CRL Collections: Late 20th Century

The Center for Research Libraries holds a wide variety of materials that may be utilized in the study and teaching of the history of the struggle for human rights in the 20th century. From news and broadcast reports to publications of non-commercial and non-governmental organizations, CRL's serial holdings contain valuable source documentation. Examples include holdings of South Africa Outlook, which since 1870 has documented racial affairs in Africa; Indonesian political tabloids following the fall of Suharto; and newspapers that documented the tumultuous events of Liberia's two civil wars, even as the press buildings were looted and destroyed.

Considerably more documentation may be found in the print and microfilm sets of archives and collections of ephemera acquired through the CRL's Demand Purchase Program, the Purchase Proposal Program, and the work of the Area Studies Microform projects. The following list highlights major and interesting collections of materials available to CRL members.


Human Rights Documents. Africa (OCLC# 11202638).

This microfilm set from IDC offers coverage of various NGOs concerned with human rights and social justice in Africa. Contents include publications from organizations in the U.S. (e.g., Africa News Service, American Committee on Africa), Europe (Committee on South African War Resistance), and Africa (primarily Southern Africa). An index is available from the Center (OCLC# 16116718).

Somalia Newspapers, post-Barre period (OCLC# 35450242, 43791290, Somalia Reports, post-Barre period (OCLC# 35450243, 43791286, 43791288).

These collections of newspapers published in Mogadishu, Hargeisa, and other locations following the overthrow of Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, document the growing instability and violence within the country. The Somalia reports document relief organizations on the ground in Somalia and the increasing risks and challenges they faced. Indexes are available on the first microfiche of each set.

Latin America

Brasil—Nunca Mais Project (OCLC# 31811010).

The Latin American Microform Project (LAMP) holds 543 rolls of microfilm containing court documents (processos) from Brazil's Military Supreme Court. These proceedings document the cases of over 7,000 persons arrested and/or charged and/or convicted and/or executed by the Court between 1964–1979. The official records, which were copied in secret, document human rights violations by the military government in Brazil during this period.

This vast collection is described and indexed in the 12-volume publication Projeto "Brasil, nunca mais" (OCLC# 47935623), also filmed by LAMP.

Documenting the Peruvian Insurrection (OCLC# 77527458).

Documenting the Peruvian Insurrection is a collection of ephemera that includes printed materials authored by the Sendero Luminoso and reports of the Peruvian government institutions trying to contain the insurrection launched by this group. The contents provide illumination on the motivations of all parties and the atrocities inflicted in the conflict documented in Gustavo Gorriti Ellenbogen's "The Shining Path: A History of the Millenarian War in Peru" (1999). This documentation purportedly is second only to the records collected by the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission convened in 2001. A detailed collection guide is available from the Center (OCLC# 77528626), and also online.

Fundación P.I.D.E.E. archive (OCLC# 61312328).

The Fundación para la Protección de la Infancia Dañada por los Estados de Emergencia (P.I.D.E.E.) was founded in 1979 during the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile in order to address the needs of children and relatives affected by the brutal repression of the military government.

From 1973–1990, the Pinochet regime repressed civil rights and routinely detained, imprisoned, tortured, or executed thousands of political opponents and ordinary citizens. PIDEE was established to provide medical, psychological, and educational assistance to children and teenagers who suffered, either directly or indirectly, from the repression and violence of the military regime. The case files document the work of PIDEE with these children, as well as services for families reunified after returning from exile. LAMP worked with the organization, as well as Harvard University's PLALA program, to organize and preserve the written case files.

Guatemala News and Information Bureau archive, 1963–2000 (OCLC# 61728183).

Series 5 of the "Latin American history and culture series" (Civil War, society, and political transition in Guatemala) consists of the archive of the Guatemala News and Information Bureau (GNIB), a center based in Berkeley, California devoted to research on human rights and other issues in Guatemala. The collection documents a wide variety of issues, including political organizations, social and cultural issues, foreign policy, and human rights spanning the 1963 to 2000 timeframe.

Of particular note are the collections of ephemera relating to politics and government, human rights, and popular and democratic organizations. Also included in the collection are runs of more than 125 serials, including many NGO and human rights publications received and collected by the GNIB. The collection also offers published pamphlets and reports on human rights and politics as well as news clippings on a variety of subjects. A detailed collection guide is available from the Center (OCLC# 77538628), and also online.

North American Congress on Latin America Archive of Latin Americana (OCLC# 39128578).

The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA) was founded in 1966 by a group of individuals and organizations on the political left in reaction to U.S. intervention in Latin American politics and economies. The organization's archive contains a wide range of primary and secondary source documentation, including serials, reports, fliers, pamphlets, posters, manuscripts, and correspondence. The contents "examine the interrelationships between multiple forms of social exclusion—class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality—that are at the heart of the ongoing militarism, human rights violations, environmental destruction, and poverty that plague the region."1

The NACLA Archive consists of country files with topical subdivisions, including sections on politics, government, socioeconomic conditions, agriculture, solidarity groups, human and civil rights, racial groups, women and gender issues, culture, church and religion, and environment and ecology.

Records exist in CRL's catalog for each country, with detailed content statements. A detailed collection guide is available in print from the Center (OCLC# 40727190), and also online.

Princeton University Latin American Pamphlet collection (OCLC# 55013846).

Princeton University has a strong history of collecting important ephemera (pamphlets, posters, noncommercial serials, working papers, and government publications) from all over Latin America. These materials often represent the only available information on regional and national movements, parties, and organizations on religious, educational, political, social, and economic topics.2 The extensive collection provides the researcher with important primary source documentation on social, economic, and political changes in Latin America. The set has particular strengths in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, and Nicaragua, but contains documentation from most countries in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

The material is organized by country and according to particular topics, including politics; government; socioeconomic conditions; agriculture; constitutions; laws and codes; human and civil rights; racial groups; women and gender issues; culture; and church and religion. Individual records for each country and topic exist in CRL's catalog. A detailed collection guide is available from the Center (OCLC# 28225005).

South Asia

South Asia Ephemera Collection: Human Rights Series.

Reports and pamphlets from varying organizations are routinely captured by the Library of Congress field offices in New Delhi and microfiched as part of their "South Asia ephemera collection" series. Materials include documents from such organizations as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Indian Social Institute, Institute of Kashmir Studies, People's Union for Democratic Rights, and the Institute of Human Rights in Sri Lanka.

Items filmed in these series are generally not cataloged by title and are described only by a series record such as "Human Rights in India, Part 2." While the LC field office tracks titles via a local database, this finding aid is restricted by IP authentication. For the purposes of this article, detailed title lists for sets with human rights publications available at the Center can be found at this link on the SAMP collections page.

Southeast Asia

Khmer Rouge top secret Santebal (S-21) archives (OCLC# 43597719).

This collection of records of the Khmer Rouge state police archives was preserved by the Documentation Center of Cambodia and gained international attention as part of the records being used as evidence by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. An article on this collection was featured in the Fall 2005 issue of FOCUS.

Thai National Collection— publications relating to the Karen State.

Collected by the Library of Congress field staff in Jakarta and Bangkok on behalf of the Center, a number of publications published in Thailand are available relating to the forced migration and displacement of the minority Karen people in Myanmar. A sample of publications include:

  • The 1997 offensives: suffering and struggle for identity and justice of the ethnic Karen in Burma (OCLC# 39648383)
  • Conflict and displacement in Karenni: the need for considered approaches (OCLC# 44574917)
  • Forgotten victims of a hidden war: internally displaced Karen in Burma (OCLC# 41904043)
  • Karen IDPs report: the plight of internally displaced persons in Mu Traw district of Burma (OCLC# 70663518).

1 From "About NACLA" (accessed November 28, 2007).

2 From publisher's catalog: (accessed November 28, 2007).