University of Arizona

Students, faculty, staff, and the public are now welcome to visit Special Collections without an appointment from 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday. 

United States War Relocation Authority Papers

Buses Arrive at Poston, AZ, 1942

The U.S. War Relocation Authority was responsible for the forced removal, incarceration, and reintegration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, Edward H. Spicer, Anthropology professor at the University of Arizona, was head of the Community Analysis Section of the War Relocation Authority, in Washington, D.C.

The collection includes publications, reports, manuals, correspondence, photographs, and other materials relating mainly to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II.

The largest group of material encompasses Community Analysis Reports from 11 individual prison camps. The camps were located in Poston and Rivers, AZ; Denson and Rohwer, AR; Manzanar and Newell, CA; Amache, CO; Hunt, ID; Oswego, NY; Topaz, UT; and Heart Mountain, WY. Fort Ontario, the camp at Oswego, NY, housed war refugees from southern Europe.

The next largest group of materials is comprised of official WRA pamphlets, as well as typescript studies by various WRA personnel, including Spicer. These studies are often concerned with sociological issues such as racism, the effects of camp life on the prisoners, and their attitudes about Japan. Among the newspapers, two are in Japanese: the Washington Daily News Digest, 1945, and an issue of Doho, 1943, from New York. Incoming and outgoing correspondence relates both to Spicer and John F. Embree of the Community Analysis Section; also Dillon S. Myer of the WRA. Some letters are from the community analysts informally reporting events at the different incarceration camps.

Statistic reports include removals by state and returns to the west coast by city. Government documents relate to House and Senate bills and resolutions, cases before the Supreme Court, the administration of alien property, and hearings before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Among the miscellaneous items are maps, organizational charts, the official administrative manual, information on Buddhism, transcripts of speeches and radio broadcasts, bibliographic citations, and poetry written by prisoners. Black-and-white photographs are well-identified by place, photographer, subject, and often individuals' names. They depict the camps, WRA officials, and soldiers of the all-Japanese American 442nd Combat Team

Some materials are in Japanese.