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Samuel I. Hayakawa Papers

Identifier: MS-0020

Scope and Contents

The Samuel I. Hayakawa Papers document Hayakawa's term as a United States Senator. The collection comes from Hayakawa's San Diego-based regional office, one of five regional offices in California, and consists only of office records. The San Diego regional office  covered the counties of San Diego, Imperial Valley, Riverside, and San Bernardino. The records consist of biographical data on Hayakawa, correspondence, invitations, office memos, press releases, reports, subject files, files on organizations and businesses, and some confidential materials. This collection is organized into three series: General Office Files, Subject Files and Reports, and Organizations and Businesses.

The General Office Files document the day to the day operations of Hayakawa's San Diego regional office during his senatorial term (1977-1982). The series contains a small amount of sporadic texts dating pre-1977, and a wide array of folders containing textual documents. The series includes: biographical data, correspondence, invitations, legislation activities, news clippings, press releases, reports, requests, speeches, awards, testimonies, weekly columns, and receipts. It is filed alphabetically by folder name.

The Subject Files and Reports document major issues, projects, concerns, and needs addressed by Senator Hayakawa while in office. Most of the subject files are on local issues, while some are on major national issues of various interests, such as abortion, nuclear weapons abolition, and immigration.  The series dates from 1965-1982, and is filed alphabetically by folder name.

The Organizations and Businesses series documents information on local San Diego, national and federal organizations and businesses that were at some point in contact with Hayakawa's San Diego regional office from 1976-1982. This series contains textual documents ranging from formal reports to weekly newsletters. It is filed alphabetically by folder name.


  • Creation: 1959-1982
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1970-1982


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Samuel Ichiyé Hayakawa was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on July 18, 1906 and naturalized as a United States citizen. Hayakawa, who was of Japanese decent, attended public schools in Calgary and Winnipeg. He received a B.A. in English (University of Manitoba, 1927) an M.A. in English (McGill University, 1928), and a Ph.D. in English and American literature (University of Wisconsin, 1935). After attaining his higher degrees, Hayakawa subsequently taught English at the University of Wisconsin (1936-1939), Illinois Institute of Technology (1939-1947), the University of Chicago (1950-1955), and San Francisco State College (1968-1973).

An internationally renowned semanticist, Hayakawa gained notoriety within the academic world with several notable publications such as: Language in Thought and Action (1949) which went through four editions and was translated into ten languages, and Symbol, Status and Personality (1963) which was translated into Swedish, German, Japanese and Spanish. Hayakawa was appointed as President Emeritus of San Francisco State University 1973; the year the college had attained university status.

Hayakawa, previously Democrat, became a registered Republican in 1973. After placing a bid for senatorial office in 1976, Hayakawa was elected to a six-year term representing California in the United States Senate beginning January 3, 1977. During his term which ended January 3, 1983, Hayakawa served on the senate committees for Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Foreign Relations; and the Select Business Committee on Small Business. He was also a member of the U. S. Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Republican Steering Committee.

Hayakawa earned a reputation for issuing unorthodox ideas and adhering to a philosophical process of thought. He was more infamously known as a "sleeper senator" due to his occasional napping during senate meetings. His ideas were not always favorable to fellow senators; nevertheless he was highly respected by his peers for his sharp intellect and wit.

Following the end of his term and an illustrious career which included numerous honorary degrees and accolades, Hayakawa retired to his Mill Valley home in California where he resided with his wife Margedant until his death in Greenbrae, California on February 27, 1992 at the age of 85.


10.22 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. General Office Files, 1957-1982

II. Subject Files and Reports, 1977-1982

III. Organizations and Business Files, 1977-1982

Source of Acquisition

Jeff Marston



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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US