Date Original

1944 July 03


Letter from Edna Uyeno at Rohwer Relocation Center to five women at Jerome Relocation Center: Era R.; C. Morris; M. Smith; Florrie W.; and Hazel Retherford.

Biographical/Historical Note

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9022, creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA). The WRA selected ten sites in which to imprison more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, over two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Two of these centers were in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County, and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. Over 16,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated in these two centers between October 1942 and November 1945. Hazel Linam Retherford was born on January 27, 1906. During World War II, she was a teacher at both the Jerome and Rohwer Japanese relocation centers in Arkansas, eventually helping to close both centers. She later went to Washington, District of Columbia, to complete War Relocation Authority records on the camps.


Edna Uyeno
Rohwer Relo - Ctr
Misses Era R.; C. Morris; M. Smith
Florrie W.; Mrs. H. Retherford
Dormitory 7
Denson, ArkansasJuly 3, 1944
6:15 p.m.
My dear teacher,
My heartiest and sincerest
wishes of greetings from
Rohwer my new home.
How little did I know
that someday I'd write
to you from Rohwer. It's
just wonderful to be
writing to you again, I
do miss you so much
but I could still feel
close to you this way.
Yes, we left Jerome
at 10:35. We left it
physically but it shall
ever remain in our
memories & I'll cherish
the moments spent
with all of you there. We looked like an army caravan--gave
the passing spectators
a special treat. Never again would I want
to ride on a truck
on that same route ~
it's bad for your
seat! Over half of
the way was on dusty
road. Thank heaven
I had my hair well
"camoufloged" for some
unfortunate gals minues
their ________, well
their hairs looked
like a ???!!? censored
In case you're currious about those
question marks, I
only meant to write
"straw wig". To my
stomachs' satisfaction
we reached here just
around noon time.
My impression was--
very lovely gardens.
Flowers are just
strewned [sic] around your feet.
Everywhere you
go, beautiful gardens
are just sight for
sore eyes. They're
going to judge to see
which one of the
blocks are going to be
the best nestest
& which one the
the prettiest gardens.
I just had to gasp
at all the lovely
flowers - the block
next to ours was judged
as one of the best ones.
I think ours is nice
too but they have
professional gardeners
People are very
cordial and I have
made many friends
already. I'm going to
a picture show tonite
with her--seems
like the camp is
livening up some.
Course with the Jerome
people going in
ahem - but I'm
innocent! The auditorium
is very nice. We
failed to visit it
all over because
the doors were well
locked. We couldn't
very well break in
so we listened to the
camp band rehearse
for the Coronation Ball
outside. The band has
a Caucassian leader.
There is a beautiful
drawing on the side
walls - just under-
neath the windows.
For the fourth of
July celebration,
the people here have
worked out quite
an event.
As you have seen by the
" Rohwer Outpost", were
having a carnival, races,
Coronation Ball, ect. Guess what? The
sole candidate for
queen happens to be
from Jerome I don't
know why Rohwer
didn't put up any
contestants but it
seems as though she'll
have "stiff" competition
all by her-self.
If you hear a crackling
it'll _____ Celebration!
It's funny isn't
it the way your
feelings could change
so? The day I
accompanied my family
up here two weeks
ago. I felt so "homesick"
for Jerome. I couldn't
picture Rohwer as
my new home. I had
a 48 hrs' pass but
just didn't feel like using it to my fullest
advantage. So I got
a ride on the truck
returning to Jerome &
was it good to get
back on solid earth
of "Good Old Jerome!"
Well as the blacks
began to vocate, we
began feeling like
living ghosts. (I guess
this was the changing
point in our feelings)
Then as our work
came to an end
we felt like ___
rather speaking for myself. I felt like
a prisoner on parole
No, kidding aside, I did sorta miss my
work. You know
have much I love
to work (?) Can't
blame you for not
agreeing with me!
Well it was good
getting "home". So
here I am now,
splashing ink your
I'm quite fortunate
in getting to reside
in Bld [sic] 41. I have
the convenience
of the canteen, hospital, and bldgs [sic], post-office,
etc. close at hand
my neighbor is a very
talented trumpeteer [sic]
My other neighbor
happens to be a
group of 4 old bachelor.
Old I say but
quite modern, I say modern because it's
their radio which
blasts out Harry
Jame's popular
swing hits. Gives
me stiff competition.
I haven't as yet
"tried" looking up
my friends for fear
I'd get lost.
It's too hot to travel
in the daytime
although I couldn't
possibly get any
darker than I am
now. Just call me
"darkie". I wanted
to go see my girl
friend the first nite
of my arrival there
but we all had
to stay home due
to the census under-
takings. Shucks, and
that was the only
time I was in the
mood, too.
I'm not working
as yet and I don't
intend too for awhile.
I haven't made
definite plans on
anything but one
sure thing, I'll
be under recuperation

for a little while.
My friend has just
come over - we're
going to take in
the movie "Jungle
Princess" starring
Dorothy Lamour. So
if you'll excuse me
here , I'll only
be bidding you
a sweet bye-bye til
after the movie. Be
thinking of you --------
10:10 pm
Just got in from
the movie. Was quite
an unusual picture
L'was [sic] quite crowded
because movers are

held in the recreational
halls. We went to
the "Paramont"
rec. hall. After the
movie, everyone dashed
off to the Coronation
Ball being held
at the new auditoruim
We weren't one of the
"pickers" but it looked
or ruther sounded
pretty lively from
our standing distance
Just like every
book has its closing
chapter, so must
my missive come to
an end!
Bye & "Goodnite
Whenever You Are." Love
Floirie -
I still
failed to
get the

Physical Description

Letter, 8.5" x 11"


Evacuation of civilians; Military assistance; Military camps; Camps; War; Japanese; Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945; World War, 1939-1945--Concentration Camps--United States--Arkansas; Internment camps; Relocation camps; Rohwer Relocation Center (Ark.); Jerome Relocation Center (Ark.)


Uyeno, Edna

Geographical Area

Jerome, Drew County (Ark.); McGehee, Desha County (Ark.)




MS.000643, Box 1, Folder 1, Item 11

Resource Type



Hazel Retherford papers, MS.000643


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Edna Uyeno to five women of dormitory 7, Jerome Relocation Camp, Hazel Retherford papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


Use and reproduction of images held by the Arkansas State Archives without prior written permission is prohibited. For information on reproducing images held by the Arkansas State Archives, please call 501-682-6900 or email at


United States History


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Additional Content

Amon Guy Thompson papers, MG04582-MG04586; Austin Smith papers, 1942-1945, MG04350; Beauty Behind Barbed Wire: The Arts of the Japanese in Our War Relocation Camps, MG01299; Community Analysis Reports and Community Analysis Trend Reports of the War Relocation Authority, 1942-1946, MG03846-MG03847; Japanese Camp papers, MG03848-MG03869



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Letter, Edna Uyeno to five women of dormitory 7, Jerome Relocation Camp