Some Unpublished Letters
of Townsend Harris

1941, Japan Reference Library

Harris, Townsend
Sakanishi, Dr. Shio (editor):
Some Unpublished Letters of Townsend Harris, New York, Japan Reference Library, printed by The Harbor Press, 1941, 16mo (4 5/8 x 6 1/4 in - 11.8 x 15.6 cm), decorated paper wraps with title in black on the front wrap, black and white halftone frontispiece, 1 black and white halftone plate, eight page discussion of Townsend Harris, the first United States Consul General to Japan, followed by 10 letters in edited and printed format, pages not numbered but 67 pages. Contains 10 theretofore unpublished letters by Townsend Harris contained in Janvier Papers held by the New York Public Library. The first letter was written approximately three months after his arrival in Japan (November 1856). The last letter was written in the United states several months after he resigned his post in Japan and returned (October 1862). The frontispiece depicts the US Consulate General in Shimoda. The plate is a view of Shimoda from "Kakizaki."

The letters are personal in nature and addressed to Catherine (Kate) Ann Drinker or her mother Mrs. Sandwith Drinker. The Drinkers were Americans and at the time these letters were written they were residing in Macau where Mr. Drinker had businesses in Hong Kong and Macau. Through these letters you get a glimpse into Harris's mental and physical wellbeing in Japan. While his accomplishments were great, the assignment took a great toll on his health and you get an understanding of his conclusion that the US government was not fully supporting his efforts in Japan. In one letter he comments, "Our Ships of War appear to have forgotten the road to Japan."

The book is often found with a "With compliments of the Japan Reference Library" slip (2 x 4 1/2 in) inserted loose. The slip is printed on the same paper as the covers.

The book is often found with a "With compliments of the Japan Reference Library" slip (2 x 4 1/2 in) inserted loose. The slip is printed on the same paper as the covers.

Other publications in the Japan Reference Library series are The Paper Industry and Printing in Japan by Perkins and From The Bamboo Broom by Henderson.


  • Frontispiece: US Consulate General (Simoda)
  • View of Simoda from Kakizaki


  1. Simoda, Japan, Nov 21, 1856 to Kate, includes a line drawing of the interior of the US Consulate General
  2. Simoda, Japan, July 16, 1858 to Kate
  3. Simoda, Japan, July 16, 1858 to Mrs. Drinker
  4. Simoda, Japan, November 1, 1858 to "Dear Friend"
  5. Simoda, Japan, November 1, 1858 to Kate
  6. US Legation, Yedo, August 20, 1859 to Kate
  7. US Legation, Yedo, December 6, 1860 to Kate
  8. US Legation, Yedo, July 1, 1861 to Kate (discusses murder of Heusken the preceding January)
  9. US Legation, Yedo, September 16, 1861 to Kate
  10. Willards Hotel, Washington, October 29, 1862

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