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Frances Cushman Pierce Papers
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The collection contains materials collected by Frances Cushman Pierce dating from 1975 to 1994. Items are primarily survey responses from her former students, but also include JACL newsletters, correspondence, materials related to a 1994 Poston III reunion, and two typed chronologies.
Frances Cushman Pierce was an assistant principal at Poston I High School (1942-1943) and principal at Poston III High School from 1943 to 1944. Frances was the youngest of five children of Reverend Charles and Belle Cushman, and born in Victor, Iowa December 31, 1907. She graduated from Iowa State Teacher’s College, then taught at the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon. After returning to the United States, she completed graduate work at the University of Chicago, served as a psychologist for an experimental school run by the university, and then worked as the Director of Guidance and Research for Highland Park and Lake Forest High Schools (suburbs of Chicago). She resigned from that position to go to Poston, Arizona from 1942-1944, after hearing about the relocation camp on the radio. She traveled to San Francisco over her summer break to inquire about work with the War Relocation Authority, and chose an assignment at Poston because it was the first camp she heard about. After Poston, she was appointed superintendent of the Indian School in Phoenix (the first woman to be appointed) in October of 1944. Her next position was with the Office of Indian Affairs as the Superintendent of Secondary Education, and continued after that to aid Native American families affected by the Missouri River Basin Project (after construction of a dam required families move out of the reservoir area). While working on the Missouri River project, she met and married her husband Clinton G. Pierce (a forester) in 1950, and the couple later two adopted two girls. They lived in Billings, Montana. She passed away November 2, 1997.
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By appointment only. Please contact the Collections Management and Access Unit (collections@janm.org). Advanced notice is required.