Densho website page

The “Frank Abe Collection” expanded at Densho

With the 32nd anniversary this week of the signing of the Civil Liberties Act, this is a good time to belatedly acknowledge one year’s worth of work by the good people at  Densho to scan and archive seven bankers’ boxes full of archival Day of Remembrance and redress materials from the decade that spanned 1978 to 1988, along with the raw materials that went into production of  Conscience and the Constitution from 1992 to 2000.

As with the symposium tapes mentioned earlier, these are primary documents and secondary  clippings, and photographs that were moved from place to place over the past 40 years, now safely scanned for the digital realm. What can I say, they sat comfortably next to my other collections of The Man From U.N.C.L.E memorabilia, Brian Wilson recordings, and Mariners baseball card team sets.


Activist, documentarian, and author Frank Abe’s collection—which he recently expanded—covers important milestones in the Japanese American campaign for redress and reparations, and the development of Days of Remembrance in Seattle and Portland. In developing his acclaimed documentary Conscience and the Constitution, Abe interviewed the original members of the Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee and other resisters. He was also part of the group that helped organize those first Days of Remembrance, and covered Gordon Hirabayashi’s appeal and the redress hearings in the 1980s as a journalist. The collection contains a wealth of oral history interviews, redress documents, Abe’s research materials, and much more.

Sifting through the collection in collaboration with archivist Dina Moreno, I’d forgotten I had this proof sheet of photos taken at the first Day of Remembrance at Puyallup, taken my then-travel agent and friend John from Densho email newsletter

The ID number for the collection is ddr-densho-122 and you can find it here:

Densho website page

Here is an Excel spreadsheet of the 858  “objects” that were scanned and posted, listed by order of their Densho ID numbers. Although this list is not broken out by sections, here is the range of the items that are included:

Series 1: Redress and Reparations
Series 2: Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Citizens (CWRIC)
Series 3: Days of Remembrance
Series 4: Commemorations/Conferences/Reconciliation
Series 5: Legal Cases – Hirabayashi, Korematsu
Series 6: Conscience and the Constitution
— Sub series 1: Production material
— Sub series 2: Files on Individuals (alpha by last name)
— Sub series 3: Background Research
— Sub series 4: JACL/Make Masaoka
— Series 7: Correspondence. Alpha by last name
Series 8: Miscellaneous
— Sub series 1: Japanese Americans in the military
— Sub series 2: Journalism awards
— Sub series 3: Writings on internment/resistance
— Sub series 4: Film and theater
Series 9: Photos/scans used in the production of Conscience and the Constitution

4Culture of King CountyThanks to Dina Moreno, Caitlin Oiye Coon, and the staff at Densho for their work to organize, scan and curate these files. And a big thanks to 4Culture (the former King County Arts Commission) for providing the grant to Densho which helped fund this project.

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