Guide to Federal Records

Records of the War Relocation Authority [WRA]


(Record Group 210)
1941-47

Overview of records Locations

Table of Contents

  • 210.1 Administrative History
  • 210.2 Headquarters Records of the WRA 1941-47
  • 210.3 Field Records of the WRA 1942-47
    366 lin. ft.
    • 210.3.1 Records of regional and field assistant directors' offices, San Francisco, CA
    • 210.3.2 Records of the Evacuee Property Division, San Francisco, CA
    • 210.3.3 Records of WRA area relocation offices
    • 210.3.4 Records of relocation centers
    • 210.3.5 Records of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter
  • 210.4 Records of Agencies Associated with the WRA 1942-47
    • 210.4.1 Records of the Wartime Civil Control Administration
    • 210.4.2 Records of the War Refugee Board
    • 210.4.3 Records of the War Agency Liquidation Unit, Department of the Interior
  • 210.5 Motion Pictures (General) 1942-44
    7 reels
  • 210.6 Sound Recordings (General) 1944-45
    28 items
  • 210.7 Still Pictures (General) 1943
    74 item

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210.1 Administrative History

Established: In the Office for Emergency Management by EO 9102, March 18, 1942.

Predecessor Agencies:

  • Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA), Western Defense Command (1942)

Transfers: To the Department of the Interior by EO 9423, February 16, 1944.

Functions: Formulated and executed a program for removal, relocation, maintenance, and supervision, in 10 interior relocation centers, of persons (principally of Japanese ancestry) excluded from military areas designated in accordance with EO 9066, February 19, 1942. Operated, under policy guidance of War Refugee Board, the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter (Oswego, NY) for European refugees, August 1944-June 1945. After revocation by the Western Defense Command, December 17, 1944, of west coast general exclusion order, effective January 2, 1945, WRA primarily involved in resettling Japanese-American internees.

Abolished: Effective June 30, 1946, by EO 9742, June 25, 1946.

Successor Agencies: War Agency Liquidation Unit, Department of the Interior.

Finding Aids: Estelle Rebec and Martin Rogin, comps., Records of the War Relocation Authority, PI 77 (1955); supplement in National Archives microfiche edition of preliminary inventories.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the War Relocation Authority in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

Subject Access Terms: World War II agency.

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210.2 Headquarters Records of the WRA
1941-47

History: Secretary of War authorized by EO 9066, February 19, 1942, to designate military areas from which persons could be excluded. Public Proclamation No. 1, Western Defense Command, March 2, 1942, designated southern AZ and western WA, OR, and CA, as Military Area No. 1. WCCA created, March 11, 1942, to implement army-issued civilian exclusion orders requiring the evacuation of persons of Japanese ancestry from the military area. WCCA superseded by WRA, March 18, 1942. SEE 210.1.

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210.2.1 General records

Textual Records: General subject files, 1942-46. General and topical final reports, 1946. General and report files ("Basic Documentation Files") consolidated from records of headquarters and field units to document the work of WRA, including resettlement of evacuees; and activities and conditions in WCCA assembly centers, WRA relocation centers and area relocation offices, and the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter, 1941-46. WRA serial issuances, 1942-45, and nonserial issuances, 1942-46. Reference files of non-WRA issuances, 1942-46. Magazine articles, with indexes, 1942-46. Newsletter relating to Japanese-American evacuees, 1942-46. Japanese-American newspapers, 1942-47.

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210.2.2 Case files

Textual Records: Evacuee case files, school transcripts, and related correspondence from files of field offices, relocation centers, and the Statistics Section of the Relocation Planning Division, 1942-46 (3,058 ft.). Punch card "locator index," containing summary personal data about individual evacuees, 1942- 46. Index to evacuees who were institutionalized, 1942-46. Lists of evacuees transferred from or assigned to the Tule Lake segregation center, 1943-44. Individual exclusion case files and related administrative reports and correspondence about persons other than those of Japanese descent excluded from military areas, 1942-45.

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210.2.3 Other records

Textual Records: Statistical reports on the population of relocation centers and the refugee shelter, 1942-46. WRA administrative manual, 1943-45, with an index to revisions. Supplementary handbooks, 1943-45. Operational and administrative forms, 1942-46. Headquarters account control ledgers, 1942-46. Job descriptions, 1942-46.

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210.3 Field Records of the WRA
1942-47

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210.3.1 Records of regional and field assistant directors'
offices, San Francisco, CA

Textual Records: General subject files and outgoing correspondence of the regional office, 1942. General subject files of the field assistant director, 1942-46. Press digests, April-December 1942, July 1944-January 1946.

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210.3.2 Records of the Evacuee Property Division, San Francisco,
CA

Textual Records: General subject files, 1942-45. Evacuee real property inventory cards, 1942-46. Contraband property inventories, 1944.

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210.3.3 Records of WRA area relocation offices

Textual Records: General subject files for area relocation offices in Chicago, IL; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York, NY; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA, 1943-46.

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210.3.4 Records of relocation centers

Textual Records: General subject files, 1942-46; cards for evacuees containing data about members of family units, 1942-46; final accountability rosters of evacuees, 1944-46; internal security case reports with related indexes, 1942-46; drawings and specifications, 1942-44; and fixed property inventories, 1942-47, for the following centers operated by the WRA: Central Utah Relocation Center, Topaz, UT; Colorado River Relocation Center, Poston, AZ; Gila River Relocation Center, Rivers, AZ; Granada Relocation Center, Amache, CO; Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, WY; Jerome Relocation Center, Denson, AR; Manzanar Relocation Center, Manzanar, CA; Minidoka Relocation Center, Hunt, ID; Rohwer Relocation Center, McGehee, AR; and Tule Lake Relocation Center, Newell, CA. Educational transcripts of former evacuee residents of War Relocation centers, 1942-45.

Architectural and Engineering Plans (224 items): Drawings and plans for the following WRA internment centers: Central Utah (Topaz), UT; Colorado River, AZ; Fort Ontario Refugee Shelter, NY; Granada, CO; Gila River, AZ; Heart Mountain, WY; Jerome, AR; Manzanar, CA; Minidoka, ID; Rohwer, AR; and Tule Lake, CA, 1942-45.

Photographs (16,948 images): Japanese Americans and their evacuation to relocation centers, including photographs taken by Dorothea Lange and Hikaru Iwasaki, 1942-45 (G, 7,870 images). Colorado River Relocation Center, 1942-45 (CC, 1,200 images). Manzaner Relocation Center, 1942-45 (CA, 40 images). Gila River Relocation Center, 1943-45 (CB, 1,200 images). Granada Relocation Center, 1943-45 (CG, 308 images). Heart Mountain Relocation Center, 1943-45 (CH, 650 images). Tule Lake Relocation Center, 1944-46 (CL, 1,100 images). Minidoka Relocation Center, 1943-45 (CMA, CMB; 3,060 images). Rohwer Relocation Center, 1943- 44 (CR, 200 images); Topaz Relocation Center, 1943-45 (CT, 820 images).

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210.3.5 Records of the Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Shelter

Textual Records: General subject files, 1944-46. Refugee case files, 1944-46.

Photographs (656 images): Fort Ontario Emergency Refugee Center, taken by Branko Kaufmann and Hikaru Iwasaki, 1944-45 (CFK, CFZ).

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210.4 Records of Agencies Associated with the WRA
1942-47

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210.4.1 Records of the Wartime Civil Control Administration

Textual Records: Microfilm copies of voluntary evacuee change of residence cards, 1942 (1 roll); a master index of evacuees, containing personal data about individuals, 1942-43 (27 rolls); and social data registration forms (29 rolls), summary tabulations (1 roll), and vital statistics (2 rolls), 1942. Photostatic copies of WCCA-WRA lists of persons transferred from assembly centers to relocation centers, 1942.

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210.4.2 Records of the War Refugee Board

Textual Records: Records documenting the origin of the program for emergency refugee shelters in the United States and the policies governing the Fort Ontario shelter ("Temporary Havens in the United States"), 1944-45.

Related Records: Additional records of the War Refugee Board in RG 220, Records of Temporary Committees, Commissions, and Boards, in Roosevelt Library.

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210.4.3 Records of the War Agency Liquidation Unit, Department of
the Interior

Textual Records: General files relating to a study of the resettlement of evacuees, and office files of the director of the study, 1946-47.

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210.5 Motion Pictures (General)
1942-44
7 reels

Go for Broke (1 reel), The Way Ahead (1 reel), A Challenge to Democracy (1 reel), and For Valor: Jap-American Soldiers Win Combat Citations (3 reels), produced by the WRA, 1942-43. Barriers and Passes, produced by the Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, ca. 1944 (1 reel).

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210.6 Sound Recordings (General)
1944-45
28 items

Radio broadcasts concerning WRA activities and accomplishments of Japanese-American soldiers.

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210.7 Still Pictures (General)
1943
74 items

Filmstrip: "The Wrong Ancestors," relating to the relocation of Japanese Americans, 1943 (FS).


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