Aloha, my name is Yeajin (Jin) Park, and I am a new intern in the archives and manuscript department for Spring 2023. I received my M.A. in archives from South Korea, and I came to the U.H. Library in an internship program dispatched by the Korea Foundation. My primary affiliation here is the Asia Collection Department. Still, my supervisor, Ellie Kim, the Korean Studies librarian, took into account my background in archival studies and introduced me to Dawn Sueoka, the Congressional Papers Archivist. So, during this 2023 Spring semester, I will also work at the Archives and Manuscript Department. I am genuinely grateful for this opportunity. Mahalo to Ellie and Dawn, once again, for letting me have this chance.
My main interests in the field are personal (or private) archives, audiovisual archives, and archival content. Among them, I like to understand people in the past by tracking what has remained.
For that, I am very excited to participate in our Neil Abercrombie Collection Processing project, in which I will be mainly writing scope notes and organizing scattered materials by the office’s function.
A fun fact about me: I have written (a sort of) scope notes in my diary and photos since I was in the first grade. On the cover of the diary, I wrote the creation date and the last date with my age at the time, and on the back of pictures, I wrote the year of shooting (if the date is not taken on front) and the names of the people in the picture (e.g. my closest friend).
Approach and methods
My goal is to get to know Abercrombie retroactively through his archives, especially his speech.
Speech is one of the most accessible documents to get to know someone, because it directly reflects the speaker’s thoughts and can encapsulate a lot of information about the person in a straightforward document.
The Abercrombie collection is yet to be physically fully processed, so I used our internal use inventory(a master inventory) as a finding aid in addition to ArchivesSpace.
Unlike the Inouye Collection, where the speech files are intellectually and physically placed into one class, the Abercrombie Collection’s speech-related materials are currently scattered in several boxes and are to be served in ArchivesSpace.
According to the inventory, there were several folders whose sub-series were “speeches,” which were more like preparations for a certain speech rather than manuscripts/transcripts. Thus what I could actually find was newspaper clippings, memorandum, and letters and emails whose recipient is Abercombie.
And finally! I came across a folder called “Speech on Maui.” This was a transcript of his speech, supposedly in the early 2000s. It is organized into hierarchies of “Personal (Series) – Campaigns (Subseries) – and U.S. House 2002 (Sub-subseries).” This 10-page document doesn’t have a particular scope note or any other description, but considering the content of the speech, we can find out that it was a campaign speech on Maui in the early 2000s.
So to achieve the goal I mentioned above, I set this paper to the subject material for the project and got through it carefully, especially focusing on remarks and reiterations to be found.
I believe it was a good choice because there were A LOT of things dealt with in this one speech. What the relationship between Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neil implies, why he kept depicting Gingrich as a disheartening man, the 442nd Infantry Regiment, Rice v. Cayetano case, the term “haole,” and so on. Many symbolic persons, events, and concepts appeared. However, I decided that more study of the history of the United States and Hawaiʻi was necessary for this part. Today, I tried to approach him with a lighter sentiment. However, I will research and process the collection more deeply.
This speech is a campaign speech that took place in the early 2000s. The audience for this speech is Maui constituency.
In his speech, we can find some remarks where he emphasized the importance of history, which reflects his background. On top of that, I could also feel his passion to continue serving in politics through his words. His speech encouraged the audience to appreciate history itself, especially as a provider of perspective to assist our future decisions.
“The point Iʻm going into history over is not to remain fixed in the past, but to give you a place that you can get perspective so that you can see the direction from where you came so you have a good idea of where you would like to go. Iʻm still excited about that.”
In addition, we can also find some remarks about youths and young adults from Hawaiʻi.
“I went to a class, not in the last election, but the one before. I was invited there by a teacher of the Punahou School – history class. I was going to talk about the Vietnam War. They were reading something by Henry Kissinger and some other book on Vietnam. I went to speak there. I had everything prepared. You know, I was a teacher in the past and I love to go to college classes and talk. What happened, the [epiphany] for me, I realized that when I went in the room that every young person in that room had been born…after I was first elected to the [state] House of Representatives in Makiki-Mānoa in 1974, a whole generation…. But I realized something: I have to prepare a message for those young people. Not to try to fool them, not to try to maneuver them, not to try to manipulate them, because thatʻs not the kind of thing they need. Nobody wants to be patronized, nobody wants to be talked down to, nobody wants to be condescended to, but it was important. I couldn’t expect those young people to understand the same things that I understood from the change to statehood and the things that we accomplished, and my joy and wonder that I had the opportunity to be elected and serve in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature.”
Additionally, I also found his consideration for youths and young adults from Hawaiʻi because he mentioned the issues (such as feeling left out or even discrimination) that these youths and young adults experienced while in the continental United States. Thus, his concern for youths and young adults from Hawaiʻi could be seen as an appeal to his character. Also this can be interpreted as seeking an endorsement from the young constituency.
“I ask [Hawai’i young people coming to the U.S. continent for the first time] what struck you most about coming to the mainland. You know what it is? For the first time they realized they were different, people saw them as different. Some of them had tears, they cried, because they’ve experienced racism for the first time, and the first time they understand what it is when somebody points you out and says you’re different, and draws a conclusion about you, just as a result of seeing you and because you look a little different and you say you’re from Hawaiʻi then, right? In some respects that’s good, when you say you’re from Hawaiʻi people want to talk to you and they wonder what you’re doing there when you could be back in Hawaiʻi. Everybody knows that. But for these young people, this is an enormous awakening for them.”