Uncomfortable as it may be, one way to avoid the mistakes of the past is to confront them — one of the reasons preservation of historical documents is so important, said Arizona State University archivist Robert Spindler.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order that cleared the way for the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps during World War II, a dark chapter of U.S. history that underscores the fact that xenophobia is not a recent phenomenon.
During the past couple of years, Spindler has helped to digitize a rare collection of newsletters and photographs from Arizona’s Japanese internment camps.
The collection, a collaboration between the ASU Library Arizona Collection and the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, contains more than 5,000 pages of bilingual camp newsletters, now publicly available and text-searchable via the ASU Library Digital Repository.
One thing about the collection Spindler found especially intriguing were the pages of the newsletters that are in Japanese.
“I’m really interested to find out what they were saying,” he said, adding that figuring that out “would be an outstanding graduate student project or faculty research project. But ultimately, anyone globally can work with this material, which is part of the fun of doing this work.”
Collection highlights also include cartoons from the newsletters and special holiday editions. Spindler and colleagues have been gradually acquiring more materials over the years, and he said there’s a possibility they may reach out to the Arizona Historical Society in Papago Park, which has a color motion-picture film documenting the construction of the camps that would make a nice addition.
Read the Complete Article
Direct to ASU Digital Repository: Japanese Internment Camp Collection
Related Digital Resources