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Frances Cushman Pierce Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Materials
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Frances Cushman Pierce papers
    Dates: 1975-1994
    Collection number: 2000.310
    Collection Size: 1 folder
    Repository: 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 (collections@janm.org). Advanced notice is required.

    Publication Rights

    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 (collections@janm.org).

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Frances Cushman Pierce Papers. 2000.310, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

    Acquisition Information

    The collection was acquired in 1993 as a gift of Catherine Harris.

    Processing Information

    A finding aid was created in 2017 by Jamie Henricks.

    Biographical Note

    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.

    Related Materials

    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.

    Indexing Terms

    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
    Poston Relocation Center (Ariz.)