The Howard family was interned in Santo Tomás Internment Camp (STIC) during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during WWII. Clyde Howard, a member of the USMC, had been stationed in Shanghai prior to the war where he met his future wife Nadja. Nadja was a Russian national whose family had fled the country after the Russian Revolution. By 1941, the family had moved to Manila and were interned in Santo Tomás shortly after the invasion began, where they would remain until liberation in 1945.
Poems I learned in STIC, c. 1945
This handmade book was made by Louis Howard as a child living in Santo Tomás Internment Camp. Because the civilians in the prison camps represented a variety of professional fields, including school teachers, children of all ages were able to continue their schooling in at least some form during internment. Paper, which was scarce and only became more so over time, was saved for the children to continue their studies.
Autograph Book, 1943
Louis Howard kept this small book during her internment and had her friends sign it with well-wishes, poems, and other short notes. On the right-hand page is a short poem written by a friend of Louise named Pauline Crawford dated August 17, 1944: “ In STIC they give mush/In STIC they give tea/In STIC they give you comfort kits/But not the “Exit Key.”
Letter from Clyde Howard to his sister Grace, 1945.
This letter, dated March 2nd, 1945, was written by Clyde Howard to his family back in the US after the Howards were liberated. Clyde writes that the family lost everything during the war, a common fact among former internees. Many who survived imprisonment did so at the cost of their life savings or were even in debt due to loans taken out to feed themselves. Homes and businesses were often destroyed by fighting and possessions were looted by soldiers or sold for food. Many who hadn’t lived in the US for several years, or who had never lived in the US, went to America because they had no other choice than to go live with relatives.
Trusting that you and your family are in the very best of health and are enjoying life's greatest pleasures.
We are all feeling better now since we have been liberated and have got something to eat. We have lost everything that we possessed, but are awful thankful that we escaped with our lives and health.
We are standing by to be sent to the USA. We should be leaving most any day now. I supposed we will be sent as soon as the Army has decided we have recuperated enough to stand the trip.
So after all these years I may be seeing you soon. I was awful sorry to learn about the death of Mother. I did have hopes of seeing her alive once more.
We all send love and best wishes.