The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers (1906-1976) document the professional and personal lives of a Japanese-American family in Boston during the twentieth century. The patriarch, Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886-1982), was an influential Asian art dealer and the papers also document the professional experiences of Asian art dealers in the United States during the early and mid 20th century. Mr. Yatsuhashi worked at the antiquities firm of Yamanaka & Company before starting his own Asian antiquities shop in 1945. Included in the papers, portions in Japanese, are correspondence; catalogues relating to the Alien Property Custodian's 1944 liquidation of Yamanaka & Company's New York branch's holdings; photographs depicting art objects and shop interiors, the Yatsuhashi family, Yamanaka & Company, and extended family, friends, and colleagues; and items belonging to Mr. Yatsuhashi's wife, Shigeki, and some of their children.
Scope and Contents:
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers (1906-1976) document the professional and personal lives of a Japanese-American family in Boston during the twentieth century. The patriarch, Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886-1982), was an influential Asian art dealer and the papers also document the professional experiences of Asian art dealers in the United States during the early and mid 20th century. Mr. Yatsuhashi worked at the antiquities firm of Yamanaka & Company before starting his own Asian antiquities shop in 1945. Included in the papers, portions in Japanese, are correspondence; catalogues relating to the Alien Property Custodian's 1944 liquidation of Yamanaka & Company's New York branch's holdings; photographs depicting art objects and shop interiors, the Yatsuhashi family; Yamanaka & Company, and extended family, friends, and colleagues; and items belonging to Mr. Yatsuhashi's wife, Shigeki, and some of their children.
The collection has been organized into four series.
Series 1: Yatsuhashi Harumichi papers, 1912-1965, undated
Series 2: Business Correspondence, Boston Art and Book Shop, 1960s
Series 3: Other family members, 1937, 1966, undated
— Subseries 3.1: Yatsuhashi Shigeki
— Subseries 3.2: Yatsuhashi S.
— Subseries 3.3: Yatsuhashi Masao
— Subseries 3.4: Yatsuhashi Sumiko
Series 4: Photographs, 1907-1976, undated
— Subseries 4.1:Still prints and portraits
— Subseries 4.2: Photo albums
Asian art dealer and merchant Yatsuhashi Harumichi (1886- 1982) was born in Tano, Japan, on December 15, 1886. Upon completion of his studies in Osaka, Mr. Yatsuhashi secured employment in the Osaka office of the prestigious Asian antiquities firm, Yamanaka & Company. (For more information about Yamanaka & Company, please see: Lawton, T. (1995). Yamanaka Sadajiro: Advocate for Asian art. Orientations, 26 (1), 80-93.) In 1907 he joined Yamanka & Company's branch office in Boston, Massachusetts, as its general manager and treasurer of the company's Asian division. Located at 424 Boylston Street, the store was a center for Chinese art, as well as for Japanese assorted goods.
In 1913 Yatsuhashi married Shigeki. They produced two sons (Michio and Masao) and two daughters (Sumiko and Kukiye). (Harumichi Yatsuhashi, Oriental art authority and Brookline resident. (1982 December 3). The Boston Globe, obituaries.)
Following the United States' entrance into World War II, the Alien Property Custodian seized the Yamanaka shops in New York, Boston, and Chicago. The holdings were sold at auction in May and June, 1944. In 1945, Yatsuhashi Harumichi and his son Michio opened their own Asian art dealership at 420 Boylston Street in Boston.
Yatsuhashi Harumichi fostered exchange between his native and adopted homeland. He was a member and officer (president in 1931) of the Japan Society of Boston since 1921, an avid supporter of the Boston Marathon, and a founder of the Boston-Kyoto Sister City Foundation. (Boston Globe, 1982 December 4. )
Michio Yatsuhashi, who helped his father open the Yatsuhashi antique shop, died prematurely as a result of cancer in 1981. One year later, Mr. Yatsuhashi died in Boston at the age of 96. He was survived by his daughters, Sumiko and Kikuye and one son, Masao.
1886 December 15 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi born in Japan
1905 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi graduates college in Osaka, Japan
1905 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi joins the antiquities firm of Yamanaka & Co.
1907 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi joins the Boston branch of Yamanaka & Co.
1913 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi and Shigeki marry
[ca. 1918 - 1919] -- Masao Yatsuhashi (son) born
1944 -- Yamanaka & Company New York, Boston, and Chicago shops are seized by the Alien Property Custodian and its holdings are sold at auction
1945 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi and son Michio open an Asian antiquities shop in Boston
1961 -- Yatsuhashi Shigeki dies
1981 -- Michio Yatsuhashi dies
1982 December 1 -- Yatsuhashi Harumichi dies at Massachusetts General Hospital at the age of 96
The Yatsuhashi Harumichi Family Papers were donated to the Archives by James Arthur Marinaccio in 1994. 2022 addition was purchased by the Archives.
Papers concerning Freer's art collecting activities, including correspondence, diaries, art inventories, scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeil Whistler and other press clippings, and photographs. In addition to Freer's own correspondence, the papers include correspondence collected by Freer of James McNeill Whistler and of Whistler collector Richard A. Canfield, correspondence of Freer's assistant Katharine Nash Rhoades, and correspondence regarding Freer's bequest to the Smithsonian Institution.
Correspondence, ca. 1860-1921, includes Freer's correspondence, 1876-1920, with artists, dealers, collectors, museums, and public figures; 30 v. of letterpress books containing copies of letters sent, 1892-1910; correspondence collected by Freer of James McNeill Whistler, and his wife Beatrix, 186?-1909, with Lady Colin Campbell, Thomas R. Way, Alexander Reid, Whistler' mother, Mrs. George W. Whistler, and others; correspondence of Whistler collector Richard A. Canfield, 1904-1913, regarding works in Canfield's collection; and correspondence of Freer's assistant, Katharine Nash Rhoades, 1920-1921, soliciting Freer letters and regarding the settlement of his estate.
Also included are twenty-nine pocket diaries, 1889-1890, 1892-1898, 1900-1919, recording daily activities, people and places visited, observations, and comments; a diary kept by Freer's caretaker, Joseph Stephens Warring, recording daily activities at Freer's Detroit home, 1907-1910;
Inventories, n.d. and 1901-1921, of American, European, and Asian art in Freer's collection, often including provenance information; vouchers, 1884-1919, documenting his purchases; five volumes of scrapbooks of clippings on James McNeill Whistler, 1888-1931, labeled "Various," "Peacock Room," "Death, etc.," "Paris, etc.," and "Boston...London" ; three volumes of newsclippings, 1900-1930, concerning Freer and the opening of the Freer Gallery of Art;
correspondence regarding Freer's gift and bequest to the Smithsonian Institution, 1902-1916; and photographs, ca. 1880-1930, of Freer, including portraits by Alvin Langdon Coburn and Edward Steichen, Freer with others, Freer in Cairo, China and Japan, Freer's death mask, and his memorial service, Kyoto, 1930; photographs of artists and others, including Thomas Dewing, Ernest Fenellosa, Katharine Rhoades taken by Alfred Stieglitz, Rosalind B. Philip, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Abbott H. Thayer, Dwight Tryon, and Whistler; and photographs relating to Whistler, including art works depicting him, grave and memorial monuments, works of art, the Peacock Room, and Whistler's memorial exhibition at the Copley Society.
Among Freer's correspondents are: Otto Bacher, Bernard Berenson, Siegfried Bing, Laurence Binyon, W.K. Bixby, Sigisbert Chretien Bosch-Reitz, Charles H. Caffin, Colin Campbell, Richard Canfield, William Merritt Chase, Frederick Stuart Church, Alfred Vance Churchill, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Arthur Wesley Dow, Ernest Fenollosa, Albert Gallatin, John Gellatly, Frederick W. Gookin, Sadakichi Hartmann, Frank J. Hecker, Dikran Kelekian, M. Knoedler & Co., Berthold Laufer, Lien Hui Ching Collection, W.A. Livingstone, Frederick McCormick, Bunkio Matsuki, Gari Melchers, Agnes Meyer, Eugene Meyer, Charles Moore, Yozo Nomura, Rosalind Birnie Philip, Charles A. Platt, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the Smithsonian Institution, Joseph Stephens Warring, Thomas Way, Abbott Handerson Thayer, Dwight W. Tryon, Charles Walcott of the Smithsonian Institution, Beatrix Whistler, James McNeill Whistler, K.T. Wong, Yamanaka & Co., and Seaouke Yue.
All correspondence except letterpress books: arranged alphabetically by correspondent; letterpress books are chonological.
Biographical / Historical:
Art collector; Detroit, Michigan. Collected Asian, American, and European art, including a large collection of works by James McNeill Whistler. Founded the Freer Gallery of Art, which is now part of the Smithsonian Institution.
Selected for microfilming from the Charles Lang Freer papers at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. Microfilmed 1992 by the Archives of American Art with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Fellowships and Grants Research Resources Program. Portions of the correspondence and the letterpress books were previously filmed by the Freer in the 1970 (AAA reels 77, 453-456, and 1217-1232); those reels have been replaced by this microfilming project. See Finding Aid for information on papers not selected for microfilming.
The Archives of American art does not own the original papers. Use is limited to the microfilm copy.