Update:

We have resumed some on-campus services, including book pickup, virtual consultations, and fulfilling scanning/digitization requests. Many library materials are available online, but our buildings remain closed until further notice.

The Japanese Art and Design Collection

A trove of photographs, prints and design samples from the collection of Ernest Goodrich Stillman.
古谷紅燐. 精華. 東京 : 芸艸堂, 明治39 [1906].
Harvard-Yenching Library

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, interest in the Japanese arts were on rise in both Europe and the United States.

In the summer of 1905, Ernest Goodrich Stillman, who was then a sophomore, visited Japan with other diplomats and attended a dinner party hosted by Emperor Meiji. Stillman collected Japanese artworks until his death in 1949, and he eventually donated more than 1,700 items to Harvard Library.

Items in the collection include:

  • Photographs
  • Images, like colored woodblock prints of kimono patterns 
  • Design samples of crafts, including lacquerware and pottery
  • Ikebana-related materials

The majority of this collection comes from Stillman, and includes items rarely seen at university libraries in the United States. 

Accessing These Materials