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Miyamoto Photograph Collection: Collection Description



Selection of Digitized Photographs

Text Descriptions of Photographs:


Masao Miyamoto grouped the photographs into three main categories. The smallest group are images Miyamoto rescued, primarily when the University administration moved from Hawaii Hall to the newly completed Bachman Hall about 1953. Having heard from another that people were dumping photographs, Miyamoto rescued numerous images, including glass plate as well as film based negatives illustrating the first two decades of the University's existence -- then known as the College of Hawaii.

The second group, consisting of four subgroups, documents the faculty and staff of the University of Hawai'i. There is a relatively small group ranging from 1948 to 1955; then comes a grouping about twice the size in volume, ranging from 1955 to 1964; then a large group, holding over ten times the number of negatives as in the first group, covers faculty and staff from 1965 to approximately 1980. The last remaining photographs in this group are a small number of miscellaneous photographs of people which possibly should be interfiled into the other three subseries.

Miyamoto classified the final main group of photographs, "Events." Similar to his treatment of faculty photographs, where he assigned a number to the faculty person, not a separate number to each image he created of the faculty person, Miyamoto assigned numbers to the event he photographed. Thus an event number may refer to only one photograph, but usually, the number includes numerous images. Although another numbering system was created for storage (see below), Miyamoto's numbering has been recorded with the images for future reference.

In order to store negatives efficiently by size and to expedite retrieval, the Archivist decided to create another numbering system. This system would reflect the three major sizes of negatives in the Photographs, creating subseries on the basis of the negative sizes. The system begins with a capital letter representing the size of the negative, followed by two digits representing the year, a colon, and three digits for chronological ordering within each year. The letter "A" indicates 4 x 5" negatives as well as some early odd sized negatives; the letter "B" indicates 120 mm negatives; and the letter "C" indicates 35 mm negatives.

For the viewing public, the major disadvantage of the Miyamoto Collection is that it includes only a scattering of positive prints. When prints are available, the archival staff pull them for patrons to view; but when only negatives exist, the patron must become accustomed to "reversing" his/her vision, seeing dark where the negative is light and light where it is dark. Archival use entails some special requirements. In addition to the normal requirements the staff place upon patrons of the Archives, patrons using the University Archives Photographs must wear the cotton gloves supplied by the Archives when they use photographs.

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