Records of the War Relocation Authority (WRA) [Japanese Internment]
Records of the War Relocation Authority (WRA) [Japanese Internment] – http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/210.html
Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:
- How was the Japanese-American internment presented to the American public?
- What did people assembling for internment camps look like?
- How were Japanese-Americans resettled after the war?
According to this National Archives resource, the War Relocation Authority:
Formulated and executed a program for removal, relocation, maintenance, and supervision, in 10 interior relocation centers, of persons (principally of Japanese ancestry) excluded from military areas designated in accordance with EO 9066, February 19, 1942. Operated, under policy guidance of War Refugee Board, the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter (Oswego, NY) for European refugees, August 1944-June 1945. After revocation by the Western Defense Command, December 17, 1944, of west coast general exclusion order, effective January 2, 1945, WRA primarily involved in resettling Japanese-American internees.
This guide lists a number of series in this records group. Two which might be of special interest to writers are:
- 210.2.3 Other records – Textual Records: Statistical reports on the population of relocation centers and the refugee shelter, 1942-46. WRA administrative manual, 1943-45, with an index to revisions. Supplementary handbooks, 1943-45. Operational and administrative forms, 1942-46. Headquarters account control ledgers, 1942-46. Job descriptions, 1942-46.
- 210.3.4 Records of relocation centers – Architectural and Engineering Plans (224 items): Drawings and plans for the following WRA internment centers: Central Utah (Topaz), UT; Colorado River, AZ; Fort Ontario Refugee Shelter, NY; Granada, CO; Gila River, AZ; Heart Mountain, WY; Jerome, AR; Manzanar, CA; Minidoka, ID; Rohwer, AR; and Tule Lake, CA, 1942-45.
Unlike a number of National Archives records series we have considered in this chapter, there are a sizable number of digital resources, mostly photographs, available for this series. Examples of photographs include:
- Poston, Arizona. Apache Indians assist in the unloading of beds for evacuees of Japanese ancestry a . . ., 04/29/1942
- Salinas Assembly center, Salinas, California. Persons of Japanese ancestry are shown with their lug . . ., 03/31/1942
- Sacramento, California. Evidence of evacuation is seen in the Japanese quarter two days prior to ev . . ., 05/11/1942
- Sacramento, California. View of barracks in block 2 during first week of occupancy of this Center. . . ., 05/20/1942
- San Bruno, California. “Supper time” Meal times are the big events of the day at assembly centers. . . ., 06/16/1942
For an overview of WRA operations, check out this online audio interview:
Interview of Dillon S. Meyer on the Relocation of Japanese – Americans, ca. 1943
National Archives Identifier: 2284719
Local Identifier: 210.12
Creator(s): Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority. (02/16/1944 – 06/30/1946) 210
Description of interview content according to the record for this item:
This sound recording contains an interview by an unidentified newsman with Dillon S. Meyer, Director of the War Relocation Authority. In the interview, Dillon discussed the relocation of approximately 110,000 Japanese – Americans from the West Coast of the U.S. to 10 relocation centers in seven states. Topics included the administration, living conditions, educational and medical facilities, and staffing of the centers.
Although this interview was almost certainly done to put internment activities in the most favorable light possible, it should give you a basic idea of the internment camp administration and process.
To access these digital objects from the initial records page, click on the “Search OPA for Entries from this Record Group” in the upper right of the page.
Several groups outside of the National Archives have digitized publications and records from the WRA, including the Government Documents Roundtable of Ohio. Their digitization work can be found at http://ohiogodort.uakron.edu/handle/2374.GODORT/2.