INVENTORY OF THE OWEN M. SYLVESTER TULE LAKE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION, 1942-1943

Finding aid prepared by Karen Clemons
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Archives & Special Collections
University Library, Room 5039
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, California 90747
Phone: (310) 243-3895
URL: http://www4.csudh.edu/libarchives/index
©2016


Descriptive Summary

Title: Sylvester (Owen M.) Tule Lake Photograph Collection
Dates: 1942-1943
Collection Number: Consult repository.
Creator: Sylvester, Owen M.
Extent: 1 box .25 linear feet
Repository: California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections
Archives & Special Collection
University Library, Room 5039
1000 E. Victoria Street
Carson, California 90747
Phone: (310) 243-3895
URL: http://www4.csudh.edu/libarchives/index
Abstract: This collection contains one box of photographic images taken by Captain Owen M. Sylvester while at Tule Lake Segregation Center during a military occupation as a member of the 772 Military Police Battalion in 1943. Materials include: 32 black-and-white photographs.
Language: Collection material is in English

Administration Information

Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], Owen M. Sylvester Tule Lake Collection, Courtesy of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California State University, Dominguez Hills

Acquisition Information

Library acquisition

Biography

Captain Owen M. Sylvester (1895-unknown) began his military career as a private in Company A, 161st Infantry Regiment of the Washington National Guard, serving in the Mexican Border War from 1915-1917. In 1918, Sylvester transferred to the 2nd Infantry Division and served in the Army of Occupation in France until 1919. Following World War I, Sylvester was promoted to the rank of Captain and commanded the 2nd Battalion, 148th Field Artillery in the Washington National Guard from 1941-1942. Following his training at the Los Angeles Police Academy in 1942, Sylvester was appointed to the 772nd Military Police Battalion as Commander of Company C, where his battalion was assigned to the Boeing bomber plant in Renton Washington from 1942-1943, Tule Lake Segregation Center in 1943, and Fort Washington in 1944. At the end of World War II, Sylvester became a company commander and Provost Marshal at the Naval Air Station in Pasco, Washington. After the War, Sylvester went to Greece as part of the European Recovery Program (ERP) to assist in the rehabilitation of western and southern European economies.

Tule Lake History

On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which gave the military the authority to exclude any citizen who posed a threat to national security. As a result, approximately 120,000 Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast were removed and incarcerated in concentration camps. The Tule Lake Incarceration Center was the largest of the ten concentration camps with approximately 18,000 prisoners, and was located close to the California-Oregon border near the town of Newell, California and 10 miles south of the town of Tulelake. On February 8, 1943, the War Department and War Relocation Authority (WRA) distributed a questionnaire in order to assess the loyalty of those housed in concentration camps. The questionnaire was difficult and complex, which led to uncertainty and confusion. Failure to complete the questionnaire, as well as questions answered in an unsatisfactory manner caused a great number of incarcerees to be deemed “disloyal” and sent to Tule Lake Segregation Center- the designated location “disloyal” incarcerees.
In October 1943, following an agricultural truck accident that resulted in one incarceree death and also left five injured, incarcerees- upset by the events that had transpired, demanded improvement of safety and better compensation for work-related injuries. This ultimately resulted in a workers strike, and a negotiating committee- Daihyo Sha Kai was formed so that they could meet with the center’s Director, Raymond Best to outline their grievances and attempt to resolve issues. The response from administration was to fire workers and bring in strikebreakers- “loyal” inmates who were willing to work. Due to growing tension within the camp, Best and WRA National Director Dillion Myer met with the Daihyo Sha Kai on November 1, 1943, but there was no resolution. On November 4th, after noticing large crowds of incarcerees gathering around administrative buildings, Best responded by calling in the Army. When incarcerees attempted to go to work the following day, they were met with vehicles armed with machine guns and tear gas was dispersed. On November 14th 1943, Best declared martial law and Tule Lake became an armed camp with a curfew for incarcerees and barrack-to-barrack searches. Over 200 incarcerees including members of the Daihyo Sha Kai were apprehended and detained in a makeshift stockade. The stockade was isolated from the rest of the center and was surrounded by fences and four guard towers within a 250 by 350 foot area. The arrests continued until over 350 incarcerees were imprisoned in the stockade. In early January 1944, Tule Lake incarcerees voted to end the protest and on January 15, 1944 Best lifted martial law, ending military control of Tule Lake.

Scope and Content

The Owen M. Sylvester Tule Lake Photograph Collection (1942-1943) contains 32 black-and-white photographs taken by Sylvester at Tule Lake. The majority of the photographs were taken inside the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, California in November 1943 and feature scenes containing housing quarters, the stockade area, the interior of army vehicles, imprisoned Japanese-Americans, members of the 772nd Military Police Battalion, and soldiers with guns. Also included are photographs depicting scenery from directly outside of the camp, Sylvester’s battalion, soldiers in route to Tule Lake, and soldier stations in the hills adjacent to the Tule Lake Segregation Center. A few photographs were taken in 1942 mostly in Oregon and document the Battalion before they traveled to Tule Lake, and also include some of the names of the members of the Battalion. Photographs contain captions possibly written by Sylvester.

Arrangement

Arranged in 1 box.

Indexing Terms

Subjects

Concentration camps--United States
Japanese Americans--Pacific States--History--20th century
Japanese Americans
Japanese Americans—California
Tule Lake Relocation Center (Calif.)--1940-1950
Japanese Americans -- Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
World War, 1939-1945 – California
Martial law--United States.

Geographic Areas

Newell(Calif.)
Tulelake (Calif.)

Related Material

This collection is part of the California State University Japanese American Digitization Project. For related materials please consult: http://csujad.com

Container List

 

1 Box Owen M. Sylvester Tule Lake Photograph Collection

Physical Description: .25 linear ft, 1 box

Scope and Content Note

The Owen M. Sylvester Tule Lake Photograph Collection (1942-1943, undated) contains 32 black-and-white photographs taken by Sylvester at Tule Lake. The majority of the photographs were taken inside the Tule Lake Segregation Center in Newell, California in November 1943 and feature scenes containing housing quarters, the stockade area, the interior of army vehicles, imprisoned Japanese-Americans, members of the 772nd Military Police Battalion, and soldiers with guns. Also included are photographs depicting scenery from directly outside of the camp, Sylvester’s battalion, soldiers in route to Tule Lake, and soldier stations in the hills adjacent to the Tule Lake Segregation Center. A few photographs were taken in 1942 mostly in Oregon and document the Battalion before they traveled to Tule Lake, and also include some of the names of the members of the Battalion. Photographs contain captions possibly written by Sylvester.
 

Photograph 1 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Jap girl fleeing when about to snap picture. Took [some] anyway. Other girl got out of sight in time”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7053
 

Photograph 2 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Major _______ + social worker during disturbance in Jap area. ___2 armed E.M.E. _____standing by for possible difficulty”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7054
 

Photograph 3 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Evacuating loyal Japs (500 ___ of 16,000) whose lives were in danger. They were originally brought in when disloyal refused to harvest crop at Tulelake Nov. 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7055
 

Photograph 4 Caption on back of photograph reads, “H.J.W. Manning 30 caliber gun on mounted car (armored) patrolling Jap streets during disturbance during Nov 43 at Tulelake Calif Capt. _______ sitting in background”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7056
 

Photograph 5 Caption on back of photograph reads, “View from hill tops and surrounding Tulelake Camp in Calif. (43)”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7057
 

Photograph 6 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Jap inmates [sifting] to collect stones to make necklaces. Tulelake Calif (Nov 43)”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7025
 

Photograph 7 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Cross erected by Christian Japs at highest peak in Nov 43 E camp in foreground”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7026
 

Photograph 8 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Inscription at top of highest peak by Japs during Christian gathering in Aug 43. Japs inscription is only date of gathering”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7023
 

Photograph 9 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Another inscription by Japs at peak overlooking camp Tulelake made by Christian Japs stationed there”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7028
 

Photograph 10 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Japs walking on their streets during disturbance. Nov 43. Tulelake Calif”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7027
 

Photograph 11 Caption on back of photograph reads, “All the Japs that quickly gathered as soon as family difficulty took place. They were quickly dispersed”

Note

For full record: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7029
 

Photograph 12 Caption on back of photograph reads, “H.J.W. lying in cave of highest peak overlooking Camp Tulelake glancing [through] glasses pointed toward Jap camp”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7030
 

Photograph 13 Caption on back of photograph reads, “H.J.W. viewing surrounding area [with] field glasses overlooking Tulelake Jap internment camp in California”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7031
 

Photograph 14 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Jap Trouble- Tullelake”

Note

For full record: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7034
 

Photograph 15 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Cruising along streets of Camp Tulelake during Jap disturbance in Nov. 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7032
 

Photograph 16 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Japs just about to enter stockade under guard”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7035
 

Photograph 17 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Disloyal Japs who were [cuffed] up when they first refused to answer inquires of [army] questioning. Leaving [them back] to stockade under guard”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7033
 

Photograph 18 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Tulelake Calif. E.M.E.___ gun guarding Jap (disloyal) who threatened loyal family (his) ____ they left him”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7024
 

Photograph 19 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Jap quarters- Tullelake”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7036
 

Photograph 20 Caption on front of photograph reads, “On way to Tullelake Nov. 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7037
 

Photograph 21 Caption on front of photograph reads, “On way to Tullelake Nov 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7038
 

Photograph 22 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Parked for Lunch Nov 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7039
 

Photograph 23 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Tullelake”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7043
 

Photograph 24 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Town Patrol”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7044
 

Photograph 25 No inscription

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7045
 

Photograph 26 Caption on front of photograph reads, “11/15/42 Cresent Lake Oregon Conklin”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7046
 

Photograph 27 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Rogers Beeson Ford”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7049
 

Photograph 28 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Sontag”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7047
 

Photograph 29 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Beer Bust – Nov 43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7048
 

Photograph 30 Caption on front of photograph reads, “January 1943” Caption on back of photograph reads, “Sgt. Mallman 2/1/43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7050
 

Photograph 31 Caption on back of photograph reads, “Cpt. Seitz 2/1/43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7051
 

Photograph 32 Caption on front of photograph reads, “Cover the Doorway” Caption on back of photograph reads, “Pte Babbs 2/1/43”

Note

For full record see: http://cdm16855.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p16855coll4/id/7052