During the conferences of the Association for Asian Studies in Denver, CO, Dr. Li Wang, Curator of the East Asian Collection, delivered a presentation, “American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and Chinese Rare Books in Brown University Library,” at the SCSL forum on March 22, 2019. Soon after, on April 3, one of his articles, “A Cultural Envoy Who Should Not Be Forgotten: American Sinologist Charles S. Gardner and His Chinese Collection,” was published in an influential Chinese newspaper: China Reading Weekly.
This paper is a result of focused studies on Charles Sidney Gardner (1900-1966), a noted Sinologist and former Harvard University professor, who donated his entire personal collection, including a large number of Chinese rare books, to Brown University Library. It provides brief biological information on Gardner, especially his link to China, a country where he lived as a visiting scholar during the 1920s and 1930s.
It addresses Gardner’s scholarly contributions as a pioneer of American Sinological studies to the field. With regard to Gardner’s scholarship in Chinese studies and friendship with many Chinese scholars, the paper addresses in particular Gardner’s lofty character by examining his selfless activities in helping Chinese students and friends. After reviewing his insightful ideas and practices on building Chinese library collections, the paper summarizes the process of Gardner’s valuable donations in the 1960s. Following that, it also presents the current development of the Brown Library East Asian Collection in the new age. Finally, in commemorating Gardner’s legacy of contributions, character, and donations, the paper calls for continued efforts to promote cross-cultural exchange and Sino-American friendship.