The Library has a new Special Collections display on the first floor outside the Reading Room! To honor Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, we wanted to showcase some of our archival collections that relate to Asian American history in Idaho!
“Japanese-Americans in the Pacific Northwest” is a bibliography of library resources related to Japanese Americans, prepared by the Staff of the Tacoma Public Library in August 1971.
The Asian American Comparative Collection was founded in 1982 by Dr. Priscilla Wegars and is located in the Laboratory of Anthropology at the University of Idaho. The AACC houses Asian artifacts from archaeological excavations in Idaho.
“Other Faces, Other Lives: Asian Americans in Idaho” was sponsored by the Palouse Asian American Association of Moscow/Pullman with the assistance of a grant from the Ethnic Heritage Committee of the Idaho Centennial Commission. Lily Wai was the project administrator of the project. Eight Asian American families (specifically Chinese, Japanese, and Filipino) were interviewed about their experiences living in Idaho.
Lily Wai (b. 1939 - d. 2013) was a faculty Librarian at the University of Idaho Library. Wai earned one B.A. and two M.A. degrees and was involved in several projects that aimed to preserve and make accessible the histories of Asian communities in Idaho, including the documentary project “Other Faces, Other Lives: Asian Americans in Idaho,” also on display here.
The Kooskia Internment Camp was a WWII detention facility that was 30 miles outside of Kooskia, Idaho. The camp was administered by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and it held men of Japanese ancestry who were termed “enemy aliens,” even though most of them were long-time U.S. residents. A total of approximately 265 Japanese men were held at the Kooskia Internment Camp at various times between May 1943 and May 1945.
Samuel S.M. Chan (b. 1934 - ) was a Professor of Mining Engineering at the University of Idaho from 1963-1989. He earned his B.S. in mining and metallurgical engineering in China and earned his Ph.D. in Geology in 1966. His professional specialties included rock mechanics and geophysics. He has many publications and scholarly papers to his credit and was a consultant for American Zinc Lead & Smelting Co., Vanguard Exploration Company, and El Paso Natural Gas Company. He was a member of the International Society of Rock Mechanics.
Polly Bemis was a Chinese American woman and pioneer in Idaho in the late 19th and early 20th century. This book is part of the Day-NW book collection in Special Collections.
“Japanese American Contributions to Idaho’s Economic Development” discusses how “Japanese, like other early Idaho pioneers, came to the Gem State in search of economic opportunity. Through their efforts, they not only achieved many of their own economic goals, but also made significant contributions to Idaho’s economic development.”
“Chinese on the American Frontier” discusses that, although Chinese immigrants played a dynamic role in frontier America, scholars of Asian America have focused for the most part only on the Pacific Coast, especially California. This book fills that gap by collecting memoirs, documents, and historical analyses from the other Western states - from the Cascades to the Great Plains - to provide a comprehensive overview of the Chinese in 19th century America.