An Introduction to Rare Korean Buddhist Books in the Harvard-Yenching Library: Focusing on Min Young-gyu, Hu Shih, and Bruno Petzold

Jun 8, 2023 | 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Common Room (#136), 2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA


Park Younghwan | Professor, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Dongguk University; Harvard-Yenching Library Research Scholar 2023


Jidong Yang | Librarian, Harvard-Yenching Library

This talk aims to present new findings from my research conducted at the Harvard-Yenching Library, with a specific focus on rare Korean Buddhist books.

Firstly, I will delve into the friendship between Min Young-gyu, a prominent figure in modern Korean studies, and Hu Shih from China, examining their correspondence.

Secondly, I will discuss the significance of a rare book owned by Bruno Petzold, a German individual residing in Japan. These materials are invaluable in understanding the exchange of Buddhist scriptures between Korea and Japan.

Thirdly, I will explore additional Korean texts that were not directly imported from Korea. In some instances, Buddhist scriptures were brought to Japan during the early Joseon Dynasty and eventually made their way to the Harvard-Yenching Library in the 1950s.

By examining these cases, we can gain insight into the value and distinctive characteristics of ancient Korean Buddhist books held in the Harvard-Yenching Library. Simultaneously, we can shed light on the historical context surrounding the exchange of Buddhist books between Korea and China, as well as Korea and Japan.

Keywords: Harvard-Yenching Library, Rare Books of Korean Buddhism, Hu Shih, Min Yeong-gyu, Petzold

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