Exploring Space and Place in the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection

Guest post by Meagan Harden, 2022-2023 HCPC graduate student fellow

As a geographer, I’m constantly paying attention to space and place. Space refers to a general location – for example, “the ocean” could be a space, as could Campus Center or Hamilton Library. Place, on the other hand, contains the meanings that people attach to particular spaces, transforming a space from a physical area into somewhere imbued with stories, experiences, or memories. “The ocean” becomes the place where people swim or pick ʻopihi; Campus Center becomes the place where students meet for coffee between classes; Hamilton Library becomes the place where I spend hours combing through documents for my dissertation.

What happens when a space contains different meanings for different people? This question guided my research as I entered the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection. As part of my dissertation, this research sought insight into how U.S. government officials have perceived and represented the thousands of islands included in the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a post-
World War II political entity in the Western Pacific Ocean that consisted of what are today the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia (including Yap, Kosrae, Chuuk, and Pohnpei), Palau, and the Marshall Islands.

From reading books such as David Hanlon’s (1998) Remaking Micronesia: Discourses Over Development in a Pacific Territory, 1944-1982, the Teaching Oceania series from the Center for Pacific Island Studies, and especially watching Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s Lessons from Hawaii spoken word performance, I knew that U.S. governmental representations of the Trust Territory might be radically different from how local people understand the places they call home. For people living on any of these islands, the places themselves are layered with memories – perhaps a particular stretch of coast marks a favorite family picnic spot, or the monthly craft market, or the birthplace of an archipelago where one’s ancestors first fished islands out of the sea. However, because the United States’ main interest in the Trust Territory was driven by military strategy, I expected the federal government’s place-making representations to focus on characteristics such as a harbor’s suitability for war ships or an island’s proximity to enemy forces.

My foray into the Congressional Papers of Senators Daniel Inouye and Hiram Fong confirmed these suspicions, with added layers of complexity. For example, officials from the U.S. Departments of the Interior, State, and Defense tend to represent the islands as remote, minuscule, and utterly dependent on the benevolence of American government; in contrast, while legislators from Hawaiʻi do still represent the Trust Territory as distant and small, they are much more openly critical of the shortcomings of American governance that harmed the islands physically, economically, and culturally. Rather than one homogenous representation of the islands, then, the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection reveals a range of perspectives that, at times, challenge one another.

Furthermore, the perspectives coming from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands differ even more significantly from outsider representations. Whereas U.S. Senator Spiro Agnew (R – Maryland) describes the region as lacking in natural resources, Congress of Micronesia Senator Wilfred Kendall (from the Marshall Islands) argues that “our islands have the capacity to provide for the body and spirit in abundance.” Similarly, a U.S. document pertaining to political status negotiations with the Northern Mariana Islands calls the island of Farallon de Medinilla “a target area,” reducing the island to a military strategy point; however, as experts from the Northern Mariana Islands point out, Farallon de Medinilla has historically provided a safe haven for migratory birds, while abundant coral reefs have made it hospitable for all kinds of marine life (Hofschneider, 2016).

Excerpt from remarks by Congress of Micronesia Senator Wilfred Kendall to the United Nations Trusteeship Council on June 3, 1975. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.

So, why is it important to look at these representations of space and place? If we read these archival documents alongside current events, we can start to connect military-oriented representations with pressing environmental and cultural issues. If an island is represented as nothing more than a target for weapons, it becomes easier to ignore the flora, fauna, and spiritual importance of the island, as we see happening at Farallon de Medinilla. If an entire region is depicted as lacking natural resources, we overlook the local sustainable food systems that have nourished islanders for thousands of years; this contributes to the impression that islanders require outside assistance to sustain themselves, which in turn facilitates dependence on imported processed foods (Heaton, 2021).

How we represent space matters because it informs how we think about places, which in turn guides our actions toward or within those places. Places like Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, where the U.S. conducts military testing (Downey, 2019), or the island of Peleliu in Palau, where unexploded ordnance from World War II threatens local lives (Island Times, 2021), have been homelands for much longer than they’ve been military sites. Perhaps re-presenting them as such can offer hope for a brighter, safer future for all.

About the author

Meagan Harden is a Ph.D. candidate and lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawai̒ʻi at Mānoa. Her research examines American imperialism in island spaces, focusing particularly on the production of spatial imaginaries and the ways in which islanders resist, subvert, and/or accommodate them. With an M.A. in International Studies and a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Oklahoma, Meagan aims to use critical feminist and anarchist frameworks to disrupt conventional geopolitical paradigms that represent islands and islanders as peripheral agents in international relations. When she is not teaching, writing, or exploring the archives, Meagan enjoys outrigger canoe paddling, yoga, and reading fiction.

As part of her fellowship research, Meagan also curated this primary source set and presented this talk about Senator Fongʻs and Senator Inouyeʻs 1965 Pacific State Proposal to annex the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands into the state of Hawaiʻi.

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.

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 (sueokad@hawaii.edu).

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!

A Woman in the House

The Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection celebrates the publication this month of former Congresswoman Pat Saiki’s memoir A Woman in the House. Saiki, who was born and raised in Hilo, was first elected to Congress in 1986, becoming the first Republican since statehood to represent Hawaiʻi in the U.S. House.

1986 Saiki for Congress bumper sticker. Patricia F. Saiki Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.
1986 Saiki for Congress bumper sticker. Patricia F. Saiki Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.

By the time she went to Congress, Saiki had worked as a teacher, been a delegate to the 1968 state constitutional convention, and served for 14 years in the state legislature, where she authored the Equal Rights Amendment to Hawaiʻiʻs state constitution, as well as a package of equal rights bills that would, for example, enable women to take out credit cards and mortgages in their own names, and make a wife’s adoption of her husband’s name upon marriage optional instead of mandatory.

Saiki helped to reorganize and rebuild the Hawaiʻi Republican Party following sweeping losses in the 1982 election. As chair of the party, she oversaw a three-fold increase in party membership and a major fundraising effort. During the next election, Honolulu voted for a Republican mayor (Frank Fasi, who had changed parties), and Hawaiʻi voted to re-elect president Ronald Reagan. 

“Republican decision-makers [in Washington] must become more clearly aware of Hawaii’s interests and its posture in the Pacific,” she told political scientist and Honolulu Advertiser columnist Daniel Tuttle in March 1986. Indeed, as a Republican, Saiki was able to gain critical Congressional and Presidential support for initiatives backed by Democratic members of the Hawaiʻi delegation, such as obtaining redress for Japanese Americans interned during WWII and stopping the bombing of Kahoʻolawe.

After serving 2 terms in the House, Saiki ran for U.S. Senate in 1990, but was defeated by Daniel Akaka. President George H. W. Bush appointed her administrator of the Small Business Administration in April 1991. Saiki again chaired the Hawaiʻi GOP in 2014.

Pat Saiki being sworn in as administrator of the Small Business Administration by Justice Sandra Day OʻConnor. Saikiʻs son Stanley Jr. holds the bible, and President George H. W. Bush looks on. April 10, 1991. Photo: Marty La Vor.  Patricia F. Saiki Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.
Pat Saiki being sworn in as administrator of the Small Business Administration by Justice Sandra Day OʻConnor. Saikiʻs son Stanley Jr. holds the bible, and President George H. W. Bush looks on. April 10, 1991. Photo: Marty La Vor. Patricia F. Saiki Papers, Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Library.

The Patricia F. Saiki Papers, measuring approximately 18.5 linear feet, consist of a few items from Saikiʻs service in the state legislature, but most are from her terms in the U.S. Congress and the Small Business Administration. Saiki donated a large collection of newspaper clippings about her activities and interests dating from 1968 through 1990, including many documenting her successful and unsuccessful campaigns for public office. There are also a few memorabilia items, and a small collection of photographs taken throughout her career.

More information about Congresswoman Saiki, including a link to the collection’s finding aid, can be found on the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collectionʻs website. A number of photographs from the collection have been digitized and are available in the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collectionʻs digital image collection.

Order A Woman in the House from patsaiki.com. Congresswoman Saiki was recently interviewed on Hawaiʻi Public Radioʻs the Conversation. Find her interview here.


History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives. “SAIKI, Patricia.” https://history.house.gov/People/Listing/S/SAIKI,-Patricia-(S000014)/

Tuttle, Dan. “GOPʻs Saiki: Surprise in ʻ86?” The Honolulu Advertiser. March 3, 1986.

Images from the Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection

Many of the inquiries received by the Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection over the years are requests for images–images of Hawai‘i’s members of Congress by themselves, images of them together as a delegation, images of them with VIPs, campaign images, and images of historical events. To better connect researchers with HCPC images, we are happy to share a small collection of images from the Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection.

Senator Hiram Fong in the snow in front of the Capitol, March 21, 1967. Senator Hiram L. Fong Papers, Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library

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