Digitize Your History

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CSUDH collecting photos and letters for online archives.

Librarian Thomas Philo holds the one of the artifacts from the Japanese American Collections.

CARSON — The CSU Dominguez Hills Archives Department is currently looking for materials such as photos and documents that can be digitized in order to preserve the life history of Japanese immigrants in California.

This is part of the CSUDH Japanese American Digitization Project, which is calling for contributions from any groups, including families, prefectural associations (kenjinkai), hobbyist groups, and historical study groups.

Greg Williams, director of Archives and Special Collections, says, “If you have any photos, letters, documents, newsletters, etc., we will help you to digitize and preserve your history systematically.”

Digitization is free. Documents written in Japanese will be translated into English and eventually published in online archives.

Letters written in Japanese will be translated into English.

There are two ways to provide materials: one is to donate all of the materials; another is to have a partnership with the archives to deposit materials temporarily until the digitization is completed.

CSUDH is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University system and the only public four-year college in the South Bay, with 15,000 students, including graduate students. Founded in 1960, the campus is located in Carson, where several Japanese Americans ran farms before World War II. The campus is also close to areas where Japanese American communities existed, including Terminal Island, Long Beach, Compton, Gardena, Palos Verdes and Torrance.

Ishibashi family’s portrait from one of the existing collections.

Since the 1970s, while history professor Dr. Don Hata was teaching, the Japanese American Collections have grown. CSUDH held its first public exhibition from the collections between April and August this year by displaying more than 500 artifacts related to Japanese Americans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. Funded by a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the archives hold more than 300 items and the goal is to expand that number to 10,000 or more.

While Nikkei history collections at UCLA and other universities are better known, Wiliams said, “We want to make collections that reflect the daily lives of ordinary people. We would like to help digitizing the materials to keep history and culture as common property for the next generation. ”

For more information, contact Williams (310) 243-3013 or Thomas Philo at (310) 243-3895. The CSU Japanese American Digitalization Project can be found online at: http://digitalcollections.archives.csudh.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16855coll4

Greg Williams, director of Archives and Special Collections, and Yoko Okunishi, digital archivist, who is holding a flyer that calls for materials to be digitized for the CSUDH Japanese American Project.

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