Special Collections and University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries

Benjamin Smith Lyman Japanese Book Collection, 1664-1898

(87 linear feet)
Call no.: RB 006

A prominent geologist and mining engineer, Benjamin Smith Lyman traveled to Japan in the 1870s at the request of the Meiji government, helping introduce modern surveying and mining techniques. Omnivorous in his intellectual pursuits, Lyman took an interest in the Japanese language and printing, collecting dozens of contemporary and antiquarian volumes during his travels.

Lyman’s book collection begins with his background in the natural sciences, but runs the gamut from language to literature, religion, the arts, and culture. With several hundred volumes, the collection includes a number of works dating to the eighteenth century and earlier, and while the majority were printed in Japan, a number, particularly of the older works, are in Chinese.


  • Japan--History--1868-
  • Printing--Japan--History


  • Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920

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