Date Original

1944 May 30


Letter from Yasuko Yirayama at the Tule Lake Relocation Center in California to Hazel Retherford at the Jerome 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.


7912-G+H Tule Lake, Calif. May 30, 1944 Dear Mrs. Retherford + Class, I am very very sorry I did not write any sooner. I was busy so much I didn't even have time to pay a visit to my friends or write a letter to you. Our trip took 5 nights and 4 days. I think we passed Arkansas, Colorado, Tenessee, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California into Oregon and then into California again. We went through Mt. Ranier and Mt. Shasta. We could see Mt. Shasta from here. The mountains were very beautiful with about seven wild flowers water falls and trees and these were about 36 tunnels. We went through the swamplands. It was flooded and some houses were in the water yet with people in them. I guess this was all my adventures. And I forgot to thank you all for the nice gift you gave me and for coming to say goodbye. This is how our block looks. (drawing image of camp) Mess Hall Laundry Room Rec [sic] Hall Toilet Well I will close now. Give my best regrads to everybody Your former pupilt friend, Yasuko Yirayama [sic] P.S. I am sending a suprise. Please excuse me for not sending any sooner for we are not near to the post office. Y. Yirayama 7912-G+H Tule Lake W.R.A. Newell, Calif. Mrs. H. Retherford + Class 23-2-C+D Denson, 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; Jerome Relocation Center (Ark.); Tule Lake Relocation Center (Calif.)


Yirayama, Yasuko

Geographical Area

Tule Lake, Northeastern Siskiyou County (Calif.); Jerome, Drew County (Ark.)




MS.000643, Box 1, Folder 1, Item 15

Resource Type



Hazel Retherford papers, MS.000643


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Yasuko Yirayama to Hazel Retherford and class, Hazel Retherford papers, Arkansas State Archives, Little Rock, Arkansas.


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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, Yasuko Yirayama to Hazel Retherford and class