Edward S. Morse

Edward S. Morse

Edward Sylvester Morse (June 18, 1838 – December 20, 1925) was an American zoologist and orientalist.


He was born in Portland, Maine. He was expelled from a series of schools as a boy. As a young man, he worked as a mechanical draftsman at the Portland Locomotive Company and a wood engraver attached to a Boston company before beginning his study of zoology. He rapidly became successful in this field, and attracted the attention of Charles Darwin with his discovery that brachiopods are worms rather than mollusks.

In 1877 Morse visited Japan in search of coastal brachiopods. His visit turned into a three year stay when he was offered a post at the University of Tokyo. He went on to recommend several fellow Americans as "o-yatoi gaikokujin" (hired foreigners) to support the modernisation of the Meiji Era. He opened the study in archaeology and anthropology in Japan, by the discovery of the Omori shell mound, and his research on material culture.

While in Japan, he authored a book on Japanese homes and their surroundings illustrated with his own line drawings. He also made a collection of over 5,000 pieces of Japanese pottery, and became Keeper of Pottery at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1890, which now contains his pottery collection, the Morse collection. He was also a director of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology in Salem from 1880 to 1914.

He died in Salem, Massachusetts in 1925.

Published works

* Morse, Edward Sylvester (1902). [http://ebook.lib.hku.hk/CTWE/B29624423/ Glimpses of China and Chinese homes] Boston: Little, Brown. -University of Hong Kong Libraries, Digital Initiatives, China Through Western Eyes

Japanese homes and their surroundingshttp://books.google.com/books?id=PJboRdWwVYAC&printsec=frontcover&dq=japan+edward+morse&client=firefox-a#PPR3,M1http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Homes-Surroundings-Tuttle-Classics/dp/4805308893/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221187489&sr=8-1

Japan Day by Day (several volumes perhaps)http://www.amazon.com/Japan-Day-Edward-S-Morse/dp/0877971900/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1221187523&sr=1-5

See also

* American Association of Museums

External links

* [http://www.yamasa.org/history/english/edward_morse.html Article on Edward S. Morse] at Yamasa.org.
* [http://www.geocities.com/~jmgould/morse.html Biography of Edward S. Morse] by John M. Gould.
* [http://mfa.org/collections/sub.asp?key=22&subkey=116 Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery at the MFA, Boston]


* Benfey, Christopher (2003): "Gilded Age Misfits, Japanese Eccentrics, and the Opening of Old Japan", New York: Random House
* Rosenstone, R.A. (1988) "Mirror in the Shrine – American Encounters with Meiji Japan" ISBN 0-674-57641-1
* Wayman, D.G. (1942) "Edward Sylvester Morse: A Biography"
* Morse, Edward S. "Japanese homes and their surroundings", published by Charles E. Tuttle company, ISBN 0-8048-0998-4
* Morse, Edward S. "Japan Day By Day", available on line as part of the Google Full Books Project

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