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Southeast Asia Luce Foundation Archives Projects: Collection Descriptions

Description of research themes and collections being considered under the Henry Luce Foundation grant: Tracing Authoritarianism: Linking Southeast Asia and Southeast Asian-America Through Archives, Language, and Pedagogy.

Elizabeth Becker Collection

Elizabeth Becker Photographs and Research Notes from Democratic Kampuchea, December 1978Image preview

Archival Inventory

Further Information

Philippine Collections in UW Libraries and Burke Museum

Colonel John H. Wholley, Commander, First Washington Volunteer Infantry, Philippines, 1899


The University of Washington holds rich collections on the Philippines dating from the American colonial war there. Libraries Special Collections holds a number of valuable collections from local participants in the Spanish-American War in the Philippines, as well as photographic records from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909, the literary manuscripts of Filipino writer Carlos Bulosan, and records of the Filipino labor movement on the West Coast. These collections are complimented by material artifacts from the U.S. long association with the Philippines held in the campus Burke Museum.

Search the University of Washington Special Collections

Adrian Cowell Collection

Archival film footage, audio files, photographs, clippings and research notes produced from 1960s – 1990s on Shan States separatist and drug wars, and the opium trade in Asia

Archival inventory 

Further information

Robert Jones III Collection on Indochina

Robert Jones III Collection

4,000 monographs in Vietnamese, French and English

An estimated 200 serials titles


Files from his work with CORDS office in Saigon

More Information see attached pdf article

Tristuti Collection of wayang manuscripts from New Order Indonesia

Preliminary report by Dimas Romadhon, Graduate Student, UW Department of Anthropology

Tristuti Rahmadi

Among those expert dhalang who was also a manuscripts author was Tristuti Rahmadi (1939-2009). He was a popular dhalang during Soekarno (the first president of Indonesia) era which lasted until 1966. Tristuti’s peak popularity was when he joined many supporters of Soekarno’s cultural revolution within an organization named Lekra (Lembaga Kebudayaan Rakyat, The Institute of People’s Culture). Together with him in Lekra was Pramoedya Ananta Toer who is considered as the most prominent Indonesian author. In 1964, Soekarno asked Tristuti to perform at National Palace and gave him an unofficial last name Suryosaputro, a name that Tristuti kept assigned to his name until his death.

Unfortunately for Tristuti, Pramoedya, and other Lekra members, political tension in 1965-1966 which shifted Indonesian presidency from Soekarno to Soeharto led to their imprisonment and exile since 1965 until 1979. Not only that he was taken away from his popularity, activities, and families, even after he was released his voice was still silenced by Soeharto’s government which categorized him as insignificant for society. Tristuti was no longer allowed to work publicly, to perform wayang, or even to write under his name. In the beginning of 1982, Anom Soeroto, a beginning-career dhalang, asked Tristuti to write manuscripts for his performances. Tristuti, as noted by many dhalang at that time, was able to produce a very rich description of wayang stories, combining his deep understanding of the Javanese culture and his experience as exile on the remoted Buru Island. After writing for Anom Soeroto, Tristuti worked for Manteb Soedharsono, writing him the most remembered performance of Banjaran Bima. Unfortunately, due to his status as former political prisoner, Tristuti decided to make his manuscripts anonymous. While many dhalang gained high popularity from performing Tristuti’s manuscripts, Tristuti remained unknown for Indonesian public.

It was not until the fall of Soeharto regime when Tristuti eventually got his opportunity to perform publicly and had his voices listened. In 2002, he was invited to the United States to share his experience as dhalang under Soeharto regime. He shared his suffers during and after his exile and how kept his passion as dhalang during his exile. That was for the first time public within academia made aware of Tristuti’s stories. Previously, Trituti’s colleague, Pramoedya Ananta Toer, received most international attention for his fictions, making him the only spokesperson for ex-Buru exiles.

Tristuti’s Manuscripts in Suzzallo Library

In 2009, Tristuti made a will that all his original manuscripts would go to the University of Washington that bought them, while some of the copies would go to Purbo Asmoro, his student. The collection of Tristuti’s manuscripts now available at the Special Collection Section in Suzzallo Library, the University of Washington. His manuscripts came without specific order, thus preliminary research is required before reading each manuscript to understand the nature of each manuscript, whether it is a part of series (for example Banjaran Bima series which consists of 12 manuscripts) or it is only for one performance. All of his manuscripts surely follow the narration of Javanese wayang stories, however, his voices and experience as exile can be spotted in many parts of his writings. These voices are waiting to be heard and conveyed to public who are still curious with what actually happened in 1965-1966 and during Soeharto’s authoritarian regime.

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