Member Spotlight: Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection

by Dawn Sueoka, Congressional Papers Archivist, Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection, University Archives & Manuscripts Department, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library

Tell us a little about your institution.

The Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection (HCPC) collects the papers of Hawai‘i’s Congressional delegation from 1959 (the year Hawai‘i became a state) to the present. The collection was established in 1998, and since then has acquired the Congressional papers of 8 Hawai‘i delegates, including the papers of Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who served more than 49 years in the Senate. We also house small collections of memorabilia from some of Hawai‘i’s other members of Congress. Collections measure over 4,000 linear feet, and are housed in the Hamilton Library at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, the UH system’s flagship campus.

Processing the Senator Daniel K. Inouye papers, 2014.

What is something you’d like for other ACSC members to know about your collections?

Hawai‘i may have a small Congressional delegation, but our members have had a significant impact on issues relating to defense, peace, human and civil rights, tropical agricultural industries, immigration and naturalization, and energy, among others.

What major projects, initiatives, or programs have you been working on over the last year?

I just started in February 2020, but in the past few months, I’ve been working on familiarizing myself with the collections and their respective administrative histories, and also getting up to speed on an ongoing project to digitize select portions of the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Papers.

What is your favorite thing about working with congressional collections?

So far, it’s seeing the connections between the different collections—how events and legislation can be documented differently, and from different perspectives depending on the member. For me, it underscores the value of maintaining the records of the entire delegation in a centralized location.

What is one of your favorite items from your collections to share?

 I’m still in the process of learning about the collections, but I can say that whenever I pass the “Vote for Hiram” sign (a large poster board with the lyrics to a campaign jingle sung to the tune of “When You’re Smiling”), I spend the rest of the day humming that tune to myself!

“Vote for Hiram” campaign song. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Library, Hiram L. Fong Papers.

How does your institution interact with your community?

We’ve created and collaborated on exhibits and programming on topics like Statehood and the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and my predecessors have done instruction work with classes in various academic departments. I’m looking forward to continuing to help scholars, students, and the public connect and engage with the modern political history of Hawai‘i.

Learn more about the Hawai‘i Congressional Papers Collection and connect with them on social media here: