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Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948

Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948

Tokita, Kamekichi, 1897-1948


Collection Information

Size: 1.5 linear ft. (partially microfilmed on 1 reel)

Summary: Letters; notes and writings; diaries; legal and financial records; art works; family photographs; and printed material relate primarily to Tokita's exhibitions in Seattle, Wash., and to his internment in a relocation camp during World War II.

Included are: a resume compiled by Tokita's son; letters to Tokita relating to exhibitions, primarily from the Seattle Art Museum and its predecessor, the Art Institute of Seattle, 1925-1944; notes and diaries and a letter written during WW II while in the Minidoka relocation camp, 1941-1943; 2 notebooks and notes, undated and 1923; a scrapbook containing printed material on Tokita's exhibitions in the Seattle area; ca. 20 sheets of pencil sketches and 3 watercolors, ca. 1930s; a file on the Public Works of Art Project and Treasury Dept. Section of Painting and Sculpture, 1934-1941, containing a report, bulletins and 2 letters, one from Edward Bruce, 1934; and a family photo album, ca. 1900-1950.

Also, exhibition catalogs for group shows in which Tokita participated, among them the 15th, 16th, 17th, 21st and 22nd annual exhibitions of the Northwest artists, the American Artists' Congress Portland Branch, and the "Group of 12," 1937; and printed material, including annual reports from the Seattle Art Museum, 1930-1940; Japanese art books and reproductions of paintings; Tokita's copy of Modern French Artists by Jan Gordon, 1923, with his notes enclosed; and miscellany.

UNMICROFILMED: Tax forms, 1936-1941; bills relating to Tokita's management of the Cadillac Hotel; loose leaf Japanese art books; and miscellaneous printed material, primarily Japanese.

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter; Seattle, Wash. Born Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. Received his college education in Japan and immigrated to Seattle in 1919. Operated a sign painting business, Noto Sign Co., with Kenjiro Nomura. Tokita became one of a small number of progressive artists in Seattle in the 1930's which included Morris Graves and Kenneth Callahan. His work was supported by the Seattle Art Museum and exhibited regularly in Seattle and California between 1929 and 1936. He was interned with his family at Minidoka, Idaho, during World War II.


Donated 1990 by Tokita's son, Shokichi. Collected as part of the Archives of American Art Northwest Asian-American project in Seattle.

Additional Forms Available

Microfilm reel 4883 available at Archives of American Art offices and through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Microfilmed materials must be consulted on microfilm. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

Kamekichi Tokita papers, circa 1900-1985, bulk circa 1910-1948. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.