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Manzanar Guard Gate

Manzanar Relocation Camp, Guard Gate,1993, panoramic photo collage, 27"x 65"


Manzanar Relocation Camp, Monument, 1995, panoramic photo collage, 48"x 80".


Manzanar Relocation Camp, Tree View, 1995",panoramic photo collage, 27"x 63".

Research: Manzanar Relocation Camp

small U.S. Map

Location: Inyo County, California, in the Owens Valley, 225 miles north of Los Angeles.

Land: Land controlled by the City of Los Angeles for its municipal water supply.

Size: 6,000 acres.

Climate: Desert, extreme winters and summers. Mt. Whitney and Mt. Williamson could be seen in the distance making it one of the most beautiful of the camp sites.

Population origins: Primarily Los Angeles County (8,828).

Manzanar began as an "Assembly Center", and the poplulation was almost completely urban in origin.

Peak population:10,046.

Date of peak: September 22, 1942.

Opening Date: June 1, 1942;
Manzanar began as a Wartime Civil Control Administration administered "Assembly Center", and opened on March 22, 1942; it came under War Relocation Authority jurisdiction on June 1, 1942.

Closing Date: November 21, 1945.

Project director(s): Roy Nash, Harvey N. Coverley, Solon T. Kimball, and Ralph P. Merrit.

Community Analysts: John de Young and Morris E. Opler.

Newspaper(s): Manzanar Free Press (April 11, 1942 to September 8, 1945); the paper started while Manzanar was an "assembly center" and continued to publish through its transfer to WRA jurisdiction.

% who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire positively: 86.9%

Number and percentage of eligible citizen males inducted directly into armed forces: 174 (2.5%).

Industry: Manzanar had a camouflage net factory which operated from June to December 1942; also a garment factory, a cabinet shop, and a mattress factory which produced goods for internal consumption.

History: Manzanar was probably the most closely guarded of all the camps, due in part to its origin as a WCCA camp, to its location within the Western Defense Command's restricted zone, and the extreme hostility of the local population.

Counting its WCCA director (Clayton Triggs), Manzanar had five directors/managers in its first eight months. Merrit took over as director on November 19, 1942 and remained in this position until the camp's closing.

Manzanar was a relatively turbulent center; the Manzanar Incident of December 1942 exposed deep rifts within the poplulation.

For further reading:

Photographic studies of Manzanar include Ansel Adams' Born Free and Equal: Photographs of the Loyal Japanese Americans of Manzanar Relocation Center, Inyo County, California.(New York: US Camera, 1944);

Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake, Two Views of Manzanar: An Exhibition of Photographs. Los Angeles: Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery, University of California, Los Angeles, 1978;

John Armor and Peter Wight, Manzanar. Photographs by Ansel Adams. Commentary by John Hersey. (New York: Times Books, 1988).

Source: Japanese American History: An A to Z Reference, 1868 to the Present, by Brian Niiya. New York: Facts on File, 1993. This information is provided with the permission from the Japanese American National Museum and Brian Niiya, 1997.

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