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Asian American Studies: a Guide to Information Resources: Begin Here

This is a guide to Fordham Library resources on topics related to the culture and history of Americans of Asian and Pacific Island descent.

This Guide identifies Fordham Library information resources related to the history and culture of Americans of Asian and Pacific Island descent.

According to a 2017 U.S. Census Bureau population estimate, Asian Americans number more than 18.2 million people representing more than thirty different nationalities and ethnic groups including:


    • Samoan, Tongan, Guamanian, and native Hawai'ian from the Pacific Islands;

     Lao, Hmong, Mien, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Burmese, Malay, and Filipinos from Southeast Asia;

     Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian, and Sri Lankan from South Asia;

     Afghani and Iranian from Central Asia;

    • Korean, Japanese, and Chinese from East Asia‚Äč.

Census information retrieved from US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health,

Composition of Asian-American population by origin as described by Asia Society, retrieved from

Map retrieved from

Notable Asian-Americans

A True Lifesaver


Dr. Feng Shan Ho single-handedly saved thousands of Austrian Jews during the Holocaust. When Dr. Ho arrived in Vienna in 1937 as a Chinese Manli Ho Collection A Shanghai visa signed by Dr. Ho Feng Shan with a serial number of 3639 diplomat, Austria had the third largest Jewish community in Europe. Just one year later, however, the Nazis took over Austria and began persecuting Jews. Although they tried to flee, Austrian Jews had nowhere to go because most of the world's nations would not accept  Jewish refugees. Against all odds, many would survive thanks to Dr. Ho. As Chinese General Consul in Vienna, he went against his boss' orders and began issuing Jews  visas to Shanghai, China. These lifesaving documents allowed thousands of Jews to  leave Austria and escape death. After 40 years of diplomatic service that included ambassadorships to  Egypt, Mexico, Bolivia, and Colombia, Dr. Ho retired to San Francisco, California. At age 89, he published his memoirs, "Forty Years of My Diplomatic Life." Dr. Ho died in 1997, an unknown hero of World War II.

Photo:  The Manli Ho Collection, A Shanghai visa signed by Dr. Ho Feng Shan with a serial number of 3639 (From:



A Political Pioneer

Dalip Singh Saund. From:

Dalip Singh Saund made history in 1956 when he became the first Asian elected to Congress. Born in India in 1899, Saund came to the United States in 1920 to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a doctorate degree in mathematics. Despite being highly educated, Saund discovered that his career options were limited due to anti-immigrant feelings in the U.S. As a result, he worked in farming for the next 20 years. At the same time, Saund began fighting discriminatory laws against Indians. In 1949, he and other Indians finally earned the right to become U.S. citizens. In 1956, Saund left the fields of California for the halls of Congress. He served three terms in the House of Representatives, working to improve U.S.-Asian relations. Saund's political career was cut short when he suffered a stroke while campaigning for a fourth term. Still, he opened the door for Asian Americans to enter U.S. politics.




Maya Lin. From:

A Civil Rights Reformer

Maya Lin rose to fame in 1981. Just 21-years-old and still an architectural student at Yale University, Lin won a contest to design the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Her design beat out more than 1,400 entries. The Memorial's 594-foot granite wall features the names of the more than 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died during the Vietnam War. Each year, four million people visit the wall to pay their respects to these war heroes. Less than a decade later, Lin designed another famous structure—the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. The monument outlines the major events of the Civil Rights Movement. Today, Lin's
designs can be found in several American cities and continue to inspire the entire nation.  (Photo of Maya Lin from:


A Magnificent Musician 

Yo-Yo Ma. From:

One of the world's great musicians, Yo-Yo Ma began studying the cello at the age of four. As a toddler, he and his parents moved from Paris, France, to New York. At age nine, Ma made his musical debut at the famed Carnegie Hall in New York City. Since graduating from the Julliard School and Harvard University, Ma has played as a soloist with orchestras around the world. Along the way, he has recorded 50 albums and collected more than a dozen Grammy Awards. He is also dedicated to bringing music into the lives of young people through education programs and family concerts. Ma plays two instruments—a 1733 Montagnana cello and a 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius.



A Writing Pro

Amy Tan. From:

Amy Tan was born in 1952 in Oakland, California, the daughter of Chinese parents who had immigrated to the United States three years earlier. As a teenager, Tan and her family moved to Europe, where she attended high school in Switzerland. Tan later returned to the U.S. to attend college. She gained international attention in 1989 with the publication of her first novel, The Joy Luck Club, a story about Chinese women and their Chinese-American daughters. The book has been translated into 25 languages and has been made into a movie. In addition to her best-selling novels, Tan has also written two children's books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa. Besides writing, Tan plays in a rock 'n roll band called The Rock Bottom Remainders with several other famous writers, including Stephen King and Scott Turow.

Reference Librarian

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David Vassar
Lincoln Center Campus
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Nick Alongi
Lincoln Center Campus
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