Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory (RASRL)

Table of Contents

This page:

  • Related Material
  • Restrictions on Access and Use
  • Series Overview
  • General Scope Notes for the Accessions

RASRL Links:

Related Material

  • Social Progress in Hawaiʻi (call number: HN 933.S6)
  • What People in Hawaiʻi are Saying and Doing (call number: HM 47.U7 H38)

Restrictions on Access and Use

Please see finding aids for each series for restrictions on use.  Please schedule an appointment to view items in the collection.

Series Overview

The Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory Records came to the Archives in two accessions, in 1979 and 1989. Each accession included several series. Specific scope and content notes on various series are included in the finding aids for each series. The series in 1979 accession are:

  • General Files: A1979:042
  • War Research Laboratory Records (RASRL was renamed the War Research Laboratory during WWII): A1979:042a
  • Clippings Files: A1979:042b
  • Student Papers: A1979:042c
  • Francis Haar Photographs: A1979:042d
  • Romanzo Adams Papers: A1979:042e
  • Maps: A1979:042f
  • Resource Files: A1979:042g

The 1989 accession includes materials merged into the previous series plus unique series as follows:

General Scope Notes for the Accessions

Accession A1979:042

The Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory records include the two major accessions mentioned above. Within the records in the 1979 accession there is a main record group, consisting of several series, and a subgroup (not divided into series).  The subgroup contains the records of the War Research Laboratory, which was the name the Laboratory used during World War II (at least for its work under the military government).

The first series of the main subgroup, general papers and research files of the Laboratory, have been cataloged as Manuscript A1979:042. This portion of the records, however, is not fully processed and lacks an inventory.

The subgroup of War Research Laboratory Records has been assigned the catalog number Manuscript A1979:042a. These records are in the process of being separated out from among other records in RASRL materials.

A second series within the RASRL records is the Clippings Files. The Clippings Files contain five subseries, four of which vary chronologically, while the last subseries has a subject focus. The four chronological subseries contain clippings from newspapers on numerous ethnic, cultural, family, and racial topics covering the years 1924 to 1966. The topical subseries contains files on specific crimes in Hawaiʻi and on morale and censorship. An inventory for three of the chronological subseries and the topical subseries exists. The Clippings Files are cataloged as Manuscript A1979:042b

Student Papers written for several sociology classes make up the third series of RASRL records. These student papers document various aspects of life in Hawaiʻi over the decades, covering race and ethnic relations, inter-generational relations, cultural organizations, social disorganization and other sociological topics. Because the faculty in sociology collected these student papers for research purposes for their students and for resources for the faculty, individual papers were occasionally “checked out” of the files to be used in classes or for presentations. Sometimes papers were not returned and instead were stored within the individual faculty’s files. As they are discovered, the papers are returned to the series. The Student Papers also fall into further subseries. The first of these, chronologically, subseries “A,” is organized by name of the student writer. Another subseries took the form of student journals, in which the students recorded short incidents which they witnessed in the course of their regular activities. A late subseries consists of papers arranged by semester with author names replaced by codes to protect the privacy of the student writers.

Subseries “A” Student Papers, c 1928 — 1955 has now been completely inventoried and is open to the public.  The series, Student Papers, will be cataloged as Manuscript A1979:042c.

The fourth series within the records received in 1979 consists of photographs by Francis Haar which RASRL gathered in order to document the evolution of Honolulu. The photographs are variously called “Changing Faces of Honolulu,” or “Faces of Chinatown.” Whether Haar made these photographs for RASRL or the RASRL staff collected the photographs afterwards, we do not currently know. UH faculty used the photographs as research tools in teaching sociology classes at the University. This series will be cataloged as Photograph A1979:042d.

The fifth series within the first accession consists of the papers of Romanzo Adams himself. The Romanzo Adams papers will eventually be cataloged as Manuscript A1979:042e. These amount to approximately fifteen linear feet and include some personal materials, such as financial records and correspondence.

The sixth series in the first accession of RASRL records consists of maps. The maps, usually based on published maps, contain added information on various topics of research value to the Laboratory, such as distribution of crimes, location of churches, location of ethnic businesses, etc. The maps are undergoing preservation prior to processing; there is no cataloging currently.

The final series in the first accession consists of a groups of papers located originally within the Student Papers. These papers, however, were not written by students but by lay people and professionals. The papers were most likely used by the RASRL faculty as resources for students and so were intermixed with the student papers. The Resource Files are now separated out and will be cataloged in Hawaiʻi Voyager as Manuscript A1979:042g.

1989 Accessions (A1989:006 through A1989:008)

The second major accession of Romanzo Adams Social Research Laboratory records came from the late Dr. Andrew Lind, director of the Laboratory from the time of Dr. Adams’ retirement until his own retirement. Two groups of materials, additional clippings files and additional student papers, have been or will be merged with those series from the previous accession. Unique series within this accession include the following.

Confidential Research Files, 1942-1957, consist of materials created or collected documenting the same wide variety of ethnic and cultural concerns as reflected in the Clippings Files. The name apparently came from the stance of the RASRL workers as they created or collected the information: they would preserve the confidentiality of the sources. For the most part, this confidentiality has been maintained; a few documents reveal the names of the sources. This series has been cataloged in the online catalog of the University Library as Manuscript A1989:006.

A second series in this accession is the War Brides Interview Project, 1953-1956. This project includes interviews by RASRL staff of war brides living in Hawaiʻi. The project has been broken down into groups according to the ethnicity of the woman and her husband. This series has been cataloged in the online catalog as Manuscript A1989:007.

Finally, this accession contains the Andrew Lind papers as a unique series. These are still unprocessed.

Colleges, Schools, Research Institutes, etc.

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