Location: Inyo County, California,
in the Owens Valley, 225 miles north of Los Angeles.
Land: Land controlled by the
City of Los Angeles for its municipal water supply.
Size: 6,000 acres.
Climate: Desert, extreme winters
and summers. Mt. Whitney and Mt. Williamson could be seen in the distance
making it one of the most beautiful of the camp sites.
Population origins: Primarily
Los Angeles County (8,828).
Manzanar began as an "Assembly Center", and the
poplulation was almost completely urban in origin.
Date of peak: September 22,
Opening Date: June 1, 1942;
Manzanar began as a Wartime Civil Control Administration administered "Assembly
Center", and opened on March 22, 1942;
it came under War Relocation Authority jurisdiction on June 1, 1942.
Closing Date: November 21,
Project director(s): Roy Nash, Harvey N.
Coverley, Solon T. Kimball, and Ralph P. Merrit.
Community Analysts: John de
Young and Morris E. Opler.
Newspaper(s): Manzanar Free
Press (April 11, 1942 to September 8, 1945); the
paper started while Manzanar was an "assembly center" and continued
to publish through its transfer to WRA jurisdiction.
% who answered question 28 of the loyalty questionnaire
Number and percentage of eligible citizen males inducted
directly into armed forces: 174 (2.5%).
Industry: Manzanar had a camouflage
net factory which operated from June to December 1942; also a garment factory,
a cabinet shop, and a mattress factory which produced goods for internal
History: Manzanar was probably
the most closely guarded of all the camps, due in part to its origin as
a WCCA camp, to its location within the Western Defense Command's restricted
zone, and the extreme hostility of the local population.
Counting its WCCA director (Clayton Triggs), Manzanar had
five directors/managers in its first eight months. Merrit took over as director
on November 19, 1942 and remained in this position until the camp's closing.
Manzanar was a relatively turbulent center; the Manzanar
Incident of December 1942 exposed deep rifts within the poplulation.
For further reading:
Photographic studies of Manzanar include Ansel Adams' Born
Free and Equal: Photographs of the Loyal Japanese Americans of Manzanar
Relocation Center, Inyo County, California.(New York: US Camera,
Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake, Two Views of Manzanar:
An Exhibition of Photographs. Los Angeles: Frederick S. Wight Art Gallery,
University of California, Los Angeles, 1978;
John Armor and Peter Wight, Manzanar. Photographs
by Ansel Adams. Commentary by John Hersey. (New York: Times Books, 1988).
Source: Japanese American
History: An A to Z Reference, 1868 to the Present,
by Brian Niiya. New York: Facts on File, 1993. This information is provided
with the permission from the Japanese American National Museum and Brian