In January 2020, the Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places approved the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California, 1850-1995 Multiple Property Submission (MPS). The purpose of the MPS is to document as a group, for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, properties related by theme, general geographical area, and period of time. The MPS acts as a cover document and is not a nomination in its own right. It is a combination of the Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF), which presents information common to a group of properties, and the Individual Registration Form, which is specific to a building, site, district, structure, or object.

Nisei VFW BldgThe Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California, 1850-1995 MPDF is the first step in establishing the framework to identify and designate places in California associated with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. It compliments and builds upon the national theme study,Finding A Path Forward: Asian American Pacific Islander National Historic Landmarks Theme Study produced by the National Park Service.

The initial focus of the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California, 1850-1970 MPDF is on those groups who had a significant presence in the state before additional federal laws and policies virtually halted migration from Asia in the 1920s and 1930s. These pioneering groups hailed in successive waves primarily from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. For the Pacific Islanders, the ones discussed in this MPDF—Native Hawaiians, Chamorros from Guam in the Mariana Islands, and Samoans from American Samoa—came, like the Filipina/os, from territories controlled by the United States and were not considered immigrants subject to the restrictive laws.

japanese ywca san franciscoThe MPDF is organized by themes as a way to examine the commonalities among the groups. The first three associated contexts are Migration and Community Formation, Community Serving Organizations, and Religion and Spirituality. Many more themes can and should be examined in the future.

Since approval of the initial MPDF, the OHP awarded a contract to add additional contexts for the eight Asian American and Pacific Islander communities previously established with the original and add a ninth AAPI community. In March 2024, the Keeper approved the Amended MPS, which extends the period of significance to 1995 and adds two historic contexts—Business, Industry, and Labor and Activism, Civic Engagement, and Political Participation—and a ninth group, Vietnamese American.

Images on this page are of two of the first properties listed on the National Register in association with the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California, 1850-1995 MPS. Starting at top of page: Nisei VFW Post 8985, Sacramento, listed on 10/20/2020; Japanese YWCA, San Francisco, listed on 1/10/2020.