When Dr. Robert C. Sims arrived at Boise State University in 1970 to teach history, he was among those young historians who expanded the kinds of questions asked of the past. Sims observed that, while many of the histories about the forced relocation of Japanese Americans in World War II had been sound, they omitted the perspective of those who experienced relocation.
In Fall 2016, the Special Collections and Archives opened the “Robert C. Sims Collection on Minidoka and Japanese Americans, 18912014.” His papers consist of sixty six boxes and about two hundred books representing over four decades of research. Materials include reports, letters, photographs, articles, interviews, notes, speeches, presentations, correspondence, scholarship, maps, publications, the site’s newspaper The Minidoka Irrigator and yearbook Minidoka Interlude, and other documents created by people relocated to or employed at Minidoka. These materials led to his examination of topics such as medical care, education, labor, art, postwar resettlement, redress, people’s lives post-incarceration, and the impact of incarceration on community and family and how it disrupted basic cultural identities.
Sims was an undisputed authority on Minidoka and Japanese history in Idaho. Now, select writings are available in a published book, An Eye for Injustice: Robert C. Sims and Minidoka. This exhibit highlights materials from Sims’ collection as well as his original writings. During February and March, there are many events recognizing Japanese internment and Minidoka. All events are open to the public and available on this calendar.
Cheryl Oestreicher, PhD
Head, Special Collections and Archives/Associate Professor