Networks of Exchange: William E. Griffis and the Meiji Collections at Rutgers, Cornell, and Beyond

Utagawa Hiroshige III, color illustration of "New Building of No. 5 National Bank and Trading Co.", Japan ca. 1873 , Zimmerli Art Museum. The illustration shows the mixture of Eastern and Western influences from this time period.

Please join us for an exciting workshop focusing on the William Elliot Griffis Collection, Special Collections and University Archives’ premier archival collection on Meiji-era Japan. The William Elliot Griffis Collection consists of diaries, correspondence, documents, publications, photographs, maps, artifacts, and ephemera donated by the family of William Elliot Griffis (1843–1928), Rutgers College Class of 1869, after his death. In 1916, William Elliot Griffis, by then a well-known authority on Japan, was living in Ithaca, New York. He chose to donate the Japanese-language books that he had acquired over the years to Cornell University rather than to his alma mater where he had earlier donated a group of English-language books. This workshop places the Griffis Collection(s) in the context of other similar collections that document Meiji Japan (1868–1912). It brings together librarians, archivists, and scholars from Cornell University, Rutgers University, and the adjacent Reformed Church in America Archives to introduce the unique contents and contexts of their collections, that shed light on the late nineteenth to early twentieth-century networks that spanned across the Pacific. 

The program features a guest lecture by Daniel J. McKee, Ph.D., Japanese Bibliographer, Kroch Library of Cornell University on “The “Other” Griffis Collection at Cornell University,” followed by the panel of curators and researchers. The panelists are Elizabeth Pallitto, M.I., Ph.D., Archivist, Reformed Church in America; Fernanda Perrone, D. Phil., Curator of the William Elliot Griffis Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries; Nicole Simpson, Ph.D., Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Zimmerli Art Museum; and Haruko Wakabayashi, Ph.D., Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Rutgers University. With Prof. Joseph Henning of Rochester Institute of Technology as the moderator, we invite the audience to explore various topics of research and methods of use of the Griffis papers and correspondence, the Christian missionary materials, and books, photographs, and prints of the Bakumatsu/Meiji era.

The workshop will be held on Friday, March 8, 2024, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the Remigio U. Pane Room on the first floor of the Alexander Library. Lunch will be served from 1:00. This is a hybrid event. 

Register here for either in-person or remote attendance

This event is co-sponsored by Global Asias: A School of Arts and Sciences Initiative; the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures; Rutgers University Libraries; and Toshiba International Foundation. 

For the Media

For questions about this story, please contact:

Rutgers University Libraries' Communications