Japanese American relocation photograph collection, 1942-1943

Overview of the Collection

Japanese American relocation photograph collection
1942-1943 (inclusive)
368 photographic prints
Collection Number
The Japanese American relocation photograph collection consists of photographs depicting conditions at the Tule Lake camp at Newell, California and the lives and activities of the Japanese Americans confined in the camp.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT

Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

World War II and its subsequent effects on the American nation permeated every aspect of the lives of the country's people. Although virtually everyone was touched in some respect by the war, perhaps no people, as a group, were affected more than the Japanese-Americans living in the far western states. Both aliens and American citizens of Japanese ancestry became the victims of the distrust and fear generated by both civilians and military personnel along the Pacific Coast. Viewed as a threat to the security of the United States, all Japanese and Japanese-Americans were evacuated from the Western states. Forced to leave their homes and jobs, many losing all their possessions, the Japanese-Americans were established in what were to be known as relocation centers. Administered by an agency of the federal government, these centers became Japanese communities with the formation of local governments, school, jobs, and community activities.

The establishment of these centers was accomplished in a relatively short period of time. On March 18, just three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9103 which established the War Relocation Authority (WRA), a civilian agency which was to administer the relocation centers. By the end of March, evacuation procedures had begun, at first voluntary, with the Japanese-Americans being sent originally to assembly centers, and later to the relocation camps. The two relocation centers, with which this collection is primarily concerned, Tule Lake and Topaz, were established May 27, 1942 and September 11, 1942, respectively.

The collection is divided into three major sections: the WRA, the Tule Lake Relocation Center, and the Topaz Relocation Center. The WRA papers contain material issued by the agency such as policy statements, quarterly reports, newsletters, and pamphlets. The Tule Lake section, the largest of the three, contains correspondence, quarterly reports, special project reports, histories, and studies of relocation, copies of the Tulean Dispatch, the center's daily newspaper, and examples of artwork by evacuees. This material not only demonstrates the organization and administration of these camps, but also presents a good picture of the evacuee's daily lives and problems associated with existence in that type of environment.

The Topaz papers contain additional general material on relocation as well as a number of studies and papers on the Topaz center. Many of these studies deal with the education system that was established at Topaz.

As well as containing material relating to life in relocation camps, the collection also contains papers dealing with more specific problems and policies. Included is material from the U. S. Subcommittee on Un-American activities (The Dies Committee) investigating the WRA, the establishment of the WRA segregation policy of separating loyal from the suspected disloyal evacuees, and the problems and violence associated with the resistance to the Selective Service registration program.

The attempt in the organization of the material in this collection was to make the Topaz section as complete as possible. Consequently, general material on relocation and the WRA, including information on the Dies Committee and the Segregation Policy, can be found in both the Topaz and WRA boxes.

In addition to any books and magazine articles written about Topaz, the Western Americana section of the University of Utah library contains an additional copy of the Topaz literary magazine, Trek (December, 1942), and two theses dealing directly with Topaz: Caucasian Attitudes Toward the Japanese in Metropolitan Salt Lake City, (1946), by Douglas Hardy, and Desolate Keep: A Study of the Physical Environment of Topaz, Utah, (1963), by Colleen Elizabeth Cox.

The manuscripts library also contains two oral histories that are related to Japanese relocation. One interview by Ron Rainger was with Joy (Mrs. Edward J.) Hashimoto. She was in high school during World War II and her family was relocation to Granada, Colorado, She described evacuation procedures and life at the camp, and indicated that while it was not a pleasant experience, she did not harbor any resentment or bitterness.

The second interview was by John Pitts with Joyce Matsumo and was concerned primarily with the life of a Japanese-American living in Salt Lake City. Though born in Heart Mountain, Wyoming, she remembered nothing of relocation, but indicated some hostility on the part of her parents toward the experience.

The interviews may be found in Davis Bitton's Oral History class papers. (Ms 39) Bx 37 and 40.

Broadsides issued by the Western Defense command and Fourth Army pertaining to Japanese exclusion and evacuation from the west coast may be found in the map case. Included are Civilian Exclusion Orders for July 4 and 22, 1942 are specific instruction for the evacuation of all Japanese-Americans from these areas.

Additional material pertaining to Japanese Relocation, and specifically the role of the Federal Reserve Bank, may be found in the Marriner S. Eccles Collection. These papers contain suggested programs for the Federal Reserve Bank in dealing with the property of the evacuees. These materials include reports pertaining to the functions and operations of such a program and the Executive Order establishing the Office of Alien Property Custodian, as well as press releases, correspondence, and reports on the progress of evacuation. These papers may be found in Bx 38 Fds 17-19 of the Marriner S. Eccles Papers.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Japanese Relocation collection consists of photographs of the internment camps established during World War II. The photographs were taken at Tule Lake, California from 1942 to 1943 and are representative of the conditions of the camps and the life styles of the Japanese Americans who lived in them. There are photographs of living quarters, classrooms, parades, office workers, and farm laborers.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library's Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Collection is arranged topically.

Separated Materials

Materials were transferred to the Japanese Relocation records (MS 0144).

Related Materials

This collection forms part of the Mitsugi M. Kasai Memorial Japanese American Archive.

Processing Note

Click here to read a statement on harmful language in library records.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Japanese Relocation PhotographsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
J. Douglas Cook
  • Photograph number 1: Portrait of Cook, Administrator of Tule Lake
1 2-4
Tule Lake, Newell, California
  • Photographs depicting the conditions of the camp and the lifestyles of the Japanese-Americans who lived in them. Pictures are arranged chronologically by date. The photographer was Francis L. Stewart.
  • Photograph number 2: View of barracks
  • Photograph number 3: Evacuee clerks at work in Administrative office.
  • Photograph number 4: Turnips grown by evacuees
  • Photograph number 5: Workers in packing shed
  • Photograph number 6-10: Evacuee parade celebrating Labor Day
  • Photograph number 11: Evacuee band
  • Photograph number 12-14: View of Farm at Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 15-18: Evacuees harvesting spinach
  • Photograph number 19-22: Workers in packing shed
  • Photograph number 23-24: Scene at Harvest Festival
  • Photograph number 25-26: Harvest Festival Parade
  • Photograph number 27-28: Cabaret International Evacuee show
  • Photograph number 29-30: Evacuees receiving absentee ballots
  • Photograph number 31: Workers at city desk of Tulean Dispatch
  • Photograph number 32-34: Nursery school children
  • Photograph number 35-37: Exterior of barracks demonstrating how evacuees try to decorate them
  • Photograph number 38: Fifth grade pupils and teacher
  • Photograph number 39: Camp High School
  • Photograph number 40: Sixth grade students in classroom
  • Photograph number 41-42: Grade school students at recess.
  • Photograph number 43-49: Classroom scenes
  • Photograph number 50-53: Hog farm
  • Photograph number 54: View of camp
  • Photograph number 55-61: Evacuees working on farm digging potatoes
  • Photograph number 62: Evacuee cashier
  • Photograph number 63: Evacuee filing clerk
1 5-11
Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 64-351: Photographs of camp and people at Tule Lake Relocation Center. There is no specific identification on the pictures, but they offer an overall view of what life was like in the camp. Photographer was J. Douglas Cook.
1 12
Waukon, Washington
  • 352: Group portrait of evacuees at Reloation Camp in Washington.
1 13
Camp Life, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 353-355: Camp life of Japanese, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 359: Japanese working in camps, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 364-365: Japanese children going to school, Tule Lake

OversizeReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
oversize-box Folder
2 1
Camp Life, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 356-358: Camp life of Japanese, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 360-363: Japanese working in camps, Tule Lake
  • Photograph number 366-368: Japanese children going to school, Tule Lake

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Child internment camp inmates--Education--California--Newell--Photographs
  • Children of prisoners--California--Photographs
  • Japanese Americans--California--Photographs
  • Japanese Americans--Forced removal and internment, 1942-1945--Photographs
  • Prisoners--Education--California--Photographs
  • Prisoners--Recreation--California--Photographs
  • World War, 1939-1945--Forced removal of civilians--United States--Sources

Personal Names

  • Stewart, Francis, 1909-1992--Photographer

Corporate Names

  • Tule Lake Relocation Center--Photographs

Geographical Names

  • Newell (Calif.)--Sources

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs
  • Portraits