Digital Commonwealth

Benjamin Smith Lyman Papers, 1831-1921 (Bulk: 1851-1915)

University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries Special Collections and University Archives

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The papers of Benjamin Smith Lyman (1835-1920), a native of Northampton, Massachusetts, and a geologist/mining engineer who worked in Japan at the request of the Meiji government to introduce modern geological surveying and mining techniques, illuminate aspects of late nineteenth century Japan, New England, and Pennsylvania, as well as the fields of geology and of mining exploration and engineering as they were practiced 1858-1911. From Lyman's earliest financial records--those he kept as a student at Phillips Exeter--through the journal notations of his later days in Philadelphia, Lyman's meticulous record-keeping provides much detail about his life and work. Correspondents include his classmate, Franklin B. Sanborn, a friend of the Concord Transcendentalists and an active social reformer, abolitionist, and editor. The papers, 1848-1911, have been organized into nine series: Correspondence, Financial records, Writings, Survey Notebooks, Survey Maps, Photographs, Student Notes and Notebooks, Collections, and Miscellaneous (total 25 linear feet). The collection includes, as well, over 2,000 books in Japanese and Chinese and in Western languages pertaining to Asia, acquired by Lyman in Japan and collected later. They reflect his Catholic interests and scholarly bent.

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