Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Robert T. Matsui papers
Date (inclusive): circa 1940-2006,
Date (bulk): bulk 1979-2004
Collection Number: BANC MSS 2008/101
Matsui, Robert T., 1941-2005
Number of containers: 245 cartons
Linear feet: 306.25
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Robert T. Matsui Papers document the career of a Japanese
American politician who served 13 terms, from 1979-2005, in the United States House of
Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento district.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English and Japanese
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite
and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these
materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is restricted until January 1, 2020 or the death of Doris Matsui, whichever is
later; researchers may apply for access to the collection. Inquiries regarding these
materials should be directed, in writing, to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft
Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17,
U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of
University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and
publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials
protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of
the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See:
[Identification of item], Robert T. Matsui Papers, BANC MSS 2008/101, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
A collection of DVDs and a hard drive containing electronic records have been separated
from the collection.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the
library's online public access catalog.
Matsui, Robert T.
Matsui, Doris Okada
United States. Congress. House.
Committee on Ways and Means
United States--Foreign economic
Public welfare--United States
Social security--United States
Japanese Americans--History--20th century
Japanese Americans--Civil rights--History
Military base closures--California,
The Robert T. Matsui Papers were given to The Bancroft Library by Doris O. Matsui on
January 1, 2007.
No additions are expected.
System of Arrangement
Arranged to the folder level.
Processed by David Uhlich in 2010.
Robert Takeo Matsui (1941-2005) was a Japanese American politician who served 13 terms in
the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento
district. Born on September 17, 1941, Matsui was six months old when he and his family were
taken from Sacramento and interned by the U.S. government at the Tule Lake War Relocation
Center in 1942. The family returned to Sacramento after the end of World War II, where
Matsui remained until moving to attend the University of California, Berkeley as a Political
Science major in 1959. Upon his graduation from Berkeley in 1963, Matsui opted to continue
his education at the nearby University of California, Hastings College of Law in San
Francisco, from which he graduated in 1966. Matsui married his wife, Doris Okada, the same
year and returned to Sacramento to start his private law practice.
Matsui's political career began with his election to the Sacramento City Council in 1971;
after his re-election in 1975, he was chosen by fellow members of the council to serve as
Vice-Mayor of Sacramento in 1977. Upon the retirement of the long-time incumbent, John E.
Moss, Matsui ran for the House of Representatives in 1978, and began his first term as a
Congressman on January 3, 1979.
The majority of Matsui's time in Congress was spent as a member of the United States House
Committee on Ways and Means, where he was able to effect legislation regarding such
important issues as health care, international trade, social security, taxes, and welfare
reform. Perhaps as a result of his childhood experience, civil rights issues also remained
very important to Matsui throughout his life, culminating during his 5th term in Congress
when he helped pass the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, which served as a public apology from
the U.S. for the World War II internment program, and also offered token reparations to its
victims. Despite his long tenure in Washington D.C., district issues also remained at the
forefront of Matsui's Congressional agenda, particularly flood control and military base
closures in the Sacramento region. Matsui also served as regent of the Smithsonian
Institution, treasurer and deputy chair of the Democratic National Committee, and chairman
of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Only months after winning election to his 14th term in the House of Representatives, Matsui
died on January 1, 2005 from the complications of a rare blood disease, Myelodysplastic
Syndrome. In a special election held later that year, his wife, Doris Okada Matsui, was
elected to fill his vacant Congressional seat.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Robert T. Matsui Papers consist primarily of files Matsui compiled during his career as
a politician. The bulk of the collection is comprised of materials documenting Matsui's work
in the United States House of Representatives as Congressman for California's Sacramento
district, especially pertaining to his lengthy service on the Ways and Means Committee; also
prominent in the collection are Matsui's office and press files, personal correspondence,
campaign and political files and a limited amount of Sacramento City Council materials. The
collection encompasses a range of materials--including correspondence, legislative
addresses, campaign literature, press releases, schedules, and ephemera--most notably
documenting such legislation and issues as: health care, social security, tax, and welfare
reform; the North American Free Trade Agreement and approval of the Uruguay Round
Agreements; civil rights and Japanese American internment redress; Sacramento regional water
and flood control; and district military base closures.
The Robert T. Matsui Papers are subdivided into four series:
- Series I: Personal Files
- Series II: City Council Files
- Series III: Campaign and Political Files
- Series IV: Congressional Files