Out of the Archives

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 54Seattle1927
Photographer Unknown
Date 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 FoyPaul LouieJames Lukeunidentifiedunidentified. Middle row: unidentifiedMing ChinnMoses KayHenry LukeBung ChinnHubert Foy. Back row: unidentifiedHarry T. ChinnDaniel Hong LewDavid WoounidentifiedCharles ChinnHingChinnTim ChinnGeorge P. Woo.
Subjects Chinese Americans–Washington (State)–Seattle
Uniforms–Washington (State)–Seattle
Children–Washington (State)–Seattle
Boy Scouts of America
Places United States–Washington (State)–Seattle
Chinatown/International District (SeattleWash.)
Digital Collection Wing Luke Asian Museum Photograph Collection
Image Number 1999.006.
Ordering Information To order a reproduction or inquire about permissions contact: bfisher@wingluke.org. 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.
Type Image
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.


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