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Guide to the Tomie Arai and Legan Wong Papers MSS.439

Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Stacey Flatt

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 07, 2021
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Edited by Amy C. Vo to change legacy description about the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II  , December 2020

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use materials in the collection in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Preferred Citation

Identification of item, date; Tomie Arai and Legan Wong Papers; MSS 439; box number; folder number or item identifier; Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual material has not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Material not yet digitized will need to have an access copy made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact Fales Library and Special Collections,, 212-998-2596 with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Tomie Arai, 2015. The accession number associated with this gift is 2015.439.

Processing Information

In 2009, a staff person at NYU Asian/Pacific/American Institute surveyed the collection.

In 2017 Conservation Lab staff remounted and rehoused the 15 watercolor artworks and rehoused the posters.

In 2020, narrative description was edited to more accurately describe the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

During the processing of this collection in 2021, all material was refoldered into archival folders and placed in appropriate sized containers. Original titles were transcribed onto the new folders when possible. The material was arranged into four series by the processing archivist.

Publication titles containing harmfully euphemistic language regarding the forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II were identified, but have been retained to convey important contextual information regarding time and place in which the documents and titles were created.

Six commercial phonodiscs were identified and processed as artifacts and not audiovisual material.


Three record cartons of duplicate print material, including exhibition announcements and catalogues and newsclippings, were identified and removed from the collection. The commercially produced record album: Chairman Mao's 4 Minute Physical Fitness Program (1973) was separated from the collection. Approximately 50 collectible buttons were sorted and only those specifically pertaining to the Asian American movement and community were retained. Two mounted items including an illustration: "Unidad de todas" and a reproduction of a photograph of a group with fists in air were removed from the collection. Arai's resource/reference book titles were reviewed and removed if they already existed within the NYU Library's holdings. A list of those removed is available.

Three commercially available record albums owned by Arai's parents (1937 Billie Holiday song, Pat Suzuki Broadway album, and Broadway musical soundtrack, Flower Drum Song album) have been retained in the collection because they were part of Arai's parents' personal collection, two are autographed, and the Broadway show had Asian American performers.