Introduction

Image from masthead of the satirical journal Lipag Kalabaw, Vol.1 No. 1, 1907

Image from masthead of the satirical journal Lipag Kalabaw, Vol.1 No. 1, 1907

This website examines and celebrates the multitude of texts—editorials, reportage, essays, manifestos, literary reviews, short fiction, poetry, and cartoons—produced in periodicals and pamphlets by Filipina/os in the United States during the early 1900s through the mid-20th century.

One incident (among others) highlighted what could be lost if the print media materials are not valued and archived correctly. After a two-week wait, the librarian of a collection in a major university brought me the newspapers I requested, and apologized profusely for the condition they were in. She had found them carelessly rubber-banded, rolled-up, and stuck in the back corner of a shelf. As I attempted to copy the old, fragile pages, they crumbled onto the glass of the copier.

The Commonwealth Cafe promotes the recovery of early U.S. Filipina/o1 print texts, to make the materials more accessible (to independent researchers as well as to academics), and to provide references to source materials and their locations for further study. Given the tendency for Filipina/os to work collectively to publish their journals during the early 20th century, cities where they gathered were common areas of early literary community and production; collections in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington D.C., New York, and other areas may yield even more texts and in-depth studies, further establishing the presence of Filipino writing in the U.S. during the early 20th century.

— Jean Vengua, Ph.D. Sept., 2010; revised Jan. 2016

1In several article headings in the early periodicals, the writers refer to themselves as “U.S. Filipinos.”

 

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The contents of this website are presented for educational purposes, and are not for profit. If you claim copyright to any of these materials, please inform the editor, and the material will be removed immediately.

Thanks to Alex Fabros of the Filipino American Experience Research Project for permission to use the Union Restaurant photograph in the header, and to FANHS Monterey Bay & Tri-County area for their support. Masthead images for The Three Stars and The Filipino Students’ Magazine are from the microfilm collection at UC Berkeley. Thanks also to Abraham Ignacio for providing a copy of The Torch (see sidebar), and allowing me to make it available to the public.