Gertrude Bass Warner

I first encountered Gertrude Bass Warner’s work while writing my dissertation. I was surprised to find that the University of Oregon’s Special Collections Library possessed a rare museum exhibit catalog by Ernest Fenollosa.


I was interested in the ways in which Fenollosa’s writings constructed a version of Japan that informed Ezra Pound’s poetry.


I learned that the Fenollosa catalog was part of the Warner Collection, which led me to learn more about Warner.

Warner had traveled extensively in China and Japan in the early part of the twentieth century. She created a large collection of slides from her travels, and she also amassed a large art collection and a library of books about art. The University built its art museum in part as a way to house Warner’s collection.

When I began teaching at the University’s Clark Honors College, I spent months working in the Warner archives. I also taught independent study classes so that honors students could explore the archives with me and receive credit. The result was a library exhibit of selected Warner materials.

Because of my interest in Warner and my work with her papers and slides, I was interviewed for a documentary on Warner’s life, When West Meets East: The Life and Legacy of Gertrude Bass Warner. I was also interviewed by Steven D. Shankman for the televised program, UO Today.

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