Nels H. Smith was Governor of Wyoming from 1939 until 1943. Although he was for incarcerating Japanese Americans, he was adamantly against a relocation center in Wyoming. But the federal government prevailed. His papers contain correspondence related to his suspicion of Japanese Americans after the Pearl Harbor attack, his resistance to a relocation center in Wyoming, and Wyoming citizens’ opinions on Japanese Americans, their internment, and the Heart Mountain Relocation Center.
Additional content for this collection can be found in the "Inventory for collection.”
Letter to Uinta County Sheriff Frank Narramore from Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, December 12, 1941
Smith informs the sheriff that the Director of the FBI in Denver has requested lists of alien Japanese in Wyoming. Sheriffs in counties around Wyoming were similarly contacted and reports were sent back to the Governor's office.
Letter from Park County Sheriff Frank Blackburn to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, January 31, 1942
Blackburn requests permission from Smith for Japanese Americans in his county to travel agricultural and family reasons. The sheriff states they are "good reliable people" whom he has known for 10-15 years.
Letter from Wyoming Governor Nels Smith to Park County Sheriff Frank Blackburn, February 3, 1942
Smith replies to Park County Sheriff Blackburn that he "can see no objection" to the sheriff's request for Japanese Americans in his county to travel.
Letter from Greybull Lodge, B.P.O Elks to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, February 20, 1942
Representatives of the Greybull Elks Lodge inform Smith of their concern at having a relocation center in Wyoming.
Telegram to U.S. Attorney General Francis Biddle from Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, February 21, 1942
Smith expresses his opposition to a relocation center in Wyoming to the U.S. Attorney General.
Letter from Cheyenne attorney Kenneth Kellar to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, March 4, 1942
Kellar relays his opinion to Smith that constitutional concerns for Japanese Americans should not be a deterrant in placing them in "concentration areas." Smith handwrites in reply, "You like the Japs about as well as I do."
Letter from Midvale Irrigation District, Riverton, Wyoming, to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, March 18, 1942
A representative of the Midvale Irrigation District expresses their wish to have a relocation center in Wyoming for farm labor.
Letter from M.S. Eisenhower, Director, War Relocation Authority, to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, March 30, 1942
Eisenhower invites Smith to a meeting of governors whose states are to hold relocation centers.
Letter from IWA Local Union #154, Saratoga, Wyoming, to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, April 4, 1942
Secretary J.P. Pudge of Saratoga's International Woodworkers of America notifies Smith of the union's support for his stance against a relocation center in Wyoming and recommends the internees be placed in concentration camps for more security.
Letter from Ms. Ota, Santa Anita Assembly Center, to Wyoming Governor Nels Smith, August 1, 1942
Ms. Ota writes to Smith for permission to join her brother in Cheyenne, noting that she was born in Rock Springs and was traveling there when Executive Order 9066 was issued.