The Rutgers University Community Repository Collections contains close to 3,000 photos, as well as assorted other materials, relating to the history of Seabrook Farms. According to John Fuyuume, a Trustee of the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center (SECC), the company had a full time photographic department that documented life and labor in the village of Seabrook. When Seabrook Farms was sold, the department was closed by the new owners. In 1990, Fuyuume and Charles Nagao discovered a trove of photographs that had been kept in the possession of Seabrook family, but were unfiled and unpreserved. At the request of Fuyuume and Nagao, the mayor of Upper Deerfield intervened and provided space in the township’s Municipal Building. This space is now the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center.
In the mid-1990s, the Rutgers University Community Repository Collection worked with the SECC to digitize the photos that are now available on its website, and to preserve and make them accessible to researchers and the public.
Consumers League of New Jersey Records, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries
From Fernanda Perrone and Luis C. Franco, “The Consumers League of New Jersey was established in 1900 as an affiliate of the National Consumers' League by a group of middle-class women seeking to improve the working conditions of women and children in industry through public education and legislative action. It sought reform through child labor laws, through minimum wage and maximum hour laws and through legislation regulating factory, retail, household and migrant working conditions, including mandated improvements in workplace health standards and safety.”
In respect to Seabrook Farms, the Consumers League of New Jersey and its future president, Mary L. Dyckman, investigated and reported on the company’s use of child labor and the massive migrant labor camps that provided offsite housing for the company’s workers. Dyckman emerged as a leading advocate for the 1945 New Jersey Migrant Labor Act, which was designed to regulate living conditions, sanitation, and education for labor camp residents.
The Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941 – 1989 (Record Group 210)
The War Relocation Authority (WRA) was created on March 18, 1942, by Executive Order 9102. The WRA was charged with the task of administering the removal, internment, and parole of Japanese Americans and immigrants, and was the civilian-led counterpart to the War Department, with whom it was an uneasy and often strained collaborator in this work.
Records specifically relating to Seabrook Farms, whose recruitment, employment, and housing of released internees was primarily supervised by the Philadelphia office of the WRA, can be accessed at the national archives in Washington, DC.
The Records of the War Manpower Commission, Region III (Record Group 211)
The War Manpower Commission (WMC) was established by Executive Order 9139 on April 18, 1942, and was housed within the Office for Emergency Management. The WMC oversaw the recruitment of labor during the war, and was responsible for ensuring that industries deemed essential to war effort had sufficient numbers of workers. Deerfield Packing Company, a Seabrook subsidiary that canned produce, received this designation. The WMC served as a no-fee labor broker for the Deerfield Packing Company, and functioned as the intermediary between the company and migrant laborers, responsible for creating and regulating contracts that governed working and living conditions. The WMC coordinated the recruitment of foreign guestworkers, in Deerfield’s case from Barbados, Jamaica, and other islands of the British West Indies, as well as from the American colony of Puerto Rico. It also collaborated domestically with the US Employment Service and its labor bureaus, to recruit workers to New Jersey from the American South.
The WMC was divided by regions, and Region III was administered out of the agency’s Philadelphia office. Records relating to Seabrook Farms and the Deerfield Packing Company can also be found in Philadelphia, in the National Archives regional office there.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was created in 1935 as a New Deal federal agency, charged with the task of aiding impoverished farmers struggling through the Great Depression. The Office of War Information (OWI) was created in 1942, to disseminate information about the United States’ war efforts. As part of its mission, the FSA also sought to document life and labor in rural regions, and during World War Two, this took on the additional purpose of publicizing work on the home front. Seabrook Farms, and its fields, factories, and laborers were the subjects of more than 200 photographs.
The FSA-OWI images can also be accessed through the Yale University website, Photogrammar. Photogrammar allows researchers to search by county, and the images relating to Seabrook can be found under Cumberland County, New Jersey.
The Densho Digital Repository contains “thousands of historic photographs, documents, newspapers, letters and other primary source materials that tell the story of the Japanese American community, from immigration to the WWII incarceration and its aftermath.”
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Burgess, David. Fighting for Social Justice: The Life Story of David Burgess. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2000.
Gordon, Margaret Hermenia. “A Study of Migratory Labor at Seabrook Farms, 1941-1945.” MA Thesis, Atlanta University School of Social Work, 1947.
Hahamovitch, Cindy. The Fruits of their Labor: Atlantic Coast Farmworkers and the Making of Migrant Poverty, 1870-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
Harrison, Charles. Growing a Global Village: Making History at Seabrook Farms. Teaneck: Holmes & Meier Publishing, 2003.
Higashide, Seiichi. Adios to Tears: The Memoirs of a Japanese-Peruvian Internee in U.S. Concentration Camps. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000.
Lanard, Noah and CATA - The Farmworkers Support Committee. “Unseen: Migrant Workers in South Jersey.” 2006.
Loescher, Gil, and John A. Scanlan. Calculated Kindness: Refugees and America’s Half-Open Door, 1945 to the Present. New York: Free Press, 1986.
Miyake, Lika C. “Forsaken and Forgotten: The U.S. Internment of Japanese Peruvians During World War II.” Asian American Legal Journal 9, no. 5 (2002): 163-93.
Nakamura, Kelli Y. “Seabrook Farms.” Densho Encyclopedia https://encyclopedia.densho.org/Seabrook_Farms/
Noguchi, Rei R. Seabrook A New Beginning. Upper Deerfield Township: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, 1994.
Palmer, F. Alan. This Place Called Home: An Illustrated History of the Township of Upper Deerfield in the County of Cumberland, State of New Jersey. Upper Deerfield Township: Upper Deerfield Township Committee, 1985.
Poldma, Milli. The Estonian Community of Seabrook, New Jersey. Upper Deerfield Township: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, 1995.
Robinson, Greg. A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
Sawada, Mitziko. “After the Camps: Seabrook Farms, New Jersey, and the Resettlement of Japanese Americans, 1944-47.” Amerasia Journal 13, no. 2 (1986-7): 117-36.
Seabrook, John M. The Henry Ford of Agriculture: Charles F. Seabrook 1881-1964 and Seabrook Farms 1893-1959. Upper Deerfield Township: Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center, 1995.
Seabrook, John. “The Spinach King.” New Yorker, February 20, 1995, 222-235.
Tucker, Barbara. “Agricultural Workers in World War II: The Reserve Army of Children, Black Americans, and Jamaicans.” Agricultural History 68, no. 1 (1994): 54-73.