Published: March 27, 2018

Young children at the Tinian School set up by CU Japanese Language School graduate, LT Telfer Mook in 1944.

After the Battle of Tinian in August 1944, most in the Pacific thought the war would last until 1948 – “Golden Gate in 48,” as the saying went. So what to do with 4,000 children in a displaced camp on Tinian in the Marianas?

Lt. Telfer Mook, a Navy Japanese Language Officer and graduate of the Japanese Language School at the University of Colorado, had the bright idea to enlist help from civilian Japanese teachers in the adult camp, find old Japanese text books, and build a school for the kids. With Quonset huts, benches, blackboards built from airfield materials and packing materials, and athletic gear was provided by the Army Air Corps crews, the Tinian School functioned. Several children of multi-generational agricultural workers who attended the school went on to become doctors, lawyers, civil servants, and middle class professionals, as its 50th reunion attested. Records of the Tinian School can be found in the Warren Johnstone, Roger Pineau and Telfer Mook Collections.

100 Stories for 100 Years logoThe University of Colorado Boulder Libraries will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Archives on June 6, 2018. This is story #29 in our series: 100 Stories for 100 Years from the Archives!