Chris Mensalvas and Silme Domingo family photograph collection, approximately 1920-1981

Overview of the Collection

Mensalvas, Chris D.,  -1977
Chris Mensalvas and Silme Domingo family photograph collection
approximately 1920-1981 (inclusive)
approximately 1952-1981 (bulk)
22 photographic prints and 14 negatives, 2 contact sheets and 1 collage (1 box and 2 folders) ; sizes vary
Collection Number
Photographs of Filipino-American president of the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union Silme Domingo, workers of the union and their families and friends.
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 2065431929
Fax: 2065431931
Access Restrictions

Entire collection can be viewed on the Libraries’ Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials Curator required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

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

Photographs of Chris Mensalvas, Silme Domingo, Gene Viernes and their families and friends.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View the digital version of the collection

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact Special Collections, University of Washington Libraries for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Custodial History

The collection was separated from the Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union, Local 7 photographs, PH Coll 1044. The photographs are personal in nature, and do not appear to relate to the union.

Acquisition Information

Donor: Cannery Workers and Farm Laborers Union, Local 7, December 1, 1987.

Processing Note

Processed by Erin Berg; processing completed in 2013.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Chris Mensalvas & FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1
Chris Mensalvas and son Topper Mensalvas
Chris Mensalvas was president of International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, Local 37 (previously Cannery Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union, Local 7) from 1949 to 1959 and served as publicity director of Cannery Workers' and Farm Laborers' Union, Local 7 from 1948 to 1949.
1/1 2 1952
1/1 3
Mensalvas Family
Contact sheet for 10 9x13cm negatives.
Box/Folder item
1/1 3a-b
Boy and girl playing indoors
1/1 3c
Two girls on woman's lap
1/1 3d
Man in plaid shirt and hat sitting at dining room table
1/1 3e
Two boys and a girl sitting on man's back on a lawn
1/1 3f
Man in suit touching wire with boy crawling on grass behind him
1/1 3g-h
Man and woman sitting on a bench in back yard
1/1 3i
Chris Mensalvas and wife Irene Mensalvas deboarding United Airlines airplane in Washington, D.C.
1/1 3j
Chris Mensalvas and wife Irene Mensalvas in front of the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
1/1 4 circa 1956
1/1 5
Ten photographs depicting the activities of the Mensalvas family in Punaluu, Hawaii. Punaluu is a rural community in the Koʻolauloa District on the Island of Oahu, in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photographs are bound in an album.
September 1961
Box/Folder item
1/1 5a
Mensalvas family on lanai with sting ray
Typed on verso of photograph: Enlarged view of same lanai with our home-grown hanging plants..the sting ray at our feet, 100 lbs. The Black cat we tamed from the jungle, has a brother a yellow cutie we named Nicky...not in picture.
September 1961
1/1 5b
Tony wearing tabungao hat and palm raincoat
Typed on verso of photograph: The "Wild man from Borneo" himself, wearing my tabungao hat and palm raincoat / A natural without shirt and pants- just a muffler between the legs. Tony forgot to wear my calasiao bolo.
September 1961
1/1 5c
Double exposed photograph depicting Mensalvas family on lanai with Datsun station wagon, and Tony and Patsy Mensalvas
Typed on verso of photograph: This one is a shot was taken in our front lanai, and one in my garden, Tony's ghost hiding in front of my opu (belly) and Patsy's ghost peeping with her Philippine hat in background...Little car is our Datsun station wagon Handwritten on verso of photograph: double-exposure
September 1961
1/1 5d
Mensalvas family under coconut tree
Typed on verso of photograph: Believe or not Coconut, fruits reaching the ground. We have five trees of da kine [sic] in our yard. Handwritten on verso of photograph: Same tree was in colored picture
September 1961
1/1 5e
Samoan coconut tree
Typed on verso of photograph: A taller Samoan coconut tree - only 10 ft. high, bearing all year round fruit and heavy. Guess who is peeping around the corner..did not make it on time!
September 1961
1/1 5f
Topper Mensalvas climbing papaya tree
Typed on verso of photograph: A Prize shot of PAPAYA TREES growing in abundance around our house. The mighty mountain is just 1,000 ft. back of the house, where sugar cane, bread fruit, plumerias, and bananas abound, Note the clouds gathering up in sky- when it rains here, it pours to last at least five minutes, then sunshine. Topper, the expert climber of papayas, mangoes, mabulos, coconuts, and guavas.
September 1961
1/1 5g
Tony, Topper Mensalvas, and Patsy Mensalvas in living room
Typed on verso of photograph: Taken in front of living room door leading to the west lanai. One hat is anito hat made by Moros, the other a regular women's nipa hat..below nipa hut is Topper's drawing of a fighting chicken. Note coral in front of Tony, Patsy and Topper dug from the ocean...the fruits, abis, caburao, guavas..and red giner in vase. Carved carabo Patsy holding and Topper serenading. Handwritten on verso of photograph: Stuffed birds with nest from the Phil. below Topper.
September 1961
1/1 5h
Tony playing ukelele
Typed on verso of photograph: THE OLD DON JUAN HIMSELF with his OOkulele...note our floor cement is covered with woven palm mats- hala leaves, very durable- instead of rugs. We have a few small rugs- mostly hala mats for our floors, mostly rattan chairs including our couch. Handwritten on verso of photograph: Punee couch in picture / Hybiscus flower (state flower) on Home-made coconut vase- back of me.
September 1961
1/1 5i
Mensalvas family and Tony sitting at kitchen table
Typed on verso of photograph: Lomboy party with Tony taken in one corner of our kitchen. Broom in background is Igorot made from wild grass in Philippines...we have two. Tony says they are from the Trino or tanubong grass...very soft, just for inside. Topper wearing Diego Silang hat. Tony ate a lots of Lomboy swallowing seeds. Handwritten on verso of photograph: Igorot [?] hanging on mirror
September 1961
1/1 5j
Chris Mensalvas and Tony in front of Ala Moana Building in Honolulu, Hawaii
Typed on verso of photograph: Tallest building in Honolulu- 25 stories high, right in downtown Honolulu- Only building in the world with a revolving restaurant on top. Adjacent is the Alamoana Shopping Center biggest in US. Irene works on the 14th floor in said building, afew blocks from ILWU Building and close to Waikiki. Tony and I are standing on top of the Shopping Center up and down. Handwritten on verso of photograph: (2 levels of shops & parking) / Seattle will be second soon, we hear.
September 1961
1/1 6 1970?
1/1 7 1980?
1/1 8 1980?

Silme Domingo & FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/2 9 1972?
1/2 10 1980?
1/2 11 1980?
1/2 12 1980?
1/2 13
Ricky Farinas, Jr.
Ricky Farinas, Jr. was probably a friend of Terri Mast.
1/2 14 1981?
1/2 15
Terri Mast and Nemesio Domingo sharing a toast
John Stamets (photographer)
Nemesio Domingo was the father of Silme Domingo. This photo was likely taken at either the gathering for the recall election of Baruso or a special election. UW 27683
September 30, 1982

Gene Viernes & FamilyReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/3 16 1981?
1/3 17
Portraits of Gene Viernes and Greg Della.
Contact sheet for 6 photographs. Items 17.1A, 17.2A, 17.3A, 17.4A and 17.5A are Gene Viernes. Item 17.6A is Greg Della.
between 1960-1979?
1/3 18
Men preparing for pig roast in backyard
Man in second photo from left of second row is Eddie Daba, Seattle activist. Woman in second row, right photo is Betty Viernes, Gene Viernes' mother.
Contact sheet for 12 photographs.
between 1960-1979?

Unidentified PeopleReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/4 19 between 1920-1949?
1/4 20 between 1920-1949?
1/4 21 1980?
1/4 22
Group of young Filipino women on benches outdoors at Seattle University
This photo was possibly taken at the Far West Convention at Seattle University. The woman in the center holding a purse is possibly Becky Cordona.
1/4 23 1980?
1/4 24 1980?
1/4 25 1980?
1/4 26
Four negatives depicting outdoor scenes in Rosemead, California
Items 26.12A and 26.13A depict a highway. Items 26.14A and 26.15A depict three men standing outside.
1/4 27
Passport photographs of young Asian man with moustache
DeAsis Studio, Seattle, Washington (photographer)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Visual Materials Collections (University of Washington)

Personal Names

  • Domingo, Silme,  -1981--Family--Photographs
  • Domingo, Silme,  -1981--Photographs
  • Mensalvas, Chris D.,  -1977--Family--Photographs
  • Mensalvas, Chris D.,  -1977--Photographs
  • Viernes, Gene, -1981--Family--Photographs
  • Viernes, Gene, -1981--Photographs