PULLMAN, Wash. – Residents of the Palouse area will get a sneak peek of images donated to Washington State University depicting life at the Heart Mountain Internment Camp (Wyoming) during World War II.
 
In July WSU announced it was selected by the Hirahara family of Anaheim, Calif., to receive its vast collection of Heart Mountain images. Containing more than 2,000 negatives, it is considered to be the largest private collection ever taken at the Japanese internment camp.
 
WSU Libraries will host a public sneak preview of some of the rare photographs 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Terrell Library atrium.
The Hirahara family donation spurred another significant gift to WSU. Tom T. Hide, whose family was interned at Heart Mountain during his high school years, is giving a directory showing all known heads of households at Heart Mountain. It includes their barrack numbers and home towns prior to entering camp. 
 
The gift is considered significant since such directories are known to be rare.
 
Hide is donating other artifacts, including a directory of those who were members of the Heart Mountain Carpenters Club and those who worked in the cabinet shop. The directories and other artifacts will be on display during the sneak preview.
 
After leaving Heart Mountain in 1944, Hide enrolled at Washington State College (now Washington State University) where, as a freshman, he was one of WSC’s best 440-yard sprinters and earned a letter in track.
The donor of the Hirahara collection, Patti Hirahara, plans to attend the sneak preview to meet the WSU community. It was her father, Frank Hirahara, and grandfather, George Hirahara, who took the camp photographs and operated a darkroom underneath their barrack at Heart Mountain.
 
Trevor James Bond, head of WSU’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, said the images are remarkable. 
 
“The sharp quality of the images will allow researchers to examine minute details in the photographs, such as the food on the table or the crops grown in the Heart Mountain compound,” he said.
 
After graduating from Heart Mountain High School, Frank Hirahara enrolled at WSC, where he earned a freshman letter in track, was elected to the WSU Athletic Council and majored in electrical engineering. After graduating from WSC in 1948, he moved to Portland, Ore., to work for Bonneville Power. He later became a lead engineer for NASA, where he worked on the Apollo, Skylab and space shuttle missions.
 
Coinciding with the Hirahara donation, WSU received a grant from the National Park Service to digitize more than 1,000 of the images so people all over the world will be able to access them online. The images are expected to be available online in October 2012.
 
The Hirahara collection will benefit WSU students and faculty in several ways.  Not only will students in certain majors see the collection incorporated into their curriculum, but new courses and research projects are expected to be developed as well.
 
Click here to view an earlier article about the Hirahara donation.  
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Source contacts:
Trevor James Bond, Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections, 509-335-6693, tjbond@wsu.edu;
Tom T. Hide, directories donor, 714-826-2211, (no email);
Patti Hirahara, Hirahara Family Collection, 714-392-2103, HiraharaCollect@aol.com.
 
Media contact:
Steve Nakata, Manager of Communication, Student Affairs and Enrollment, 509-335-1774, nakata@wsu.edu.