In 1942 shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from California, Oregon, and Washington and confined to relocation centers. One of these relocation centers was the Topaz Relocation Center located on 17,500 acres in the middle of the Sevier Desert just outside of Delta, Utah. Until the camp closed in Oct. 1945, over 8,000 men, women and children lived, worked, and went to school there; over 100 of its residents volunteered for and served in the U.S. armed forces.
What was it like to be a resident of one of these relocation centers? School yearbooks and literary magazines written and illustrated by Topaz residents offer insight into the life, activities, and feelings of the Japanese Americans held there from 1942-1945. These and other items owned by Utah State University Library are being digitized as part of its Topaz Japanese-American Relocation Center Digital Collection.
USU Digital Library homepage photo from Trek, a quarterly literary magazine produced by residents of the Topaz Center. Mine Okubo, the artist, wrote a book about her experiences living at Topaz and later became a noted Southern Californian artist.
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