Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Howard Mason Goes to Japan

I just happened to stumble back into an unprocessed collection that we received in 2008, the Howard Stanley Mason Papers (see this earlier post about the donation). At the time of receipt, I remember being most impressed with the one scrapbook containing lovely photographs of Mason's gentian plants (as you can tell, since I did mention it specifically in that earlier post).

What I had forgotten--or, more likely, overlooked in the excitement of a great new collection--was the wealth of material in the other bound notebooks, over thirty of them, chronicling Mason's work, travel, and activities. One, marked "Japan 1977", includes diary entries, clippings, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera collected during Mason's stay in Japan from March 19-May 10, 1977. This page, for example, holds two business cards and the very elaborate envelope in which he received an honorarium for a presentation:


Mason had been working with colleagues in Japan since the 1950s, and his trip involved a number of stops in different cities meeting with groups of scientists--and equally many stops at gardens to meet with fellow gardeners. His outreach efforts were rewarded in 1988, when Mason became the first Oregonian to receive the Order of the Rising Sun, Third Class, for fostering scientific exchanges between the United States and Japan.

Even though the collection is not fully processed, we do have an inventory that was compiled at the time of accession. Happily, the papers were well cared for by Mason's family, and the materials are stable, so they can wait a little longer for full treatment. Researchers wishing to consult the materials can request a digital copy of the inventory for reference. (Between you, me, and the wall, dear reader, that might be what you'd call MPLP. I'll deny it if asked later.)

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