Our Collections

Our collections primarily document people and organizations in the 20th- and 21st-century American South.

To search our finding aid database, visit ArchivesSpace.

To view selected items from our collections, visit the GSU Library’s Digital Collections or browse our digital exhibits. To view lesson plans based on items from our collections, see our educator resources.

Southern Labor Archives

The Southern Labor Archives, established in 1971, preserves the history of work and workers in the South, with an emphasis on union records, the personal papers of labor leaders and activists, the records of labor organizations, and oral history recordings. Several industries and employment sectors are prominently represented in the collection:

  • Aviation and other transportation industries
  • Textile and clothing workers
  • Nurses and nursing
  • Food, retail, and service workers

For more information, visit our SLA research guides.

Music and Radio Broadcasting Collections

The Music and Radio Broadcasting Collections began as the Johnny Mercer Collection and grew to include related materials:

  • Other musicians’ and artists’ papers
  • Early country, bluegrass, and Southern gospel music
  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra archives
  • Records of WSB Radio and other Georgia stations

The collection contains more than 14,000 pieces of published sheet music, Tune-Dex cards, and arrangements by American songwriters, as well as 50,000 recordings from a variety of genres.

For more information, read our Music and Radio Broadcasting Collections research guides. You can also search our music-related databases:

Pulp Literature and Zines Collection

The Pulp Literature and Zines Collection began in 2012 with the acquisition of comic books from John Canfield, and the collection grew with the addition of pulp fiction publications. The collection is a favorite among faculty and students engaging in primary source research.

For more information, email archives@gsu.edu.

Women’s Collections

The Women’s Collections chronicle women’s activism and advocacy in Georgia and the Southeast. Within this curatorial area are several notable collections:

  • Donna Novak Coles Georgia Women’s Movement Archives
  • Lucy Hargrett Draper Collections on Women’s Rights, Advocacy and the Law
  • Archives for Research on Women

For more information, read our Women’s Collections research guides.

Gender and Sexuality Collections

The Gender and Sexuality Collections were established in 2011 to document the LGBT+ communities in Georgia and the Southeast. A rapidly growing and heavily used periodical collection includes extensive runs of local newspapers and magazines such as David Atlanta, Etcetera, Southern Voice, and Georgia Voice.

For more information, read our Gender & Sexuality Collections research guides.

Social Change Collections

The Social Change Collections document select social movements and causes, primarily in Georgia:

  • Activism related to the environment, education, and the death penalty
  • Community-building efforts and civic engagement in Atlanta neighborhoods
  • Atlanta’s economic and social development from the mid-20th century to the present

For more information, read our Social Change Collections research guides.

Photographic Collections

Containing over 8 million photographs, the Photographic Collections were established in 1985 with the acquisition of the Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Collection, which contains over 250,000 photographs documenting 20th-century Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution photo archive, our largest photographic collection, containing millions of images of Georgia and the Atlanta area. Individual Atlanta-area photographers are also represented in the collections:

  • Ernest G. Welch
  • Tom Coffin
  • Tracy O’Neal

For more information, visit our Photographic Collections’ digital exhibit or email archives@gsu.edu.

Georgia State University Archives

The Georgia State University Archives documents the history of the institution and includes the following:

  • Permanent records of administrative offices, deliberative bodies, and organizations
  • Memorabilia
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Publications and web archives

Since the consolidation of Georgia State University and Georgia Perimeter College, the Archives also holds the historic records of the former Georgia Perimeter.

For more information, read our University Archives research guides.

Rare Book Collection

The Rare Book Collection contains more than 1,500 titles, with several key strengths:

  • Works of Georgia literature and history
  • Books about the urban South
  • Examples of fine binding and early Georgia imprints

Highlights include several incunabula, a significant collection of Eudora Welty and Joel Chandler Harris titles, and a modest collection of British literature.

For more information, email archives@gsu.edu.