A Profile of the East Asian Collection

East Asian Collection


Rockefeller Library
10 Prospect Street
Brown University
Providence, RI 02912

The East Asian Collection, which was developed from "the Gardner Collection," is located in the third floor of the Rockefeller Library. The library began building a major Chinese resource in 1961 when the noted Harvard Sinologist, Charles Sidney Gardner donated to Brown University approximately 30,000 volumes, the majority in Chinese. The Gardner collection, as it was first known, has grown from that nucleus. In 1965, a Federal grant led to the formal establishment of the East Asia Language and Area Center, which has since become the East Asian Studies Department. Library acquisitions for the Chinese collection supplemented the Gardner Collection, and in 1980, a grant from the Japan Foundation funded the beginnings of the Japanese Collection. A Korean Collection, built through special donations and a memorial fund, has since been added. With the introduction of Japanese and Korean holdings into the Gardner Collection in the early 1980s, the collection was renamed the East Asian Collection.

As of June 30, 2014, the Collection holds totally 183,031 volumes of East Asian language books, including 151,611 volumes in Chinese, 24,743 volumes in Japanese, and 6, 677 volumes in Korean, in addition to a good amount of print serials, audio-video materials, electronic resources and other formats. Besides, there are also a good number of Western language materials on East Asian studies. It has been one the most distinguished mid-sized East Asian collections in North America.

The original Gardner gift was especially rich in works on Chinese history and literature, especially Qing dynasty history which was Professor Gardner's specialty. Most of the works from his library were published in the 1880s, with some dating as early as the beginning eighteenth century and others as late as the 1930s. The holdings of East Asian Collection cover the areas of language, literature, history, philosophy, religion, art, archaeology, and social sciences. For more information on the collection, see Collection Development Policy on East Asian Studies. See also: Article on the East Asian Collection in the Fall, 2001, issue of Bibliofile.

The Brown University Library is a member of the OCLC, but the cataloging of East Asian materials in this collection had been done on RLIN-CJK system. Starting on July 1st, 2002 , CJK cataloging was shifted to using OCLC CJK system with which the vernacular language fonts can be displayed and searched on Josiah, Brown Library's online public access catalog. The records cataloged before 1984 are accessible by using card catalogues located on the third floor of the Rockefeller Library near the East Asian book stacks.

Public services, reference, and research consultation are provided by Dr. Li Wang, Curator, and Mr. Toshiyuki Minami, Sr. Library Specialist, during the office hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM , in Room 311 in the Rockefeller Library.

Image taken from the holdings of the East Asian Collection