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Topaz

To document the forced removal, incarceration and resettlement of Japanese Americans during World War II, more than 17,000 images were taken under the auspices of the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Independent photographer Ansel Adams and WRA contractor Dorothea Lange were two of the more prominent photographers who documented the incarceration experience. Dorothea Lange’s earlier Dust Bowl photographs, showing the human face of "hard times," were widely distributed to the public under the Farm Security Administration. However, many of her photographs of Japanese Americans were censored. Even as Lange adhered to strict WRA guidelines to exclude armed soldiers and their bayonets, her images still captured raw emotional experiences.

Many of the photographs in the WRA collection paint an idealistic portrait of camp life. Still, other images convey the hardship, hope and perseverance of Japanese Americans during World War II. Many of the WRA photographs are accessible through the Online Archive of California and the Library of Congress . Other photographic collections exist in archives, museums, and private collections, and when paired with those taken by the WRA, provide a more comprehensive portrait of this chapter in history. Some of these collections include, the Japanese American Relocation Digital Archive and Densho Digital Archive.


Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, July 2, 19...

Letter written by Laura Merrill, Topaz Librarian, ...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, May 31, 19...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Jan. 6, 19...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, April 20, ...

Cover of the 1943 Topaz High School yearbook creat...

Cover of the 1944 Topaz High School yearbook creat...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Feb. 15, 1...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, March 6, 1...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Nov. 6, 19...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, April 13, ...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Nov. 11, 1...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Sept. 17, ...

Anthology of poems, short stories, and illustratio...

Unpublished document restricted by the War Relocat...

War Relocation Authority (WRA) report written by J...

Memorial address given by Rev. Shigeo Shimada on S...

Memorial address given by Mr. Masaru Narahara on D...

Guidebook to Topaz, presented to incarcerees upon ...

December 1942 issue of "Trek," a literary magazine...

February 1943 issue of "Trek," a literary magazine...

June 1943 issue of "Trek," a literary magazine wri...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Dec. 9, 19...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper Extra, Apri...

Article from the Topaz Times Newspaper, Dec. 20, 1...

Drawing of the coal bin at the Topaz hospital heat...

Fusako Sato in front of the Buddhist Church on Blo...

Historic photograph of the dedication of the Topaz...

Historic photograph of incarceree workers gatherin...

Historic photograph of incarceree gardeners planti...

Historic photograph of incarcerees overseeing the ...

Historic photograph of the view looking down from ...

Historic photograph of incarcerees farming at Topa...

Historic photograph of mechanical graders used on ...

Historic photograph of a group of incarceree agric...

Historic photograph of incarcerees and appointed p...

Historic photograph of an incarceree maintaining a...

Historic photograph of young incarceree workers de...

Historic photograph taken during the funeral for J...

Historic photograph of the 500,000 gallon water to...

Historic photograph of a panorama view of the Cent...

Historic photograph of a panorama view taken from ...

Historic photograph of a panorama view taken from ...

Panorama of the far northwest corner of Topaz, the...

Panorama of the modern day memorial for Topaz, loc...

Panorama of the administration area remains, inclu...

Panorama of the hospital area at Topaz, reflecting...

Panorama of the mess hall for Block 5. One of the ...

Panorama of Residential Block 8 at Topaz, the loca...

Panorama of Block 22 at Topaz, a typical residenti...

Panorama of Block 17 at Topaz, which was one of fo...

Panorama of the center of the residential area at ...

Panorama of Block 19 at Topaz. One of the camp Co-...

Panorama of Block 32, which served as the junior a...

Panorama of Block 33, a typical residential block ...

Panorama of the mess hall and latrine foundations ...

Panorama of Block 31 at Topaz. As with all the res...

Panorama of the administration area where the civi...

Panorama of the coal storage structure used for th...

Panorama of the garden area in Block 5 at Topaz.

Panorama of the garden area in Block 12 at Topaz.

Panorama of the garden area in Block 22 at Topaz.

Perspective of the reconstructed Topaz site, taken...

Photograph of a decorative wall and overgrown grea...

Photograph of the Administration Entrance Area at ...

Photograph of the original fence near the Administ...

Photograph of a decorative wall and overgrown grea...

Photograph of a decorative wall and overgrown grea...

Photograph of the Administration Entrance Area at ...

Photograph of the Administration Entrance Area, re...

Photograph of the road leading into Topaz near the...

Photograph of the original fence near the Administ...

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 5 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 5 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 5 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 5 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of one of the coal cook stoves on the f...

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 5 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 12 at Topaz.

Photograph of a sewer manhole with the cover missi...

Photograph of a sewer manhole with the cover missi...

Photograph of a sewer manhole with the cover missi...

Photograph of the Block 12 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 12 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of the Block 12 mess hall at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 12 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 12 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 12 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 13 at Topaz.

Photograph of the cooking stove in Block 13 at Top...

Photograph of the cooking stove in Block 13 at Top...

Photograph of the cooking stove in Block 13 at Top...

Photograph of a drain in the cement on Block 13 at...

Photograph of Block 13 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 17 at Topaz.

Photograph of the remains of a cement basin used t...

Photograph of Block 22 at Topaz.

Photograph of Block 24 at Topaz.

Photograph of the sewer pump station located near ...

Photograph of the foundation of the Fire Station a...

Photograph of the foundation of the Fire Station a...

Photograph of the foundation for Topaz's guard tow...

Photograph of the foundation for the Topaz's guard...

Photograph of the Hospital's coal chute foundation...

Photograph of the Hospital's western coal chute at...

Photograph of the Hospital's cement foundation wit...

Photograph of the Hospital's western coal chute at...

Photograph of the Hospital's cement foundation at ...

Photograph of the Hospital's western coal chute at...

Photograph of the Hospital's western coal chute at...

Photograph of the Hospital's cement foundation at ...

Photograph of the Hospital's coal chute and ramp a...

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of the Topaz Monument erected in 2002.

Photograph of a Topaz reminder woven into the fenc...

Photograph of the sewer pump station located near ...

Video of Fred Y. Hoshiyama speaking about his expe...

Video of Roy Ebihara describing his experience of ...

Video of Norman I. Hirose telling his story about ...

Video of Helen Harano Christ describing the Pledge...

Video of Helen Harano Christ describing what it fe...

Video of Dave Tatsuno describing his experience bu...

Video of Kazuko Iwahashi describing the dances and...

Video of Ted Nagata describing the athletics that ...

Video of Taneyuki Dan Harada describing his experi...

Video of Ted Nagata describing the athletics that ...

Video of Grace F. Oshita describing the harsh envi...

Video of Kinge Okauchi describing the layout of th...

Video of Bob Y. Sakata describing his work studyin...

Video of K. Morgan Yamanaka describing his experie...

Video animation of the digital reconstruction of T...