Biographical Note

Scope and Content

Restrictions on Access

Restrictions on Use

Acquisition Info

Other Finding Aids

Subject Terms


Preliminary Guide to the Chris D. Mensalvas Papers
1935-1974



Manuscript Collection No.: 2361
Accession No.: 2361-001
Creator: Mensalvas, Chris D., d. 1977 , creator
Title: Chris D. Mensalvas papers
Date Span: 1935-1974
Quantity: .25 cubic feet
1 sound cassette
Languages: Collection materials are in English.




Biographical Note

Labor organization official of Seattle, Washington.

Between 1910 and 1930, the United States received an influx of Filipino immigrants seeking a better opportunities in work and life. Chris Delarna Mensalvas, born June 24th 1909 in San Manuel, Philippines, was one of these immigrants coming to the United States in 1927. He, along with his fellow Filipino immigrants encountered discrimination, poor living conditions, and oppressive labor practices. Mensalvas went on to become 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 in California and Alaska. 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 on April 11, 1978.

Scope and Content

Correspondence, reports, minutes, ephemera, bulletins, yearbook, reports of International Longshoremen & Warehousemen's Union. Local 37, 1935-1968; tape-recorded interview with Mr. Mensalvas conducted by Apolonio Buyagawan, 1974; subject file re Carlos Bulosan, 1948, 1972-73; papers of Everett Gallup Griggs, executive of St. Paul & Tacoma Lumber Company, 1935-1937.

Besides union matters deportation of some Filipinos under the Walter-McCarran Law is an issue reflected in the papers.

Restrictions on Access

Access to archival recordings: Due to the fragility of archival tape recordings, potential users may be required to arrange for transfer to digital format before the material can be accessed. Please contact Special Collections for further information.

Restrictions on Use

Mensalvas's rights may be quoted and published.

Acquisition Info

Donated by Chris D. Mensalvas, 11/11/1974

Other Finding Aids

Inventory/container list available in Special Collections.


Subject Terms

Personal Names:
Bulosan, Carlos.
Griggs, Everett G., creator.
Mensalvas, Chris D., d. 1977--Archives.
Last modified: February 8, 2013
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