Clara E. Breed Collection

Licensing

Clara E. Breed was a librarian at the San Diego Library from 1929 until 1945, and she stood for decency and justice. She was a mentor to many young Japanese Americans in the San Diego area, and serves as an inspiration for many today. As the Japanese Americans were being relocated during World War II, Miss Breed made her children promise to write to her. She distributed stamped envelopes to all of the children, and continued correspondence with them as they wrote to her. In addition to the letters, Miss Breed sent the children gifts and books. Many of the libraries in the camps were filled with the books that Miss Breed had provided. This collection features 15 of the letters written to Miss Breed from the children in the camps, a small fraction of all of the letters she saved. The letters discuss various issues, from everyday camp life to the school situation, to christmas, and so on. To see more letters, please visit The Japanese American National Museum website. The collection ends with a letter written by Miss Breed herself, to a dear friend, Tetsuzo Hirasaki. Miss Breed kept these letters until 1990, when she gave them to Elizabeth Yamada, one of her former correspondents. Yamada donated them to the Japanese American National Museum in 1993. Because of Miss Breed, we have eye-witness reports, and a better sense of what camp life was really like. Copyright for the reproduced letters is held by the Japanese American National Museum. Short-term educational use with limited circulation is permitted. For all other uses, please contact the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum hnrc@janm.org

Slides in this album 

Clara E. Breed

This is a photo of Miss Breed at the time that she began her correspondences with her "children."

Clara E. Breed
Contributed by: eishida

Postcard to Clara Breed from Jack Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, October 6, 1942

Jack was only nine years old when he and his family and friends were relocated. Although young, he knew something was wrong. He wrote, "We are now in a strange place - Poston, Arizona. I doubt whether this is even on the map."

Transcription:

10-6-42/Dear Miss Breed,/This is just a …

Postcard to Clara Breed from Jack Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, October 6, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Postcard to Clara Breed from Margaret Arakawa, Poston, Arizona, August 29, 1942

Margaret taught fourth grade while at camp, and was one of the first of Breed's "children" to write to her when she arrived at camp.

Transcription:

Poston, Arizona/Aug. 29, 1942/Dear Miss Breed!/We were evacuated in the first move from Santa Anita to Camp III Poston Arizona which is 23 miles …

Postcard to Clara Breed from Margaret Arakawa, Poston, Arizona, August 29, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Hisako Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, December 25, 1942

It is clear from her letters that Hisako really missed San Diego, and wanted to go back as soon as she could. She missed the old traditions, like Christmas, that could not be practiced the same way at camp.

Transcription:

December 25, 1942/Dear Miss Breed,/Jack was very happy when he …

Letter to Clara Breed from Hisako Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, December 25, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Margaret Ishino, Poston, Arizona, October 19, 1942

In this letter, Margaret wrote of the presents that the Japanese American children received from the government on the first Christmas that they were in camp. Americans outside of the camps protested this, fueled by injustice and prejudice. Letters were written to local papers critiquing this plan, and Miss Breed …

Letter to Clara Breed from Margaret Ishino, Poston, Arizona, October 19, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Katherine Tasaki, Arcadia, California, May 4, 1942

Katherine was 10 years old when she was relocated, and her letters to Miss Breed were usually full of hope and humor. From her letters, we know she enjoyed writing to pen pals and putting on plays.

Transcription:

May 4, 1942/Dear Miss Breed,/We have a libory now. But they just …

Letter to Clara Breed from Katherine Tasaki, Arcadia, California, May 4, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Elizabeth and Anna Kikuchi, Arcadia, California, May 6, 1942

Elizabeth and Anna wrote to Miss Breed about how they would play "library" at camp, pretending to check out books. Later in life, Miss Breed gave all of the letters she had saved to Elizabeth, who in turn donated them to the Japanese American National Museum.

Transcription:

Assemby Center/Santa Anita, …

Letter to Clara Breed from Elizabeth and Anna Kikuchi, Arcadia, California, May 6, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Louise Ogawa, Arcadia, California, May 16, 1942

Even though Miss Breed's letters to her "children" have not survived, it is clear from letters like this one that she did, in fact, write. Louise Ogawa clearly writes in her letter to Miss Breed, "I am glad you asked some questions because I was puzzled as to what I …

Letter to Clara Breed from Louise Ogawa, Arcadia, California, May 16, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Fusa Tsumagari, Poston, Arizona, September 8, 1942

Fusa's letters were often full of information of camp life. We know from her letters that her father was housed at a different camp than the rest of her family, and that her brother wanted to be a doctor.

Transcription:

Camp #3 323-11-D / Poston, Arizona / September 8. 1942 …

Letter to Clara Breed from Fusa Tsumagari, Poston, Arizona, September 8, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Tetsuzo (Ted) Hirasaki, Poston, Arizona, October 3, 1942

Tetsuzo often went by the name, Ted. His letters were slightly cynical and longer than most. Being already 21 when he was relocated, Ted had known Miss Breed for a very long time, and his family was close with hers.

Transcription:

322-14-D / Poston, Arizona / October 3, 1942 / …

Letter to Clara Breed from Tetsuzo (Ted) Hirasaki, Poston, Arizona, October 3, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Aiko Kubo, Poston, Arizona, June 20, 1944

Aiko was a sophomore at San Diego High School when the war began. She told Joanne Oppenheim, author of "Dear Miss Breed," in an interview that she really felt the prejudice against the Japanese Americans as she was growing up.

Transcription:

June 20, 1944 / Dear Miss Breed, / I …

Letter to Clara Breed from Aiko Kubo, Poston, Arizona, June 20, 1944
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Lillian Yuriko Kawasaki, Arcadia, California, May 21, 1942

Lillian wrote this letter to Miss Breed while she was at Santa Anita. She thanked Breed for the books and writes about her grades in school.

Transcription:

Dear Miss Breed / I was very glad to get your letter. post card. I have my picture and Mary has her picture …

Letter to Clara Breed from Lillian Yuriko Kawasaki, Arcadia, California, May 21, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Yoshiko Kubo, Arcadia, California, May 13, 1942

Yoshiko Kubo began writing to Miss Breed right after she arrived in Santa Anita. In this letter, she explains her working situation to Miss Breed, as well as the weather conditions of the camp.

Transcription:

May 13, 1942/Dear Miss Breed,/Many thanks for your lovely card and letter which I received …

Letter to Clara Breed from Yoshiko Kubo, Arcadia, California, May 13, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from William Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, December 9, 1942

William wrote this thank you letter to Miss Breed in appreciation of the books she had sent him. He also explained how the weather in Poston could be as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the mornings.

Transcription:

December 9, 1942/Dear Miss Breed,/We received your books today and we are …

Letter to Clara Breed from William Watanabe, Poston, Arizona, December 9, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed form Yaeko Hirasaki, Poston, Arizona, September 16, 1942

Yaeko wrote to Miss Breed about everyday life in Poston, and about her experiences working in the mess hall. She also wrote of her hiking adventure to the Colorado River.

Transcription:

Sept. 16, 1942/Dear Miss Breed,/How are you? Received your gift the 15th--Thanks those miniature clothes pins will come in …

Letter to Clara Breed form Yaeko Hirasaki, Poston, Arizona, September 16, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter to Clara Breed from Margaret and Florence Ishino, Poston, Arizona, December 10, 1942

Margaret and Florence were sisters. Most of Margaret's letters were upbeat, and included a drawing from Florence, who was six years old at the time. Margaret loved to read, and still has some of the books that Miss Breed sent her all those years ago.

Transcription:

December 10, 1942/Dear Miss …

Letter to Clara Breed from Margaret and Florence Ishino, Poston, Arizona, December 10, 1942
Contributed by: eishida

Letter from Miss Breed

This is the only letter recovered that is available to the public from Miss Breed. The rest of the letters collected were all addressed to her. This letter was sent to Tetsuzo Hirasaki just before the Japanese Americans were relocated. It is deep and touching. It is Miss Breed.

Transcription:

Letter from Miss Breed
Contributed by: eishida

Album Type

online exhibition

eishida — Última actualización Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.


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