Southeast Asia Collections at Tomás Rivera Library, UCR

The UCR Southeast Asian collections started in 2005 with the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation and matching funds from the UCR Library. The UCR Library’s collections include extensive resources about Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Currently, we have over 29,000 volumes – 15,000 of which are catalogued – with Vietnamese, Indonesian and Thai titles as top holdings, constituting one of the largest Southeast Asian collections in the UC system. In addition, UCR’s media and music collections hold close to 1,000 DVDs, videos, and audio recordings from across Southeast Asia.

Two highlights from the collections include: 

The Ton Chapab Thai Collection

In addition to the catalogued volumes, this collection of Thai language texts that are in the process of being catalogued includes more than 10,000 rare books from the Ton Chapab collection of 19th and 20th century. Among the highlights of the acquisitions are a rare seven-volume Thai encyclopedia of Chinese literature; very rare photo albums of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), who died in 1910; numerous political speeches; a large number of hard-to-find Buddhist sermons; many Thai art books; and a large collection of rare cremation texts distributed during funeral ceremonies of Thai dignitaries, royalty and important monks. Limited numbers of such texts are typically printed — as few as 100, in some cases — so many of those in the Ton Chapab collection are the only ones to be found in North America or Europe. The collection was amassed by Professor Justin McDaniel, a former faculty member in Religious Studies at UCR, in cooperation with the professor and collector, Thongchai Likhitpornsawa. 

The David W. P. Elliott Collection of Vietnamese Studies

The Vietnamese collection is the largest of the Southeast Asian collections. At its core are the volumes in the Vietnamese language given to the Library by David W. P. Elliott, Professor Emeritus of Politics at Pomona College, which document Vietnamese literature, history, politics, economics, ethnography, anthropology, and sociology, throughout the period of the Vietnam War, encompassing both sides of the conflict. Professor Elliott spent many years in Vietnam during the Vietnam War era performing academic research for his own studies as well as for the RAND Corporation. During this time, he acquired a large collection of original books in the Vietnamese language covering a wide range of topics. Most were published in South Vietnam. Some, acquired in Hong Kong, were published by the National Liberation Front for South Vietnam or by the North. After the war, he returned to Vietnam, and was able to acquire many books published in North Vietnam during the war and after. A small number of publications are in English or French. This is a collection, now unavailable as original publications, that reflects the war period and encompasses both sides of the conflict in Vietnam. The rest represent retrospective works on the war North and South, or reflect conditions in Vietnam following the war.