Scope and Content
Title: Frances Cushman Pierce papers
Collection number: 2000.310
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Creator: Pierce, Frances Cushman
Abstract: 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.
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 (email@example.com). Advanced notice is
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Collections
Management and Access Unit at the Japanese American National Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org).
[Identification of item], Frances Cushman Pierce Papers. 2000.310, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.
The collection was acquired in 1993 as a gift of Catherine Harris.
A finding aid was created in 2017 by Jamie Henricks.
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.
Scope and Content
The collection contains materials collected by Frances Cushman Pierce dating from 1975 to 1994. Items include survey responses
sent to Frances from her former students, including information on former camp locations, occupation and education, family
members, and personal thoughts on relocation and camp life (approximately 28 responses). Also included are two JACL newsletters
describing Frances’ background and survey, correspondence, materials related to a 1994 Poston III reunion, and two typed chronologies.
Other collections in the museum related to camp educators include the Clara Breed collection (93.75). Other collections also
hold surveys and responses about camp life.
Previous arrangement was preserved.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
Poston Relocation Center (Ariz.)