Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community

Reactions in the BI community to Woodwards’ stand against exclusion – Mary Woodward (OH0087)


Interviewer: Can you talk about the repercussions for the paper when your parents started to speak out against the government and 9066?

Mary Woodward: Yeah, let’s see… there were a few letters initially. One man who wrote about their puerile editorial and how could they say this? But there wasn’t much. There were people who pulled their ads, a number of people, companies, who pulled their ads, so there was an economic loss for them ’cause they were really living from week to week. Even one ad leaving was a hardship. A lot of people, well I don’t know a lot, but a number of people cancelled their subscriptions. Two stories that I really like about this. One was that, after a couple of weeks, they got a phone call from the druggist who was selling the paper over the counter. He says, “I don’t know what’s going on, but you gotta send us more papers because we’re selling out, you know, send me twice as many.” So my mother liked to say that they wouldn’t give us the satisfaction of having their name on the subscription rolls but they were still buying the paper. Then the other was Orville Robertson, who was, if I get this right, was I think with the American Friends, the Society of Friends, I’m almost certain… that this one man sent an irate letter saying this is just disgusting what you’re doing about our government, consider this my cancellation of my subscription. Well, the next week, Orville Robertson sent a very nice letter saying that he supported the editorial stand and he also included the name and money for a subscription. He had gone out and recruited a subscription for someone and he said he hoped everybody would do that. For every subscription you lost, I hope you get two more this way. So I thought that was pretty cool.

Video Interview — August, 2007

Mary Woodward

Mary Woodward Pratt is the youngest daughter of Walt and Milly Woodward, owners of the Bainbridge Review during World War Two. The Review was the only newspaper to use its editorials to consistently speak out against the exclusion and internment of Japanese Americans. In 2008 Mary authored the book In Defense of our Neighbors, which records how the Review helped create an environment that was friendly to those who, like the editors, strongly opposed the exclusion.