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COLWRIT 4B: History/Japanese American Internment -- The Bancroft Library: Finding Primary Resources

Contact Your Librarians

Theresa Salazar

  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Office Location: The Bancroft Library

Where to look

Electronic access- All formats can be searched on Oskicat (the University of California Berkeley Library’s online catalog). The catalog description will include information about the creator, extent of collection, subjects, any restrictions as to use, collection specific notes, and also will indicate location of material (onsite, NRLF). Remember that Bancroft Library material listed as being at NRLF must be requested using our online form. More extensive groupings of materials, including manuscripts and pictorial material may have detailed finding aids that will provide more detailed information about the contents of the collection.

Finding aids

Because manuscript and archival collections are often quite voluminous and contain unique materials, a finding aid, e.g., inventory, box list, or other summary of the intellectual organization of the collection is often available to help a researcher determine the contents of the materials. Finding aids provide an overview of how the collection is organized. It often includes a biographical or historical note about the creator, a scope and content note about what is in the collection, and a container listing. Most of these are available online at the Online Archive of California. If an online version of the finding aid does exist you will see a link to it in the catalog record. Print copies of the finding aids are also kept in the Reading Room of the Bancroft Library.

Online Archive of California (OAC)

The Online Archive of California is a digital information resource that facilitates and provides access to materials such as manuscripts, photographs, and works of art held in libraries, museums, archives, and other institutions across California. The OAC includes a single, searchable database of "finding aids" to primary sources and to their digital facsimiles which are selectively available. Describing primary sources in detail, finding aids are the guides and inventories to collections in archives, museums, libraries and historical societies. Access to the finding aid is essential for understanding the content of a collection and for determining whether it is likely to satisfy your research needs.

For more information on using the Finding Aids on the OAC see:

Examples of Bancroft Finding Aids:

Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Records, 1930-1974 -- BANC MSS 67/14 c  

War Relocation Authority Photographs of Japanese-American Evacuation and Resettlement -- BANC PIC 1967.014--PIC

Yoshiko Uchida Papers, 1903-1994 -- BANC MSS 86/97 c

Yoshiko Uchida photograph collection -- BANC PIC 1986.059--PIC



Calisphere is the University of California's free gateway to primary sources. More than 150,000 digitized items, including photographs, documents, newspaper pages, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, transcribed oral histories, advertising, and other cultural artifacts, reveal the diverse history and culture of California and its role in national and world history. Calisphere's content has been selected from the libraries and museums of the UC campuses, and from a variety of cultural heritage organizations. Calisphere includes digital images of material available via the OAC and provides easy access to material via its straightforward keyword searching option.

The Japanese-American Relocation Digital Archive: is a themed collection within Calisphere.



Sample Searches in OAC or Calisphere:

(Names of Individual camps or assembly centers):  Manzanar, Tanforan

Nisei; Issei

Final report* (to include final report or reports)

(Names of Individuals): Hisako Hibi

Concentration camp*

Japanese Strik*

Japanese Selective Service

Japanese Music*

Japanese Sport*

Japanese (or Place,  e.g. Manzanar, Topaz) Baseball




Additional Websites of interest:


The Bancroft Library's Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement: An Archive


The Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study Digital Archive website provides access to this massive collection of research materials through various means, including textual searches and browsing options, visual mechanisms such as GIS tagging and interactive maps, a timeline, and pointers to related resources. The collection comprises daily journals, field reports, life histories, extensive correspondence between staff, evacuees, and others, and secondary research materials collected and compiled by the research staff.


Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project


Densho's mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy and promote equal justice for all.