May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. As we often do for heritage months, the Library is sharing a set of images from the collections that are free to use and reuse, and that touch on the experiences and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders while living in the United States.
In looking through the group of images, I noticed portraits of three interesting women, all influential in their own ways during their lifetimes.
First, Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii poses here in formal dress. She was the only queen regnant and the last sovereign ruler of Hawaii. She was also a prolific songwriter, and amongst her work is the iconic “Aloha Oe (Farewell to Thee),” written while she was a princess.
Chinese American actress Anna May Wong is often considered the first Asian American woman to become a film star in Hollywood, debuting during the silent film era and continuing to perform up to the 1960s. Her 1937 film, Daughter of Shanghai, in which she played a lead role opposite another Asian American actor, was added to the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2006.
Patsy T. Mink became the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman elected to Congress in 1964. Her lifetime of public service included two stints in the House of Representatives, 1965-1977 and 1990-2002, representing the state of Hawaii. Her tireless efforts for women’s rights, civil rights, education, and more are documented in the Patsy T. Mink Papers, housed at the Library of Congress. In the 1994 photo below, she announces the formation of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
- Learn more about Patsy T. Mink through First Woman of Color in Congress: A Resource Guide for the Patsy T. Mink Papers, and see more photos of Mink in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- View photos and political cartoons related to Queen Liliuokalani in the Prints & Photographs Division. Enjoy recordings of her famous song, “Aloha Oe (Farewell to Thee)”, available through the Library’s website.
- Consult the complete National Film Registry for the entry on “Daughter of Shanghai”, and read the essay about the film by Brian Taves, former film archivist at the Library of Congress. See more photos of Anna May Wong, some in costume, in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.
- View the entire Free to Use and Reuse set of images for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.