The weekend of August 20-21 marks the grand opening of the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center, built on the site of the World War II era Heart Mountain Relocation Center. The internment camp was one of ten mandated by the War Department in 1942 to detain Americans of Japanese ancestry. Located between Cody and Powell, Wyoming, it housed nearly 14,000 internees, the first of which arrived in August 1942. The camp closed in November 1945.
The American Heritage Center has several collections that document the history of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, with much of the material from these collections accessible for viewing online.
Heart Mountain Relocation Center (Wyo.) records: The collection contains the Heart Mountain charter, community minutes, notes on resettlement plans, transcripts of a trial, and documents in Japanese. Editions of the “Heart Mountain Sentinel” and “Heart Mountain Sentinel Bulletin” are also included.
Susan McKay papers: Collection contains research materials, audio tapes and transcripts of interviews, and other materials from McKay’s research on the Heart Mountain Relocation Center near Cody, Wyoming during World War II and the resulting publication, The Courage Our Stories Tell: The Daily Lives and Maternal Child Health Care of Japanese American women at Heart Mountain, published in 2002.
Grace Thorson Brown papers: Grace Thorson Brown was a teacher at the Japanese Relocation Camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming from September 1942 to June 1943. Her collection consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, school newspapers, and War Relocation Authority documents.
Estelle Ishigo photographs: Estelle Ishigo was interned at Heart Mountain with her husband, Arthur Shigeharu Ishigo, from 1942-1945. The photographs in this collection were gathered for use in her book Lone Heart Mountain. The original drawings and sketches were created by Estelle Ishigo while she was interned with her Japanese-American husband at the Heart Mountain Relocation Camp between Cody and Powell, Wyoming.
Bill Manbo papers: Bill Manbo was an internee at Heart Mountain Relocation Center. The collection contains 30 color slides of scenes from the internment camp, dated 1942-1944.
John A. Nelson papers: John A. Nelson was administrative officer and later assistant project director of Heart Mountain Relocation Center near Cody, Wyoming. The collection includes typed transcriptions plus a few handwritten pages of the diary John A. Nelson kept while at Heart Mountain, speeches about the War Relocation Authority and Japanese internment, records of arrivals of internees at Heart Mountain from August-September 1942; a chronology of evacuation and relocation, an August 7, 1942 plan for receiving and processing the first internees at Heart Mountain, several documents from the War Relocation Authority, pamphlets related to Japanese Americans and their internment, and three poems by internees.
Milward L. Simpson law office files: Records from Milward L. Simpson’s law office contain three folders of documentation (Box 146) related to Heart Mountain Relocation Center.
Lester C. Hunt Papers: Hunt served as Governor of Wyoming (1943-1946) during the latter years of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. The collection contains Hunt’s subject files as Governor of Wyoming (1936-1948) and includes one folder of material on Heart Mountain. Digitized material available here.
Nels H. Smith papers: Smith served as Governor of Wyoming from 1939 to 1943. His papers include primarily correspondence, photographs, notes, and case files, all from Governor Smith’s political career, and includes two folders of material concerning Heart Mountain. Digitized material available here.
T. Blake Kennedy papers: T. Blake Kennedy served as the U.S. District Court Judge of Wyoming from 1922-1955, and ruled on the case of Japanese-American war resisters in the early 1940s. The collection contains a small amount of correspondence related to the case, and Judge Kennedy’s personal recollections.