Vintage photographs are great–the clothes, the hair, the nostalgia, the historical magnitude of it all.
What isn’t great? The invisibility of Asian Americans. It makes sense, kind of, if you think of Asian Americans has a recent development in American history, or think that maybe a lot of the early photographers were white folks who weren’t interested in portraying Asian Americans as American, or maybe historians collecting the stuff were interested in perpetuating a certain narrative that didn’t include Asian Americans.
Those might be valid points, but Asian American history exists. In all kinds of formats. And there are some fantastic groups of people all around the country working to preserve that history and make it accessible to a wider audience. These people are called archivists. And for the month of May, I’m going to highlight archival material from Asian American organizations and archives with Asian American collections, in celebration of Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month.
I have several goals: first, to encourage the use of Asian American archival material. We have a rich history, and we ought to go back to primary sources more often; second, to promote the work that Asian American communities are doing to preserve our communities’ histories; third, to highlight the intersections of libraries/archives and ethnic studies because those are my disciplines of choice.
Without further ado, I present the first entry for “Out of the Archives”:
|Title||Boy Scout Troop 54, Seattle, 1927|
|Caption||Troop 54 was a segregated troop established in 1923. In this photo, the troop is posing in front of the Chinese Baptist Church on S. King Street.|
|Notes||Front row: Herman Foy, Paul Louie, James Luke, unidentified, unidentified. Middle row: unidentified, Ming Chinn, Moses Kay, Henry Luke, Bung Chinn, Hubert Foy. Back row: unidentified, Harry T. Chinn, Daniel Hong Lew, David Woo, unidentified, Charles Chinn, HingChinn, Tim Chinn, George P. Woo.|
|Subjects||Chinese Americans–Washington (State)–Seattle
Boy Scouts of America
|Places||United States–Washington (State)–Seattle
Chinatown/International District (Seattle, Wash.)
|Digital Collection||Wing Luke Asian Museum Photograph Collection|
|Ordering Information||To order a reproduction or inquire about permissions contact: email@example.com. Please cite the Image Number.|
|Credit Line||Wing Luke Asian Museum Photograph Collection|
|Repository||Wing Luke Asian Museum|
|Physical Description||1 photographic print: b&w; 2 3/4 x 4 in.|
|Digital Reproduction Information||Scanned as a TIFF image at 300 dpi, in 8-bit grayscale. The image was converted into JPEG format using PhotoShop, and was resized to 640 pixels in the longest dimension.|
Reference link: http://content.lib.washington.edu/u?/imlswingluke,16
I got this photograph from the University of Washington’s Wing Luke Asian Museum Collection. The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience here in Seattle has a great collection of images, newspaper clippings, books, and past exhibit information on Asian American communities, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The images selected and scanned for UW’s Digital Collection include Asian American people, clubs, and businesses in Seattle’s International District, and King County residents interned at Minidoka during World War II.