Friends Hostel, Cincinnati



Hostel in Cincinnati, Ohio, for Japanese Americans leaving the concentration camps. Run by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), the hostel opened in April 1943 and housed 777 resettlers before closing on January 1, 1946.

One of five hostels outside the West Coast restricted area operated by the AFSC, the Cincinnati hostel officially opened on April 16, 1943, in a three-story building that had been a dormitory for the Graduate School of Applied Religion. Located at 2820 Winslow Street, the wood and stucco building had an official capacity of twenty-four, but occasionally housed up to thirty and fed forty on special occasions. As was the case with other hostels, residents paid by the day for room and board, with meals served communally. Residents were also expected to help with household tasks.[1]

The Cincinnati hostel was initially managed by Gracia Booth, whose husband Raymond was the head of the local War Relocation Authority (WRA) office and who helped with job placement for the residents. Later in 1943, Arthur H. and Kate Brinton replaced her. A conscientious objector, Arthur took on the hostel assignment as "alternative service," while Kate had been a math teacher in Pennsylvania prior to the war. Anne Schenider was the final director, taking over in September 1944. Among those who stayed there was poet Mitsuye Yamada.[2]

Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

Related Articles

For More Information

Austin, Allan W. "'A Finer Set of Hopes and Dreams': The Japanese American Citizens League and Ethnic Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, 1942–1950." In Remapping Asian American History, ed. Sucheng Chan. Walnut Creek, Calif.: Altamira Press, 2003. 87–105.

———. Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1950. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012.

Footnotes

  1. The other AFSC-run hostels outside the restricted area were in Chicago, Columbus, Des Moines, and Spokane. Caption to photograph of hostel by Henry Iwai, Jan. 28, 1944, Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley, accessed on Jan. 29, 2015 at http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/ft438nb1w0/; Allan W. Austin, Quaker Brotherhood: Interracial Activism and the American Friends Service Committee, 1917–1950 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2012), 133; "In Memoriam: Kate Keith Brinton, 1917–2007," The Grains of Rice (April 2008), 10, accessed on Jan. 29, 2015 at http://cincinnatijacl.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Grains_2008APR.pdf.
  2. Austin, Quaker Brotherhood, 140; "In Memoriam: Kate Keith Brinton"; Rocky Shimpo, Sept. 29, 1944, 1; Mitsuye May Yamada interview by Alice Ito, segment 2, Oct. 9 and 10, 2002, Densho Digital Archive, accessed on Jan. 29, 2015 at http://archive.densho.org/Core/ArchiveItem.aspx?i=denshovh-ymitsuye-01-0002.