“Just the Right Time to Make Such a Collection”: Building a Japanese Research Library at Yale in the 1870s

"Just the Right Time to Make Such a Collection": Building a Japanese Research Library at Yale in the 1870s

William Fleming - Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara

Thursday, September 14, 2023 - 4:30pm
Sterling Memorial Library, Lecture Hall See map
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Beginning in the fall of 1875, the Yale library accessioned more than three thousand woodblock-printed Japanese volumes across a wide range of fields and genres—the first collection of its kind in the United States. This talk details the involvement of several Yale faculty, including Addison Van Name, O. C. Marsh, and J. Willard Gibbs, in initiating and funding this undertaking, as well as the key role played by a group of Japanese students who lived in New Haven in the early 1870s in assembling the collection, shipping it halfway around the world, and cataloging its contents. The talk also introduces a group of manuscripts related to the purchases that afford a valuable window onto the Japanese book market in the tumultuous decade immediately following the Meiji Restoration.  

Co-sponsored by the East Asia Library at Yale University and the Council on East Asian Studies