Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Japanese Internment Camp Silk Screeners

A page from the Camp Amache Christmas Calendar, based on a photo taken by Mike Wada.
COURTESY AMACHE PRESERVATION SOCIETY

In February 1942, ten weeks after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066. By June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were relocated to remote internment camps built by the U.S. military. 
One of these facilities, Camp Amache, had something unique among the camps: a successful silk screen shop. The U.S. Navy found themselves with boatloads of new sailors, and—due to the wartime labor shortage—no one to print the posters, charts, and other materials necessary to train them. 

A map of internment camps around the country, designed and printed at the Silk Screen Shop.
COURTESY AMACHE PRESERVATION SOCIETY

Over the course of 1943 the shop, staffed by internees, printed at least 120,000 posters in dozens of designs, depicting everything from signal flags to principles of seamanship. Employees took on the entire process, from design and stencilling through colour selection and printing.

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