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Asian American and Pacific Islander Records at the National Archives

A Note About Privacy Restrictions

Records may contain personal information about individuals who are still living. These records are possibly restricted under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Exemption (b)(6), and must be screened by National Archives staff before being released to researchers. Personal information may be redacted. Learn more about FOIA.

The National Archives holds a wealth of records documenting Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) individuals. These records, created by federal agencies across a wide range of topics, capture the rich history and diversity of AAPI communities, as well as the challenges and triumphs they have faced.

As you plan your research, consider this question: how does my research topic intersect with the U.S. federal government?  


Please note: Although some records are digitized and available online, there are many records that are only available in paper or microfilm format at National Archives research locations.




Research by Topic

Featured Records

Explore Further

Blogs and Articles

National Archives News: Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Hoover Heads blog: "Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Not Quite American" (2018)

Pieces of History blog: "Asian/Pacific American History: Learning Our Legacy" (2020)

The Text Message blog: "The Past is the Present in the Asian American/Pacific Islander Records Aggregation Project" (2021)

The Text Message blog: "Honoring Notable Asian Pacific Americans for APA Heritage Month" (2019)

History Hub: “1950 Census: Language Barriers with Chicago's Chinese Community

History Hub: “1950 Census: Form P80, 1950 Census of Population – American Samoa

History Hub: “1950 Census: Form P85, 1950 Census of Population – Guam

History Hub: “1950 Census: Form P87, 1950 Census of Population and Housing – Hawaii


Reference Information Papers

Please note: These publications have not been updated since their initial release. We recommend that you contact us prior to visiting to review original records.

A Guide to Records of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at the National Archives and Records Administration Pacific Region—San Francisco, 2004 (Reference Information Paper 111)

Chinese Immigration and Chinese in the United States: Records in the Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1996 (Reference Information Paper 99)

Records in the National Archives at San Francisco for the Study of Ethnic History, 1994 (Reference Information Paper 83)


Online Exhibits

President Gerald R. Ford Holding a Refugee Baby on an Evacuation Bus at San Francisco International Airport Following the Arrival of an Operation Babylift Plane from South VietnamOperation Babylift

Explore a timeline of Operation Babylift with documents, photographs, and artifacts from the Gerald R. Ford Library collections and other sources.



Public Programs

Perspectives on History: AAPI Voices in the 
American Story, May 1, 1924


Irene Hirano Inouye Closing Keynote,
April 13, 2017


Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color In 
Congress, October 6, 2022


Conversation with George Takei in Hyde Park,
February 19, 2017

Historic Census Bureau Sources for Asian 
American Pacific Islanders, May 25, 2022


Author Erika Lee discusses her book
The Making of Asian America, October 2, 2015