Inventory of the Siberius Y. Saito drawings
Finding aid prepared by Siberius Y. Saito and Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
Title: Siberius Y. Saito drawings
Collection Number: 79026
Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material:
(0.1 linear feet)
Depicts physical facilities at the Tanforan Assembly Center. Photographic reproduction.
Hoover Institution Archives
Saito, Siberius Y.
Collection is open for research.
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[Identification of item], Siberius Y. Saito drawings, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.
Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives in 1979.
Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find
the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at
. Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number
of boxes listed in this finding aid.
Japanese-American architect and internee at Tanforan Assembly Center, California, 1942.
Scope and Content of Collection
In February 1942 President Roosevelt issued Executive Order #9066 which enabled the military to exclude all Japanese-Americans
from California, Oregon and Washington. Concentration camps were planned in the remote areas of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona,
Arkansas and California to receive the evacuees. The implementation of the order was started in March and evacuation started
Since the construction of the permanent camps was just underway, the evacuees were temporarily placed in race tracks, county
fair grounds and livestock exhibition halls hastily converted into detention camps with barbed wire fences, search lights
and guard towers. Tanforan Race Track was one of these, located in San Bruno about ten miles south of San Francisco. It was
home to 5000 San Franciscans for about 6 months until the permanent camp in the desert area of Utah was completed.
Since there was so little time between the issuance of the order and the actual evacuation, Japanese-Americans suffered economic
losses in disposing of their possessions. The real and personal properties not sold (usually at prices far below market value)
were stored or left in charge of agents. Many storage places were later looted and properties held in trust just faded away.
The losses amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars based on 1942 prices.
San Francisco was divided into evacuation districts and notices of the departure dates were posted in prominent places. On
the appointed day, the evacuees reported to the district depot with bed rolls and hand baggage. No other possessions were
allowed. Cameras, radios and weapons (including kitchen knives) were previously confiscated. Transportation to Tanforan was
by means of Army commandeered buses.
The content of the collection is photographic copies of sketches depicting the physical facilities at the Tanforan Assembly
Subjects and Indexing Terms
United States. Tanforan Assembly Center (San Bruno, California)--Pictorial works.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945--Pictorial works.
Japanese Americans--Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945.
World War, 1939-1945--Pictorial works.
World War, 1939-1945--United States.
Horse Stalls used as apartments. It was composed of a front and rear compartment--some with no door between. Exterior doors
were rough woods planks and the windows were mostly fixed in place. There were no windows in the rear compartments. Flood
was either existing asphalt or new wood planks over earth. Partitions between apartments stopped at the top horizontal plate
and the space above was open. The least sound traveled from one end of the building to the other. There were neither plumbing
nor heating and one single light bulb on a pull chain per compartment. Reminder of the former occupants was quite strong.
The buildings with stairs were mess halls and the two small buildings on the right were toilets. Other buildings shown were
barrack apartments built to supplement the horse stalls. They were flimsily constructed with tar paper on the outside walls
held in place by batens. Roof was thing roll roofing. The single wood plank floor on the inside shrank leaving gaps of 1/2"
or more through which the wind whistled. As in the horse stalls, the partition between apartment units were partial. Here
again, no plumbing, no heating and a single light bulb on pull chain. Size of a typical apartment was 16 x 20 ft. with an
average occupancy of 6. Privacy within the apartment was achieved by stringing up blankets etc. The camp was divided into
blocks of barracks housing about 300. Each block had its own mess hall, toilets and showers. One laundry building served two
The grandstand dominated the entire complex. It was the center of activities and housed the camp administration, visitors
hall, canteen, scrip book office and one huge bachelors dormitory.
View from the top seats of the grandstand looking north on El Camino Real at that time the main highway between San Francisco
and San Jose. Some barracks appear on the right.
View from lower seats of the grandstand looking north. The racetrack is on the right and the South San Francisco hills are
in the background.
From the box seats of the grandstand looking down on people waiting in line to get their scrip book.
From the box seats of the grandstand looking down on people in line to get into the canteen. Scrip coupons were exchanged
there for sundries. There was only one canteena nd choices of items were limited.
Barracks were still being built when the evacuees started to stream in.
There were many skilled landscape gardeners. They converted a dried up pond in the infield into a beauty spot complete with
Japanese garden, bridges, trees, walks, etc.
The hospital group. Facilities and equipment were inadequate and supplies meager. It was staffed by evacuee doctors, dentists
and nurses. The care and dedication were first rate. (2 images)
Horse stall area. (4 images)
Horse stall and Barrack apartments. (2 images)
Barrack apartments in the infield.
Barrack apartments at race track curve.
View of the grandstand. (3 images)