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Finding Aid to the Robert T. Matsui Papers, circa 1940-2006, bulk 1979-2004
BANC MSS 2008/101  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Information
  • Scope and Content of Collection

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Robert T. Matsui papers
    Date (inclusive): circa 1940-2006,
    Date (bulk): bulk 1979-2004
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 2008/101
    Creators : Matsui, Robert T., 1941-2005
    Extent: Number of containers: 245 cartons Linear feet: 306.25
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    University of California, Berkeley
    Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
    Phone: (510) 642-6481
    Fax: (510) 642-7589
    Email: bancref@library.berkeley.edu
    URL: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/
    Abstract: The Robert T. Matsui Papers document the career of a Japanese American politician who served 13 terms, from 1979-2005, in the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento district.
    Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English and Japanese
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is restricted until January 1, 2020 or the death of Doris Matsui, whichever is later; researchers may apply for access to the collection. Inquiries regarding these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html .

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Robert T. Matsui Papers, BANC MSS 2008/101, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Separated Material

    A collection of DVDs and a hard drive containing electronic records have been separated from the collection.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Matsui, Robert T.
    Matsui, Doris Okada
    United States. Congress. House. Committee on Ways and Means
    Sacramento (Calif.)--Politics and government
    United States--Foreign economic relations
    Public welfare--United States
    Social security--United States
    Japanese Americans--History--20th century
    Japanese Americans--Civil rights--History
    Flood control--California--Sacramento
    Military base closures--California, Northern

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Robert T. Matsui Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Doris O. Matsui on January 1, 2007.


    No additions are expected.

    System of Arrangement

    Arranged to the folder level.

    Processing Information

    Processed by David Uhlich in 2010.

    Biographical Information

    Robert Takeo Matsui (1941-2005) was a Japanese American politician who served 13 terms in the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento district. Born on September 17, 1941, Matsui was six months old when he and his family were taken from Sacramento and interned by the U.S. government at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center in 1942. The family returned to Sacramento after the end of World War II, where Matsui remained until moving to attend the University of California, Berkeley as a Political Science major in 1959. Upon his graduation from Berkeley in 1963, Matsui opted to continue his education at the nearby University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, from which he graduated in 1966. Matsui married his wife, Doris Okada, the same year and returned to Sacramento to start his private law practice.
    Matsui's political career began with his election to the Sacramento City Council in 1971; after his re-election in 1975, he was chosen by fellow members of the council to serve as Vice-Mayor of Sacramento in 1977. Upon the retirement of the long-time incumbent, John E. Moss, Matsui ran for the House of Representatives in 1978, and began his first term as a Congressman on January 3, 1979.
    The majority of Matsui's time in Congress was spent as a member of the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, where he was able to effect legislation regarding such important issues as health care, international trade, social security, taxes, and welfare reform. Perhaps as a result of his childhood experience, civil rights issues also remained very important to Matsui throughout his life, culminating during his 5th term in Congress when he helped pass the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which served as a public apology from the U.S. for the World War II internment program, and also offered token reparations to its victims. Despite his long tenure in Washington D.C., district issues also remained at the forefront of Matsui's Congressional agenda, particularly flood control and military base closures in the Sacramento region. Matsui also served as regent of the Smithsonian Institution, treasurer and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
    Only months after winning election to his 14th term in the House of Representatives, Matsui died on January 1, 2005 from the complications of a rare blood disease, Myelodysplastic Syndrome. In a special election held later that year, his wife, Doris Okada Matsui, was elected to fill his vacant Congressional seat.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Robert T. Matsui Papers consist primarily of files Matsui compiled during his career as a politician. The bulk of the collection is comprised of materials documenting Matsui's work in the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento district, especially pertaining to his lengthy service on the Ways and Means Committee; also prominent in the collection are Matsui's office and press files, personal correspondence, campaign and political files and a limited amount of Sacramento City Council materials. The collection encompasses a range of materials--including correspondence, legislative addresses, campaign literature, press releases, schedules, and ephemera--most notably documenting such legislation and issues as: health care, social security, tax, and welfare reform; the North American Free Trade Agreement and approval of the Uruguay Round Agreements; civil rights and Japanese American internment redress; Sacramento regional water and flood control; and district military base closures.
    The Robert T. Matsui Papers are subdivided into four series:
    • Series I: Personal Files
    • Series II: City Council Files
    • Series III: Campaign and Political Files
    • Series IV: Congressional Files