National Endowment for the Humanities awards UH Mānoa Library, partners funds to develop online portal for congressional archives

The American Congress Digital Archives Portal Project, led by West Virginia University Libraries, has received a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to expand the American Congress Digital Archives Portal, the first-ever online portal bringing together congressional archives from repositories throughout the United States.

The UH Mānoa Libraryʻs Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection is proud to be a project partner, along with the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, the Dirksen Congressional Center, the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at University of Georgia.

“The personal papers of members of Congress are vitally important for understanding Congress as an institution, public policy development, and the many diverse stories that comprise the American experience,” Danielle Emerling, Congressional and Political Papers archivist at WVU Libraries and project director, said. “We are honored to have support from the NEH to make more congressional archives available to everyone.” The NEH awarded WVU Libraries the initial grant to launch the project and create the portal in 2021.

The project addresses many practical access barriers to using congressional archives. Unlike presidential papers, which are centralized in one location, congressional collections are geographically dispersed across institutions large and small. For researchers, collections may be difficult to use, both because of a lack of travel funding and varying levels of description in congressional archives.

“This project will specifically address the critical needs of rural and geographically isolated regions of our country to make national records available to all citizens,” Dr. Kelli Nakamura, associate professor of history at the University of Hawai‘i, said. “It will also highlight the connections that exist between members of Congress and illuminate the collaborative efforts that often ensure the successful passage of legislative bills and initiatives.”

The project will include a breadth of materials dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century and support civic and history education initiatives that help connect the past to the present.

Materials that the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection will contribute to the portal include all of Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s speeches, materials documenting Senator Hiram L. Fong’s 1959 trip to Asia, Senator Spark M. Matsunaga’s speeches on redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII, some of Congressman Neil Abercrombie’s materials on the Iraq war, and all of Senator Daniel K. Akaka’s speeches.

Vice President Al Gore, Senator Daniel Inouye, Representative Patsy Mink, Representative Neil Abercrombie, and Senator Daniel Akaka with President Bill Clinton, signing the Apology Resolution. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, Hawai’i Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library

This grant project builds on an NEH foundations grant awarded in 2021, which resulted in a prototype portal and included archives from WVU Libraries, the Dole Institute of Politics, and the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education. The project has also received support from LYRASIS and the Association of Centers for the Study of Congress.

The NEH’s Humanities Collections and Reference Resources program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. The project was selected for funding, in part, by a new agency-wide special initiative, “American Tapestry: Weaving Together Past, Present, and Future,” because the project will help emphasize the role of the humanities in tackling contemporary social challenges: strengthening our democracy, advancing equity for all, and addressing our changing climate.

Senator Inouye’s Press Releases (1963-2012) Digitized

It has been 10 years since the passing of U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye. One way to understand the Senator’s legacy is through his Senate press releases, which have recently been digitized by the UH Mānoa Library. The press releases, which document nearly 50 years of the Senator’s steadfast advocacy for Hawaiʻi in the U.S. Congress, add to the 64,000+ pages of archival material on legislative accomplishments, Native Hawaiian issues, Japanese Latin American Internment, and Kahoʻolawe that have already been digitized.

In addition to documenting issues of local, national, and international significance, the press releases are also a great resource for tracking federal funding for Hawaiʻi in sectors such as defense, agriculture, natural resource management, education, healthcare, social services, transportation, shipping, infrastructure, arts and culture, and more.

Below is a selection of press releases from the collection:

One of the most compelling aspects of this collection is its chronological scope. The period between 1963 and 2012 saw tremendous transformation in Hawaiʻi, the nation, and the world. Senator Inouye’s press releases accordingly reflect hope, resolve, disquiet, sometimes frustration–but never despair. The Senator’s commitment to bipartisanship and belief in democracy through these many years are reassuring reminders, especially in these last years when so much has seemed uncertain.

Mahalo to the Daniel K. Inouye Institute and to the library’s current DKI project team: Donovan Balderama, Daniel Ishimitsu, Alisa Kwok, Wen Lin, Jill Seapker, and Dawn Sueoka. 

This effort is part of an ongoing initiative, supported by the Daniel K. Inouye Institute, to digitize portions of the Senator’s archives. In the next few years, we will add to our digital collections Senator Inouye’s newsletters, all of his speeches, and records from the Senator’s years in the U.S. House (1959-1963), which document Hawaiʻi’s transition to statehood.

How to access the press releases

The best way to access the press releases and other digitized material from the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers is through the collectionʻs online finding aid. Archival finding aids provide contextual information about a collection and its major “series” (large categories of documents), as well as a hierarchical listing of the collectionʻs contents. The Inouye collection is organized according to the functions of the Senator’s Washington, D.C., and Honolulu offices.

Navigate the collection by exploring the nested list on the right side of the interface. Digitized files will appear as icons in red. Chronological press releases can be found within the Administrative files series; Washington, D.C. office subseries; Public Relations sub-subseries.

Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers finding aid in ArchivesSpace, showing link to digitized folder.

You can download all press releases at once using the link at the top of this page.

A note on the preparation of the files

In the preparation of these documents, emphasis was placed on enabling researchers to reliably search the content of the press releases themselves. 

Material was digitized at 400 PPI in 24-bit color.

In preparation for OCR correction, PDFs created before September 2022 include image preprocessing such as text straightening and page rotation by ABBYY FineReader. PDFs created after September 2022 have these features turned off.

Document zoning was manually corrected using ABBYY FineReader.

All text was recognized using ABBYY FineReader.

OCR was manually corrected using the ABBYY FineReader Verification function, except in the following cases: 

  • Non-press release material included as attachments, e.g., Congressional Record remarks, newspaper clippings, correspondence, forms was not corrected
  • Text in document headers, footers (e.g., fax transmittal information) was not corrected
  • 1963-1964 folders where pages were too faded or carbon copy text was too blurry to produce editable OCR were not corrected

Introducing Jin Park

Yeajin (Jin) Park

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.

Neil Abercrombie for Congress campaign event, ca. early 2000s.


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.”

Neil Abercrombie with students, ca. 1998

Introducing Jill Seapker

Jill Seapker

Hi – my name is Jill Seapker and I am a new student worker in the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection at UH Mānoa. I am in my first year in the MLIS program, and after twenty years of teaching, working in a calm, quiet place feels pretty magical. My undergraduate degree from Antioch College is in History, Philosophy, and Religion, so it feels like I am getting back to my roots here. I am new to archiving, and I am new to Hawaiʻi, so I feel very lucky to have this opportunity to learn about the history of Hawaiʻi and archival processes by working with Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s papers

I am working on correcting Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in Inouye’s speeches, so I wanted to learn more about his life. I started by looking at the Daniel K. Inouye Institute website. I was surprised to learn that he gave the speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. Those were tumultuous times, and I was curious about his development of that speech, so I started by looking at the finding aid.  I went to the Collection Organization on the right hand side of the page, and under speeches I clicked the year 1968. I was able to access the PDFs of his original speeches stored in Box SP2 Folder 4 through eVols. 

In the box Speeches and messages: 1968 (1 of 2), I learned that Inouye gave many speeches in Hawaiʻi before his keynote speech at the DNC in Chicago in 1968. In these speeches, he confronts the problems of racism, high housing costs, gun control, and the war in Vietnam. I was impressed at the detailed research he did on both the causes and solutions to these problems, as well as his courage to speak the truth.  

My favorite quote said by Inouye in this box is “The great tragedy of man is his inability to conquer hate and violence and to replace these traits with love and understanding.” This quote stood out to me because violence and hate normally just breed more of the same. If people would care to find out why people think and feel the way they do and care for other people, I think they would find that it is easier and leads to more positive results, both for themselves and others.

Last page of speech by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, testimonial dinner, Hilo, Hawaiʻi, August 8, 1968

Introducing Donovan Balderama

Donovan Balderama

Greetings, my name is Donovan Balderama. I am incredibly grateful to announce to you that I am the new student worker here at the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection at UH Mānoa, recently hired by the Congressional Papers Archivist, Dawn Sueoka. A bit about me; I am a second year MLIS student in the archives pathway and have been profoundly interested in archival work since finishing up my undergraduate degree in American History. It was during my undergraduate degree in history that I had been introduced and exposed to the profession through primary source research and speaking with interesting archivists from different places with different backgrounds in the field. As I continue into my third week working at the Congressional Papers Collection, I am realizing more and more, that this profession is undoubtedly something that I would love to pursue in the long-term as a career.

Currently, I am in charge of working with three separate archival collections. However, in this blog, I will be writing about different themes or topics related to the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers. I found the Senator’s collection to be particularly intriguing because of the vastness and subject diversity of his collection, as well as the high level correspondence between his office, various federal government departments, communities, and individuals, of which pivotal information about both Hawaiʻi and the U.S as a whole is presented. He was an essential force in change and reform during his years as a senator, and a supreme force of good for the many different communities that he served. I find working on it to be interesting as well as a great experience to help me get familiarized with the overall collection.

The Senator Inouye Papers: Topic searched

For this blog post, I delved into some of the Senator’s documents related to the tragic event of the September 11 attack on the New York World Trade Centers. I figured that the Inouye collection would be an excellent place to look for 9-11 related materials because as we sometimes forget, along with witnessing 9-11, he also experienced a terror attack in his lifetime which caused massive hysteria in the United States; that being the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

In order to search for related materials, I used the database that we use called ArchivesSpace to search for resources in the Inouye collection. In his main collection, you can find the different series and subseries that that relate to various topics. After opening different file locations, I found that the best way to find related material was to look for the exact date or dates around September of 2001. I instantly found many related materials this way through both doing a text search and manually browsing the different folders I thought were related to the subject.

What I discovered

In the Staff Files series, I was able to find a lot of correspondence regarding post 9-11. For example, I found a correspondence letter from a student from Kīhei High School in Maui, who reached out to both Congresswoman Patsy Mink and Senator Inouye on a proposal to introduce a bill that would mint a coin in tribute to the victims on 9-11. It turns out they were both supportive of the proposal and introduced it in Congress sometime later. I also found an interesting news article mentioning the student’s efforts.

I was also able to find in the same folder, a letter from a man who was concerned about the recent racial profiling at airports by authorities and airline staff (this was before TSA), and compared it to the racial profiling and the surveillance on Japanese-American citizens during WWII with the FBI enemy lists. Attached in this finding is Senator Inouye’s response that mentions the Reasonable Search Standards Act, S.799, which was introduced in April 2001, only five months before the tragedy. Senator Inouye mentions his concern about recent policies being changed and assures the man that he would keep this in mind.

From a couple from Kāneʻohe, there was a letter addressed to Daniel Inouye regarding their frustration with the U.S government’s administrative handling of events post 9-11. They mention their dismay with the Bush administration by listing legislation such as the $25 billion hand out to non-anti-terror-related corporations for a federal counterterror fund; ineffective and “heavy-handed” airport security; and the FBI wire and email taps that have been monitoring “suspected terrorists.”

Overall, these documents certainly helped me to further understand the sentiment and opinions of people of various backgrounds relating to the tragedy during this time. These documents showed me that there were people around the nation and the world that observed and felt empathy, dismay, fear, frustration, and a whole array of other emotions; which naturally come with  historical calamities of such magnitudes. I believe the reason so many people such as students, politicians, foreign diplomats, and other individuals / groups addressed Daniel Inouye specifically, was because they felt that they could truly confide in the Senator, based on his own experience and track record for positive change. These people believed that, as a dignified, righteous, scrupulous, and steadfast American, he would listen and tend to the grievances that our democratic republic has allowed us to address for years despite the occasional setbacks.

Announcing the K. Mark Takai Papers

Representative K. Mark Takai, smiling, in suit, with American flag in background.

The Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection is excited to announce the opening of the K. Mark Takai Papers. This collection, generously donated by Takaiʻs wife Sami, documents the late congressman’s work in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, his time in Congress, as well as his tenure as president of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi and editor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa student newspaper Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi

K. Mark Takai, a Pearl City High School and UH Mānoa graduate, represented ʻAiea and Pearl City in the Hawai’i State Legislature for 20 years, were he was known as a dedicated, energetic, and well-liked public servant and a champion of education and of veterans issues. While in the legislature, he established the Hawaiʻi Medal of Honor to honor servicemembers with Hawaiʻi ties that had been killed in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Takai himself was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Hawaiʻi Army National Guard and was activated in 2005, and again in 2009, when he deployed to Kuwait for 6 months.

Takai was elected to Congress in 2014 (representing Hawaiʻi’s First Congressional District), and was named to the House Committee on Armed Services and the House Committee on Natural Resources. Though he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2016, his legislation to compensate military personnel exposed to radioactive debris in the Marshall Islands continued to be championed by his colleagues, as the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act. The measure became part of the 117th Congressʻs PACT Act, which expanded benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances. It was signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022.

Governor David Ige, who served with Takai in the state legislature, offered this remembrance: “In the often tumultuous world of politics, [Mark Takai] has been a shining example of what it means to be a public servant.”

Below are some highlights from the collection:

  • Flier with photo of Mark Takai and headline reading "Vote for K. Mark Takai ASUH President. He has earned our trust."
  • ID badge with photo of Takai.
  • Photo of Duckworth and Takai. Inscription reads, "To Mark, Who knew at UH we'd make it this far? Aloha! Tammy"
  • President Obama and Representative Takai, both wearing cigar lei, shaking hands.

You can explore the collection and learn more about Rep. Takai via the collection’s online finding aid.

The Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection is very grateful to Rep. Takai’s wife, Sami Takai, for this gift!

Dignity, Equality, and Opportunity for All: Patsy Mink and Title IX

On Friday, April 29, 2022, the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, in partnership with the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, hosted a talk by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink about their biography Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress. Fierce and Fearless is the first biography of Mink, who represented Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House from 1965 to 1977, and from 1990 to 2002. 

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu and Gwendolyn Mink during their talk on Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress.

The talk covered topics like the different feminist frames through which we can understand Minkʻs work, Wendy and Judyʻs approach to co-writing the book, and the long legislative journey that characterized Title IXʻs passage and implementation. Participants in the Q & A shared laughter and stories about Mink as a “force of nature.” 

The talk marked the launch of the virtual exhibit Dignity, Equality, and Opportunity for All: Patsy Mink and Title IX. The exhibit, which will be viewable online through December 31, 2022, features materials from the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection (the Patsy Mink Memorabilia Collection, the Senator Hiram L. Fong Papers, the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, the Senator Spark M. Matsunaga Papers, and the Neil Abercrombie Papers), the Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi Papers, the University Archives, and the Hawaiian Collection, as well as footage from the 2008 documentary Patsy Mink: Ahead of the Majority.

A particularly rewarding aspect of the exhibit research was learning more about Minkʻs time as a student at the University of Hawaiʻi. For instance, in 1948, she and the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi organized a model constitutional convention to introduce students to the process of drafting a state constitution. Our University Archives holds their draft constitution, which a 1948 Honolulu Advertiser editorial said may contain “sound new ideas for inclusion in the state constitution’s final draft.”

Class council, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Class of 1948. Patsy Takemoto is on the far left. Future governor George Ariyoshi is in the back row, far right.

Mahalo to Wendy and Judy; to the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Department of American Studies, and Department of Ethnic Studies for hosting; to campus partners the William S. Richardson School of Law, UH Mānoa Women’s Center, Bridge to Hope, Student Parents at Mānoa, Student Equity Excellence Diversity (SEED), and the UH Mānoa Office of Title IX; and to Kimberlee Bassford of Making Waves Films for helping us to celebrate Patsy Mink this year!

Commissioning of the USS Daniel Inouye

On December 8, the USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) was commissioned at Pearl Harbor. The destroyer, whose motto is “Go For Broke,” honors Senator Inouye’s life and public service.

Left: Daniel Inouye enlisting in the army as a University of Hawaiʻi freshman, ca. January-February 1943. Photo: Ka Leo. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library. Right: The USS Daniel Inouye.

Inouye, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, represented Hawaiʻi in the U.S. House from 1959 to 1963, and in the U.S. Senate from 1963 until his death in 2012. The Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection is honored to be the home of Senator Inouye’s papers. The Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, consisting of over 1,000 boxes, reflect much of Hawaiʻiʻs development from statehood through the early 2000s. Subjects that are well represented in the collection include land, agriculture, the military, maritime issues, natural resources issues, healthcare, programs and legislation relating to Native Hawaiians, and the effort to obtain redress for Japanese and Japanese Latin Americans interned during World War II.

The late Senator Bob Dole with Senator Inouye, May 9, 1986. As WWII soldiers wounded in Italy a week apart, Dole and Inouye recovered together at what is now known as the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan. U.S. Senate Photograph. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.

Learn more about the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers by exploring the finding aid, which also includes links to material that has been digitized. If you have questions, or would like assistance accessing or navigating the collection, please reach out to Congressional Papers Archivist Dawn Sueoka (

We look forward to continuing to broaden access to this incredibly significant collection!

Introducing the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media Collection

Last week, we packed up 53 boxes of film and video and transported them from UH Mānoa Library’s Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection to ‘Uluʻulu: The Henry Kuʻualoa Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi at UH West Oʻahu. The boxes contained moving image material from the archival collections of Senator Spark Matsunaga, Representative Pat Saiki, Senator Hiram Fong, Representative Tom Gill, and Representative Neil Abercrombie–nearly 900 individual items in all. (AV material from Senator Akaka’s collection, which has not yet been processed by archives staff, is currently being prepared for transfer to ʻUluʻulu; AV material from Senator Daniel Inouye’s collection is already being cared for by ʻUluʻulu.)

The move is part of a partnership between the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection and ʻUluʻulu to establish the Hawai’i Congressional Media Collection at ‘Ulu’ulu. Building on the strength of HCPC’s collections and on ‘Uluʻulu’s expertise and well-established infrastructure, the partnership will ensure that this important audiovisual documentation of Hawaiʻi’s political history will be preserved, digitized, and shared.

ʻUluʻulu head archivist Janel Quirante and digital media specialist Robbie Omura unload boxes of videotapes.

ʻUluʻulu Head Archivist Janel Quirante said, “All of us at ‘Ulu‘ulu are thrilled that we can work in partnership with the University Archives & Manuscripts Department to help preserve, digitize and make accessible the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media collection. It was so exciting to peek inside the boxes when they arrived at ‘Ulu‘ulu and see the media history of our state’s delegates to the U.S. Congress. I look forward to working with the collection, and helping students and researchers view the footage, some of which is over 50 years old!” 

Indeed, the materials date from the early 1960s through the early 2000s, and encompass a range of formats from 16mm film to miniDV tapes. They document significant issues facing Hawaiʻi over the last half-century, as well as issues and events of national and international importance. Highlights include footage of Senator Fong and President Nixon at the White House in 1970; television campaign spots for Representative Tom Gill; Senator Fong’s and then-Representative Matsunaga’s 1960s and 70s messages from the Senate and House Recording Studios; debates on redress for Japanese Americans interned during WWII; Representative Pat Saikiʻs Washington Reports; footage of President George H. W. Bushʻs 1990 visit to Hawaiʻi; Representative Neil Abercrombie’s campaign ads; and televised programming and debates on topics like sovereignty, land, the economy, the Jones Act, sugar, natural resource management, the Iraq war, and public education. 

“This collection is an amazing complement to the other political media collections housed at ‘Ulu‘ulu including the Hawaiʻi Political History Documentation Project from the Center for Labor Education and Research (CLEAR); the DIALOG public affairs television series from PBS Hawai‘i; the Daniel K. Inouye Oral History Project from the Daniel K. Inouye Institute; and the First Friday : The Unauthorized News television series from the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies,” Quirante said.  

Assistant Archivist for Research and Outreach Archivist Tisha Aragaki, Congressional Papers Archivist Dawn Sueoka, Digital Media Specialist Robbie Omura, Auxiliary and Facilities Services Officer Mark Pascua, Cataloger and Assistant Archivist Koa Luke, and Head Archivist Janel Quirante with the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media Collection.

“Our next steps will be to prepare the materials for storage in our vault, accession the items into our catalog, and start planning and budgeting for their digitization,” she said. 

We will continue to keep you updated on the progress of this exciting initiative! Mahalo to ʻUluʻulu, and to the families of Senator Spark Matsunaga, Senator Hiram Fong, Representative Tom Gill, and Senator Daniel Akaka; and to Representative Pat Saiki and Representative Neil Abercrombie for their support for this partnership!