The Asian Studies Department at the Libraries of the Claremont Colleges collects material supporting research in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean social sciences and humanities fields. The collection includes English language periodicals and monographs as well as material in the vernacular.
The Collection developed from the 1930s to achieve its present holdings of more than 81,000 volumes. It is now one of the most outstanding among a dozen or so Chinese and Japanese collections of equivalent size in the United States. In fact, the holdings are unique in some ways among West Coast academic collections.
The Chinese collection includes many basic reference books and unusual materials. The most distinguished of these is the collection of some two hundred titles of Chinese local gazetteers (fang-chih). Many works are no longer readily available including journal titles published in the early 1900s. Numerous monographs are original editions of the Ch'ing period and the period of the 1920s and 1930s. Titles published on the Mainland before the establishment of the Communist regime, and during the 1950-1965 period prior to the Cultural Revolution, form an important part of the collection.
The Japanese collection consists of basic tools, major works, histories, and, especially, biographical materials. The Western language collection on the Far East includes some 7,500 volumes of scholarly journals, statistical reports, reference books, and monographs.
Major acquisitions include the purchase in 1969 of the library of the late Richard G. Irwin, former head of the East Asiatic Library at the University of California, Berkeley. This library is distinguished by its coverage in the fields of Chinese and Japanese literature, literary criticism, and bibliography. Another acquisition, the personal library of the historian P.K. Yu, Director of the Center for Chinese Research Material, is distinguished by its coverage in the fields of modern history and historical criticism. A major gift from Japanese art collector and appraiser Tomoo Ogita was presented to the collection upon his death in 1984. This gift contains more than one thousand art monographs and twenty-five serial titles in the Chinese, Japanese, and English languages, all of limited availability in the past and not available elsewhere at the present time. An addition of sixty volumes of Chinese Communist publications on art and art criticism was given by Joe E. McCaffree, who collected the books in Hong Kong before the Cultural Revolution (1966-1970).
The Claremont Graduate University has also been instrumental in enlarging
the Collection. Over the years, the Oral History Program has forwarded
to the department many archival materials, documents, diaries, Bibles,
and artifacts from retired Chinese missionaries in Claremont and Los Angeles.
A portion of the Blaisdell Institute's special collection in Japanese
on East Asian religion and intellectual history has been integrated into
the Asian Studies Collection.