Sen. Spark Matsunaga’s political legacy unveiled in digital collection

University of Hawaiʻi
Janel Quirante, (808) 689-2742
Head Archivist, ‘Ulu‘ulu Moving Image Archive, UH West Oʻahu
Dawn Sueoka, (808) 956-6995
Congressional Papers Archivist, University Archives & Manuscripts,UH Mānoa Library
Posted: Mar 20, 2024

Sen. Spark Matsunaga
Sen. Spark Matsunaga

A digital archive highlighting the distinguished career of U.S. Sen. Spark M. Matsunaga, a pivotal figure in Hawaiʻi's political landscape, was released by the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media collection in February. A collaboration between the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu and the UH Mānoa Library, the collection includes 10.5 hours of footage highlighting Matsunaga’s significant contributions to civil rights, Japanese American reparations, space exploration, renewable energy and peace efforts.

Matsunaga was a member of the famed 100th Infantry Battalion and represented Hawaiʻi in the U.S. Congress from 1963 until his death in 1990.

The collection offers 24 short clips available online, with complete recordings available upon request. Notable clips include Matsunaga's 1959 campaign ad for lieutenant governor and recordings discussing elections and industrial development in Hawaiʻi. Also featured is the 1988 Senate debate on redress for Japanese Americans interned during World War II.

Post-statehood congressional archives

The footage is the inaugural release by the Hawaiʻi Congressional Media collection, an online archive featuring digitized moving images from Hawaiʻi's post-statehood congressional members. Established in 2021, this collaboration between Uluʻulu: the Henry Kuʻualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawaiʻi at UH West Oʻahu and the Hawaiʻi Congressional Papers Collection at the UH Mānoa Library ensures the preservation and sharing of Hawaiʻi's political history.

“The images and voices from this collection that have been newly revealed through digitization provide an invaluable glimpse into our state’s rich political past,” said Janel Quirante, UH West Oahu ‘Ulu‘ulu head archivist  “I’m so grateful for the partnership with UH Mānoa Library and thrilled that researchers and students can now view this amazing historical footage online.”

“Working with ‘Ulu’ulu leverages the strengths and expertise of both of our organizations to share these important moments in history with the public” said Dawn Sueoka, UH Manoa Congressional Papers archivist.

Upcoming digitization plans

Later this year, ʻUluʻulu aims to digitize an additional 250 reels from various Hawaiʻi congressional members, including Sen. Hiram Fong, Sen. Daniel Akaka, Rep. Tom Gill, Rep. Pat Saiki, Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Rep. Ed Case. ʻUluʻulu also preserves the moving image archives of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

Read more about Matsunagaʻs digital archive.