Note on Language

A Note on Harmful and Historical Language

The Winnifred Eaton Archive (WEA) contains the collected material of a complicated, mixed-race Chinese North American author who appropriated a Japanese persona from the turn-of-the-century through the 1920s. The content featured in this archive explores connections and tensions between classed, gendered, and racialized identities and the social contexts of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (e.g. North American settler-colonialism, anti-Asian racism, anti-miscegenation, and anti-immigration movements). Eaton lived and worked in Canada, Jamaica, as well as in Cincinnati, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. However, the archival content expands beyond these geographic borders and includes images, films, and writings about historically marginalized people, including various immigrant groups, Africans, Asians, and Black and Indigenous people of North America. As such, the WEA contains some digital facsimiles and texts that feature historical language, ideas, and content that is outdated, harmful, and/or offensive. Items in the collection and their content reflect the time period in which they were created and the views of their creator. While this language can provide important insight into the creator and the historical context of their creation, it can also reveal hurtful biases and prejudices and thus may be difficult to view.
The WEA team condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds, including but not limited to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bigotry. The WEA team believes that it is also important to preserve a record of these views, in order to accurately understand and learn from our past and effect change in the present. In this view, we do not censor our records or prevent people from accessing them, but we strive not to reproduce harmful language in our contextual materials, and will only do so if it is preserved in the historic name of a publication, organization, or legal statute. This is an ongoing process.

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People Mentioned

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman is the Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive, a Professor of English, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning monograph Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP) and of numerous articles about American literature and women writers. She has also edited Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queen’s UP) and published essays on the Eaton sisters in American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, Canadian Literature, and American Periodicals. Her current research project is a microhistory of the Eaton family. For more information, see
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Full Revision History
December 05, 2022JTPublishedSmall fixes (with SL).
November 22, 2022SLPublishedUpdated and published note on language page.
November 11, 2022SLIn ProgressCreated note on language page.