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George S. Iwanaga Papers,

 Collection
Identifier: H-Mss-1071

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents of Collection

A collection of 33 original photographs from the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. The black and white images depict the people of the camp, their living quarters, and daily life.

Most of the black and white photographs of varying sizes are lightly mounted with double-stick tape on 28 x 22 inch white board with pencil captions below. The printing date of the photographs is not noted. Among the scenes is a three-panel panoramic of the Heart Mountain camp, a group of skilled workers in front of the carpenters shop, and views of internees bidding farewell to visitors through a barbed wire fence. A photo captioned "mess hall workers" is missing from one board and another of "St. Francis" is loose.

Also included in the papers is a program from Iwanaga's 2002 UCLA exhibit which contains a bit of biographical information; two letters sent from materials vendors to Iwanaga at Heart Mountain when he worked in the Public Works Department; a report on color photography he completed in 1945 for and English class at the University of Minnesota; and a 1947 thesis he co-wrote in pursuit of his master's degree at the University of Washington.

Dates

  • 1942-1950

Creator

Language of materials

Languages represented in the collection: English.

Access

This collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

Biography / Administrative History

The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center opened in June 1942 and held a total of 13,997 Japanese Americans over the next three years, with a peak population of 10,767, before it closed on November 10, 1945. It was one of ten concentration camps used for the internment of Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast Exclusion Zone during World War II. The camp contained 650 military-­style barracks and surrounding guard towers.

The photographs were shot by George Shinichi Iwanaga (1921–2012), a 21-year-old Los Angeles resident of Japanese descent. Born in Fresno, he never visited Japan and had completed two years of college. He lived for two years at Heart Mountain before being released in August 1944. At Heart Mountain, Iwanaga took a job as an assistant in the Public Works Department.

The photographs included in this collection were part of an exhibit, perhaps for a school project, put together by his son Paul, a photographer who graduated from UCLA in 1977. A similar set of Iwanaga's photographs was used for an exhibit at UCLA in 2002.

After leaving Heart Mountain, Iwanaga pursued higher education. In 1946 he graduated from the Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota. He went on to the University of Washington to pursue a master of science in civil engineering. In 1950, Iwanaga married Mitsu Nemoto, also a Los Angeles resident who was held at the Rohwer internment camp in Arkansas. They lived many years in Pasadena and had four children: Doug, Paul, Barbara and Jon.

A photo of Heart Mountain by Iwanaga is contained in the collections of the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle, as well as at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.

Source: Brad and Jennnifer Johnson, owners, The Book Shop, Covina, California.

Extent

3 Linear Feet (1 oversized flat box + 1 small document box)

Abstract

A collection of 33 original photographs from the Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. The black and white images depict the people of the camp, their living quarters, and daily life.

The Heart Mountain War Relocation Center opened in June 1942 and closed on November 10, 1945. It was one of ten concentration camps used for the internment of Japanese Americans evicted from the West Coast Exclusion Zone during World War II.

The photographs were taken by George S. Iwanaga (1921–2012), a 21-year-old Los Angeles resident of Japanese descent. Born in Fresno, he never visited Japan and had completed two years of college. He lived for two years at Heart Mountain before being released in August 1944.

Organization and Arrangement

The collection has been arragned into the following series:

Series 1: Manuscripts

Series 2: Photographs

Within each series, materials are organized alphabetically by title.

Physical location

Please consult repository.

Provenance/Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 2015.

Accruals

No additions to the collection are anticipated.

Processing Information

The collection was minimally processed: individual photographs and poster boards were placed in mylar sleeves and acid free folders. The two reports were disbound and pages containing photos and/or highly acidic paper were placed into mylar sleeves. Collection is described at the item level.
Status
Completed
Author
Lisa L. Crane, MLIS
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the 01 - Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library Repository

Contact:
800 North Dartmouth Ave
Claremont CA 91711 United States