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Finding aid for the Shogo Myaida Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Project Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Shogo Myaida papers
    Dates: 1922-1989
    Collection number: 97.77.1
    Creator: Shogo Myaida, 1897-1989
    Collection Size: 6 linear feet
    Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Los Angeles, California 90012
    Abstract: Spanning the years 1920 to 1989, the collection consists of approximately six linear feet of archival material. The bulk of the collection contains materials dating from 1920 until Myaida's retirement in 1972. The collection chiefly consists of documents, such as letters, immigration papers, and class notes, ephemeral items, news clippings, and printed material about gardens, flower arrangements, and landscapes. Moreover, there are hundreds of photographs related to Myaida's studies, social activities, and garden projects. Significant documents include the family registry, licenses, naturalization papers, and patents. While a majority of the manuscripts are written in English, a number of items such as his class notes, immigration and travel documents, and various printed materials are in Japanese.
    Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 100 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012


    By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).

    Publication Rights

    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).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Shogo Myaida papers. 97.77.1, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Project Information

    This finding aid was created as part of a project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project started in 2007. Project Director was Yoko Shimojo and the Project Archivist was Marlon Romero.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Between 1885 and 1924, approximately 200,000 Japanese traveled to Hawaii and 180,000 to the United States mainland. They were predominantly young men, were well educated (with an average of eight years of schooling), and had a high literacy rate. Mostly coming from the farming class, many of this generation of Japanese immigrants, known as the "First Wave" came to the United States with more financial resources than European immigrants.(Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore (New York: Penguin, 1989), pp.45-46.) It is in this first group of Japanese immigrants that Shogo Joseph Myaida belongs. However, while many of the first Japanese immigrants came from the agricultural fields of Japan, Myaida's background differs from many of the Japanese of the "First Wave".
    Born on June 25, 1897 in Takamatsu, Japan, Shogo Joseph Myaida (originally spelled Maeda; he adopted a spelling change to accommodate the pronunciation difficulties of many Americans) and his family belonged to the Japanese aristocracy. Myaida's father, who died early in his life, was a member of the Japanese parliament. His mother was a poet and a writer who also wrote speeches for her husband. At the age of fifteen, Myaida was the only one among his brothers and sisters to be baptized in the Christian tradition. Hence, he received the Christian name Joseph. In 1922, after taking part in a class tour of Europe, Myaida immigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in landscape design and architecture.
    Because of his family's aristocratic background, Myaida met numerous affluent and influential individuals who provided him with employment and opportunities to work on major projects and estates. In 1941, Myaida married his personal secretary, Grace. During World War II instead of being forcibly removed to Ellis Island, Myaida was forced to remain in Albertson, New York. In Albertson, Myaida worked in many places, including a nursery called The Garden Clinic where he gave lectures on flower arranging. In March 1954, Myaida received United States citizenship. Shogo Myaida retired in 1972 and lived with his wife in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Grace died on March 26, 1989 and two months later Shogo Myaida passed away.
    Chronology of Education and Professional Experience

    Horticulture College, Imperial University, Tokyo, Japan

    Graduated 1918

    Attended Tokyo College of Fine Arts, Department of Agriculture

    Graduated 1920

    Tokyo College of Fine Arts, Department of Education

    Assistant instructor and librarian

    Joined a summer study group organized by Professor Philip H. Elwood of Ohio State College. The group visited historic gardens located in England, France, and Italy.

    Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Brooklyn, New York

    Designed and supervised the improvement of the Japanese garden

    Brenau College, Gainesville, Georgia

    Designed and supervised the improvement of the campus and developed a Japanese-style summer camp, Camp Takeda

    Addison Meisner, Architect, Palm Beach, Florida

    Architectural designing and drafting for the Everglades Country Club, Singer Building, and the Boca Raton Country Club
    Marion Wyeth, Architect, Palm Beach, Florida

    Architectural designing and drafting for the J. P. Donahue residence
    Oliver J. Vinour and William Gonjost, Architects, Palm Beach, Florida

    Architectural drawing and drafting for the Palm Beach Hotel and municipal buildings
    Sheffield Arnold, Landscape Architect, Palm Beach, Florida and New York, New York

    Landscape designing for the National Hotel, Cuba and the Edward Stotesbury Estate, Palm Beach, Florida

    Lewis and Valentine Landscape Construction Company, Palm Beach, Florida; Long Island, New York; Connecticut; Pennsylvania; and New Jersey

    Landscape designing and supervision of Palm Beach, New Jersey, and Long Island estates

    Private professional practice of landscape architecture

    Commissioned by the Japanese government to supervise construction of the

    Japanese garden for the New York World's Fair

    Andrew Fritz, Architect, Rockville Center, New York

    Architectural designing, drafting and landscape designing for apartment buildings, residences, schools

    Levitt and Sons, Architects, Long Island, New York and Pennsylvania

    Planning Department for new Levittown, Pennslyvania

    Julius Fishkind, Architect, Benjamin Levinson, Architect, Samuel Paul, Architect, Jamaica, New York

    Architectural designing, drafting and landscape designing for apartment buildings, residences, schools and shopping centers

    Mary Briggs Burke, Centre Island, Long Island, New York

    Designed bog-land Japanese garden

    Hillwood Gardens, Washington, D.C. Estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post

    Designed a traditional Japanese garden with waterfalls, pools, bridges and garden gates


    Scope and Content of Collection

    The strength of the collection lies in its ability to provide an insight into the personal and professional life of Shogo Myaida as a "First Wave" Japanese immigrant. Given the contemporary dominant ethos toward Japanese and ethnic groups, Myaida's experiences in the United States as a result of his family's priviledged status in Japan provide some contrast to the life experiences of many Japanese immigrants who suffered harsh social and economic conditions in the United States. However, despite his elevated social and economic background, Myaida still suffered from discriminatory United States policies, as evident in his confinement to Albertson, New York during World War II. The Shogo Myaida Collection provides a valuable insight into a segment of Japanese immigrant history in the United States.
    The collection has been organized into nine series: Immigration and Travel, Correspondence, Projects and Garden Materials, Publications, Education, Professional Development, Ephemera, Photographic Materials, Three-Dimensional Objects. The series are arranged chronologically (when dates can be determined). The projects and garden materials are arranged by project with a chronological subarrangement. Photographic prints and negatives, ephemera, and three-dimensional objects have been grouped with related series whenever possible. In some cases Myaida numbered his prints and negatives. These have been arranged in numerical order.
    Series 1: Immigration and Travel

    This series contains immigration documents and includes family and medical records from Japan. Correspondence, travel documents, and head tax receipts are included in this series which is suggestive of contemporary United States immigration policy. The records also indicate the influence of Myaida's family on his passage to Europe and eventually the United States. A few photographs are also associated with this series.
    Series 2: Correspondence

    This series consists of letters to and from family members, friends, and professional acquaintances. The family letters provide glimpses of Myaida's relationship with his family, especially his mother, and his attitude towards the political climate between Japan and other nations. Included with these family letters is a document from the Federal Bureau of Investigation returning some letters belonging to Myaida as part of their investigation into his activities during World War II. Some of the correspondence is in Japanese. Photographs of correspondence are included in this series.
    Series 3: Projects and Garden Materials

    This series contains printed and photographic materials from Myaida's major projects from the 1920s until his retirement in 1972. Items are grouped together by project as this is the original order. Folders contain the following projects: Brenau College, New York World's Fair, and Hillwood Gardens. This series also contains materials pertaining to Myaida's residential projects. Lastly, a number of sketches of flower arrangements, architecture, and gardens give insight into Myaida's creative and aesthetic vision.
    Series 4: Publications

    In addition to landscaping and garden projects, Myaida also wrote articles and a book expressing his philosophical and aesthetic ideas on gardening, particularly on the art of Japanese gardens and Japanese flower arrangement. In this series are a number of published and unpublished works, some of which Myaida had presented as a guest speaker at various associations. Accompanying these works is correspondence that indicate Myaida's intention to publish some of his writings. This series also contains newspaper clippings, articles, and publications pertaining to Japanese gardens, flower shows, and related topics. Many of the materials were written by other individuals and collected by Myaida. Some of the items are in Japanese.
    Series 5: Education

    This series contains Myaida's class notes from Japan, including garden and architectural sketches and other printed materials. Mostly in Japanese, the items document Myaida's intellectual and artistic development in garden and landscape design. This series also includes approximately photographs taken during his school tour when he visited England, France, and Italy prior to coming to the United States in 1922. Postcards collected during the class tour are also included. Documents related to Myaida's travel for the summer school of architecture are located in the Immigration and Travel series.
    Negatives from the Eastman Negative Album are b/w (3x5) negatives. The album is dated 7 June 1922. The album contained a total of 45 negatives and the images are indexed in English and Japanese on the inside flap of the album. The images are of buildings and gardens in Europe visited during the summer travel school.
    Series 6: Professional Development

    Arranged according to topic and activity, this series consists of curriculum vitae, correspondence, letters of recommendation and introduction, items pertaining to membership in the American Association of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Myaida's application for a landscape architecture license, and other materials related to Myaida's professional development. These documents provide insight into Myaida's professional career and technical training in Japan and the United States. In particular, the letters of recommendation and introduction reveal Myaida's numerous personal and business relationships. These letters also show the unique social network the Myaida developed in the United States as a result of his background. Also included are two United States patents for birdhouses.
    Series 7: Ephemera

    This series contains postcards from Myaida's travels, envelopes, and a map of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Business cards are grouped with the Professional Development series.
    Series 8: Photographic Materials

    More than two thousand images document Myaida's projects and social activities. The collection also contains some family photographs from Japan. The images provide a pictorial record of the places where Myaida worked and visited. Black and white prints, black and white negatives, color prints, color slides, and color negatives are included in this series. Many of the images have identification numbers that Myaida developed. In these cases prints and negatives have been arranged in numerical order within sleeves. Images related to other series such as Projects and Garden Materials have been grouped with those series and arranged chronologically.
    Series 9: Three-Dimensional Objects

    A few three dimensional objects are contained in the collection. Myaida's steamer trunk is grouped with the Immigration and Travel Series and his stamp is grouped with the Professional Development series.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Myaida, Shogo
    Japanese Americans
    Landscape architecture
    Emigration and immigration
    United States
    Description and travel