The Location and Composition of Philippine Historical Statistical Materials

Yoshiko Nagano

Gathering Materials: Planning and Execution

Soon after the Asian Historical Statistics Project started up in July 1995, I became a member of the Philippines Group, and was assigned the task of gathering basic historical economic statistics from the Philippines' colonial era. From the time that I started the search, it took nearly two years to send requests to have microfilm made, receive the written estimates of microfilm prices and compile a budget, and then order and, at last, receive the microfilm. Finally, we have collected over 80 percent of the microfilm we are planning to use in the Library of the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University (the materials are listed in the table following this article). Despite several months of wrangling, some of the materials on order from one institute have still not arrived. However, most of the people I contacted were very understanding, and thanks to their cooperation we have been able to gather most of the basic materials. Here, let me outline the composition of the historical economic statistical materials of the Philippines during the American period.

As I will explain, the Statistics Project was relatively easily able to access much of the material we gathered from libraries in the United States, especially the Library of Congress, and at a number of university libraries as well. In Japan, however, there has been absolutely none of the systematic gathering of the historical economic statistics of the Philippines during the American period that has been conducted in the United States. This means that the Statistics Project's collecting efforts will greatly advance research on the colonial Philippines in Japan.

At the outset, the historical economic statistics which the Philippine Group planned to gather first were 1. basic economic statistics for the American colonial period (1898-1946), and 2. documents on trade statistics for the late Spanish colonial period in the second half of the 19th century. Information on 2. the second task I have already introduced in "Historical Statistics on the Foreign Trade of the Philippines in the Latter Half of the 19th Century" in the October 1996 edition of the Newsletter (No. 3),1 so here I would like to discuss 1. the first task, regarding the American colonial period.

The State of Collections in Japan

I had already investigated the documents available for Philippine historical economic research in Japan in the course of compiling a monogram entitled Catalog of Documents on Philippine Social and Economic History: Late 19th Century to the End of the First World War (in Japanese) in 1980. At that time, the institutes which stored the largest amounts of materials were the Institute of Developing Economies, the Toyo Bunko, Tokyo University's Faculty of Letters, and the Institute of Oriental Culture, also at Tokyo University. In the fifteen years since, the state of materials collections on the Philippines has improved markedly. Kyoto University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies obtained the Foronda Collection (7000 items) and the Sophia University library purchased the Mauro Garcia Collection (7000 items). In addition, the Toyo Bunko came into possession of the Velarde Collection, including its rare books, and the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures in Asia and Africa at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies has begun adding materials such as microfilms of Philippine newspapers and official gazettes to its holdings.2

Tokyo University's Faculty of Letters and the Institute of Economic Research at Hitotsubashi University have long held the Census of 1903 (4 volumes), and the Institute of Developing Economies library has held the Census of 1918 (4 volumes) as well as the Census of 1939 (7 volumes). Sophia University's library has most volumes of the Report of the Philippine Commission (36 volumes); the commission was an administrative organ of the colonial government, and it compiled the report from 1900 through 1916. From the same report, the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures in Asia and Africa has 74 volumes of microfilm of the original copies of the Manuscript Reports of the Philippine Commission, 1900-1915. However, even if one gathered all the documents stored at the various universities and research centers in Japan, it would be exceedingly difficult to obtain the information from the multiple areas necessary to construct time series.

Manuals for Locating Materials in the US

In order to gather the documents containing the information necessary to construct historical economic time series, I conducted a systematic investigation of materials in storage. The US Library of Congress and the US National Archives, both in Washington, D.C., store far and away the largest amounts of economic statistical data on the Philippines during the American period. In addition, quite a large number of American universities possess historical economic statistical materials on the Philippines. Further, like many prominent universities in the US, the main library of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, has an excellent collection. Although one can read and copy materials at the University of the Philippines, it is difficult to gather information systematically because you cannot have microfilm made. For this reason, I chose to gather materials in the United States.

The most useful source for locating materials is 1. Daniel F. Doeppers comp., Union Catalogue of Selected Bureau Reports and Other Official Serials of the Philippines, 1908-1941 (Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1988), which lists information on sources that Doeppers compiled while writing his excellent work Manila, 1900-1941: Social Change in a Late Colonial Metropolis (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, 1984). Doeppers' catalog contains detailed information on government statistical publications in 22 locations in the US, including university libraries, the Library of Congress, and the National Archives, plus the Australian National University. By referring to this source, a researcher can know what government institutions existed during the American colonial period and what kinds of statistics were published, and he can find where and how materials are stored. I sent letters and email messages to many libraries in the US, but before starting I first referred to Doepper's catalog.

Among other manuals, The National Union Catalog: Pre-1956 Imprints, Vol. 455 (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress) is very useful. Its document catalog, "Philippine Islands," lists a large number of annual publications produced by various official agencies during the American colonial period, especially those stored at the Library of Congress. In addition, Richard S. Maxwell comp., Record of the Bureau of Insular Affairs: National Archives Inventory Record Group 350 (Washington, D.C., 1971) includes an outline of the Bureau of Insular Affairs Library, which is useful. The Bureau of Insular Affairs (BIA) took charge of administrative problems matters in territories such as the Philippines and Puerto Rico which were placed under the jurisdiction of the War Department from 1898 to 1939. This collection contains a large vast number of Philippine-related public documents gathered by the BIA.

Investigating the US National Archives

After about half a year of communicating with various US libraries and archives from Japan, I traveled to Washington, D.C. in April 1996 to visit the Library of Congress and the National Archives, the latter in College Park, Maryland. During my two-week stay, I devoted a large amount of time to examining materials in the BIA Library at the National Archives.

The BIA Library's Philippine-related materials can be generally grouped into two categories: published and unpublished. The unpublished materials are 1. Manuscript Reports of the Philippine Commission, 1900-1915, 2. Manuscript Reports of the Governor-General of the Philippines, 1916-1935, and áB Manuscript Reports of the U.S. High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, 1936-1940. These include reports published in various periods by the central administrative organs of the Philippines colonial government, or organs performing administrative tasks, including the Philippine Commission, the Philippine Governor-General, and the US High Commissioner to the Philippine Islands, along with a collection of original materials which includes annual reports from related official agencies.

Unfortunately, finding published materials involves a rather complex search. It is necessary to use two systems together, the 1. "Indexes to the Library, 1898-1935," an index (alphabetically ordered) contained in a number of boxes which lists documents in storage, and 2. a decimal classification scheme. The 1.index does not show the call numbers used in the 2. classification scheme. On the other hand, even when we suddenly tried to search for documents from the 2.classification scheme, there were cases where there were simply no materials in the stacks with the same call numbers. So whenever we filled out forms to request materials from the archivists, we had to go through the very inconvenient process of writing the category from the classification scheme. If we did not do so, the archivist could not find the documents in the stacks.

For example, I was able to find through the 1.index many materials on trade statistics of the latter half of the 19th century which were not available in the Library of Congress, so I thought that they would be listed in the category "132.4 Trade Statistics" of the 2.decimal classification scheme, but when I made the request to the assistant I found out that they were not in the category. The documents that were pulled from the shelves while I waited for almost two hours did not include the materials that I wanted. So then I haggled with the archivist and managed to get him to show me around the stacks, where I was able to verify the presence of the massive BIA Library with my own eyes. Once I was able to put my knowledge and experience to work, it was not hard to find the documents I wanted on the shelves. However, these trade statistics were entered in the category"195 Miscellaneous collections" in the decimal classification scheme.

The Composition of Historical Economic Statistics I Viewed

In the course of my investigation of materials in Washington, D.C., I got to where I could form images of what I have to call "The Composition of Philippine Historical Economic Statistics" in my head. The Philippine economic statistics of the American colonial period consist of three strata, and they can be collected from both published and unpublished materials.

The first stratum consists of basic economic statistical materials which are compiled from the above-mentioned Census of 1903, Census of 1918, and Census of 1939, as well as collected volumes of annual statistical reports (No. 6 in the table), almost all of which were systematically published from the end of the 1910s. If the censuses can contribute cross-sectional data for various industrial sectors, then the annual statistical reports, rough though they are, should be able to provide the additional data necessary to link them by means of time series.3

The second stratum consists of sector-specific annual statistical reports (Nos. 2 to 5 in the table) published by official agencies. The Library of the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University presently has microfilms of government publications on finance, public finance, trade, agriculture, labor and wages. The microfilm has detailed statistics for various sectors based on the annual statistical reports already described.

The third stratum consists of unpublished materials (No. 1 in the table, as well as holdings at the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures in Asia and Africa at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies). The stratum includes the original statistical materials of official agencies not included in table nos. 2 through 6 . In particular, the microfilm copies of the Manuscript Reports of the Governor-General of the Philippines, 1916-1935 are easy to use because a table of contents is separately prepared which lists documents in storage for all the volumes.

We should be able to build a base of Philippine historical economic statistics of the American colonial period by extracting and synthesizing the economic statistics obtainable from these three strata. From there, we can bear in mind the perspective of the colonial administrative organs, and think about reconstructing the economic statistics gathering system of that period. And how far can this kind of research progress be pushed? From now on, that is an issue to which the Statistics Project's Philippine Group will be giving careful thought.

Kanagawa University, Faculty of Foreign Studies


1. As section 3, "Trade," in the table shows, we have been able to gather trade statistics for every year from 1851-1894 with the exception of the five-year period from 1868-1872. Materials were gathered from the Philippine National Archives, the US Library of Congress, and the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. The earlier article in Newsletter No. 3 does not discuss the conditions of storage at the Biblioteca Nacional, but after the article appeared further investigation turned up trade statistics materials for the 1851-1894 period, with the exceptions of the following eight years:1868-1872, 1878-1879, and 1889. The investigation proved that the Biblioteca Nacional has the best collection of Philippine trade statistics materials in the world. However, the Statistics Project Office obtained microfilm for the years 1878-1879 and 1889 from the Philippine National Archives and from the US Library of Congress. Therefore, the Statistics Project now has on microfilm trade statistics materials for the latter half of the 19th century not covered by the collection of original copies in the Biblioteca Nacional.

2. Kitano Yasuko, "The Collection at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University" (in Japanese), and Terada Takefumi, "The Mauro Garcia Collection of Sophia University" (in Japanese), both in Tonan Ajia: rekishi to bunka, vol. 21 (1992). Ikehata Setsuho, ed., Catalogo de la Biblioteca Velarde (The Toyo Bunko, 1993). Ikehata Setsuho, "The Collection on Southeast Asia in the Toyo Bunko"(in Japanese) and "The Collection on the Philippines at the Institute for the Study of Languages and Cultures in Asia and Africa at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies" (in Japanese), Tonan Ajia: rekishi to bunka, vol. 23 (1994).

3. The first publication of the Philippines' Bureau of Census and Statistics was Yearbook of Philippine Statistics: 1940 (which was published in 1941). The Census of 1903 was published and edited by the Philippine Commission, the Census of 1918 by the Census Office of the Philippine Islands, and the Census of 1939 by the Commission of the Census. In addition, the annual statistical reports were edited by the Department of Commerce and Industry for the years 1918-1929, and by the Division of Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Commerce in the 1930s.


The Philippine Historical Economic Statistics Collection

Library of the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University

(This list covers trade statistics of the latter half of the 19th century. Names inside parentheses indicate parties whose cooperation enabled us to obtain microfilm. The number after the microfilm volume number indicates the call number of the Statistics Project collection.)