[San Bruno, California]: Tanforan Assembly Center, 1942. Item #2291
14” x 8½”. Photomechanically reproduced typescript printed both sides.  pp. Very good: light wear and toning, lacking staple, paperclip oxidation residue on first and last leaves. The final, and by far the largest (all other issues were two to ten pages) of the newsletter for the Tanforan Assembly Center. 15 assembly centers were hastily created as a way station for incarcerated Japanese Americans prior to their transfer to the more permanent camps. The Tanforan Assembly center was built at a horse track and was the 2nd largest of the assembly centers with over 7800 internees held there beginning April 28, 1942 as they awaited relocation to Topaz, Utah. This issue is so large because it was the staff's only opportunity to provide a contemporary history of the camp, with individual reports detailing the creation and issues faced by various facilities such as its school, library, medical center, mess hall and more. Four pages are devoted to a month-by-month account of how the camp came to be, as well as sharp reminiscences such as “the grandstand dorm, where 400 bachelors slept and snored, dressed and undressed in one continuous public performance. ” Other columns of note reported that a group of 214 internees left for Utah the week before to prepare Topaz for the rest of the people at Tanforan. The first general group to move to Topaz would leave three days after this paper was issued, so it contained a report on embarkation procedures and a preliminary embarkation schedule. An article entitled “So This Is Shangri-La” featured a map of Utah, with a large arrow pointing to the placement of Topaz, and described its topography, weather, agricultural possibilities and more. The paper is also filled with at least 45 in-text illustrations by Bennie Nobori, who was an animator at Disney prior to being interned, as well as Nobuo Kitagaki a noted San Francisco artist who also served in military intelligence during the war. In an article on the importance of winning the war a recently discharged soldier who wanted to be allowed to re-enlist stated, “America has to win this war. If Japan wins, it'll be tough on us because our ideas and customs are totally different from those in Japan. We're Americans in every sense of the word. ” Another article detailed internees' responses to the questions “what will you remember most about Tanforan? ” and “what do you hope to accomplish in the relocation centers? ” The purpose and production method of the newsletter combined with the short life of the assembly center makes any issue of the Totalizer exceptionally scarce; this issue even more so considering residents started for Utah just three days after its issuance. OCLC lists one physical holding, at the Library of Congress, with a copy of issue 10, a single leaf publishing the constitution and bylaws of the Tanforan Assembly. The Densho Digital Repository has all 19 issues scanned on its website, many cited to an interned family's collection. Considering the depth of content and the ephemeral nature of both the newsletter and the camp that caused its creation, this is an exceptional artifact of a terrifying and uncertain period in the lives of incarcerated Japanese Americans. This item is offered by Langdon Manor Books, LLC, antiquarian booksellers. Please do not hesitate to contact us for additional information and/or photos and we will respond promptly. We package our items carefully, ship daily, and have a no hassle returns policy--your satisfaction is guaranteed. We are members of the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America (ABAA) , the International League of Antiquarian Booksllers (ILAB) and the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) and adhere to their rules of ethics.