Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Filipino Agricultural Workers Collection


Collection ID:
circa 1874-1980, undated
Some of the documents are in
, and
Physical Description:
4.33 Cubic feet
13 boxes
Collection documents the lives of Filipino migrants in Stockton, California dating primarily from the 1920s to the 1970s and includes correspondence, photographic prints, military documents, financial records, books, wallets, and other ephemera.

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents
Collection consists of the archival materials from one steamer trunk and a plastic bin documenting the lives of Filipino migrants in Stockton, California dating primarily from the 1920s-1970s. These materials include correspondence, individual photographic prints and in albums from the Philippines and the United States, military documents, financial records, medical information, educational materials, books, wallets, Legionarios del Trabajo "Daguhoy" Lodge membership materials, greeting cards, and other forms of ephemera. Most of the correspondence is written in Visayan, the language spoken within the southernmost islands of Luzon in the Philippines. Some of these letters have been translated. A few of the photographs are identified but most have no information relating to the person(s) identity, location of where the image was taken or date.
The materials are arranged into twenty-three series. The first twenty-two series represent one person's story that was found in the contents of the containers. The last series relates to the Legionarios del Trabajo organization.
The collection is important for the study of early Filipino American agricultural workers. In addition to using these materials researchers should consult the three-dimensional objects that were also collected. These artifacts are stored onsite in the Museum's Division of Work and Industry and are part of the Asian Pacific American and agricultural collections. A steamer trunk, which was too large to house at NMAH, is currently stored off-site.


Collection is arranged into twenty-three series.
Series 1: Enrique Andales, 1917-1937, undated
Series 2: Julian S. Arofo, 1950-1953
Series 3: A.T. Bastion, undated
Series 4: Julian Felicita Bernido, 1971
Series 5: Andres Salle Casinas, 1912-1980, undated
Series 6: Cesario Hotora Comparativo, 1925-1945, undated
Series 7: Hilario Samson Cuevas, 1925-1930, undated
Series 8: Vinancio Timosa Fellisarta, 1971
Series 9: Jose Madridejo Galinato, 1926-1949, undated
Series 10: Eufricino Janier, 1920-1929, undated
Series 11: Felimon Laga, 1922-1923, undated
Series 12: Seven Madrias, 1936-1938, undated
Series 13: Eusebio Maglente, 1920-1923, undated
Series 14: Epimaco Fariola Mansueto, 1874-1947, undated
Series 15: Sixto Olaco, 1921-1954, undated
Series 16: Anastacio Atig Omandam, 1924-1937
Series 17: Juan Campoco Pascual, 1936, 1948, undated Series 18: Julian Rogas, 1929-1936, undated
Series 19: Arcadio Simangca, 1961-1971
Series 20: Julio Saranza, 1971
Series 21: Pablo Mendoza Solomon, 1921-1971, undated
Series 22: Victoriano Yano, 1971
Series 23: Legionarios del Trabajo: Daguhoy Masonic Lodge, 1928-1935, undated


The Filipino Agricultural Workers Collection documents the history of Filipinos and Filipinas in Stockton, California, from the 1910s to the 1980s. The materials were part of a trove of material discovered in 2005 in the Daguhoy Lodge—a Filipino fraternal society—by Antonio Somera, a former member of the Daguhoy Lodge. Somera discovered twenty-six suitcases, toolboxes, and wardrobe steamer trunks in the basement of the lodge. These containers held materials such as clothing, tools, and correspondence and other personal items; the containers were labeled with the names of Filipino individuals. Presumably, each container belonged to a single person who used the suitcase or steamer trunk to travel and store their materials. When the owners passed away, surviving members of the fraternal lodge packed the deceased's personal belongings into the steamer trunk or suitcase and it was put into long-term storage. No descendants of these individuals have been identified, nor have any descendants come forward to claim the objects.
A few years after discovering the containers and displaying them in the lodge's basement in a makeshift exhibition, Somera brought the trunks to the attention of Professor Dawn Bohulano Mabalon and filmmaker Dillon Delvo. At the time, Mabalon was a history professor at San Francisco State University. In 2013, she published Little Manila is in the Heart: The Making of the Filipina/o American Community in Stockton, California (2013), considered the authoritative account on Filipino Americans in Stockton. During this time, Delvo was working as a filmmaker in the Bay Area and earning his master's degree in Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. Born and raised in south Stockton in Filipino families, Delvo and Mabalon had embarked on a long-term project to preserve the history of Filipinos and to organize communities in Stockton which is why Somera approached them regarding the trunks.
In 2000, Mabalon and Delvo created Little Manila Rising (LMR), a non-profit organization that aims to preserve the history of Filipino American history in Stockton. LMR was founded in response to the gradual destruction of historic buildings and sites that had housed one of the earliest and largest Filipino communities outside of the Philippines. LMR eventually purchased a building called Little Manila Center at 2154 South San Joaquin Street in Stockton, which serves as a multi-purpose community center for a variety of community-based projects. Delvo became the Executive Director of LMR in 2012 and continues to serve in this capacity in 2024. In 2018, Mabalon unexpectedly passed away due to an asthma attack.
As part of their vision of preserving the history of Filipino Americans in Stockton and the greater San Joaquin Delta region, both Mabalon and Delvo championed the preservation of the containers found in the Daguhoy Lodge's basement, particularly the steamer trunks which they recognized possessed important historical value. In 2019, Sam Vong, Curator of Asian Pacific American History in the National Museum of American History (NMAH) Division of Work and Industry, met with Delvo to explore the potential donation of the containers and their associated contents to the museum.
In the aftermath of their discovery, only one steamer trunk was opened and the contents cataloged, with the assistance of the Oakland Museum of California. The remainder were temporarily stored and displayed in the Little Manila Community Center on Hazelton Street. When Vong arrived in 2019 to meet Delvo and to evaluate the materials, the trunks were still locked; a locksmith was needed to avoid destroying the locks and to maintain the integrity of the objects. The locksmith was able to open all but three of the trunks. While most of the containers were in good condition, a few of the steamer trunks had suffered water damage due to flooding in the lodge's basement, resulting in mildew and mold.
After the trunks were opened, Vong created a preliminary inventory list. He identified each of the trunks with the name of an individual which were found in the trunk's contents. Because of the large volume of materials, Vong made additional trips to Stockton to complete the cataloging of objects and to make final selections of which containers to collect. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 delayed the collecting process, and the project was put on hold until Covid-lockdown restrictions were eased in 2022. At that point, Vong returned to Stockon to reevaluate the objects for acquisition.
Although LMR had hoped to donate all of the steamer trunks and containers to the Smithsonian, space constraints at NMAH precluded that. Ultimately, Vong collected one steamer trunk and all its contents. Those objects are housed in the NMAH Division of Work & Industry. Both Delvo and Vong recognized that the personal papers, photographs, and other archival materials contained in each container presented an opportunity to document the work and lives of the individuals who had left these containers behind. After consulting with NMAH Archives Center staff, it was decided that the NMAH Archives Center would collect the archival materials found in each of the containers. Taken as a whole, the individual groups of documents form the Filipino Agricultural Workers Collection.
Each series in the collection represents a single person's story that was found in the contents of the containers. Each name in the series, however, does not necessarily correspond to a single steamer trunk or suitcase. For example, the archival materials in the Pablo Mendoza Solomon series (Series 21) were found in two suitcases and two steamer trunks. Vong surmises that two things may have happened when Solomon passed away: surviving lodge brothers may have salvaged all Solomon's personal belongings and placed them in various suitcases, or Solomon's materials may have been haphazardly thrown into various containers when the trunks were recovered from the flooding in the lodge's basement. Other series, such as Julian Felicita Bernido (Series 4), contain only a couple of documents nested within another person's belongings.
The former owners of the suitcases and steamer trunks in this collection were young men who emigrated from different parts of the Philippines to work as sakadas, or contract workers in Hawai'i. After completing their contracts, some Filipinos left Hawai'i for California in search of adventure and better economic opportunities. Many of these Filipinos migrated up and down the western coast of the United States such as California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, finding work as seasonal workers on farms, salmon canneries, and other agricultural sectors. Filipinos and Filipinas were indispensable to growers in the San Joaquin Delta region, considered one of the most fertile regions in the country, and where the city of Stockton is located.
Filipinos and Filipinas gravitated toward Stockton, where they established one of the largest Filipino American communities outside of the Philippines. The community included businesses, recreational halls, hotels, and homes, as well places of worship and fraternal lodges, such as the Daguhoy Lodge. This lodge was one among a handful of lodges in Stockton that was established by some of the earliest Filipino residents in Stockton.
The Daguhoy Lodge catered primarily to men, although some of the archival documents in this collection suggest that Filipinas had a visible and important presence in lodge activities. The lodge provided a space for members to hold social gatherings, community meetings, and a place for worship. The lodge also provided short-term and long-term lodging for its members and for migrant Filipino workers who came in and out of Stockton as they followed the path of seasonal agricultural work. As a result, Filipinos used the lodge to temporarily store their personal belongings such as suitcases and steamer trunks.


Angelica Pahamotang, Sam Vong, and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons
Processing and encoding funded by a grant from the FY23 Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by the Little Manila Foundation through Dillon Delvo, Executive Director, 2021.
Processing Information
Collection processed by Angelica Pahamotang, intern, 2023; supervised by Sam Vong, curator, 2023; and Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, archivist, 2023.
Separated Materials
National Museum of American History, Divison of Work and Industry
The Asian Pacific American and the Agricultural collections contain one steamer trunk and its complete contents, along with agricultural implements and other materials found in the other containers from the basement of the Daguhoy Lodge. Associated accession numbers include 2021.0137 and 2022.0058.01.
Accession number 2021.0137.1, asparagus knife
Accession number 2021.0137.2, hair waver
Accession number 2021.0137.3, hook field knife
Accession number 2021.0137.6, pair of pruning shears
Accession number 2021.0137.7, vegetable knife
Accession number 2022.0058.01.01, steamer trunk
Accession number 2022.0058.01.1,1 brace
Accession number 2022.0058.02.1, band uniform jacket
Accession number 2022.0058.02.2, band uniform trousers
Accession number 2022.0058.03.2, band uniform trousers
Accession number 2022.0058.03.3, band uniform shirt
Accession number 2022.0058.03.4, band uniform cummerbund
Accession number 2022.0058.06.1, army jacket
Accession number 2022.0058.13, sleepwear
Accession number 2022.0058.14, thermal shirt
Accession number 2022.0058.15, sweater
Accession number 2022.0058.16, shirt
Accession number 2022.0058.22, collar
Accession number 2022.0058.26.1, fez
Accession number 2022.0058.28ab, pair of dress shoes
Accession number 2022.0058.29ab, pair of shin protectors
Accession number 2022.0058.30ab, pair of gloves
Accession number 2022.0058.31, flashlight
Accession number 2022.0058.33, lock
Accession number 2022.0058.34, ring
Accession number 2022.0058.35, cap
Accession number 2022.0058.36, straw hat
Accession number 2022.0058.37, Stetson hat
Accession number 2022.0058.38, bow tie
Accession number 2022.0058.43, thermos
Accession number 2022.0058.44, harmonica
Accession number 2022.0058.45, pillowcase
Accession number 2022.0058.46, pillowcase
Accession number 2022.0058.47, necktie
Accession number 2022.0058.61, tablecloth
Accession number 2022.0058.62, framed portrait
Accession number 2022.0058.63, certificate
Accession number 2022.0058.64, wallet
Accession number 2022.0058.65ab, pair of boots
San Joaquin County Historical Museum (SJCHM) has the steamer trunks that were not aquired by the National Museum of American History.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Filipino Agricultural Workers Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Related Materials
Materials in the Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: World Expositions, NMAH.AC.0060
Underwood & Underwood Glass Stereograph Collection, NMAH.AC.0143
Alexander Alland, Sr., Photoprints, NMAH.AC.0204
Sam DeVincent Collection of Illustrated American Sheet Music, Series 8: Geography, NMAH.AC.0300
Duncan Family Yo-Yo Collection, NMAH.AC.807
Catherine Hann Papers, NMAH.AC.0921
Kamikawa, Omata and Matsumoto Families Papers, NMAH.AC.0924
Juanita Tamayo Lott Filipino American Photographs and Papers, NMAH.AC.0925
Bishop Mitsumyo Tottori Memorial Notebooks, NMAH.AC.0926
Division of Cultural History Lantern Slides and Stereographs, NMAH.AC.0945
Materials at Other Organizations
Sacramento Public Library, Sacramento Room Photograph Collection holdings include one photograph of the Legionarios Del Trabajo.


Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Agriculture -- California Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Diaries Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Filipino Americans Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Migrant workers Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Receipts -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Tagalog language Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Little Manila Foundation Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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