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A Book from the Library of Mildred Barnes

A Book from the Library of Mildred Barnes

Kohana San, Front and Back Cover. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

James N. Carder (January 2013)

Before her marriage to Robert Woods Bliss in 1908, Mildred Barnes was a collector of rare books and prints. This book, Kohana San (front and back cover shown at right), is preserved in the Dumbarton Oaks Archives and has Mildred Barnes’s book plate from her country house in Sharon, Connecticut. Twenty-two silk-tied pages with woodblock illustrations on double-folded, mulberry wood-based crepe paper (chirimen) tell in English verse the story of a Geisha of Kobe (Kohana San or “Little Flower”). This is the first edition of the book, published in 1892 by Takejiro Hasegawa, Tokyo. The binding is in the traditional Japanese style known as fukuro-toji (“pouch binding”) where sheets of paper are printed with woodblocks on only one side and then folded in half with the printed side out. The folded sheets are stacked together, and the unit is tied along the spine with two double-hole bindings of silk threads. A colophon in Japanese on the first page gives publication data and identifies the woodblock printer as Komiyo Sojiro. Hasegawa’s books were usually printed in editions of 500.

Inside Cover and Page 1
Kohana San, Inside Cover and Page 1. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 2 and 3
Kohana San, Pages 2 and 3. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 4 and 5
Kohana San, Pages 4 and 5. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 6 and 7
Kohana San, Pages 6 and 7. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 8 and 9
Kohana San, Pages 8 and 9. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 10 and 11
Kohana San, Pages 10 and 11. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 12 and 13
Kohana San, Pages 12 and 13. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 14 and 15
Kohana San, Pages 14 and 15. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 16 and 17
Kohana San, Pages 16 and 17. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

Pages 18 and 19
Kohana San, Pages 18 and 19. Dumbarton Oaks Archives, AR.OB.Misc.039

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