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

Archives staff member publishes article on the Hawaii War Records Depository


Jack Kormos of the Archives & Manuscripts Department recently published an article in the Society of American Archivists newsletter about one of the Archives’ most prized collections – the Hawaii War Records Depository. You can view the article here:

The Hawaii War Records Depository collection was created after World War II began in order to document the special role that Hawaii was playing in that war. University administration saw the need to preserve records that told the story of wartime life in the Islands, in part so that University faculty could use the materials to research and write publications about the part that Hawaii played in the war.

As a result, archives staff were hired to begin soliciting materials from government agencies, businesses, and the general public. Collecting went on for several years, and eventually the collection grew to over 250 linear feet of materials, from diaries, to student posters, to state agency reports, to photographs of peoples’ experiences during the war. The project eventually ran out of funding and its staff subsequently disbanded, but the resulting collection remains one of the most heavily-used resources in the Archives to this day.


Work begins on the Senator Daniel K. Inouye papers

Late last year, we received 1,237 records boxes of the late Sen. Daniel K. Inouye’s congressional papers, the largest of our 11 congressional collections. These represent his work in the U.S. House for over 3 years upon statehood and the almost 50 years he was in the U.S. Senate.

These papers will form the basis for UH’s wider program related to Sen. Inouye that will also include scholar exchanges, a speaker series, oral histories, civic education and exhibits. 

Sen. Inouye’s family worked with the Hawaii Community Foundation to raise funds to support the processing of the papers. The most immediate result of this effort was the hiring of two archives technicians who are processing the papers under the supervision of our archivist for congressional papers. We expect to add UH Manoa student workers and library school graduate assistants to the work force; they will help in digitizing significant portions of the papers.


Jack Kormos


Charise Michelsen

‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi on the campus of UH-West Oahu is the repository for all moving images and audio material in the Sen. Inouye Papers. The items will be preserved and digitized by ‘Ulu‘ulu’s expert staff.

New exhibit in the Archive’s Reading Room

Bookmaking in the 18th Century in Diderot’s Encyclopédie, 1751-1780


Find out how books were produced in the 18th century, in this exhibit that features reproductions of copper engravings that describe the mechanical arts and trades of man. Former University Archivist James Cartwright assembled the exhibit, selecting images from Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métiers, a set of volumes housed in the library’s rare book collection. The Encyclopédie describes, in painstaking detail, the mechanics of everyday trades in 18th century France. Cartwright focused on papermaking and the casting of metal alphabets for printing on sheets of handmade paper that would eventually be turned into books.

The exhibit includes four original volumes of the Encyclopédie on display, as well as implements of the papermaking and printing trades. Artifact loans from Mission Houses Museum and contemporary Hawaii-based book artist James Rumford, complete the narrative of the bookmaking arts. Pages in the original volumes will be turned weekly to reveal more engravings that illustrate the complex processes of book making.



The John and Gertrude Troupe Moir Reading Room
Hamilton Library, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
Room A550 (Library Addition; take the elevator to the 5th floor)

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 10:00am to 4:00pm
Dates: Through the end of August 2014

Introducing our new student assistant

The Archives & Manuscripts Department welcomes a new addition to their staff.  Karen Kadohiro Lauer was hired as a student assistant this past December and plans to remain here until she graduates this fall with a master’s degree in Library and Information Science (LIS).  In addition to her studies in LIS, Karen is also working on earning a master’s degree in Anthropology.  She believes these fields are related as they both aspire to preserve historical and cultural information.  Our department has been keeping Karen busy inventorying shelves and reorganizing cabinets and files. She will soon begin processing the recently acquired Richard Sakakida Collection.  Please check back for more information on this new collection.


University Lab School children visit the Archives

The Archives was awash with activity on Monday, December 2nd. Twenty grade schoolers, grades 4 and 5, visited the normally-quiet reading room. Their excitement and energy filled the room as they looked at the Children’s Posters from the Hawaiʻi War Records Depository. For many of them, it was hard to contain their enthusiasm and remain quiet as they tried to interpret the meanings that these children, now the age of their grandparents and great-grandparents, painted into their posters. For those of us who have been in the field for a while, it was amazing to see so much excitement about looking at archival material.


The 4th and 5th graders arrive with their teacher, Erin Watanabe, in the lead.

Our exhibit, “War Through a Child’s Eyes: World War II Children’s Victory Posters from the Hawaiʻi War Records Depository” had already come to a close and been taken down. However, one of the children from the class, whose mother works here in Hamilton Library, had seen the exhibit just before it came down. He was excited about the exhibit due to his class studying about World War II and being assigned to interview a family member who had lived through the war. His grandfather had told him about being a child close to his age and remembering his class drawing and painting posters in support of the war. So he was able to convince his teacher to bring the entire class into the Library to see the posters.



In the end, they seemed to enjoy the experience, learned a few new things, and even taught the archivist a thing or two. Their thank you cards even incorporated many of the images we saw and discussed during their visit. Smart kids!



Hiraoka Papers Now Available

A recent addition to our Japanese American Veterans Collection, the William T. Hiraoka Papers are an expansive assemblage of documents, publications, photographs and artifacts belonging to Mr. Hiraoka and donated to our archive by his daughter, Nancy, in the summer of 2012.  Mr. Hiraoka was born in Waikiki in 1917, graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1939 with a degree in Business and Economics, and was drafted into the United States Army on November 14, 1941.  As a member of the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), he worked as an investigator on the internal security of Hawaii, and in 1942 was sent as a Special Agent-In-Charge to Australia.  In 1944, Mr. Hiraoka attended Officer Candidate School (OCS) and was sent to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, and later to Leyte Island in the Philippines; he then rotated Japan in 1945 as part of the occupation force after the empire’s surrender.  During the Allied Occupation of Japan, Mr. Hiraoka was the only Nisei-American to be present at the arrest of General Hideki Tojo, former Prime Minister of Japan who was directly responsible for the bombing of Pearl Harbor. When the Korean War broke out, Mr. Hiraoka worked as a civil administration officer with the U.S. Civil Administration on Ishigaki Island in Okinawa.  He returned to Hawaii where he continued to serve in the Army Reserves until his retirement in 1962 as a Lieutenant Colonel.  Upon his return from Okinawa, Mr. Hiraoka began his professional career in the insurance business, where he later became the president of Island Insurance in 1968, and ultimately president of National Mortgage Finance Company in 1978.

Mr. Hiraoka married Ruth Nakamoto in 1946, and the couple adopted two children, John and Nancy.  William T. Hiraoka died on October 27, 2006 at the age of 89.

The Hiraoka Papers encompasses Mr. Hiraoka’s military and professional life.  Highlights of the collection include his personal correspondence during WWII, photographs of his training and travels while in the military, military publications from the War, and artifacts that Mr. Hiraoka collected at his various duty locations.

To learn more about the William T. Hiraoka Papers, view its finding at