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Seiko Munemitsu and Gonzalo Mendez lease agreements

 Collection — Container: Mendez v. Westminster Box 2, Folder: 6-7
Identifier: 2009-041-r

Scope and Contents

This collection contains original leases for farm land made between Seiko L. Munemitsu and Gonzalo Mendez in Westminster, CA. The first land lease was signed on December 20, 1944 and the second land lease was signed on August 31, 1945. The Mendez family took over the farms and ran them successfully while the Munemitsu family were in Japanese internment camps.


  • Creation: 1944 - 1945

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions. For further copyright information, please contact the archivist.

Biographical / Historical

Seiko Lincoln "Tad" Munemitsu was a Japanese American who was born in the United States to his father Seima and his mother Masako. By the 1940s, the Munemitsu family ran a farm in Westminster, CA. Because Seiko's parents were Japanese immigrants they were legally barred from owning property in the United States and their son Tad assumed ownership of their farm as a child. In 1942Masako and her four children were relocated by the US government to a Japanese American incarceration camp in Poston, Arizona and Seima was sent to detention centers in New Mexico and Colorado before reuniting with his family in Poston two and half years later.

The 1946 Mendez v. Westminster class action lawsuit is also known as Gonzalo Mendez, et al., Petitioners.vs Westminister [sic] School District of Orange County, et al., Respondents. The petitioners and their attorney, David Marcus, won their case against Mexican American school segregation in Orange County, CA in 1947.

The case’s petitioners were fathers and children from five Latin American families. They were Gonzalo Mendez and his children Sylvia, Gonzalo, and Geronimo; William Guzman and his son Billy; Frank Palomino and his children Arthur and Sally; Thomas Estrada and his children Clara, Roberto, Francisco, Syria, Daniel and Evelina; and Lorenzo Ramirez and his children Ignacio, Silverio and Jose.

The case’s respondents were four Orange County school districts and their administrators. They included Westminster School District of Orange County’s Trustees J. A. Houlihan, Lewis Conrady, and Ray Schmitt, as well as Superintendent J. Harris. For Garden Grove Elementary School District of Orange County, they included Trustees William C. Noble, Robert B. Smith and Paul Applebury, as well as Superintendent James L. Kent. For Santa Ana City Schools, they included Board of Education members George R. Wells, Hiram M. Currey, James K. Givens, Daniel W. Stover and George J. Busdieker, as well as Superintendent Frank A. Henderson and Secretary Harold Yost. For El Modeno [sic] School District, they included Trustees Henry Campbell, Theodore Hower, Clarence Johnson, and Superintendent Harold Hammarsten.


.02 Linear Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection contains two original leases for farm land made between Seiko Munemitsu and Gonzalo Mendez in Westminster, CA in the 1940s.

Physical Location

Leatherby Libraries, Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Janice Munemitsu.

Finding Aid for the Seiko Munemitsu and Gonzalo Mendez lease agreements
Part of the Mendez et al. v. Westminster School District of Orange County et al. archives
Lauren Abel, Victoria Perez
02/27/2012. Last updated: 12/01/2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries Repository

Chapman University
One University Drive
Orange CA 92866 USA US