Harvard-Yenching Institute Studies Series initiated. The first title is An Annotated Bibliography of Selected Chinese Reference Works, compiled by Ssŭ-yü Teng and Knight Biggerstaff.

Howard Scott Hibbett and John Whitney Hall both receive Ph.D. degrees in Far Eastern Languages. Hibbett’s dissertation is titled “Ejima Kiseki and the Hachimonjiya: a Study in Eighteenth-century Japanese Fiction.” Hall’s is titled “Modern Trends in Tokugawa Japan: the Life and Policies of Tanuma Okitsugu.” Hibbett spends a year as a member of the Society of Fellows, and then assumes a teaching position at UCLA. Hall goes on to become a founding figure in the study of premodern Japanese history in the United States, teaching first at Michigan and then at Yale.

Benjamin Isadore Schwartz receives his Ph.D. in History and Far Eastern Languages, with a dissertation entitled “Communism in China until the Rise of Mao Tse-tung.” He is appointed Assistant Professor of History and Government.


FEL inaugurates its Korean program, which includes an intensive course in the Korean language open only to graduate students, and a general course in Korean civilization available both to undergraduates and graduates. In its early years, the program is overseen by Professor Doo Soo Suh, former Dean of Seoul National University, who teaches all classes. Suh’s position as Visiting Lecturer is renewed annually.


Elisséeff’s annual report on the state of the department identifies an FEL teaching staff of 8. Two full professors (Elisséeff and Reischauer); four associate professors (Cleaves, Hightower, Ware, Yang); two visiting lecturers (Ch’en and Doo Soo Suh)


Hightower inaugurates a second course as part of Harvard’s Gen Ed curriculum. Entitled “Humanities 112: Classics of the Far East,” the course has 24 enrollees in its first year.


Elisséeff retires. Reischauer assumes directorship of HYI and serves as Chair of FEL until his appointment as ambassador to Japan in 1961.

1958, September

FEL and HYI relocate from Boylston Hall to 2 Divinity Avenue.


Howard Hibbett returns to Harvard as Elisséeff’s replacement. He initially holds the rank of Associate Professor of Japanese.

Edward Wagner joins the faculty of FEL, initially as Lecturer in Korean. He reinitiates the Korean language program, which had been in hiatus since the departure of Doo Soo Suh in 1955. When promoted to assistant professor the following year, his becomes the first permanent faculty position in Korean.

Nagatomi Masatoshi joins the faculty of FEL as its first fulltime professor of Buddhist studies. While Kenneth Ch’en had taught courses in Buddhism in previous years as a visiting lecturer, Nagatomi’s appointment makes the position permanent.


Over the course of this decade, the number of undergraduate concentrators in FEL increase significantly. In 1950, three Harvard undergraduates concentrated in FEL. By 1961, that number had increased to twenty-two. Nevertheless, as a concentration FEL remained quite small. The number of concentrators in 1961 constituted one half of one percent of the Harvard’s undergraduate population.