Date Original

1945 May 08


Letter from Marjorie Nagaoka in Lodi, California, to Hazel Retherford at Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas.

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.


Rte. 2 Box 188-a
May, 1945
Lodi, Calif.
Dear Mrs. Retherford,
Thank you for the "Junior Outpost"
and your nice post card. I was very em-
barrassed when I saw my letter in your
papers. At first I didn't recongize my letter
When I showed it to my mother she said
that I sure wrote an awful letter. You
should give me notice in advance.
School is just fine. Did you have
your tests (I think they're called Suppliment-
ary tests) I made pretty good grades. I
averaged 9.01. In english I made the
best grade. It is 11+ (plus) . I averaged the
highest in our school! (it's surprising
for me isn't ?)
We went to see "Thunderhead," it was
good. We went with some friends.
Where did Joyce and Rose go? I didn't know
they went out
In our school, in arithmetic I am in per-
centage. I hope to catch up to the girls
who are ahead soon they were 31 pages
but now they are 14 pages ahead.
When does your school end ? Ours
ends in 2 weeks more.
What are you
studying? We are
studying India (my second time)
We study it differently here. We write
outlines and menorize it then she gives
us a test.
In our English I'm ahead of our class.
I know nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives,
adverbs. I'm in 7th grade reading.
We made may baskets but mine
didn't turn out very well.
I've earned $13.50 since we have come
back. From the eggs and from helping my
father. He has 40 acres so there is always
plenty to do at the vineyard and at home
Well I have 5 more letters to write so
I'll close now.
your former pupil,
After 5 days return to
Marjorie Nagaoka
Rte 2 Box 188-a
Lodi, California
Mrs. H. Retherford
31-6-F W.R.A.
McGehee, Ark.

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.)


Nagaoka, Marjorie

Geographical Area

Lodi, San Joaquin County (Calif.); McGehee, Desha County (Ark.)




MS.000643, Box 1, Folder 1, Item 12

Resource Type



Hazel Retherford papers, MS.000643


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Marjorie Nagaoka to Hazel Retherford, 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, Marjorie Nagaoka to Hazel Retherford