the University, a broad range of manuscript collections, and the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Center for the Study of Los Angeles Research Collection. Please read more about our collections below. 

For assistance with searching our collections, please contact us via our Ask Archives and Special Collections form.
  • The Department of Archives and Special Collections' holdings include a wide variety of art works and historical artifacts. Among these are paintings, prints, sculpture, religious vestments, movie props, and other cultural objects. Our oldest artifact is a Chinese battle helmet dating from the 2nd or 3rd century CE.

  • The Department of Archives and Special Collections' audiovisual materials are comprised of over 3,800 hours of recordings (approximately 7,100 items). Los Angeles history in the late 20th century is highlighted in six of our non-commercial, news and public affairs television collections. Two collections hold production files including administrative notes, script revisions, shooting schedules, contracts, and expense reports. This section also contains documentaries on Jesuit missions in South America. A selection of programs from the KCET-TV Collection of Life and Times video recordings (CSLA-37) have been digitized and made available on the Internet Archive through a partnership with the California Audiovisual Preservation Project (CAVPP).

  • The Department of Archives and Special Collections houses manuscript collections of value for Los Angeles history and politics, motion picture and television history, the Civil War, the performing arts, and literature. Types of collections and materials include personal papers, motion picture and television scripts, maps, and photographs.

  • With over one million postcards, the Department of Archives and Special Collections holds one of the largest publicly accessible postcard collections in the United States. LMU’s postcard collections are comprised of thematic cards and view cards from all over the world. A selection of postcards has been digitized and made available online in the LMU Digital Collections The Changing Face of Southern California: A History in Postcards and Werner von Boltenstern Postcard Collection.

  • The Department of Archives and Special Collections houses over twelve thousand rare books. The strengths of our premiere book collections include first editions of important British and American literature, works by and about Thomas More and his world, Catholic authors, incunabula and other early printed works, and materials from early Southern California family collections.

  • The Department of Archives and Special Collections' manuscript holdings include the Center for the Study of Los Angeles (CSLA) Research Collection which emphasizes papers of Los Angeles public officials, Los Angeles real estate and industrial developers, reformers and reform movements, principally in late twentieth-century Los Angeles, and prominent Roman Catholic families in Los Angeles.

  • The Archives of Loyola Marymount University begin with records of Los Angeles' first institution of higher learning, St. Vincent's College, and continue through early Marymount School to present day Loyola Marymount University. More than one thousand linear feet of artifacts, manuscripts and other media document the history of Loyola Marymount University and its predecessors.