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Katano Family Papers
mssHM 79381-79416  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Katano Family Papers
    Dates: 1942-1945
    Collection Number: mssHM 79381-79416
    Creator: Katano, Tameko Dorothy
    Extent: 40 items in 1 box
    Repository: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Manuscripts Department
    1151 Oxford Road
    San Marino, California 91108
    Phone: (626) 405-2191
    Email: reference@huntington.org
    URL: http://www.huntington.org
    Abstract: The majority of the collection consists of correspondence sent to the Katano family while they were interred at the Manzanar War Relocation Center in Inyo County, California, from 1942 to 1945. Many of the letters were sent to Tomeko Dorothy Katano, who was at Manzanar from ages 19-22.
    Language of Material: The records are in English and Japanese.


    Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item]. Katano Family Papers, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.


    Purchased from Vigilante Rare Documents on February 11, 2013.

    Biographical Note

    Takaichi “Frank” Katano (born 1886) and Kazue “Mary” Katano (born 1902) were natives of Japan who settled in Los Angeles, California. Takaichi was trained in hotel management and Kazue was an amateur dressmaker. Their daughter Tameko “Dorothy” Katano (born 1923) graduated from high school and was working as a sales clerk in the early 1940s. In 1942 the family, along with sons Yasunari Katano (b.1927), possibly called George, and Kanya Katano (born 1930), was sent to the Manzanar War Relocation Center. The elder Katanos, Tameko, and probably Kanya were still in the camp as of June 1945, although by July 1945 Tameko was planning a trip to New York. Yasumani lived in Iowa from July 1944 and attended Central College in Pella, Iowa.

    Scope and Content

    The majority of the collection consists of correspondence sent to the Katano family while they were interned at the Manzanar War Relocation Center from 1942 to 1945. Many of the letters were sent to Tomeko Dorothy Katano, who was at Manzanar from ages 19-22. Some of Tameko’s acquaintances describe their daily activities (one friend wrote in September 1942 of going to see 'Pride of the Yankees,' playing in a soccer league, and spending time at the beach, noting that “nothing new happens around here”), while others write of their own wartime experiences (a friend named Jack Tilson wrote of the difficulties of obtaining certain supplies, and the added burden of his wife having a leg amputated). Some of the letters only allude to the Katanos’ situation in the relocation center (a beau of Tameko’s urged her to “Have no fear [and] let us be Merry and Happy,” while a school acquaintance wrote to her brother Kanya in 1942 that “We all miss you and the other friends now missing from our school”), while others were more explicit. A letter from Tilson dated January 10, 1944, urged Tameko and her family to study the U.S. Constitution and remember their rights as American citizens, while acknowledging that “there is an element in California that are against you, but that’s one of the consequences of war…it will pass away in time." An acquaintance named Mrs. Bruggemann wrote to Tameko in August 1942 that “it is a great thing we sent [a parcel of peaches] when we did – because that was the last time trucks went up to Manzanar. Everything goes by train now.” Mrs. Bruggemann also alluded to the bleak situation outside the camp, writing that “I …wanted to get to your father’s auction…[but] most everything was gone from your store and what remained did not look like anything your father had owned.” While little of the Katanos' own correspondence is included in the collection, an unnamed friend wrote to Takaichi Katano that “I was very sad when you wrote about you being unhappy and lonely but I hope for you[r] sake that you shall be happy oh very happy in the future.” In a letter dated Feb. 22, 1945, a friend named Mack Mayada described the difficulties he had encountered since leaving “dear old Manzanar.” He had moved to Cleveland, Ohio, but had difficulty finding a place to live and did not “like the Japanese out here…Some of them think that they’re pretty good. I think that the whites are better.” He planned to return to the West Coast, where despite his experiences he still felt “more at home” (Feb. 22, 1945). Some of the letters are also from companies and libraries that Tameko had ordered or borrowed books from. Two of the letters are in Japanese.
    The remainder of the collection consists of ephemera, including receipts from Manzanar businesses and an invitation to a wedding at a Manzanar church, library and membership cards (including Tameko’s membership card in the Manzanar Young Buddhist Association), a report card from Central College for Yasumani Katano, and a physiology exam taken by Tameko.


    The collection is arranged chronologically in two sections: 1) correspondence and 2) ephemera.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Huntington Library's Online Catalog.  

    Personal Names

    Katano, Tameko Dorothy, b.1923.

    Corporate Names

    Manzanar War Relocation Center.


    Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
    Japanese Americans--History.
    World War, 1939-1945--Japanese Americans.
    World War, 1939-1945--United States.

    Geographic Areas



    Letters (correspondence)--California--20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Iowa--20th century.
    Letters (correspondence)--Ohio--20th century.
    Ephemera--California--20th century.