Chris D. Mensalvas photograph collection, 1937-1956  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Mensalvas, Chris D., -1977
Chris D. Mensalvas photograph collection
1937-1956 (inclusive)
3 photographic prints (1 folder)
Collection Number
Three photographs of Filipinos including cannery workers in Alaska, and union members submitting a donation for a strike on the island of Lanai in Hawaii.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Additional Reference Guides


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Between 1910 and 1930, a wave of Filipino immigrants came to the United States. Instead of better opportunities, many encountered discrimination, poor living conditions, and oppressive labor practices. Chris Delarna Mensalvas (1909-1978) immigrated to the United States from the Philippines in 1927. He became an important figure in the Filipino labor movements of the 1940s and '50s, organizing unions and initiating strikes for just working conditions and fair wages for farm and cannery workers.

Between the years 1949 and 1959, Mensalvas was president of the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) Local 37 in Seattle - the Filipino Alaska cannery workers union. He was publicity director of the local from 1948 to 1949, when it was Local 7 of the Cannery Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union. Mensalvas actively opposed the deportation of Filipinos under the McCarran-Walter Act of 1952. The noted Filipino author and activist Carlos Bulosan and fellow activist Philip Vera Cruz were among his friends. He was an inspiration for later Filipino activists Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes, who consulted him about his labor organizing experiences. Mensalvas died in 1978.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of three photographs relating to Filipino cannery workers and union members.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Container(s) Description Dates
Folder item
1 1  Filipino cannery workers at harbor in Alitak, Alaska.
M.B. Pabillon (photographer)
1 2  Filipino cannery workers with a Giant Pacific Octopus (probably at Alitak, Alaska)
M.B. Pabillon (photographer)
Note on photograph: "Joy despite unsurmountable hardship."
1 3  Union delegate Dick Querubin and Secretary Mathias J. Lagunilla submitting donations for a strike in Lanai, Hawaii, at Seattle union office.
Broadway Photo, Seattle, WA (photographer)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Cannery workers--Alaska--Photographs
  • Filipinos--Alaska--Photographs
  • Labor unions--Washington (State)--Seattle--Officials and employees--Photographs
  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)