The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 32

Collecting Shakespeare: The Story
of Henry and Emily Folger
Stephen H. Grant, Johns Hopkins
University Press, 2014, $29.95/
hardcover, $16.49/Kindle, 264 pages.
Collecting Shakespeare
, Stephen H.
Grant recounts the American suc-
cess story of Henry and Emily Folger
of Brooklyn. Shortly after marrying in
1885, the Folgers began buying, cataloging and storing all man-
ner of items about the Bard of Avon and his era. Emily earned
a master’s degree in Shakespeare studies. The frugal couple
financed their hobby with the fortune Henry earned as president
of Standard Oil Company of New York, where he was a trusted
associate of John D. Rockefeller.
While several universities offered to house the couple’s col-
lection, the Folgers wanted to give it to the American people.
The Folger Shakespeare Library was dedicated on the Bard’s
birthday, April 23, 1932.
On Capitol Hill, it now houses 82 First Folios, 275,000 books
and 60,000 manuscripts. It welcomes more than 100,000 visitors
a year and is also a vibrant cultural center for plays, concerts,
lectures and poetry readings.
The library provided Stephen H. Grant with unprecedented
access to the primary sources within the Folger vault. He also
drew on interviews with surviving Folger relatives, and visits to 35
related archives in the United States and in Britain.
Stephen H. Grant, a senior fellow at the Association for Diplo-
matic Studies and Training, served for 25 years with USAID. His
Foreign Service postings included the Ivory Coast, El Salvador,
Indonesia, Egypt and Guinea. He is the author of
Peter Strick-
land: New London Shipmaster, Boston Merchant, First Consul to
(New Academia, 2006), as well as three books that use old
picture postcards to recount social history.
Frances Elizabeth Willis
Nicholas J. Willis, self-published,
2014, $24.95/paperback, $9.95/Kindle,
461 pages.
Born at the turn of the century, Frances Eliz-
abethWillis (1899-1983) lived an extraordi-
nary life. She was the first person to receive
a Ph.D. in political science fromStanford
University (in 1923) and the first woman to
make a career in the U.S. Foreign Service (from1927 to 1964).
Willis started off as a “Foreign Service Officer–Unclassified”
and worked her way up the Foreign Service ladder. In 1953, she
was appointed U.S. ambassador to Switzerland, the first female
career officer to become an ambassador, and subsequently served
as chief of mission in Norway and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). In
1955, she was given the title “Career Minister” and in 1962 attained
the highest rank in the Foreign Service, “Career Ambassador.”
A genuine trailblazer, Ms. Willis’ accomplishments are all the
more impressive in light of the severe gender bias then prevalent
in both the State Department and Foreign Service. How she over-
came those barriers is the subject of this engaging biography.
Nicholas J. Willis is the nephew of Frances Elizabeth Willis and
knew her well. He graduated from Stanford University on a U.S.
Navy scholarship in 1956 and, after five years on active duty, spent
the rest of his career on military radars and their countermea-
sures. He wrote this book following his retirement to Carmel, Calif.
American Political and
Cultural Perspectives on Japan:
From Perry to Obama
John H. Miller, Lexington Press, 2014,
$80/hardback, $68.40/Kindle, 184 pages.
American Political and Cultural Perspec-
tives on Japan: From Perry to Obama
is a
comprehensive survey of how Americans
have viewed Japan over the past 160 years.
It encompasses the diplomatic, political, economic, social and
cultural dimensions of the relationship, with an emphasis on
changing American images, myths and stereotypes of Japan and
the Japanese.
John H. Miller begins his account with the American “open-
ing” of Japan in the 1850s and 1860s. Subsequent chapters
explore American attitudes toward Japan during the Gilded
Age, the early 1900s, the 1920s, the 1930s and the Pacific War.
The second part of the book, organized around the theme of the
postwar Japanese-American partnership, covers the Occupation,
the 1960s, the troubled 1970s and 1980s, and the post–Cold War
decades down to the Obama presidency. Miller concludes with
some predictions about how Americans are likely to view Japan
in the future.
John H. Miller, a retired Foreign Service officer, served in
Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Canada. Following his retire-
ment from the Service, he taught at the Asia-Pacific Center for
Security Studies in Honolulu, and was the Asia area studies chair
at the Foreign Service Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Japanese his-
tory from Princeton University, and is the author of
Modern East
Asia: An Introductory History
(M.E. Sharpe, 2007).
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