Scars and marks Mole on upper lip, three fillings in teeth, appendectomy scar.
*$10,000 fine not committed
Iva Ikuko Toguri d’Aquino was Prisoner 9380-W at the Federal Reformatory for Women in Alderson, West Virginia, from 18 November 1949 to 28 January 1956. The people whom you’d expect to be among her greatest critics, the staff of Alderson prison, became some of her most staunch supporters. Although her official classification as a “notorious offender”—and the reputation of the “Tokyo Rose” legend—engendered some initial hostility, Iva was soon regarded as a model prisoner by the Alderson staff. Here, in their own words, taken from recently-discovered Bureau of Prison files, you can read the many complimentary and glowing reports on Iva Toguri submitted by the Alderson staff.
- Character Reference, 9 Jan 1950
- Admission Summary, 13 Jan 1950
- Special Progress Report, 31 Aug 1950
- Special Progress Report, 18 Sep 1952
- Special Progress Report, 27 Mar 1953
- Special Progress Report, 4 Dec 1953
- Release Progress Report, 20 Jan 1956
1. Character Reference, 9 Jan 1950
Compton College, Office of the President
Miss Mary L. Cottrill, Supervisor
Classification and Parole
United States Department of Justice
Federal Reformatory for Women
Alderson, West Virginia
Dear Miss Cottrill:
I am sending some information concerning Iva Toguri, which you asked for in your letter of December 30, 1949. During the two years which she attended the eleventh and twelfth grades (1931–1933) of Compton College she maintained a superior scholarship average and was most cooperative in all of her classes.
She completed only one semester of thirteenth year work at Compton College and then transferred in high freshman standing to the University of California at Los Angeles. During that semester she maintained a “C” scholarship average. Her instructors have stated that she was a good citizen of the school and enthusiastic about her studies.
The transcript from the tenth grade (McKinley Junior High School in Los Angeles) has some test data in which you may be interested. In December, 1927 her I.Q. on the Termin Intelligence Test was 101. During the A-9 grade in October, 1930 her grade placement was 8.1 on the Stanford Achievement Reading Test and her grade placement at the same time in the Los Angeles Diagnostic Fundamental Test was 9.7, and on the Los Angeles Diagnostic Reading Test was 10.9.
I hope this will be of some service to you in helping this young lady while she is in your institution. Like most of the Japanese students who were here before the war, she was one of the outstanding students in our institution. She had the usual characteristics of the Japanese people, industry and talent which showed in her work.
Yours very truly,
|Although Iva’s I.Q. was rated at 101 in December 1927, when Iva was only 11, using the old Stanford Binet-Simon intelligence test, it was re-evaluated at 130 on 23 November 1949, when Iva was 33, using the newer Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale.
2. Admission Summary, 13 Jan 1950
When received, subject was well-dressed and had a well groomed, very clean and neat appearance. She was poised, courteous, and well mannered throughout the admission procedure. Relief was expressed at arriving here and leaving courts and jails behind her.
Her meticulous personal habits and evident experience at keeping house were shown in her ready adjustment to room training. Not just for inspection but all day long, her room was in excellent condition with clothing carefully folded and placed correctly, bed well made, and floor shining.
Whether on maintenance assignments, revising package and shoe card files, or typing she was thorough, accurate, quick and alert. She asked only necessary questions, started promptly where she left off the day before, quietly presented her work for criticism or approval and if officers were busy, did not sit around waiting but used every minute to advantage either altering her own clothing or helping others sew, wash dishes or clean. Much interest was shown in decorating for Thanksgiving. She arranged all flowers and assisted with table decorating. Her artistry, patience, and willingness to help others impressed girls as well as officers. While she had many ideas, she does not plunge ahead into anything without talking over her plans with officers. She was always quiet, pleasant, and refined. Was particularly kind to a colored girl whom she had known in jail, was friendly with everyone but had so many worthwhile interests and kept so busy that there was little occasion to observe her social interests.
The luggage and clothing which she brought in were far above average and she was considerate and understanding during the checking process requesting no favors. Her darning was so well done that it was machine like and patching and other sewing was excellent. She was particular about keeping all clothing spotless and well mended and always had a well groomed appearance.
Through her outgoing letters alone did officers have an opportunity to observe her feelings about her sentence since she was never once heard to discuss her case with anyone. Her letters were extremely cold, reserved, and left much to be read between the lines. Each letter to a member of her family was carefully dated and numbered, was evidently intended to cheer the receivers, and made little reference to the Institution or its program.
Subject is a young woman 33 years old, of superior intelligence, who manifests symptoms of tension and strain, but who maintains self-control, handles her contacts with others with poise. Through her attorney she is appealing her case, but states that she is functioning on the basis of serving the sentence meted. Thus she hopes to avoid experiencing any crushing disappointment should the decision go against her. …
Her husband had come to the States, but has returned to Japan. Their relationship continues to be close and they look forward to reuniting. Members of subject’s family are anxious to help her in any possible way. …
Iva is carefully considering the effects of this case upon her plans for the future, realizing that her particular charge will add to the difficulties frequently experienced by persons with a criminal record. She is still interested in medicine, especially in the public health field or laboratory work. At present she believes she will not undertake any specific line of study, but wait until she can plan her course more intelligently. She is anxious to occupy herself with certain handicrafts and resume her study of music, believing these will be interesting and useful and will also have a therapeutic value.
Subject intends to stay in the United States following her release and expects her husband to join her in this country. She believes plans may be developed for her to go to her relatives, either in Chicago, Illinois or in Los Angeles, California.
|Unbeknownst to Iva or the prison authorities, Felipe d’Aquino had been forced to sign a document acknowledging his status as an “undesirable alien” and stating that he would never attempt to return to the United States.
4a M E D I C A L White-Japanese Height--60½ Weight--105½ Age--33
Vision:R. 20/200 L. 20/200 BP: 140/86
With Glasses R. 20/40 L. 20/40
I History and Examination:--
Well developed, fairly well nourished, married white woman of
Japanese extraction who has no children. She states she has had
one pregnancy resulting in stillbirth. She denies any serious illness,
injuries or surgical operations in the past, excepting tonsils removed
in childhood; Appendectomy, 1934 and Dysentery, 1945. She states
she has no physical disability which restricts her activities at
the present time.
II Physical disability rating--None
III Dental:--A. Examination--Calculus
A. Gonorrhea--1. Laboratory--Smears and cultures--Negative
3. Examination--Essentially normal
B. Syphilis---1. Serology--Kahn & Kolmer--Negative
3. Examination--Essentially normal
Trichomonas Vaginalis Vaginitis--hanging drop--Negative
V Narcotics:--Denied VI Alcohol--Denied
634-12 Tonsillectomy, childhood
611-12 Appendectomy, 1934
604-y00.9 Dysentery, 1945.
A. Treatment--Investigation of possibility of recurrent attacks of
C. Work--Any--No food handling because of history of dysentery
F. Transfer--Not indicated
She states she has never been treated for nervous or mental disorder
in the past and shows no evidence at this time which indicates that
special psychiatric examination is necessary. She claims she is a
graduate of UCLA.
INITIAL S.A.T. (11-25-49): Word meaning 13.9; language usage 12.1; arithmetic
reasoning 12.1; literature 12.7; social studies 12.1;
Subject claims graduation from the University of California at Los Angeles. She
has an A.B. degree in zoology. Since her graduation from school she has done office
work, however, her interest is in the medical laboratory and she would like training
as a technician. She shows interests in crafts and music and has asked for classes
in both fields.
PSYCHOMETRIC TESTING REPORT
USPHS CLASSIFICATION TEST 11-23-49
I.Q. 130 Age 33 Superior intelligence
Deviation scatter 8. Consistent performance on a superior level.
|Within a few years of her admission to Alderson, Iva would be writing reports just like this on her fellow inmates.
3. Special Progress Report, 31 Aug 1950
When released from Quarantine subject was assigned to work in the Storehouse. Her regular assignment was as butcher and doing the posting in the office. When not busy with her regular assignments she helped wherever needed and at all times she did excellent work.
On April 21, 1950 she was assigned to the Prison Census Coding project at the School building. She has shown outstanding ability in the organizing and executing of this project. With a minimum of supervision she has used her initiative in laying the foundation for a new project which requires tedious application much beyond a cut and dried routine of performance. She has, from her first introduction to this project, plunged into her duties with the energy of a person who wants to make it a “go”, and this attitude continues in the presence or absence or the supervisor, as evinced by her high output of work.
She not only performs the clerical work and typing required on this project, but the more important process of preparing the schedules for coding and the verifying of coded material. Her output is high and is accurate. She has volunteered for extra work when it was necessary to do final checking on 46,000 state schedules recently released for IBM punching. This work was willingly and conscientiously performed.
Exceptional resourcefulness is demonstrated in helping her coworkers with any problem, and she earns their respect and cooperation by her tactful, discreet manner.
In the cottage she is quite an asset as a cottage member in many ways. She is a quiet type of person and seems to have a cooperative attitude toward the institution as a whole. She is pleasant, polite and respectful at all times. She has never tried to force her friendship upon any of the other inmates, but by going along in her modest and unassuming manner, she has won the good will of all with whom she comes in contact. She has very few close friends but is friendly with all. She is quick to volunteer for extra work around the cottage, when needed, and no job is too large or too dirty for her to undertake. She can always be depended upon to do well at anything she starts. She keeps an excellent room and seems proud of its appearance. She also is quite particular of her personal cleanliness and appearance. She rarely comes to the living room in the evenings, but prefers to be locked in her room to read. She reads both fiction and non-fiction as well as Time magazine and daily newspapers. She seems deeply interested in present day world affairs. She enjoys her craft classes and is also learning to knit, crochet and weave. Her letters to her family are pleasant and encouraging. She usually attends all Catholic services. She enjoys movies and other leisure time activities.
She is assigned Journalism, Leathercraft, and Silvercraft. She has a lot of manual dexterity and her craft projects are usually very neat. She has made several contributions to the Journalism class. Is above average in all groups. She was assigned to Music Appreciation but asked to cancel so that she could work with the Farm group in the evenings.
4. Special Progress Report, 18 Sep 1952
Résumé of Institutional Adjustment
Since August 8, 1951, Iva has been assigned in the office of the Chief Medical Officer as a stenographer. “She is of superior intelligence, endowed with many natural talents and has demonstrated great unselfishness in applying her skill and knowledge, wholeheartedly, in order to be of service to the institution and also to the inmates.
“There is no task too difficult for her to undertake or too difficult for her to do. She always sees the work to be done and never has to be told and requires only the very minimum of supervision. Her duties as a stenographer for the CMO include taking dictation, typing correspondence, preparing all the purchase orders, filing, coding of hospital charts, maintaining all the Venereal Disease records, preparing the greater part of the monthly medical report, answering telephone calls, delivering messages and numerous other routine duties. She is industrious, dependable, competent, and all her work is of exceptional quality.
“Her unusual resourcefulness and willingness to be of service to the institution and the the inmates was well demonstrated during March of 1952 when, with all the work which she was already doing, she volunteered for the added assignment of working in the Dental Clinic. With no Dental Officer to instruct her, she proceeded to spend long hours studying on her own time until she had mastered intricate details of manufacturing artificial dentures. With a remarkable display of understanding and manual dexterity, and without professional assistance, she produced three sets of dentures for departing inmates who requires artificial replacements for cosmetic and physiological reasons. The present Dental Officer, upon arrival at this institution, was amazed to see the number of girls who had been relieved of their dental suffering by temporary medicated fillings which she had performed.
“She has also on her own time undertaken to study the techniques of refracting eyes and here again displayed unusual skill in this subject.
“Individuals assigned to work in the office of the hospital and the dental clinic must be selected for their integrity and loyalty to the institution, since they are in a position of responsibility and the work is more or less confidential in nature. She has exhibited outstanding performance on this assignment and to the medical staff’s knowledge has shown herself to be completely dependable and trustworthy.
“She is quiet, well mannered and considerate in her dealings with others, and her conduct and attitude are above reproach.”
In the cottage Iva is a mature, intelligent, and stable woman who has adjusted well to group living. She is always friendly, pleasant, and courteous, and uses good judgment in her dealings with others. She volunteers frequently for extra tasks in the cottage on her days off, and her cheerfulness and sense of humor give a general lift to cottage morale. She has never tried to force her friendship upon any of the other inmates but by going along in her modest and unassuming manner, she is well liked by the other cottage members and maintains a good relationship with them. She attempts to counsel with younger girls who are inclined to disregard the regulations.
Her tact, patience and understanding aid her in attempting to help the younger girls. Iva does not pry into others affairs, yet she always seems to know when something is upsetting another girl, and is willing to listen to their troubles. Her leisure time is spent profitably doing crafts and she reads extensively. Iva has a keen mind and a desire to learn. She seems very appreciative of the advantages offered by the institution, and takes an active part in institutional activities. She is always clean and neat in personal appearance and keeps an excellent room with a minimum amount of supervision. She attends church services frequently.
I.Q. 130 – Superior Intelligence. In September 1951, subject completed Silvercraft and Leathercraft. Since September 1951, Iva has completed Journalism, Silk Screen, and Needlecraft. She maintained a quality of workmanship and scholarship in her classes which did much to raise class standards. At all times she was cooperative, dependable, and enthusiastic in her efforts. She has been and is to take a major role in the Thanksgiving program if no one else is available. When another girl agreed to do it, Iva graciously stepped aside. Last Christmas when there was no one as well qualified for the role of Prolocutor in the Christmas pageant, Iva agreed to do it. Throughout all the practices she was dependable and helpful. Her performance was excellent. When the West Virginia State Fair was discussed with her in May of this year, she volunteered to make some articles for exhibit. She submitted four articles and won three first prizes and one second prize.
|The second and third quotations cited in this report are from Dr. Alvin M. Laster (AML2@aol.com), Dental Director at Alderson from 1952 to 1953. On 20 March 2000, nearly 48 years later, he wrote:
“I spent a year with Iva … and she was my dental assistant-secretary-friend-general factotum. Iva was probably the most intelligent and pragmatic person I have ever met. My wife entertained her parents between trains when they visited her in the institution. … On my arrival at Alderson, I entered the dental clinic to find a small person with her back to me, administering a dental treatment to an inmate in the dental chair. A text book was on the bracket tray, and Iva was referring to it as she proceded. In the laboratory, I found evidences of her work on dentures. I couldn’t imagine how a lay person could accomplish those things.”
5. Special Progress Report, 27 Mar 1953
Iva has lived in Cottage #7 since her release from orientation. Report indicates that she is pleasant, courteous, cooperative, has a good sense of humor, enjoys small happenings of each day and makes of them stories that entertain and amuse. There is no bitterness evident in manner or outward expression. Iva encourages new cottage members to conform and has been especially helpful with Spanish or Mexican girls. Recently she has been handicapped and slowed down by ill health but has asked for no special consideration other than a rest period during the day. She took the rest period only when her work permitted.
Her Cottage assignment was for a long time the second floor bathroom. When her health condition became known her assignment was changed to checking laundry. She has done each assignment to the best of her ability and Iva can be relied upon to do any assignment with only routine supervision.
She has done much leather and silver work. Her production has slowed down recently. She retires early most evenings and spends the hours resting and reading the current magazines, papers and good books. For a long period she read the responses at Mass. Then for awhile she did not attend Mass. Once again she is reading the responses during Lent.
Iva keeps an excellent room even though she has tools, materials, books and papers in quantity. She has also taken excellent care of her clothing. She is extremely hard to fit so when a garment has been fitted, makes it last a long time. She is well adjusted to routine, is friendly and courteous to all the girls but intimate with no one. She is a leader in the cottage, makes a good balance against those who advocate changes in routine, food, shelter, etc. Iva attends movies and any other recreation offered other than participation in strenuous games. Her letters home are full of interest in family affairs. She has not mentioned her ill health to any one but a sister.
6. Special Progress Report, 4 Dec 1953
Subject has had the following disciplinary report filed against her: On 6-9-53 she replaced a temporary filling in an inmate’s tooth (Jerrolyn Oliver, Reg. No. 10499-W) with a permanent filling, did not record it on the dental chart and was evasive when questioned. The filling was performed when the dental officer was off duty. On 6-12-53 she appeared before the disciplinary board. She admitted the offense, stated she she had permission to do such work and did not consider it was her responsibility to make a record of the work. The case was continued for further investigation. Records revealed she frequently made records of the work she had done. She appeared before the disciplinary board on 6-17-53; was reprimanded and informed that as a result of the complications which developed as the result of her work she would not be credited with Meritorious Good Time for the month of June 1953.
Iva continues to reside in Cottage #7. In the cottage she is reserved, courteous, consistent in behavior and mature in her judgment. She is honest, dependable, tactful. She has no intimate friends, but has been of great help with younger problem inmates. Iva is actively teaching one girl leathercrafts at this time. She has taught many girls this craft. She is a skilled craftsman in leather and silver work and does many other crafts well. She is neat and clean and keeps an excellent room despite the many craft tools and materials on hand. She takes excellent care of clothing, no disciplinary problem in cottage.
Subject reads current magazines and newspapers and keeps up with world affairs. She plays cards, conducts games and helps with holiday decorations in her leisure time. She helps take care of linen room as her regular cottage assignment. Iva is committee girl and helps new girls become acquainted and adjusted to cottage routine. She is not too well, suffers often with severe headaches. She is prompt, regular, obeys rules and sets a good example. She is a good leader in the cottage and for good.
|This report is incorrect. Iva didn’t make a “permanent filling” but rather performed an unauthorized and unsupervised emergency extraction in the absence of the Dental Officer. The Dental Officer later praised her action, but her violation of the rules regarding unsupervised work resulted in this minor disciplinary action.
7. Release Progress Report, 20 Jan 1956
Iva has had only one disciplinary report filed against her, in June 1953. This was noted in last progress report.
Since August 8, 1951, Iva has been assigned to work in the Hospital, in the office of the Chief Medical Officer. Her duties have consisted of secretarial, clerical, medical technician (x-ray, fluoroscopy, BMR, EKG and the more complicated laboratory tests) and dental aide. All of these duties were too much for one person and another inmate was assigned and relieved her of the more routine clerical assignments. In the summer of 1955, another inmate was assigned to learn the medical technical duties, so that no one inmate would be solely responsible for all these areas. This was both for the protection of the hospital as well as to further relieve the burden of work on Iva.
Iva showed a remarkable facility for this type of work as well as an enormous capacity for all work. She has all the attributes generally desirable in an employee. These attributes include initiative, loyalty, sense of perspective and a high degree of application. Despite physical handicaps, Iva has proved herself to be exceedingly valuable in her hospital assignments. She has accomplished a great deal of difficult work painstakingly and accurately, and as her release draws near, she has thoroughly trained two other inmates to do the work that she has done. Everything she did, she did well. It seemed to her supervisor that her conscience and training would not allow her to do otherwise.
Iva has continued to live in Cottage #7. In the cottage she is a quiet, efficient person. She has volunteered for tasks that she felt needed to be done, and has never failed to carry out any of her duties commendably, and has always conducted herself in a quiet dignified manner. She has been considered in terms of friend by the older cottage members, and as a “big sister” by all the younger ones. She is listed as helper for the cottage officer and responds in a most commendable way at all times.
Last Update: 01 January 2020
Copyright © 1995–present by Dafydd Neal Dyar