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Ethnic History Resources: Home


Pencil sketches by Sumiko Kobayashi, incarcerated at Topaz War Relocation Center in Topaz, Utah [Sumiko Kobayashi papers MSS073]
HSP’s collections document the experiences of over sixty ethnic groups in the United States. Areas of strength include African American, Chinese, German, Greek, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Jewish, Native American, Polish, Puerto Rican, Slovak, and Ukrainian communities in the United States. There is also substantial documentation on the history of American nativism and ethnic stereotyping.

The following is a small sampling of collections and sources available at HSP. Please refer to our online catalog for information about our books, images, journals, manuscripts, maps, and other items in our collection. You may also want to browse through the Balch Manuscript Guide, which describes holdings by ethnic designation. You can also contact a Reference Librarian for further assistance.

Finding aids or inventories are available for many of these collections. Many are referenced directly from that collection's record in our online catalog; other finding aids are posted here. In some cases, finding aids are available only in paper format at HSP's Reference Desk. See a Reference Librarian for assistance.

Ethnic history materials at HSP include:

  • hundreds of ethnic newspapers and other serials in hardcopy or on microfilm;

  • records and publications of ethnically based fraternal organizations, service agencies, cultural projects, media organs, and religious congregations;

  • immigrant families’ letters, diaries, photographs, and scrapbooks;

  • ethnically based businesses’ financial records, correspondence, and advertising;

  • literature, art, and music of many different ethnic and immigrant communities;

  • advocacy groups’ legal, civic, and organizational records;

  • published materials such as biographies, travel accounts, phrasebooks, political pamphlets, government reports, and family histories;

  • research files from scholars studying specific communities;

  • analyses of U.S. society and culture focusing on ethnicity, migration, racism and race relations, cultural transformation, and transnational identities;

  • photographs, prints, and drawings documenting many ethnic groups;

  • posters and broadsides that present ethnic images and stereotypes; and

  • published and unpublished materials regarding ethnic persecution and resistance.

In addition to the collections noted in the African American Collections subject guide, Chinese Genealogy Resources subject guide, Jewish Resources subject guide.