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Register of the Papers of



1 ft.

MSS 71


Monique Bourque

June 1990


Susumu Kobayashi was born in Hirata, Shimaneken, Japan in 1892.  He came to the United States in 1914 to join Yamato, a Japanese agricultural community near Palm Beach, Florida.  Three years later he moved to Detroit and then to Chicago to look for work.  There he worked at Riverbank, the estate of Colonel George Fabyan, and saved money.  After approximately two years in the Chicago area, he returned to Yamato.  Eventually he was able to purchase land and start a truck gardening business.

In 1922 Kobayashi was prosperous enough to marry; a match was arranged by his brother.  He returned to Japan for the wedding, and he brought his bride, Suye, to Yamato to live.  Their daughter Sumiko was born in 1923.  A son, Noboru, was born in 1926 and another daughter, Michiko, in 1929.

In 1925 the family moved to Riverbank, and Susumu became manager of the estate's greenhouses, which supplied cut flowers to Chicago's commercial flower market.  When cutbacks in expenditures forced the discontinuation of the cut flower business during the Depression, Susumu continued to manage two smaller greenhouses which supplied flowers to the estate.  He also maintained the residence and grounds and the estate's Japanese garden.

The family moved to San Leandro, California in 1939, when the estate was turned over to Kane County for a forest preserve after the deaths of Colonel Fabyan and his wife.  They remained in San Leandro until evacuated under Executive Order 9066 to Tanforan Assembly Center (a racetrack) in May, 1942 and later to the Topaz, Utah, Relocation Center.  When released from the camp in 1944 the Kobayashi family relocated to Hartford, Connecticut, and then to the Philadelphia area, where Susumu conducted a contract gardening business.

Susumu Kobayashi retired from gardening in 1963 at age 71.  He died in 1975 at age 83.


The collection was donated in 1986 by Sumiko Kobayashi.  For materials of r interest see MSS 73, the Sumiko Kobayashi Papers.


This collection has been divided into two series: I. Papers, and II. Sound Recordings.  Series I consists primarily of correspondence from Issei in the Philadelphia area, much of which is in Japanese.  Records from Kobayashi's gardening business include a ledger, a daybook, and miscellaneous receipts and related correspondence.  Also of interest are papers related to the family's relocation, including an alien registration book, an indefinite leave certificate, and a claim sheet for compensable items.  In addition, this series contains two folders of notes and biographical information referring to the Kobayashi family and to both this collection and MSS 73, the Sumiko Kobayashi Papers.

Series Two, Sound Recordings, consists of thirty 10inch 78 RPM phonograph records purchased by Susumu Kobayashi, apparently in Chicago.  The records were pressed in Japan.  Most of the songs are popular songs of the postWorld War II period, and are in Japanese.

Photographs have been removed to Photo Group 223.

The box list of the register of the papers of Susumu Kobayashi is four pages long.