Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Murphy (Mollie Wilson) Papers
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Overview
Table of contents What's This?
Mollie Wilson Murphy was an African-American woman who lived in Boyle Heights during World War II. She had many Japanese-American friends who were forced into concentration camps during the war. This collection comprises of the correspondences between Mollie and her friends in camp. The Mollie Wilson Papers include correspondence, school photographs, and miscellaneous photos in Boyle Heights of Mollie and friends before the war, during and after camp. There are also mimeographs, and newspaper clippings.
Mollie Murphy grew up on Boulder Street between Evergreen and Sloat in Boyle Heights. Her brother Atoy graduated from Roosevelt in the late 1930s and Mollie graduated in summer 1943. The two of them had many close Japanese American friends and it seems that their street was very heterogeneous. Mollie wrote in a correspondence, "As a child, I vividly remember that on my street alone there were ten different ethnic families residing harmoniously together. My mother learned to cook from Jewish people, because she had not been taught by her own mother. It often amazed me how my mother could communicate with Mrs. Kokoris or Mrs. Akahoshi, because neither of them could speak English and my mother couldn't speak Greek nor Japanese! It goes to show, that when it comes to mutual problems, you don't always need words to express your thoughts." Throughout the war, Mollie corresponded with a number of her Japanese American girlfriends. Their correspondences extend the duration of the World War II exclusion, from the assembly centers (Santa Anita and Pomona) to the camps (Amache, Heart Mountain, Manzanar, Gila River, and Poston) to relocation.
0.50 linear feet
All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (collections@janm.org).
By appointment only. Please Contact the Collections Management and Access Unit by email (collections@janm.org) or telephone (213-830-5615).