Partial letter from Mary Kuriyama at an internment camp in Arizona to Hazel Retherford in Arkansas. Kuriyama talks about life in the camp she's been transferred to.

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 Japanese Americans, over two-thirds of whom were American citizens. Two of these centers where in the Arkansas Delta, one at Rohwer in Desha County, and the other at Jerome in sections of Chicot and Drew counties. These camps were open from October, 1942, to November, 1945, with over 16,000 Japanese Americans having been incarcerated during that period. On February 13, 1943 the Arkansas state legislature, with Governor Homer Adkins approval, passed the Senate bill No. 11 Act 47 called the Alien Land Act. This bill stated " Japanese or a descendent of a Japanese shall ever purchase or hold title to any lands in the State of Arkansas." This act was later ruled unconstitutional.


4/ to write even one letter. Its funny
if you lift your to think a
little while or rest your pen goes
dry at the point even it there
plenty of ink inside. Well, we
all will be settling [sic] down to
home soon when we get our
freight. Even the stands curl
up dry. Its dry for everything
There must be a big air field
near here because so many
planes fly by here everyday.
I don't see why they didn't
I don't see why they didn't
just take me to my home
in California only 500 miles
form it Home Sweet Home.
Well running out of soap
and my hand is getting tired
so I call it a day. Write and
tell me all about the camp
and who went where.
Who took over the camp too.
Well, Mrs Retherford it was nice
knowing you and I hope I may
cherish your friendship in the
years to come, hoping it remains
the same with you _______ Friend
Mary Kuriyama
Rivers, Arizona
P.S. This is camp II. I been to
camp I its big too and
scattered not compacted like
Denson ____

Physical Description

Letter, 8.5" x 11"


Adkins, Homer Martin, 1890-1964; 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


Kuriyama, Mary

Geographical Area

Arizona; McGehee, Desha County (Ark.)




MS.000643, Box 1, Folder 1, Item 3

Resource Type



Homer M. Adkins papers, MS.000404


Arkansas State Archives

Contributing Entity

Arkansas State Archives

Recommended Citation

Letter, Mary Kuriyama to Hazel Retherford, Homer M. Adkins 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


image preview

Additional Content

Hazel Retherford papers, MS.000643; 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



Download Full Text (769 KB)

Letter, Mary Kuriyama to Hazel Retherford