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Nagai (Nelson and Beverly) Collection of Asian-American History and Culture
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Collection Details
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  • Scope and Contents
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Preferred Citation
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Related Materials

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Nelson and Beverly Nagai Collection of Asian-American History and Culture
    source: Nagai, Nelson
    source: Nagai, Beverly
    Identifier/Call Number: M1928
    Physical Description: 7.5 Linear Feet : 10 boxes, 2 oversize folders
    Date (inclusive): circa 1968-1980
    Abstract: Publications & ephemera of late-20th century radical political activism centered in the Bay Area, with an emphasis on Asian-American activism. Includes correspondence, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, posters, printed ephemera, t-shirts, buttons, and videocassettes.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of publications & ephemera of late-20th century radical political activism, with an emphasis on Asian American protest movements. The collection includes the following material: Radical Asian community newspapers, most from the 1970s and 1980s ; various pamphlets related to Communism, the African-American, Chicano and Puerto Rican communities, and American workers’ and radical Leftist movements; t-shirts with safety-pin buttons from the 1970s; large photographs of the sites of Japanese internment camps in California; and movie posters of films about Asians and Asian-Americans.

    Biographical / Historical

    Nelson Nagai was the chairperson of the constitution committee of Stockton’s Yellow Seed, a community service organization. While at Stanford University, Nagai also served as the chairperson of the Asian American Student Association. During the International Hotel struggle, Nagai served as the auditor of the International Hotel Tenants Association.
    The original Kearny Street Workshop (KSW) storefront in San Francisco Chinatown, 1971, located on the ground floor of the International Hotel. At the time, the images produced by KSW's silkscreen and graphics artists were among the first to portray strong and bold images of Asian Americans. The group's work was a hallmark of the Asian American movement on the West Coast but it was also a place "where they felt they belonged," which is how Nelson Nagai described the Yellow Seed, a Stockton organization (see text below).
    From an excerpt of "I Come From a Yellow Seed" by Nelson Nagai:
    "[In 1969] it was decided that the Asian community needed a drop-in center for youth -- some place where they felt they belonged and an alternative to the pool hall [which had been boycotted because the white owner told Asians to leave the establishment]. So the Yellow Seed Center was born.
    Quickly an organization was started around the center. [In 1971] the Yellow Seed received funding for a recreation center to serve the children of Asian cannery workers from the federal government. Our idea was to provide activities for Asian children so that they would not have to run the streets like we did."
    From Snapshots of Asian America (KQED)

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use. Audiovisual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Nelson and Beverly Nagai Collection of Asian-American History and Culture (M1928). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Nelson Nagai, 2012. Accession 2012-249.

    Related Materials

    Some items were catalogued individually and can be found on Searchworks at this link: https://searchworks.stanford.edu/catalog?q=%22The+Nelson+and+Beverly+Nagai+collection+of+Asian-American+history+and+culture.%22&search_field=subject_terms
    University of the Pacific holds the Nelson Nagai And Grace Sumida Collection (MSS 329), whjich contains material collected by Nelson and his mother Grace.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Asian-Americans -- History
    Printed ephemera
    Nagai, Nelson
    Nagai, Beverly