In addition to his art collection, Charles Lang Freer gave a substantial number of books from his personal library to the Smithsonian Institution. These books are wide ranging in subject matter including not only Asian and American Art but also mythology, anthropology, auction catalogs, and travel guides. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library staff has been working to find them in its collection and identify Mr. Freer’s books in the Smithsonian Institution Research Information System (SIRIS).
Author: Mike Smith
The article A Scholar Diplomat’s Legacy: William Woodville Rockhill and His Chinese Language Books at the Freer Gallery of Art Library, by Lily Kecskes, former Head Librarian of the Freer-Sackler Library, and published in the Journal of East Asian Libraries, number 146 (October 2008), describes an important donation in the history of the Freer-Sackler Library. The article details a 1927 gift of precious and rare Chinese language books to the Smithsonian Institution made by Mrs. Rockhill, widow of the scholar-diplomat William Woodville Rockhill. It notes that the donated books “ranged, in date of publication from 1659 to 1913 and covered a wide range of subjects, including religion, history, geography, literature, and culture of Central Asia, Tibet, and Mongolia.”