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Collection Ansel Adams's Photographs of Japanese-American Internment at Manzanar

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The Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Black & White Negatives and Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Color Photographs collection documents Americans at home, at work, and at play between 1935-1945, with an emphasis on rural and small-town life and the adverse effects of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and increasing farm mechanization. In its latter years, the project documented America's mobilization for World War II, including the resettlement of the Japanese Americans. These images were taken mostly in the spring of 1942 in California and include evacuation, selling possessions, transportation to centers, and arrival at camps. Access is by keywords taken from the photo captions, such as "Japanese Americans." The lack of formal subject headings makes it difficult to do a comprehensive search. However, the web site shows all the negatives made by the FSA/OWI photographers, including those which were rejected for printing for the "open files," now housed in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room. Using the "open files" provides a different and more thorough approach to using the collection to find all printed images on one subject.

Japanese merchant posts sale sign in preparation for evacuation as small son looks on

Library of Congress

Prints and Photographs Division

Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Open Files

The "open files" of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection contain most of the photographs shown in the American Memory site, America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945. These images were taken mostly in the spring of 1942 in California and include evacuation, selling possessions, transportation to centers, and arrival at camps. However, in the "open files" they are arranged in sections by broad subject (evacuation; selling possessions; transportation to centers; arrival at camps), providing a different approach than the keyword access offered through the online presentation.

San Pedro, Calif. Apr. 1942--Residents of Japanese ancestry being moved from Los Angeles harbor before their eventual resettlement in war relocation authority centers

LOT 10617

Retrieve available online images

These 14 volumes of photographs were received from the Wartime Civil Control Administration. They were assembled from news agencies and various government sources and are organized into two main categories: evacuation and assembly centers. The evacuation photos concentrate on California and Arizona while the assembly center photos are from California, Oregon, and Washington. Of particular interest are photos of evacuees voting in California state elections, registering for the draft, and the stables at the Santa Anita Race Track being converted into housing.

LOT 1801

Retrieve available online images

This group of over 200 official War Relocation Authority photographs details the evacuation of Japanese and Americans of Japanese ancestry from the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas. Most of the photos were taken in April of 1942 and show families before their evacuation and registering with the Wartime Civil Control Administration in San Francisco. The Santa Anita Reception Center is documented as is construction of war relocation centers at Manzanar, CA and Parker, AZ. The photos show evacuation to and arrival at assembly centers as well as living conditions and recreational activities.

LOT 4842

These 44 photographs show that not all Japanese Americans were put in internment camps. Some were moved to new homes away from the West Coast. These uncaptioned photographs, contributed by the War Relocation Authority, show relocated persons in many different occupations.

LOT 4460

These 24 photographs include views of a War Relocation Authority warehouse in Seattle where belongings of evacuees were stored during their internment. Also included are photographs of Christmas pageants at Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming and Topaz Relocation Center in Utah.

LOT 2244

These 23 untitled Office of War Information photographs were taken at the Tule Lake War Relocation Center. Included are photographs of camp life, a dance, and exterior views.

Outside the Library of Congress

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Ansel Adams

  • Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721 External

    Ansel Adams was a co-founder of the Center for Creative Photography (CCP). CCP holds the largest collection of Ansel Adams's work in the world, which includes his photographs, negatives, correspondence, and cameras. Approximately 140 photographs from his Manzanar Relocation Camp project are held by the Center.

  • The Sierra Club, San Francisco, CA External

    Ansel Adams was involved with the Sierra Club throughout most of his life. This site includes a brief biography of Adams and a sample of his photographs.

Japanese-American Relocation--General Information

Documentary Materials

  • University of California, Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000 External Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, Collection number: BANC MSS 67/14c

    The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records include records from the War Relocation Authority (WRA) and the records of the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The WRA portion of the collection contains some materials that are not represented in the National Archives' collection. JERS was established in 1942 to study the sociological, political, economic, and legal issues of the relocation program. The collection includes journals, diaries, and field reports.

  • University of California, Bancroft Library, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000 External
    War Relocation Authority Photographs, Collection number: BANC PIC 1967.014-PIC

    The War Relocation Authority (WRA) records represent the official documentation of the United States agency created to assume jurisdiction over the Japanese and Japanese-Americans evacuated from California, Oregon, and Washington by the Western Defense Command, the Fourth Army, and the Wartime Civilian Control Administration during January and February of 1942. The collection includes 7,000 photographs and 317 Kodachrome slides arranged into 18 series. Dorothea Lange's work as a WRA photographer is included in this collection.

  • University of California, Los Angeles, Charles E. Young Research Library, Department of Special Collections External
    Manzanar War Relocation Center Records, Collection number: 122

    The collection includes approximately 170 photographs from Ansel Adams's work at the Manzanar War Relocation Center. Additional photographic materials include more than 400 negatives of Manzanar documenting the construction of the camp through its closing, as well as photographs documenting Japanese internees after they left the camp.

  • National Archives and Records Administration Records of the War Relocation Authority, Record Group 210 External

    The War Relocation Authority was responsible for the removal, relocation and supervision of the ten relocation centers for persons of Japanese ancestry. This collection contains textual records, motion pictures, architectural and engineering drawings, and photographs by Dorothea Lange, Hikaru Iwasaki, Clem Albers, Tom Parker, and Charles E. Mace.