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Archives & Manuscripts

American Archives Month, October 2009

“American Archives Month:
Diversity, A Part of the American Dream”

The University of Hawaii has fostered diversity since its founding legislation by the Territorial Legislature specified that no one would be denied access on the basis of age, sex, race or nationality. Initial opposition to expanding the College of Hawaii to the University of Hawaii came in part from landed oligarchy wanting to keep various other racial and ethnic groups as plantation workers. Graduating class photographs demonstrate the diversity of the student body from the institution's beginning despite this opposition.

Racial tensions have always existed both within the University and in the community at large. World War II brought racial issues forward as larger numbers of Mainland haoles came to the Islands as servicemen and civilian workers. Japanese American soldiers, called Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJAs) at the time, found prejudice against them as well as surprising acceptance during their service on the Mainland and overseas.

This online exhibit draws upon several different collections from the department of Archives & Manuscripts. From the University Archives, Graduating Class Photographs show diversity in the student body and letters from the Confidential Research Files of the Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory explore experiences of AJAs during World War II. Photographs and documents from Hawaii War Records Depository (HWRD), established by the Territorial Legislature in 1943, richly document World War II in Hawaii. Two relatively new collections in the department also contribute to this exhibit: the Japanese American Veterans Collection (JAVC) and the Hawaii Congressional Papers Collections.

These materials and items from other collections can be seen on display in the John Troup Moir Jr. & Gertrude M.F. Moir Archives Reading Room on the 5th floor of Hamilton Library on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 5:00pm throughout the month of October. Contact the archives for access to any of these collections.

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University Archives

Graduating Class 1912

Graduating Class Photographs from 1912 (left) and 1915 (right) show a mix of different races and genders, even in the university's early years. (GC1912 & GC1915) Graduating Class 1915
The changes resulting from the raising of College of Hawaii to University status led to a sharp increase in enrollment and a reaction from certain leaders in Hawaii to this liberal arts university. Graduating Class Photographs in the Archives show this increase dramatically. The class of 1917 had three graduates; the class of 1924, the first in which graduates attended all four years at the University of Hawaii, had forty-seven. Graduating Class Photographs for the eight years in this span are on display in the Moir Reading Room exhibit. For the reaction, see Governor's Advisory Committee on Education, Survey of Schools and Industry in Hawaii, Feb. 1931, which includes the Prosser Report to the Committee, in Hawaiian Collection, call number LA2252 .A312 1931. The reports included herein called for severe restriction of the University to admit only a small number of high school graduates and for most liberal arts students to attend Mainland institutions.
A chart created by Archives personnel showing the effects upon enrollment in UH of the legislature's raising College of Hawaii to University of Hawaii, 1917-1926
War Brides Interview Project involved interviews with women, usually from Axis nations, who had married military or civilian men from the United States shortly after World War II. The two images on the left are the first pages of two interviews. Entire transcripts of these two and other interviews are in the exhibit in Moir Reading Room.
AJA Letter from Camp McCoy p1 Letter from an AJA (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) soldier stationed at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, 21 August 1942. The letter discusses anti-Japanese feeling in the Mainland United States and Japanese American women in contrast with those from Hawaii. (AJA 27a, Conf. Res. bx1,6) AJA Letter from Camp McCoy p2

VMail

V-mail was written, microfilmed, sent to the U.S. Mainland (and maybe to Hawaii), printed out on a card roughly one quarter of the size of a standard sheet of paper, and finally delivered to the intended recipient. A piece of V-mail is shown on the left, and a typed (easier to read) version of the message appears on the right. Notice the censored portion of the letter in its fourth paragraph. (AJA 65b, Conf. Res. bx1,24) VMail Text Only
Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory collected student writings on ethnicity, race relations, cultural organizations, generational conflicts written from personal investigations from 1928 to 1967

For more information on the collections in the University Archives, visit the University Archives Homepage.

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Hawaii War Records Depository

World War II is often referred to as a "total war" in the United States, in which the efforts of everyone across the country were focused on winning the war. Hawaii's diverse population heeded this call, and contributions to the war effort extended across racial, cultural, and gender lines. (HWRD Children's Posters Drawer 1j)

Give Til Victory Day Poster

442nd AJAs Hawaii's diversity was reflected in the state's members of the United States military. In 1942, the 100th Infantry Battalion was formed of Japanese American soldiers originally from the 298th and 299th Infantry Regiments.  Later (in 1943), the 442nd Infantry Regiment was formed as a Japanese American combat unit.  These images show soldiers from the 442nd (left) and the 100th (right) fighting for their country in Italy. (HWRD Photos 1453 & 1441) 100th AJAs
He's My Brother Recruitment Poster Recruitment posters like these encouraged Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJAs) to enlist in the armed forces.  Efforts to recruit AJAs increased in early 1943 as a response to the good record of those already in the 100th Infantry Battalion. (HWRD Box 52) My Right to Fight For America Recruitment Poster
Korean War Bond Drive In Hawaii, citizens of all different races mobilized to help the war effort, organizing sales of war bonds aimed at specific subsets of the population.  These images from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin show war bond sales in the Korean (left) and Chinese (right) communities. (HWRD Photos 214 & 232) Chinese War Bond Drive
Women WWII Firefighters During the war, women served their country with a fervor matching that of men, volunteering in the military or the Red Cross, and through less formal channels by organizing scrap drives or charity mailings, working in pineapple fields, or tending victory gardens. (HWRD Photo 2166 & HWRD Children's Posters Drawer 1j) We All Have a Job to Do Poster
WAVES Photo In the Navy, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Services - known as WAVES - replaced men who went to sea on shore duty. The Women's Army Volunteer Corps (WAVC) saw women acting as military bus drivers or office assistants. (HWRD Photos 2145 & 1232) WAVC Walking Image
Soldier's Best Friend Poster The Red Cross was a popular choice for women interested in doing their part to help the war effort.  The Hawaii Chapter alone had thousands of volunteers. Within the organization, women of different backgrounds worked together in tasks as varied as folding bandages, assisting at war bond drives, and providing nursing services. (HWRD Children's Posters Drawer 1j & File 59.02) Red Cross Volunteers Fold Bandages
For more information on the Hawaii War Records Depository, visit the HWRD Homepage.

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Japanese American Veterans Collection (JAVC)

The Japanese American Veterans Collection documents the rich heritage of Hawaii's AJA veterans of World War II and their families, including the 100th Infantry Battalion, Hawaii Territorial Guard, Varsity Victory Volunteers, 442nd RCT, 1399th Engineers, and Military Intelligence Service. JAVC includes papers, photos and other material from individuals and veterans clubs.

JAVC has many U.S. Navy, Army and Signal Corps photos of World War II as well as many taken by individual soldiers.

442nd Soldiers Singing A choir group of 442nd soldiers sings "Abide in Me" at the memorial ceremony for the 72 members of the 2nd Battalion who died in the first month of combat in Italy, July 30, 1944 (HWRD Photo 1439)
A soldier of the 100th Infantry Battalion hangs his laundry while in bivouac in the Chambois Sector, France, October 12, 1944. (HWRD Photo 1520) 100th Soldier Hangs Laundry
USS Waterbury Victory “Go for Broke” the slogan of the 442nd RCT, adorns the bridge of the transport USS Waterbury Victory upon its arrival in Honolulu, bringing the soldiers home from World War II, August 9, 1946. (HWRD Photo 1470)
Hiro Higuchi of Hawaii was one of two chaplains attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Japanese American unit formed in January 1943. Following his enlistment, he attended the U.S. Army Chaplain School at Harvard University. In Nov. 1943, he joined the soldiers of the 442nd RCT for intensive training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. In June 1944 Higuchi accompanied the 442nd RCT to Europe, where he served with the unit in Italy and France. JAVC has an extensive collection of Higuchi’s wartime letters. (HWRD Photo 1454) Hiro Higuchi

For more information on the collections within JAVC, visit the JAVC Homepage.

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Hawaii Congressional Papers Collection
Fong

HIRAM L. FONG PAPERS: 329 linear feet

Fong (1906/7-2004) was the first Asian American in the U.S. Senate and one of the first two senators from Hawaii.

THOMAS P. GILL PAPERS: 98 linear feet

Gill (1922-2009) was Lt. Governor for Gov. John Burns after serving in the U.S. Congress for two years.

Gill
Matsunaga

SPARK M. MATSUNAGA PAPERS: 270 linear feet

Matsunaga (1916-1990) served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for 14 years each and was a decorated veteran of World War II and the famed 100th Infantry Battalion.

PATSY T. MINK MEMORABILIA: 15 linear feet

Mink (1927-2002) was the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Congress and the first Asian American of either gender to run for the U.S. presidential nomination (Oregon primary, 1972).

Mink
Long

OREN E. LONG MEMORABILIA: 6 linear feet

Long (1889-1965) was one of the two first senators from the new state of Hawaii and had formerly been Superintendent of Public Instruction for Hawaii.

PATRICIA F. SAIKI PAPERS: 18 linear feet

Saiki (1930—) was only the second woman from Hawaii to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives and became first woman to serve on the Amfac Board of Directors.

Saiki

For more information on the Hawaii Congressional Papers Collection, visit the HCPC Homepage.

Contributors to the American Archives Month exhibit were James Cartwright and Sherman Seki, University Archives; Ellen Chapman, JAVC and Congressional Papers; and Katie Curler, Hawaii War Records Depository.