Gertrude Bass Warner papers , 1909-1923

Overview of the Collection

Warner, Gertrude Bass, 1863-1951
Gertrude Bass Warner papers
1909-1923 (inclusive)
4.5 linear feet, (13 containers)  :  11 manuscript boxes, 1 small box, 1 flat box
Collection Number
Ax 701
Collection consists primarily of travel diaries, notes, correspondence and ephemera related to research about shrines and religious ceremonies for several manuscripts that Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) was working on. There is also correspondence about pieces of art that she and her husband were collecting to bring back to the United States for a museum exhibit. The bulk of the materials are about Japan during the time period of 1909-1923. Ms. Warner was the founder and director emeritus of the University of Oregon Fine Art Museum.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Gertrude Bass Warner was born May 14, 1863 in Chicago, Illinois to prosperous parents. Warner was educated at fashionable schools in Philadelphia and in Paris. In 1888 she married Dr. George F. Fiske of Chicago and bore three children: Sam, George, and Clara, who died as an infant in 1893. The couple divorced, George staying with his father while Gertrude raised Sam.

At the turn of the century, Asia experienced much political and military turmoil and was forcibly influenced by European cultures. In 1904 Gertrude accompanied her journalist brother, John Foster Bass, to Japan during the Russo-Japanese war. The following year John sent her to Shanghai for safety, recommending an acquaintance with his friend Maj. Murray Warner (1869-1920). Gertrude and Murray were married in 1905 and took up residence in Shanghai until 1909.

Mrs. Warner continued her travels, exploring China, Japan, Korea and Cambodia while based in Shanghai. She was an appreciative witness to many religious and cultural traditions that were destroyed in later wars. She experienced political unrest and military conflicts that complicated her travels. She photographed as she traveled, purchased images and collected artifacts, books and photographs.

Following Murray's death in 1920, Gertrude moved to Eugene to live near her son who was a professor of law at the University of Oregon. For the next thirty-one years, Gertrude Bass Warner worked to build a campus museum that would house the extensive collection of Asian art she brought back from her travels. In addition, Ms. Warner helped establish one of the first Asian studies departments at the University of Oregon. Assisted by Maude Kerns and Mabel Klockars Garner, Warner continued her collecting trips and managed the museum through the Great Depression and political battles on campus.

Mrs. Warner was an active supporter of the United Nations and a member of many organizations related to Asian studies and art. She was indefatigable in support of multiculturalism. Gertrude Bass Warner died in 1951 at the family home in Peterborough, NH.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection consists primarily of travel diaries, notes, correspondence and ephemera related to research about shrines and religious ceremonies. The bulk of the materials are about Japan during the time period of 1909-1923. Materials are written in English, Japanese and/or Chinese.

Series I: Shinto Religion consists of information on Shinto deities, festivals, practices, myths and legends.

Series II: Shinto Shrines is divided into subseries and organized alphabetically within each subseries. Subseries A includes lists and descriptions of shrines and pilgrimages. Subseries B-D are seperated by the rank and class of the shrines while Subseries E: consists of only Hero Worship Shrines. Subseries B-E include festival, deity, ceremonial and historical information about individual shrines. Oversize maps, guides and other writings regarding specific shrines are listed together in the finding aid, but may be stored in separate boxes for preservation purposes.

Series III: Diaries and Field Notes,1912-1919 contains research on shrines, life in Asia, and religious ceremonies.

Series IV: Lexicons consists of handwritten thesaurus/dictionary type entries of words and phrases.

Series V: Correspondence, 1910-1921, is organized by date and includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence. The letters are personal, professional, and financial in nature. Information included in the correspondence describes Eastern Asia, religious shrines, art collecting and research relating to manuscripts Getrude Bass Warner was writing.

Series VI: Research and Miscellaneous contains information on Japan, China, festivals, worship, manners, customs, research notes, and the University of Oregon. Included here is the manuscript "When East Meets West," by Gertrude Bass Warner.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Personal Names

  • Warner, Gertrude Bass, 1863-1951
  • Warner, Gertrude Bass, 1863-1951
  • Warner, Murray, 1869-1920

Form or Genre Terms

  • Architectural drawings
  • Manuscripts (document genre)
  • Maps
  • Photographs