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The California Flower Market Selected Resources

This page of selected resources relates to the California Flower Market Inc., the floriculture industry in California, and the history of Japanese Americans in California. The list may not be exhaustive.

Primary Sources on the Flower Industry in California

California Flower Market records

The California Flower Market in San Francisco was founded by Japanese immigrant flower growers at the turn of the twentieth century and forms one branch of the iconic San Francisco Flower Mart at 6th and Brannan. The archive consists of business records, audiovisual material, and numerous photographs and photo albums documenting the history of the market and Japanese American flower-growing families dating back to 1910.

Southern California Flower Market papers at the Japanese American National Museum

This collection of records from the Southern California Flower Market consists primarily of financial and legal documents pertaining to the tax-exempt status of the corporation. It also includes documents created by Golden Sky Investment Company in relation to the Southern California Flower Market.

Higaki Family papers at San Jose State University

The photographs and papers in this collection tell the history of the Higaki family of San Benito County, California. Nobuo Higaki, born in Japan’s Kōchi Prefecture in 1886, emigrated to the United States in 1906 and settled in San Francisco in 1910. He started a flower nursery (later incorporated as Bay City Flower Co. in the 1950s) on land he owned in Redwood City. Bay City Flower Co. has been run by the Higaki family for four generations and more than one hundred years. Nobuo Higaki was one of the founding members of the California Chrysanthemum Growers Association, formed in 1931, and was on the board of directors of the California Flower Market in 1937 and 1938.

A Japanese American nurseryman’s life in California: Floriculture and family, 1883–1992

A transcript of an oral history interview with Toichi Domoto, conducted by Suzanne B. Reiss in 1992 as part of the California Horticulture Oral History Series at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Flora Ninomiya interview 

An interview with Flora Ninomiya conducted in 2019 as part of the Densho Visual History Collection and available on the Densho Digital Repository. Ninomiya’s grandfather established a nursery flower business in Richmond, California, and during World War II was removed to Amache concentration camp in Colorado. Post World War II the family returned to Richmond and resumed work in the flower-growing business.

Books, Articles, and Websites on the California Flower Market and the Floriculture Industry

Living with Flowers: The California Flower Market History = [Hana to tomo ni] by Gary Kawaguchi, 1993

This book tells the history of the California Flower Market Inc., one of the oldest and most successful Japanese American–owned corporations in the United States. It has been the center of the wholesale flower industry in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than a century and is one of the few wholesale markets in the United States owned and run for and by flower growers. This book tells the history of the market from its very beginnings to its current location at 640 Brannan Street in San Francisco.

Roots: The Pioneering Domoto Family

An online exhibition about the Domoto family created by the Environmental Design Archives, University of California, Berkeley.

The California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers)

The California Association of Flower Growers & Shippers (CalFlowers, formerly known as NORCAL) was founded in 1941 by a small group of flower shipping companies to foster the success of the California floral industry in the United States. The website includes a history of the industry.

Southern California Flower Market: A Japanese American Business Blooms

KCET article on the Southern California Flower Market that includes interviews.

Formation of the Japanese Floriculture in Northern California

This 1980 paper by Noritaka Yagasaki was published in the Journal of Geography (Chigaku Zasshi 89, no. 3, pp. 149–66), and is downloadable. The author describes and analyzes the development of Japanese American floriculture in the San Francisco Bay Area from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century, with special emphasis on grower organizations as a key factor in their success.

Primary Sources on the History of Japanese Americans in California

Case files from the ACLU of Northern California records

Digitized images of files from the ACLU-NC records documenting the Fred Korematsu and Mitsuye Endo cases, which challenged the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066 (1942–46). Included are personal letters between Ernest Besig, executive director of the ACLU-NC, and Korematsu.

William J. Mountin material relating to forced removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans

Digitized images of various materials collected and maintained by William J. Mountin, gathered in the course of his work in the Statistical Branch of the Wartime Civilian Control Administration (WCCA). Includes War Relocation Authority (WRA) and WCCA correspondence and memos concerning the administration of the office in San Francisco; copies of statistical reports and bulletins, including those compiled by the US Census Bureau; and sample forms, reports, maps, bulletins, and Civilian Exclusion Orders broadsides.

Fred S. Farr correspondence and photographs

The collection contains seven letters to Fred S. Farr from Japanese American friends from California incarcerated during World War II. Most of the letters are from Eiko Fujii, beginning shortly after her arrival at Santa Anita Assembly Center in 1942, continuing through her transfer to Denson, Arkansas, at Jerome incarceration camp, and ending after she left the camps and took up a teaching position at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The letters discuss daily life in the camps and her family’s physical, psychological, and emotional adjustment to life there as well as references to Farr’s personal and professional life.

Joseph R. Goodman papers on Japanese American incarceration, 1941–45

Joseph R. Goodman was an advocate for the Japanese American community in San Francisco and nationwide during World War II, providing assistance and support to friends and incarcerees at the camps; aiding Japanese American students and activists; participating in the anti-internment movement; and, between 1942 and 1944, teaching high school math and science at Topaz Relocation Center in Utah.

Ofu Heigen no nishiki = Brocade of Sacramento Valley

A 267-page illustrated photo album published by Nichi Bei Times in 1911. The provided English subtitle is “Japanese in California: A Pictorial History.” The album depicts Japanese American businesses and families in the agricultural region of the Sacramento Valley.

Japanese American Digitization Project at California State University

The CSU Japanese American Digitization Project digitizes and describes archival collections related to the story of Japanese Americans in the twentieth century, including their migration to the United States, the Alien Land Laws under which they lived, incarceration during World War II, and the Redress Movement.

Hoji Shinbun Digital Collection 

The Hoover Institution Library & Archives has digitized issues of Japanese American and other overseas Japanese newspapers in Asia and South America. The newspapers can be searched by title, date, and publication location.

Densho

Densho is a nonprofit organization started in 1996. Its website contains thousands of photographs and firsthand testimonies about Japanese American history. The site also contains an excellent encyclopedia with secondary-source information such as articles and news clippings as well as terms and definitions.

 

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