Recent donation of collection of Frank C. Hirahara Family gives idea of life in post-war Portland
A collection from the post-World War II era has been donated to Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center from the family of Frank C. Hirahara. While internees did return and resettle in Portland when released from camps including Minidoka after WWII, it has been difficult to find remnants of this time in history. Oregon Nikkei Endowment is planning an exhibit in 2012 addressing this post-war period and asking: What did Japanese Americans find physical and social community post-war? What did it mean to be Japanese American during this time?
A recent donation from Patti Hirahara of Anaheim, California , of her family’s materials includes a photo collection, artifacts, and a baseball uniform from 1948–1954 when her father Frank played with the Oregon Nissei Vets team.
Frank Hirahara had been active in the Portland community after he graduated from Washington State University in 1948 and started to work for the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland, Oregon. Although he had a full time job, he loved to take pictures in his spare time and became an active member of the Portland Photographic Society and the Oregon Camera Club. He won first prize in the Oregon Camera Club’s Fall Quarterly Salon 1951 Salon B “People” category when he was 24 years old and his work was also displayed at the Maryhill Museum of Fine Arts, that same year. Being active in community activities allowed Frank to photograph local Japanese American groups and programs in the Portland area. He was involved with the Oregon Buddhist Temple and was selected to be Master of Ceremonies for the 1952 visit from the Head of the Buddhist Church of Japan’s visit to Portland when he was just 25 years old.
Patti Hirahara donated a small portion of his photographs during her first visit to the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center in September of this year and due to her meeting with Geoffrey Wexler, Library Manager of the Oregon Historical Society, he felt that “Frank Hirahara’s body of work should stay in one collection as a representation of his photographic work in the Portland area” during that time. As a result, she will donate the remainder of her father’s photo collection of his work in capturing events in the Portland Japanese community as well as his work with the Oregon Camera Club and the Portland Photographic Society to the Oregon Nikkei Endowment in early 2012.
If you have objects, stories, or information on life for Portland Japanese Americans from the post-World War II period (1945-1969), please contact Oregon Nikkei Endowment at 503-224-1458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Info for this news report from: oregonnikkei.org.