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Collection Guide
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Kelley (Gorman F.) Papers
91.149, 94.296, 96.103  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Gorman F. Kelley worked for the War Relocation Authority during World War II. This collection is largely comprised of letters written from Kelley during his four month employment at Tule Lake to his family in Los Angeles.
Background
Gorman F. Kelley was born on August 19, 1892 in Iowa and eventually made his way to Los Angeles, California, where he married and had children. He fought in World War I and later worked as a government employee with the War Relocation Authority during World War II. For four months (May, June, July, August 1942) Kelley was temporarily assigned to Tulelake and Tule Lake War Relocation Center in Northern California while his family remained in Los Angeles before receiving his permanent assignment in the Corp of Engineers. Tulelake neighbored the Tule Lake Relocation Center but differed in purpose. Originally built in 1933 as a work relief program in conjunction with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, Tulelake camp became a prison for Japanese American dissidents and housed German and Italian prisoners of war during World War II. In March 1943, more than 100 men from the Tule Lake Relocation Center were arrested and taken to Tulelake (renamed Camp Tulelake) after refusing to answer or answering “no-no” for questions 27 and 28 on the loyalty questionnaire. These prisoners completed repair work on the abandoned buildings while imprisoned at Tulelake. After several months they were either released back into Tule Lake Relocation Center or transferred to other Department of Justice Camps. In additional, Camp Tulelake also sheltered Japanese Americans brought from other concentration camps to help the WRA undermine strikes at Tule Lake. Although Kelley worked at both Tulelake and Tule Lake it is important to note as Kelley’s letters often reflect the negative attitude towards Japanese Americans during World War II.
Extent
.25 linear feet
Restrictions
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).
Availability
By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).