Finding aid for the Chica Sugino Papers

Japanese American National Museum Staff
Japanese American National Museum
369 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 830-5680
Email: hnrc@janm.org
URL: http://www.janm.org/
© 2009
Japanese American National Museum. All rights reserved.

Finding aid for the Chica Sugino Papers

Collection number: 99.99.1

Japanese American National Museum

Los Angeles, California
Date Completed:
2010
© 2009 Japanese American National Museum. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: Chica Sugino Papers
Dates: 1910s-1980s
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1940s)
Collection number: 99.99.1
Creator: Sugino, Chica,1888-1986
Collection Size: 4 linear feet
Repository: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles, California 90012
Abstract: Chica Sugino was an Issei research analyst for Alexander Leighton, head of the War Relocation Authority's (WRA) Sociological Research Bureau at Poston Relocation Center. Her research contributed to Leighton's book, The Governing of Men, one of the first monographs published on the Japanese American wartime experience. The collection contains photographs, correspondence, research notes, manuscript drafts, newspapers, audio recordings, and WRA publications spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s.
Physical location: Japanese American National Museum 369 East First Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Access

Collection is open for research by appointment. Please contact the Japanese American National Museum's Hirasaki National Resource Center by e-mail (hnrc@janm.org) or telephone (213.830.5680)

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in this collection must be submitted to the Hirasaki National Resource Center at the Japanese American National Museum (hnrc@janm.org).

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Chica Sugino papers. 99.99.1, Japanese American National Museum. Los Angeles, CA.

Biography / Administrative History

Chica Sugino was an Issei research analyst for Alexander Leighton, head of the WRA's Sociological Research Bureau at Poston. Her research contributed to Leighton's book, The Governing of Men, one of the first monographs published on the Japanese American wartime experience.
Born Chica Tadakuma in 1888 in Taiwan, Sugino spent most of her early childhood in Japan. In 1906, she and her family came to the United States where her father worked as a cobbler and her mother as a teacher and seamstress. With the family struggling financially, in 1915, Sugino's father arranged for her and her older sister to take ballet lessons in the hopes that they would be able to earn a living performing on stage. Unsuccessful in vaudeville, Sugino and her sister traveled to Hollywood to find work in movies and to establish themselves as performers. Sugino's career as an entertainer was cut short, however, when her sister eloped in 1917.
Leaving show business behind her, Sugino attended USC on a scholarship, where she studied sociology and graduated in 1924. That same year she married Kenzo Arthur Sugino, one of the first practicing Issei optometrists in Little Tokyo. Together, the couple had three children: Arthur (aka Techy) in 1925, Paul in 1927, and Elizabeth in 1931. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, their family life was disrupted when Kenzo was arrested by the FBI and incarcerated at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) center in Tujunga as an alien enemy. Sugino and her children were forced to relocate to Poston, Arizona where Kenzo eventually joined them. During her time at Poston, Sugino worked as a research analyst for the Sociological Research Bureau, simultaneously earning course credit from the University of Chicago's graduate program in sociology. After she and her family returned to Los Angeles, Sugino was active in the Women's Welfare Service program, organizing donations of old stockings to provide work for women in Japan. At the age of 88, Sugino passed away in 1986.

Scope and Content of Collection

The Chica Sugino Papers contain photographs, correspondence, research notes, manuscript drafts, newspapers, audio recordings, and WRA publications spanning from the 1910s to the 1980s. The bulk of the collection consists of materials dating from the early 1940s related to Sugino's research for the WRA's Sociological Research Bureau on the forced exclusion of Japanese Americans. The collection also contains a great deal of materials documenting Sugino's wartime experience at the Poston concentration camp. Also in the collection are microfilmed reels of camp and assembly center newspapers. During her later years, Sugino devoted her time to writing a manuscript based on her life. Drafts and a complete copy of her unpublished book can be found in the collection as well as audio reel recordings of Sugino reading aloud her manuscript.

Arrangement

In processing the collection, the materials were reorganized by series since there did not appear to be any preexisting organization. Original folder titles were retained with titles assigned by the processor indicated with brackets.
The collection is organized into eleven series.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Sugino, Chica
Japanese Americans
Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
World War, 1939-1945
Concentration camps
Arizona
United States
20th century
United States. War Relocation Authority. Sociological Research Bureau


Collection Contents

Box: 1

Series 1 Writings 1934-1984

Physical Description: 26 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains short stories and poems by Sugino as well as Sakura, her unpublished book based on her life. Papers by Sugino for the Sociological Research Bureau are not included in this series and can be found under Research and Activities.
Box: 2,3

Series 2 Correspondence 1919-1983

Physical Description: 30 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains correspondence between Sugino and her family and friends. Items that may be of special interest are letters regarding Kenzo Sugino's arrest and the correspondence between Sugino and her husband while he was incarcerated in the Tujunga Detention Center. Also in the series are correspondence between Sugino and her friends who were helping her and her family while they were in Poston. Correspondence with Alexander Leighton and other members of the Sociological Research Bureau can be found in the Research and activities series. Similarly, correspondence related to her activities such as the Women's Welfare Service can also be found under Research and activities.
Box: 4,15

Series 3 Photographs 1910s-1980s

Physical Description: 12 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains photographs of Sugino and her family and friends. Only a few photographs are from her days as a vaudevillian performer. Included in the series are photographs from a Sociological Research Bureau trip.
Box: 4,15

Series 4 Personal Documents and Items 1910s-1940s

Physical Description: 13 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains a wide assortment of personal documents and items belonging to Sugino and her family. Materials in this series include financial records, application forms, report card, passport, and marriage certificate. Also in the series are war ration books belonging to Sugino's daughter, Elizabeth.
Box: 5

Series 5 Ephemera 1940s-1968

Physical Description: 17 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains items such as booklets, pamphlets, and programs. Pamphlets published by the WRA can be found in the WRA publications series.
Box: 5,15

Series 6 Newspapers and Periodicals 1922-1967

Physical Description: 22 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains magazines, newspapers, newspaper clippings, and newsletters; some are in Japanese.
Box: 6,7,8

Series 7 Research and Activities 1924-1964

Physical Description: 1.5 linear feet

Series Scope and Content Summary

This is a broad series that not only includes documents related to Sugino's research for the Sociological Research Bureau, but also to her club and community activities. Some materials related to her research are difficult to distinguish from her other activities at Poston and may be mixed together.
Box: 8,9,10

Series 8 WRA publications 1940s

Physical Description: 6 folders, 10 books

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains pamphlets and booklets published by the War Relocation Authority (WRA). Non-WRA publications sent with WRA materials by Alexender Leighton to Sugino were kept together and placed under this series as well.
Box: 11

Series 9 Journals 1917-1962

Physical Description: 5 folders

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains Sugino's daily planners.
Box: 12,13,14

Series 10 Sound Recordings

Physical Description: 28 records, 20 audio reels

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains Japanese 78 rpm phonographic albums and audio reel recordings of Sugino reading aloud her manuscript Sakura. Also in the series is the microphone that Sugino used.
Box: HNRC

Series 11 Microfilm

Physical Description: 22 reels

Series Scope and Content Summary

This series contains microfilmed reels of camp and assembly newspapers which can be accessed in the Manabi and Sumi Hirasaki National Resource Center. (Item number 1999.88 "Camp Newspapers").