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Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall collection of Miné Okubo papers, [ca. 1950]-1998

Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall collection of Miné Okubo papers, [ca. 1950]-1998

Okubo, Miné, 1912-2001


Collection Information

Size: 1.1 linear ft.

Summary: Illustrated letters (many depict Okubo's moods, physical condition, birthday greetings, and holidays), financial records, printed material (newspaper and magazine articles), and original artwork. Among the printed material is the April 1944 issue of Fortune magazine that is subtitled, "Japan and the Japanese" and includes Okubo's illustrations for two articles, "Issei, Nisei, Kibei" and "The Citizen-Subject Tightens His Belt and Wipes Off His Smile."

Biographical/Historical Note

Painter, New York, N.Y. ; b. 1912., d. 2001, at age 88. Miné Okubo (1912-2001) was born in Riverside, CA, and educated at University of California, Berkeley, where she received her BA and MA degrees. After graduation she studied in Paris with Fernand Leger for eighteen months before returning to the US with the outbreak of WW II. Back in California she worked under the Federal Arts Project, assisted Diego Rivera on his Treasure Island mural (Pan American Unity), and exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Art. In 1942 she and one of her brothers (she had six siblings) were sent to the Tanforan Assembly Center south of San Francisco and then transported to the Topaz, Utah, relocation center. At Topaz , Okubo taught art to children and worked as the art editor for Trek, a Nisei literary magazine. In her spare moments she would wander around the camp sketching the people and activities. Her camp sketches, and the book based upon the internment experience, Citizen 13660, are what she is best known for. The book is still in print and won the American Book Award in 1984. In 1944 Fortune magazine brought her out of internment to help illustrate a special (sympathetic) issue on Japanese Americans. She decided to remain in New York and made Greenwich Village her home until her death.


Donated 2001 by Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information. Collection is being processed and is CLOSED to researchers.

How to Cite This Collection

Roy Leeper and Gaylord Hall collection of Miné Okubo papers, [ca. 1950]-1998. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.