The Frances Willard Memorial Library and Archives was happy to welcome Professor Rui Kohiyama to our Reading Room earlier this month. Professor Kohiyama teaches American and Gender Studies at Tokyo Woman’s Christian University, and has done much research on missionaries and the WCTU in Japan. She has been in email contact with the Archives for several years, so it was a pleasure to meet her in person at last.
The WCTU has a long history in Japan, going back to WCTU organizer Mary Clement Leavitt’s visit in the mid-1880s, and the WCTU-Japan continues to be a vibrant organization today. Professor Kohiyama was impressed by the amount of historical material relating to the Japanese WCTU that she found in the Archives. In addition to Japanese publications, documents, and photographs, she also made good use of the Union Signal newspaper during her visit. “For my research on WCTU-Japan, the Union Signal is indispensable as a lot of information on Japanese women as well as the around-the-world missionaries is there,” she told us.
The Willard Archives has welcomed many researchers from outside the US who are studying the work on the WCTU in other countries, as well as US researchers looking at the international impact and influence of the organization.