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Harvard–Yenching Library

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Harvard-Yenching Library
Harvard-Yenching Library exterior.jpg
Harvard-Yenching Library exterior
CountryUnited States
Established1928 Edit this on Wikidata
Location2 Divinity Ave Cambridge, MA
Branch ofHarvard Library
Items collectedMaterials in East Asian studies
Size1.5 million volumes
Access and use
Access requirementsHarvard ID required
WebsiteHarvard-Yenching Library
Harvard–Yenching Library
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese哈佛燕京圖書館
Simplified Chinese哈佛燕京图书馆
Japanese name

The Harvard–Yenching Library is the primary location for East Asia-related collections at Harvard Library. In addition to East Asian languages (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Manchu, and Mongolian), it houses collections in European languages and Southeast Asian language (Vietnamese). Totaling more than 1.5 million volumes, the Harvard-Yenching Library has one of the largest collections in East Asian studies outside of Asia.[1] The library has been located at 2 Divinity Avenue on the Cambridge campus of Harvard University since around 1957. The building was originally built in 1929 for Harvard's Institute of Geographical Exploration and currently houses part of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, in addition to the Harvard-Yenching Library.[2]

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In 1879, Ko K'un-hua (Chinese: 戈鯤化), a scholar from China, was engaged to teach the first course in the Chinese language offered at Harvard University. The small collection of books that was purchased for this course became Harvard College Library's first acquisitions in any East Asian language. In 1914, two Japanese professors (Masaharu Anesaki, Unokichi Hattori [ja]) came from Tokyo Imperial University to lecture at Harvard. They donated several important sets of Japanese publications on Sinology and Buddhism to the Harvard College Library, thus launching Harvard's Japanese collection. In 1927, Archibald Cary Coolidge, head of Harvard's libraries, asked Alfred Kaiming Chiu [zh], then a graduate student at Harvard, to organize and catalog these collections.[3] The library was formally founded in 1928, as the Chinese-Japanese Library of the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

Following World War II, the library began collecting more social science publications. The once predominantly humanistic collection evolved into a research library that encompasses East Asian materials in all academic disciplines. A. Kaiming Chiu served as head librarian of the library until his retirement in 1964, after which he was succeeded by Eugene Wu. In 1965, the Chinese-Japanese Library of the Harvard-Yenching Institute was renamed the Harvard-Yenching Library to reflect the expanded nature of the library's collections. The Library eventually added Tibetan, Mongolian and Manchu publications, as well as Western language monographs and journals. A Korean collection was added in 1951, and a Vietnamese collection in 1973. In 1976, management of the library shifted from the independent Harvard-Yenching Institute to the Harvard College Library.[4] In 1998, Eugene Wu retired and was succeeded by James Cheng.[5]

The 75th Anniversary of the Harvard-Yenching Library was celebrated in 2003 with a symposium and the publication of a volume of scholarly articles on the history of the Library and its collections.[6] In 2009, the library announced a six-year, multimillion-dollar project to digitize major sections of its rare books collection in cooperation with the National Library of China.[7]


  1. ^ Harvard-Yenching Library Collections
  2. ^ "Institute of Geographical Exploration: 1929-1952", Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University [1]
  3. ^ Eugene W. Wu, "The Founding of the Harvard-Yenching Library," Journal of East Asian Libraries 101.1 (1993): 65-69. [2]
  4. ^ Harvard-Yenching Library History
  5. ^ Ken Gewurtz, "Yenching: The Singular History of A Singular Library," Harvard Gazette "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2006-12-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Patrick Hanan, ed., Treasures of the Yenching: Seventy-Fifth Anniversity of the Harvard-Yenching Library (Cambridge, MA; Hong Kong: Harvard-Yenching Library Distributed by the Chinese University Press, 2003 ISBN 9629961024).
  7. ^ Rare Chinese Books" New York Times October 11, 2009

External links

This page was last edited on 10 September 2020, at 02:19
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