Ruohong Li (Harvard-Yenching Institute)
Abstract: The Harvard-Yenching Institute, an independent foundation whose mission is to advance higher education in Asia, funded by the endowment from Charles Hall’s estate, has had its home in two different places during its nearly a century history: Boylston Hall and 2 Divinity Avenue, two landmark buildings on Harvard University’s main campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. While the Harvard-Yenching Institute, currently located at 2 Divinity Avenue, well known for its prestigious fellowship program and full service to support East Asian Studies in Asia as well as at Harvard, the story was seldom known and rarely told about its connection to Boylston Hall and of the early history of 2 Divinity Avenue, built for the highly controversial Institute of Geographical Exploration. Central to the story are the construction of these two buildings, funding sources, and architectural renovation and expansion in relation to the history of the development and expansion of East Asian Studies and the ill-fated field of geography, abolished as a discipline of study at Harvard. This paper is an attempt to trace the history of the two major buildings at Harvard to reestablish connection between architecture and formation and evolution of academic disciplines and highlight the important role that the Harvard-Yenching Institute plays in the development and expansion of East Asian Studies and library collection at Harvard.
About the Working Paper Series:
The Harvard-Yenching Institute is pleased to make available working papers by HYI affiliated scholars on topics in the humanities and social sciences, with special attention to the study of Asian culture. The HYI Working Paper Series welcomes submissions from all HYI-affiliated faculty and fellowship grantees (including graduate students). Scholars are invited to post papers either in English or in an Asian language. To submit a paper, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed in the HYI Working Paper Series are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. HYI Working Papers have not undergone formal review and approval. Such papers are included in this series to elicit feedback and to encourage discussion. Copyright belongs to the author(s). Papers may be downloaded for personal use only, and may not be cited without the author’s permission.