The Library of Congress > Wise Guide > April 2010 > The Experience of a Lifetime
The Experience of a Lifetime

Rep. Patsy Mink (D-Hawaii) was a vigorous and tireless champion of women's rights, an early and vocal opponent of the Vietnam War, and a leader on issues involving education, the environment, welfare and civil rights. With her election in 1964, Mink became the first non-Caucasian woman and the first Asian American woman to serve in Congress. She represented the people of Hawaii during two periods, from 1965 to 1977 and again from 1990 until her death in 2002. In between, she served in the Carter Administration as an assistant secretary of state for oceans and international, environmental and scientific affairs (1977-78), was president of Americans for Democratic Action (1978-81), served on the Honolulu City Council (1983-87), maintained a private law practice (1987-90), and founded the Public Reporter (1989-91), an organization that monitored and publicized the activities of the Hawaii state legislature.

Patsy T. Mink, ca. 1992. Photographer unknown. Manuscript Division. Reproduction Information: Not available for reproduction. Aerial view of Waikiki Beach and Honolulu, Hawaii, by Carol Highsmith. 2005. Reproduction Information: Reproduction No.: LC-DIG-highsm-04486 (original digital file); Call No.: LC-DIG-highsm- 04486 (ONLINE) [P&P]

In 2007, the Manuscript Division celebrated the completion of a three-and-a-half-year project to process for public access the rich and voluminous papers of the former Hawaii representative, donated to the Library in 2003 by Mink’s husband and daughter.

The Mink collection, which numbers nearly 900,000 items, includes personal and professional correspondence, daily schedules, central legislative files, bills, issue mail, speeches, clippings, press releases, scrapbooks, photographs and other personal papers covering a wide array of topics and concerns.

Several Library collections include images and items pertaining to the Aloha State: American Environmental Photographs collection, Carol Highsmith photographs, and Mystic Seaport's archives, to name a few.

In the Library’s Chronicling America collection, Hawaiian papers The Daily Herald, The Hawaiian Gazette and The Independent are available for browsing.