• A bird's-eye-view of the Granada Japanese Relocation Camp in Amache, Colorado, 1942. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries. 

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    Distant view of the Granada Japanese Relocation Camp, Amache, Colorado, December 12, 1942
    • Date
    • 1942-12-12
    • Creator
    • Tom Parker
    • Description
    • Photograph of "A general all over view of a section of the Granada Relocation Center, looking north and west. Temporary army style barracks contain six rooms, separated by composition board walls, with twelve barracks buildings to a block; a small re... more
      Photograph of "A general all over view of a section of the Granada Relocation Center, looking north and west. Temporary army style barracks contain six rooms, separated by composition board walls, with twelve barracks buildings to a block; a small recreation hall; combination shower, latrine and laundry building; and a mess hall building completes the block unit. The center is made up of 30 such blocks, complemented by hospital buildings, administrative office buildings, living quarters, general warehouse structures and military police quarters. less
    • Rights
    • Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll M... more
      Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll Mission Archives, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
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  • A photo of a Japanese American relocation center captioned "Japs Relocate In Scenic Spot," 1942. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries. 

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    Japs relocate in scenic spot
    • Date
    • 1942-07-16
    • Description
    • Japs Relocate In Scenic Spot--Evacuated from their homes in vital defense areas alien and American Japanese have been relocated and are living in homes like these. Mt. Whitney, highest United States peak, rising the background, gives a touch of Mt. F... more
      Japs Relocate In Scenic Spot--Evacuated from their homes in vital defense areas alien and American Japanese have been relocated and are living in homes like these. Mt. Whitney, highest United States peak, rising the background, gives a touch of Mt. Fujiyama-dominated Japanese postcards to the pretty scene."--caption on photograph. less
    • Rights
    • Associated Press. University of Southern California owns digital rights only. For personal, educational or research use contact: Special Collections, Doheny Memorial Library, Libraries, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189; s... more
      Associated Press. University of Southern California owns digital rights only. For personal, educational or research use contact: Special Collections, Doheny Memorial Library, Libraries, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189; specol@usc.edu; phone (213) 740-5900; fax (213) 740-2343. For permission to publish or republish material in any form--print or electronic--contact the Rights owner. USC Libraries Special Collections. Doheny Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189. Specol@usc.edu. less
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  • The Ninomiya family in their living quarters at the Granada Japanese Relocation Camp, 1942. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.  

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    Ninomiya family in their living quarters at the Granada Japanese Relocation Camp
    • Date
    • 1942-12-09
    • Creator
    • Tom Parker
    • Description
    • Photograph of "the Ninomiya family in their barracks room at the Amache Center. The mother's handiwork in preparing drapes, fashioning furniture out of scrap material, plus the boys ingenuity in preparing double deck bunks have made this bare brick f... more
      Photograph of "the Ninomiya family in their barracks room at the Amache Center. The mother's handiwork in preparing drapes, fashioning furniture out of scrap material, plus the boys ingenuity in preparing double deck bunks have made this bare brick floored barracks room a fairly comfortable duration home. Tosh Ninomiya, left, is charged with the responsibility of documenting the history of the Amache Center. less
    • Rights
    • Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll M... more
      Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll Mission Archives, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
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    • University of Southern California. Libraries

  • Mealtime at the Japanese Relocation Camp in Manzanar, California, 1942. Courtesy of the University of Southern California Libraries.  

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    Mealtime at the Japanese Relocation Camp in Manzanar, California
    • Date
    • 1942-07
    • Creator
    • Official OWI Photo
    • Description
    • Photograph of "Mealtime during the early days after evauation at Manzanar, Calif., now a War Relocation Authority center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry. In housing, as well as at mealtime, family life is preserved.
    • Rights
    • Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll M... more
      Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1917 ; Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=17. Maryknoll Mission and Diakonia Archives, VID Specialized University. Maryknoll Mission Archives, P.O. Box 305, Maryknoll, N.Y. 10545-0305; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/. Archives@maryknoll.org ; http://maryknollmissionarchives.org/?page_id=1669. less
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    • University of Southern California Libraries
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Southern California. Libraries

At War Relocation Centers, administrators allowed families to live together but assigned them cramped, poorly equipped quarters. A 1943 War Relocation Authority report describes internee housing as "tar paper-covered barracks of simple frame construction without plumbing or cooking facilities of any kind." Most of the camps were built quickly during the summer of 1942 and their design was based on military barracks. Throughout many camps, twenty-five people were forced to live in space built to contain four, which gave no privacy.

Family apartments were typically single twenty by twenty-four foot rooms with external bathrooms, showers, and laundry shared by a larger group. These rooms had little insulation save wood stoves in cold weather, and poor ventilation in the heat. In such close quarters, diseases like typhoid, dysentery, and smallpox spread quickly across the camp and forced understaffed and undersupplied medical centers to put most of their resources toward vaccinations. High incidence of food poisoning and other illnesses also contributed to unsanitary conditions in shared bathroom facilities.

Though families attempted to cope with their situation, when later surveyed about their experiences, “living conditions” was the number one response to the question asking what the most difficult part of the experience was.