New Home for JACL Historical Collection

New Home for JACL Historical Collection

JACL Portland State University Miller Library

Portland State University

Portland JACL Co-Presidents Susan Leedham and Jean Yamamoto were treated to a tour of Portland State University’s Millar Library with Jennifer Wilkerson, Director of Development. The 21st century library with website access to databases, e-books, e-journals, media equipped study rooms to practice powerpoint presentations, family-friendly study rooms, and a coffee cart – it’s OK to drink coffee inside the library(!), is not the college library we remembered. Our tour ended at the Special Collections & University Archives where we met Archivist, Cris Paschild.

Over two years ago Portland State University graduate student, Robert Hedgwood, contacted Portland JACL for any records we might have on civil rights or redress efforts during the period of 1945-1955. We had a storage unit filled with documents in various stages of organization. Robert was excited to find the information he needed for his research project. Last year the Chapter donated the materials to PSU’s Special Collections so that it can be available to other students and the public.

Cris Paschild was thrilled to show us the Portland JACL Collection, which includes the original receipt from the Chapter’s purchase of a flag set from Meier & Frank for $1.75, dated December 8, 1941. There are scrapbooks, photographs, programs, minutes from meetings, and much more dating from pre-World War II to the 1980s.

Of great concern is the condition of the boxes and folders that contain these treasures. Some may remember what onion skin or mimeographed paper is. It is important to properly store these fragile materials to preserve them for future generations of researchers. It’s also necessary to catalog and put it on a searchable database so that people can find the information they need. PSU recently announced the addition of the Portland JACL collection and it is available for students to access the Collection now. But to be in better condition for access and preservation, it needs to be properly archived and that takes money.

JACL Portland State University Jennifer Wilkerson

Fortunately Jennifer and Cris are applying for an Oregon Cultural Trust grant for this project which they estimate will require $10,000 to preserve the existing Collection. The grant matches donated funds 1 to 1. This means that Portland JACL will need to raise $5,000 and the OCT grant will provide the matching $5,000.

We hope that you agree that this is an important project and that you will consider doing the following things:


  • Send a monetary contribution to Portland JACL for this specific purpose
  • Consider donating any materials to add to the Portland JACL Collection
  • Come to a celebration gathering at PSU later this year and help identify people in photos and see the Collection

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