Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection
Bulk Dates: 1960-2007
112.63 linear feet
Language of Materials:
Abstract: Rodolfo Francisco Acuña is a renowned
historian, educator, activist, and scholar. In 1969, Dr. Acuña became the first
professor in the Mexican American Studies Department (now Chicana and Chicano Studies
Department) at California State University, Northridge. The Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection
documents the academic career of Rodolfo "Rudy" Acuña, whose work was at the
forefront of the Chicano Movement and who was instrumental in the creation of the
Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at California State University, Northridge. The
collection contains works authored by Acuña, especially books, early drafts of
unpublished works, extensive research notes, correspondence, subject files, and
materials pertaining to the trial between Dr. Acuña and the Regents of the University of
This collection was processed in part under a U.S. Department of Education Title V
Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Grant.
Rodolfo Francisco Acuña was born in 1932 in Los Angeles, California. He earned his
bachelor's degree and master's degrees at Los Angeles State College (now
California State University, Los Angeles), and his PhD in History at the University of
Southern California. A renowned scholar activist, Dr. Acuña became the first professor
in the Mexican American Studies Department (now Chicana and Chicano Studies Department)
at California State University Northridge in 1969.
Acuña quickly developed forty-five courses in the department, creating the foundation
for the largest Chicano Studies program in the nation. In 1972, Acuña published his book
Occupied America: The Chicano's Struggle Toward
a work about the Chicano community's history, which has been
praised as the "Chicano Studies Bible." Since then, Acuña has continued
working to grow and develop the department, using programs like
Operation Chicano Professor in 1975.
After being denied a position at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1991, Dr.
Acuña sued the Regents of the University of California on the grounds they had
discriminated against him on the basis of age, race, and political orientation. He
ultimately won on the grounds of age discrimination in 1996. Acuña's supporters
formed the group Friends of Rudy (FOR) to raise funds and awareness for Acuña over the
duration of the lawsuit.
During his years as a professor of Chicano Studies at CSUN, Acuña's research and
publications have touched on a host of topics including immigration, racial relations,
local politics, education, and Chicano and Chicana rights. Three of his books have
received the Gustavus Myers Award for the Outstanding Book on Race Relations in North
Corridors of Migration: The Odyssey of Mexican Laborers,
was named an Outstanding Academic Title by
Acuña received the Distinguished Scholar award from the National Association for Chicano
Studies in 1989. In 2008, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National
Hispanic Institute. His community activism has been recognized by the Emil Freed Award
for Community Service from the Southern California Social Science Library, the
Founder's Award from the Liberty Hill Foundation, the Historian of the Lions Award
from the Center for the Study of Political Graphics, and the Activist/Scholar Award from
the Community Coalition of South Central Los Angeles. For his contributions to the
discipline of Chicano Studies and lifelong commitment to activism and advocacy he is
known as the "Father of Chicano Studies."
This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Association of Mexican
American Educators (Calif.)
Los Angeles Unified School
District. Board of Education.
San Fernando Valley State
Seasonal Farm Laborers
University of California,
Genre/Form of Material:
Age discrimination in employment --
Agricultural laborers --
Education, Bilingual --
Grape Strike, Calif., 1965-1970
Mexican Americans -- Civil rights
Mexican Americans -- Education --
Robert G. Marshall, Luis Moreno, and Monica Valenzuela, 2007 and 2008
Greg Gonzalez and Ben Salin, 2013
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has been transferred to California State University, Northridge or
is in the public domain. Copyright status for other materials is unknown.
Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17,
U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the
copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited
without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests
exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
Rodolfo F. Acuña
, Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt Library, California
State University, Northridge.
Arrangement of Materials:
Series I. Writings, 1956-2007
Subseries A: Books, 1972-2004
Subseries B: Chapters in Books, Journals & Magazine Articles, 1970-2004
Subseries C: Book Reviews, 1985-2000
Subseries D: Political Essays, 1986-2004
Subseries E: Unpublished Works, 1970-1991
Subseries F: Early Writings, 1956-1965
Series II. Personal Files, 1932-2000
Subseries A: Biographical, 1932-1961
Subseries B: Academic, 1952-1968
Subseries C: Articles About, 1985-2000
Subseries D: Awards, 1986-1999
Series III. Correspondence, 1961-2000
Series IV. Research Files, 1890-2004
Subseries A: Archival Research, 1857-1962
Subseries B: Articles, 1906-2004
Subseries C: Books, 1890-2004
Subseries D: Court Cases, 1970-1999
Subseries E: Journals, 1968-2002
Subseries F: Magazines, 1960-2001
Subseries G: Manuscripts, 1999-2000
Subseries H: Newsletters, 1966-2000
Subseries I: Pamphlets, 1954-2000
Subseries J: Theses and Dissertations, 1912-2001
Subseries K: Notes, 1972-1990
Subseries L: Note Cards, circa 1970-1990
Subseries M: Complete Newspaper Issues, 1969-1999
Series V. Subject Files, 1926-2000
Series VI. Chicano Studies Department, 1969-1999
Series VII. Multimedia, 1816-1988
Series VIII. Acuña vs. Regents of the University of California Files, 1962-2000
Subseries A: Court Documents, 1992-1996
Subseries B: Depositions, 1993-1995
Subseries C: Correspondence, 1981-1997
Subseries D: Research Files, 1962-2000
Subseries E: Trial Exhibits, 1966-1995
Subseries F: Friends of Rudy Acuña Committee (FOR), 1991-1998
Scope and Contents
The Rodolfo F. Acuña Collection documents the academic career of Rodolfo
"Rudy" Acuña, whose work was at the forefront of the Chicano Movement and who
was instrumental in the creation of the Mexican American Studies Department (now Chicana
and Chicano Studies) at California State University, Northridge. The collection contains
works authored by Acuña, especially books, early drafts of unpublished works, extensive
research notes, and subject files. Correspondence between Acuña and his contemporaries
is included, as well as biographical items about him. A large portion of the collection
is dedicated to materials pertaining to the trial between Dr. Acuña and the Regents of
the University of California system. Some of these materials include flyers, posters,
memorabilia, and newsletters. The collection consists of eight series: Writing
(1956-2007), Personal Files (1932-2000), Correspondence (1961-2000), Research Files
(1890-2004), Subject Files (1926-2000), Chicano Studies Department (1969-1999),
Multimedia (1816-1988), and Acuña vs. the Regents of the University of California
Series I, Writing, contains materials that Acuña authored throughout his career.
Materials have been separated into six subseries. Books (1972-2004), contains various
editions of his books, galley proofs, typescript pages, proposals, publisher agreements,
and peer reviews. These are arranged in alphabetical order according to book title.
Chapters in Books, Journals & Magazine articles (1970-2004), contains works Acuña
wrote for different publications. These items are arranged alphabetically by title of
the work. Book Reviews (1985-2000), documents his review of other scholarship in his and
related fields. It is arranged alphabetically by title of the work. Political Essays
(1986-2004), is arranged chronologically by the year the piece was written. Unpublished
Works (1970-1991) and Early Writings (1956-1965), are arranged by title of the work.
Series II, Personal Files, contains biographical items pertaining to Acuña's life.
This series is split into four subseries. Biographical (1932-1961) includes Acuña's
birth certificate and military records. Academic (1952-1968) consists of awards and
certificates he has received, as well as research papers, final oral examinations,
notes, bluebooks, yearbooks, and a curriculum vitae.This subseries is arranged
alphabetically by title of the university he attended. Articles About (1985-2000)
contains articles written by authors regarding Dr. Acuña, and is arranged alphabetically
according to the author's last name. Awards (1986-1999) contains awards he won over
the years, and consists of certificates, folio-sized awards, and plaques. These
materials are arranged alphabetically according to the institute that granted them.
Series III, Correspondence, consists of handwritten and typed correspondence exchanged
between Acuña and his friends and colleagues, including Edward Roybal, Jerome Richfield,
Julian Nava, Delmar T. Oviatt, and Cesar Chavez, and documents conversations both
professional and personal, with topics including drug use in the barrio, university
boycotts, Chicano/Chicana civil rights, the United Farm Workers/AFL-CIO, and affairs at
California State University, Northridge. The series is arranged alphabetically according
to last name.
Series IV, Research Files, consists of materials that Acuña compiled and used as a part
of his research throughout the years, and is arranged by format. It is split into twelve
subseries: Archival Research (1857-1962), Articles (1906-2004), Books (1890-2004), Court
Cases (1970-1999), Journals (1968-2002), Magazines (1960-2001), Manuscripts (1999-2000),
Newsletters (1966-2000), Pamphlets (1954-2000), Theses and Dissertations (1912-2001),
Notes (1972-1990), Note Cards (ca. 1970-1990), and Complete Newspaper Issues
(1969-1999). Topics covered include social injustice, women's rights, the Zoot Suit
Riots, the Sleepy Lagoon case, Mexico City, the 1933 Cotton Strike, Chavez Ravine, and
the United Farm Workers movement. Each subseries is arranged alphabetically.
Series V, Subject Files, documents Acuña's personal interests and general research
conducted by him independent of a specific book or other research project. Topics
covered include the Los Angeles riots, Proposition 187, labor union issues, the
California State University system, Chicano/Chicana creative arts, the Los Angeles
Police Department, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, migrant farm workers,
and La Raza. This series consists of many clippings from newspapers and magazines,
research reports, census information, programs, flyers, announcements, minutes, and
booklets. The series is arranged alphabetically by subject.
Series VI, Chicano Studies Department, documents the establishment of the Chicana and
Chicano Studies Department at California State University, Northridge, and contains
materials such as early department proposals, course proposals, teacher training
manuals, annual reports, correspondence, meeting minutes, brochures, and graduation
announcements. These materials are arranged alphabetically by item type.
Series VII, Multimedia, consists of different types of media, including videocassettes,
photographs, negatives, audio reels, and microfilm. The series contains features and
interviews with Acuña, documentaries, political forums, official government records, and
covers topics such as the bracero migration of the 1950s, the protests at UCSB, and
issues affecting Mexican Americans in the southwest. The series is arranged
alphabetically, and separated by the form of media.
Series VIII, Acuña vs. the Regents of the University of California, has been divided
into six subseries. Court Documents (1992-1996) contains official court materials such
as clerks transcripts, declarations, exhibit lists, objections, transcripts, and notices
of depositions. The subseries is arranged by the court the trial took place in.
Depositions (1993-1995) contains depositions from individuals involved in the trial.
They are arranged by the last name of the individual. Correspondence (1981-1997)
includes letters between Acuña and others regarding the case. This subseries is arranged
by last name of the correspondent. Research Files (1962-2000) contains a vast amount of
research used during the trial. It contains items such correspondence about the case,
aggregate summaries, materials produced during the case, numerous CVs, court reference
material, and witness lists. They are arranged alphabetically by title of the subject.
Trial Exhibits (1966-1995) contains trial exhibits used during the case. They are
arranged according to the court stamp number assigned to them. Friends of Rudy (FOR)
Acuña Committee (1991-1998) includes items used by the committee to raise funds for
Acuña during his trial, especially correspondence, tickets for events, memorabilia,
advertisements, and newspaper articles. Items are arranged alphabetically by type.