New Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory Database

With contribution from the Hawai’i Council for the Humanities and the staff and researchers of the Archives and Manuscripts Department there is a new online database dedicated to the RASRL (Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory) Collection. This is an exciting opportunity for users to search by topic through the many papers in the collection. New ones will constantly be added to the database, providing access to a treasure trove of student research papers covering over fifty years (1920s – 1970s) of personal observations of family, community and workplace relations throughout Hawaii.

The database delivers a wide range of  keywords one can utilize to search the topics discussed in the papers, all related to intimate stories that retell the diverse history of communities found in the Hawaiian islands. The professors of the Sociology Department at the University of Hawaii asked students to look at the world around them and to examine the changes taking place through the lens of sociology. The students went out into the field as interviewers and observers, and their fresh and firsthand perspectives provide details about life – social, on-the-ground history. Race relations, urbanization, autobiographies and generational change are topics that were often discussed in the papers.

Here are just a few examples of subject terms used:

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Through….informal get-togethers people began to realize that they agreed on a lot of things and the other person was a very nice neighbor. Common needs, common sufferings, and similar worries tended to knit these people closer together and made a primary group out of the members of the neighborhood. 
(Hatsune Koto “The Neighborhood”)

Tips to dig into the RASRL database:

  • Browse the subject terms to get a better idea of what topics are being discussed in the papers.
  • Papers have not been scanned but we welcome you to see them in the Hamilton Library Moir Reading Room (Tues – Friday 10AM – 4PM) or by appointment.
  • To see a paper send an email with the call no., title or author of item to

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