An Inventory of the Inazo Nitobe Papers, 1890-1991

(4 boxes; 1.75 linear ft.)

RG 5/107


© Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.  
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399 U.S.A.  

Seal of Swarthmore College
Table of contents
Abstract
Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) was a Japanese Quaker diplomat, agriculturist, and educator who sought to act as an emissary of understanding between Japan and Western nations. He was born in Morioka, Japan, in the waning days of feudal Japan and became a Christian during his studies in Sapporo. He was further educated at Tokyo University and in 1884 became one of the first Japanese students to study in the United States. He joined the Society of Friends in 1886, and in 1891, he married Mary Patterson Elkinton, a Quaker from a prominent Philadelphia family, under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). This marriage was highly controversial at the time and against the wishes of both families. Mary P. Elkinton (1857-1938) was the daughter of Joseph S. and Malinda (Patterson) Elkinton. The Elkinton family was prominently involved in social causes. After the W.W.I, Nitobe became Under Secretary-General to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, a post he held until 1926. He later returned to Japan where he held government positions and served as Chairman of the Institute of Pacific Relations. A state funeral was held in Japan attended by 3,000 people. and in 1984, his portrait was selected for the 5,000 Japanese yen note. He is highly respected as an internationalist, an important individual who helped in the transition of Japan to a modern society, as well as pioneer educator and spiritual man. The collection chiefly contains secondary biographical material concerning Inazo Nitobe and his wife Mary Patterson (Elkinton) Nitobe and their correspondence with the Elkinton family (1890-1938). It also contains some Nitobe writings and speeches and miscellaneous material.

Background note:
Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) was a Japanese Quaker diplomat, agriculturist, and educator who sought to act as an emissary of understanding between Japan and Western nations. He was born in Morioka, Japan, in the waning days of feudal Japan, a descendant of samurai, and became a Christian during his studies in Sapporo. He was further educated at Tokyo University and in 1884 became one of the first Japanese students to study in the United States, first at Allegheny College in Pa. and then at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Md. He joined the Society of Friends in 1886, and in 1891, he married Mary Patterson Elkinton, a Quaker from a prominent Philadelphia family, under the care of Philadelphia Monthly Meeting (Orthodox). This marriage was highly controversial at the time and against the wishes of both families. Mary P. Elkinton (1857-1938) was the daughter of Joseph S. and Malinda (Patterson) Elkinton. The Elkinton family was prominently involved in social causes in Philadelphia, Pa.

After the W.W.I, Nitobe became Under Secretary-General to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, a post he held until 1926. He later returned to Japan where he held government positions and served as Chairman of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The Nitobes' only child died in infancy, and they adopted two children: Inazo Nitobe's nephew, Yoshio, and a daughter, Kotoko, a distant relative. Nitobe died in British Columbia, Canada, in 1933 while representing Japan at a the Fifth Conference of the Institute of Pacific Relations. A state funeral was held in Japan attended by 3,000 people. and in 1984, his memory was honored when his portrait was selected for the 5,000 Japanese yen note. He is highly respected as an internationalist, an important individual who helped in the transition of Japan to a modern society, as well as pioneer educator and spiritual man.

Scope and content
This collection contains the papers of Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933), Japanese Quaker diplomat, agriculturist, and educator who sought to act as an emissary of understanding between Japan and Western nations. He is highly respected as an internationalist, an important individual who helped in the transition of Japan to a modern society, as well as pioneer educator and essayist. It includes chiefly biographical articles concerning Inazo Nitobe and his wife, Mary P. (Elkinton) Nitobe, family correspondence, writings and speeches, and some miscellaneous material.

Arrangement
The collection is divided into four series

  1. Biographical (mostly articles concerning Inazo and Mary P. Nitobe
  2. Correspondence, 1890-1997
  3. Writings and speeches
  4. Miscellaneous

Administrative and Other Descriptive Information

Restrictions
Most of the Nitobe correspondence has been microfilmed. Access is through microfilm when available. Collection is open for research.

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Preferred citation
[Indicate the cited item or series here], Inazo Nitobe Papers, RG 5 / 107, Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College

Acquisition Information
Donor: J. Passmore Elkinton, ca. 1964

Donor: David C. and Marian Elkinton, 1976, 1985, 1992

Note: J. Passmore Elkinton was the nephew of Mary (Elkinton) Nitobe. David C. Elkinton is his son.

Processing information
Came to FHL partially processed. Later additions from the same donor concerning the family added to collection. In January 2002, the finding aid was revised and clarified.

Separated material
The following material, originally part of the collection, was transferred to FHL books collection in 1987:

Related material
See also:

Bibliography
Partial list of contents of biographical material in Series 1:


Added entries

Subjects
  • Elkinton family
  • International relations -- Quakers
  • International relations and culture -- Japan
  • International relations social aspects
  • Japan -- Quakers
  • Japan -- Social life and customs
  • Quakers - Social life and customs
  • Quakers--Japan

    Additional Authors and Contributors
  • Institute of Pacific Relations
  • League of Nations
  • Nitobe, Inazo, 1862-1933
  • Nitobe, Mary Patterson Elkinton, 1857-1938

    Contact information

    Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College.
    [http://www.swarthmore.edu/Library/friends]
    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081-1399 U.S.A.

    ©ca. 1965



    Sponsor:
    Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

     


    Collection inventory

    Notes
    Note to Researchers: To request materials, please note both the location and box numbers shown below:


    Ser. 1. Biographical material regarding Inazo Nitobe and his wife, Mary Patterson Elkinton Nitobe, 1890-1988, n.d.

    Biographical material
    Box 1

    Material regarding Inazo Nitobe and his wife, Mary Patterson Elkinton Nitobe, arranged chronologically. See bibliography for detailed list of articles.

    2. Family Correspondence, 1890-1994

    Inazo Nitobe, 1890-1926

    Correspondence and related papers. 20 original manuscripts on fragile paper, microfilmed. NOTE: Joseph Scotton Elkinton (1830-1905) was the father of Mary Elkinton Nitobe; Joseph Elkinton (1859-1920) was his son and her brother; and Joseph Passmore Elkinton (1887-1971) was the son of Joseph Elkinton (1859-1920). David Cope Elkinton (b. 1915) is the son of Joseph P. Elkinton. Yoshio Nitobe (1892-1935) and Kotoko Nitobe (1890-1985), adopted children of Inazo and Mary Nitobe, were married in 1917 and had two children, Takeko and Maketo. Takeko married Eilyn Katoh, and they had a daughter, Yukiko.

    Inazo Nitobe, 1890-1926, Sent to:
    Box 2

    Sarah W. Elkinton
    1890 2mo 21
    Box 2

    Beulah M. Rhoads
    1891 1mo 4
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1891 4mo 23
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1891 8mo 22
    (with typed copy)
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1892 4mo 21
    (typed copy)
    Box 2

    Joseph Scotton Elkinton
    1892 9mo 14
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1893 2mo 19
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1894 11mo 23
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1895 3mo 22
    Box 2

    Joseph Elkinton
    1895 7mo 4
    Box 2

    Ragged School Account
    1895 12mo 31
    Box 2

    Also includes a District Nurse Account.

    Joseph Elkinton
    1896 1mo
    Box 2

    “Extracted from a letter written by Inazo Nitobe to his wife"
    1896 8mo
    Box 2

    Joseph Scotton Elkinton
    1899 2mo 15
    Box 2

    Elizabeth C. Dunn
    1900 1mo 30
    Box 2

    Robert Hoag
    1904 8mo 11
    Box 2

    Anna H. Chace
    1919 8mo 12
    (typed copy)
    Box 2

    J. Passmore Elkinton
    1922 6mo 2
    Box 2

    [Richard R.?] Wood
    1926 10mo 7
    Box 2

    Correspondence
    1890-1926
    (photocopies)
    Box 2

    Photocopies of preceeding correspondence.

    Mary Elkinton Nitobe, 1891-1938

    72 letters, mostly to her family and friends in America. Fragile originals: Have been photocopied and the photocopies integrated into other folders. Most also have been microfilmed

    Letters sent, mostly to her family and friends in America
    1891-1892
    Box 2

    Letters sent
    1893-1903
    Box 2

    Letters sent
    1904-1905
    Box 2

    Letters sent
    1922-1935 and n.d.
    Box 2

    Letters sent
    1891-1935
    Box 2

    Letters received
    1904-1938 and n.d.
    Box 2

    Bound volume containing manuscript copies of letters sent
    1891-1892
    (microfilmed)
    Box 2

    Note: letters are on pp. 100-282, but pp. 13-89 are Sarah W. Passmore's lesson book for Geology and Art, Westtown School, 1878-1880.

    Kotoko Nitobe, 1950-1991

    Letters sent
    1950-1962
    Box 3

    Letter to David Elkinton and correspondence Yoshio Katoko
    1973
    Box 3

    Takeko Nitobe Katoh and Eilyn Katoh, correspondence
    1953-1991
    Box 3

    J. Passmore Elkinton, 1904-1970

    Correspondence
    1904-1935
    (microfilmed)
    Box 3

    Correspondence
    1938-1949
    (microfilmed)
    Box 3

    Correspondence
    1954-1970 and n.d.
    Box 3

    David C. Elkinton, 1982-1994

    Correspondence
    1982-1994 and n.d.
    Box 4

    Correspondence
    1983-1985
    Box 4

    Correspondence
    1984-1987
    Box 4

    Miscellaneous
    1911-1951 n.d.
    Box 4

    Ser. 3. Writings and Speeches, 1906, 1932, n.d.

    Inazo Nitobe, Radio Addresses
    1932
    (microfilmed)
    Box 4

    Inazo Nitobe, miscellaneous
    Box 4

    Mary Elkinton Nitobe, printed articles
    Box 4

    Ser. 4. Miscellaneous, 1888-1984, n.d.

    Pictures of Inazo Nitobe and family
    Box 4

    Photos, Takeko Nitobe and Eilyn Katoh
    ca. 1953, 1987-88
    Box 4

    Medal, Japanese Red Cross
    1888
    Box 4

    Memorials to Inazo Nitobe
    (memorials)
    Box 4

    Description of Nitobe's Mt. Fugi painting, from Yoma Abiko
    1941
    Box 4

    Stamp and first day issue
    1952
    Box 4

    Commemorative stamp (10 yen); First Day Issue cover, issued October 16, 1952, 4"x6.5", showing portrait of Inazo Nitobe on the stamp and a photo of him at his desk on the cover. 20 mint stamps included in packet.

    Title Pages Used in Microfilming Nitobe Material
    Box 4

    "Bridge Across the Pacific," script for Japanese television documentary first broadcasted December 1983.
    1983
    Box 4

    Memorial Garden and Asian Centre, Vancouver, B.C., visited by David and Marian Elkinton
    1983
    Box 4

    Bank note (5000 Yen) bearing Nitobe's portrait
    1984
    Box 4

    Map of Tungchwan District
    Box 4

    Postcards (7) and Iwate Prefecture scenes (6) and others (2).
    Box 4

    Brochures (3) in Japanese: Nitobe Museums, Marioka.
    Box 4

    Frederick Leman Whelen, calling card
    Box 4

    Letter to William and Eleanor Elkinton from Hakodate
    3/2/1891
    Box 4

    Photocopies of transfer correspondence of Montsuki (ceremonial robe with family crest) of Inazo Nitobe to Morioka Museum of Great Predecessors, Morioka, Japan
    Box 4

    Includes 12 color slides of the robe. [2 color prints (1) of robe and (2) of J. Passmore Elkinton's letter of explanation are on display at the museum.]