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Papers of Edwin O. Reischauer


The Papers of Edwin O. Reischauer chiefly consist of Reischauer's personal and professional correspondence from 1961 to 1981, spanning his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1961-1966), his return from Japan, and his period as an instructor at Harvard (1950-1961; 1966-1981). The collection documents Reischauer's interests and activities pertaining to Japanese and East Asian society, government and culture, foreign policy, media and film, and teaching and scholarhsip.


  • 1933-1990


Researcher access

Open for research with the following exceptions: Harvard University records are restricted for 50 years. Personnel and student records are closed for 80 years. Where available, specific restrictions are noted at the folder level. Requires review by archivist.


63.5 cubic feet (196 containers)
The Papers of Edwin O. Reischauer documents an extensive period of Reischauer's life, including his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Japan, his return from Japan and his period as an instructor at Harvard. The collection contains correspondences; memoranda; reports; student papers; letters of recommendation; minutes; photographs; maps; teaching material including syllabi, examinations and maps; manuscripts including drafts, articles, letters to the editor, book reviews and miscellaneous published and unpublished work by Reischauer; photographs; and other papers. Also included are general correspondences with individuals in the scholarly, public and governmental worlds as well as personal letters to friends and family. The collection also contains correspondence related to Reischauer's membership on the Board of Trustees of the Asia Foundation; Reischauer's tenure as editor of the Harvard University Press American Foreign Policy Series Library including correspondence with Reischauer's predecessor as editor, Crane Brinton; his tenure as U.S. Ambassador to Japan; the Japanese Institute at Harvard; critiques of work by colleagues and students; publishing endeavors, grant proposal and other projects. Material from his service as U.S. Ambassador includes scrapbooks, mementoes, newspaper clippings including extensive coverage of his stabbing, itinerary, congressional statements, photographs, a collection of Japanese publications as well as U.S. Embassy Press Summaries of Japanese Articles on the Ambassador. The collection also includes autobiographical material including a bibliography of his work, resumes, military career information and a biographical profile.

Reischauer's wide ranging interest include Japanese and Far Eastern society, government and Culture; foreign policy; media and film; teaching and scholarship including research centers; the private sector including university relations with foundations and the corporate world; funds and trust; commissions, conferences and committees; and faculty and University affairs. A general theme is Reischauer's paramount concern with East-West relations, understanding and goodwill.

Biographical note on Edwin O. Reischauer

Edwin Oldfather Reischauer (1910-1990) was professor of Japanese history at Harvard from 1950 to 1961, and served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan from 1961 to 1966. Reischauer served as director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute from 1956 to 1961. Upon his return from Japan in 1966, he became University Professor at Harvard. The Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard is named in his honor.


The collection is arranged in 20 series:
  1. Family correspondence, 1945-1966 (HUGFP 73.6)
  2. Correspondence, 1933-1967 (HUGFP 73.8)
  3. Correspondence and other papers, 1966-1981 (HUGFP 73.10)
  4. Correspondence and other papers 1966-1981: contents list, 1966-1981 (HUGFP 73.10.1)
  5. Correspondence, 1981-1990 (HUGFP 73.10.2)
  6. Correspondence during time as ambassador, [1961-1966] (HUGFP 73.12)
  7. Correspondence and other papers relating to American Foreign Policy Series Library, 1954-1976 (HUGFP 73.20)
  8. Correspondence, minutes, and other papers relating to the Asia Foundation, 1966-1976 (HUGFP 73.22)
  9. Correspondence, chronological files, 1981-1990 (HUGFP 73.25)
  10. Letters of recommendation, 1967-1983 (HUGFP 73.28)
  11. Scrapbooks, 1961-1967 (HUGFP 73.32)
  12. Manuscripts and related papers, 1931-1988 (HUGFP 73.45)
  13. Papers relating to ambassadorial years, 1961-1967 (HUGFP 73.50)
  14. Papers relating to teaching, 1940-1981 (HUGFP 73.63)
  15. Papers relating to teaching, 1955-1981 (HUGFP 73.65)
  16. Papers relating to students, 1967-1981 (HUGFP 73.67)
  17. Japanese publications, 1961-1966 (HUG 73.80)
  18. Newspaper clippings related to Edwin Reischauer, 1955-1990 (HUGFP 73.85)
  19. Correspondence and other papers: Contents list, 1941-1990 for HUGFP 73.8 and HUGFP 73.10.2, [1933-1967, 1981-1990] (HUGFP 73.86)
  20. Photographs, 1961-1972 and undated (HUGFP 73.90 p)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to the Harvard University Archives in three accessions from the Reischauer Institute:
  1. July 23, 1987; Accession 11165
  2. July 22, 1991; Accession 12234
  3. May 22, 1995; Accession 13089

Related Materials

In the Harvard University Archives:
  1. Papers of Edwin O. Reischauer [accessions], 1910-1990. (Accessions 17302 and 17581)
  2. Edwin O. Reischauer publications and reference material (HUGB R356.72)
  3. Records of the East Asian Research Center, circa 1955-1976 (UAV 345.127)
  4. Haru M. Reischauer personal archive 1890-1995 (HUM 389):
  5. Several photographs of Edwin O. Resichauer are available in the Records of the Office of News and Public Affairs : Photographs (UAV 605):

Processing Information

This finding aid was created by Jennifer Pelose in May 2020. Information for this finding aid was assembled from legacy paper inventories, reference sources, and container management data. The collection was not re-examined.
Link to catalog
Reischauer, Edwin O. (Edwin Oldfather), 1910-1990. Papers of Edwin O. Resichauer, 1933-1990 : an inventory
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Harvard University Archives Repository

Holding nearly four centuries of materials, the Harvard University Archives is the principal repository for the institutional records of Harvard University and the personal archives of Harvard faculty, as well as collections related to students, alumni, Harvard-affiliates and other associated topics. The collections document the intellectual, cultural, administrative and social life of Harvard and the influence of the University as it emerged across the globe.

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