This exhibit draws primarily from five collections at Washington State University's Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections. Many of the collection reflect the experience of those from the Northwest or those who resettled in the Northwest.
George and Frank C. Hirahara Collection
The Hirahara family lived in the Yakima Valley until they were sent to Heart Mountain Relocation Camp under Executive Order 9066. In 1943, George Hirahara purchased a camera through Sears and Roebuck and developed the film in a dark room constructed beneath his barrack. From January 1943 to November 1945, George and his son Frank captured images of camp life and special family milestones such as engagement celebrations, weddings, and family portraits. In addition, the collection contains a large number of photos related to Frank's work as a student photographer at Heart Mountain High School. These photographs of school plays, dances, sporting events, and classroom activities captures a slice of youth culture at Heart Mountain. Their collection contains over 2000 images and is considered the largest private collection of photos depicting life in the Japanese American internment camp at Heart Mountain Wyoming.
Tom (Terumi) Hide was incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center from 1942-1944. His family was removed from Wapato, Washington (near Yakima) to the North Portland Assembly Center before moving on to Heart Mountain. During those years, Hide graduated from Heart Mountain High School and worked in Lyman, Nebraska, where his family was assigned to serve as farm laborers. Tom Hide’s older brother Makio (Mike) served in the military during World War II. After graduating from Heart Mountain High School in 1944, Tom attended Washington State College from 1944-1948. The materials posted online include photographs taken at Heart Mountain, Lyman, Nebraska, and Washington State College. It also includes pamphlets about internment published during World War II.
The Takeda family was incarcerated at Heart Mountain Relocation Center from 1942-1943. Prior to their removal from the West Coast, the Takeda family lived in Los Angeles, California. In 1943, the Takeda’s were granted leave from Heart Mountain after Shiro Takeda was hired as an instructor at the U.S. Navy Japanese Language School in Boulder, Colorado. The materials posted online include photographs taken at Heart Mountain and several documents collected in a scrapbook revolving around Shiro Takeda’s service to the United States during World War II.
The Okubara family was incarcerated at Grenada Relocation Center (in southeast Colorado). Prior to their removal from the West Coast, the Okubara family lived in Mill Valley, California. Mokoto (Sam) Okubara served in the military from 1945-1952, serving as a language instructor in Postwar Japan. The materials posted online include a suitcase Tora Okubara used at Granada Relocation Center.
George McIntyre supervised the motor pool for the Minidoka Relocation Center (in southern Idaho). The materials posted online include several photos from Minidoka Relocation Center illustrating the labor involved in maintaining the camp.