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Exploration & Discovery: The Henry H. Hart Collection Exhibit: The Henry H. Hart Collection at CSUEB

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.

Overview of the Henry Hart Collection

Dr. Henry Hersch Hart published several books during his lifetime, many of which were bestsellers at the time of publication. Some of his works include The Hundred Name: a Short Introduction to the Study of Chinese Poetry, Marco Polo: Venetian Adventurer, Sea Road to the Indies, and A Garden of Peonies.

As a result of his scholarship and interest in East Asia, Hart was a world traveler, collector of art and an excellent photographer. Among the things accumulated in Henry Hart’s study and travels are photographs of the places he visited, the people he saw, as well as a collection of postcards from all over the world.

Through his many years of travels and study, Hart steadily built a collection of written observations and photographic documentation of the locales he visited – this in a time when travel was considerably more difficult than we take for granted today.

Among Hart’s personal collection are colored glass slides of various scenes from his travels, as well as an extensive collection of stereo-graphs.

Among the paperwork Hart routinely generated, are drafts for his various books, outlines for his lecture subjects, personal letters and correspondence, and various ephemera from his lifetime.

All these written and visual materials form the Henry H. Hart Papers, a collection acquired by CSUEB shortly after Hart’s death in 1968, and recently formally cataloged by the CSUEB University Archives in the CSUEB University Libraries.

We invite you to view images from Hart’s Lantern Slide Collection elsewhere in this guide, and to consider many of the books he authored and materials he collected, also showcased here.


The Hart Collection was acquired by CSUEB in the late 1960s when the university was less than 10 years old. Acquisition of Dr. Hart’s papers and ephemera was part of a wide-ranging academic effort by founding library director Floyd Erickson to construct a credible Special Collections for the new university.

Dr. Hart was a San Francisco City Attorney who was also a prominent history scholar, traveler, and anthropologist by avocation. He traveled extensively in the first two decades of the 20th century, and became fascinated with early European exploration, collecting many rare and early materials on the subject (including a 17th century atlas of China, compiled by the Jesuits). Additionally, Hart published several scholarly works, and his travels generated a large collection of related materials, including hand-tinted lantern slides of his travels, and contemporaneous postcards of the period.