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Exploration & Discovery: The Henry H. Hart Collection Exhibit: Home

A major Library exhibit that ran between September 2013 and March 2014, highlighting the papers of Henry H. Hart within the Special Collections of the University Libraries.

Show Dates and Location

Exhibit Dates: September 1, 2013 - March 22, 2014

Exhibit Location: CSUEB University Library, Hayward Campus, Lower- and Upper-Mall

Exhibit Promotional Statement

San Francisco's Own Indiana Jones?

The Collections of Explorer, Scholar, and Anthropologist Henry H. Hart Are Housed in the CSUEB Library!

Hart's collection of materials from his life and travels provide a fascinating glimpse into another time.



This working research collection of history scholar Dr. Henry Hart, includes a montage of personal letters written by Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, H.L. Mencken, and A.E. Housman, as well as many of Hart's own published writings.

Hart’s interests ranged widely and deep: subsets of his collection are the Marco Polo and Pacific Exploration components, including a hand-illustrated and autographed 1655 Atlas of China, compiled by Jesuit missionaries.

The exhibit also includes images of physical items gathered during his travels. These include early-20th-century postcards from China and Japan, an exquisite collection  of color-tinted glass lantern slides, and much more!


Among the materials that comprise the Henry H. Hart Collection at CSUEB, are numerous published works by Hart. During the course of his travels and research, Hart wrote a great deal, and many drafts of his books, lecture notes, newspaper clippings, and personal and legal documents have thus found their way into the Hart Collection here at CSUEB.

Major periods covered by the papers include 1886-1918, 1920-1931, and 1932-1949. Hart’s lecture notes, drafts of published books, and letters show the development of cultural anthropology in the first half of the 20th century.

Things to Note

Link to collection guide/finding aid on the Online Archive of California

Use the tabs at the top of this page to learn more about Dr. Hart. You may even wish to make an appointment to view his collections first-hand!

Wall Posters for this Exhibit

Find Out More About Henry H. Hart

Who Was Henry H. Hart?

Born in 1886 in San Francisco, Dr. Henry Hersch Hart was a prominent history scholar and anthropologist. He began his career studying law in 1909, and was appointed the Assistant City Attorney of San Francisco from 1911-1916. He would eventually become deeply interested in the culture and history of China, Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as early European explorers. Hart would become a visiting lecturer at UC Berkeley on Chinese Art and Culture and Chinese History.

Exhibit Producer & Guide

Diana Wakimoto's picture
Diana Wakimoto
Fall Semester 2018
Feel free to email to schedule an appointment!

Note: I will be on leave starting approximately around Oct. 17th; after this time, please contact Jeffra Bussmann if you have biology research questions

Office: LI 2128
(Lower Mall of Library, walk in, turn right, & you will literally run into my office door)
Subjects:Biology, History

Exhibit Backstory

Henry Hart Collection a Curator's Dream

Exhibit Materials an Embarrassment of Riches!

For one thing, Henry Hart was a fascinating character - a world traveler and scholar from the early 20th century. He lived in a period in which travel was time-consuming and often difficult, and not to be undertaken lightly.

Even so, Hart's travels managed to reflect a singleness of focus because of his ability to appreciate the cultures with which he came into contact - the subjects he recorded through his photography and collecting reflect this.

Furthermore, Hart's scholarship and erudition also drove those aspects of his collections that were not a direct result of his travels: the books, maps, and other materials dealing with the Age of Exploration in Europe, alone, could form the basis of an exhibit at some point. Here, we could only allude to his interests in Marco Polo, e.g., or the activities of the Jesuit missionaries in 17th century China.

Finally, the actual materials amassed by Hart - photographs, lantern slides, postcards, cultural artifacts (Chinese gaming pieces, woodblocks), ephemera, as well as rare volumes like the Jesuit atlas, and early media technology like stereoscopes and slide projection systems - make his collection historically rich on several levels, and visually appealing as well.

We would not be surprised if there were not another exhibit or two buried in these and other as yet unexamined Hart materials in Special Collections.

- DA



Producers: Richard Apple, Jared Mariconi
Concept and Content Development: Richard Apple, Diana Wakimoto
Text, Posters and Graphic Design: Richard Apple
Archival Support: Diana Wakimoto, Anna Graves

Copyright 2013 by the CSUEB University Libraries