An Ocean of Stories
Friendship, the kind forged among scholars working in the same obscure academic field, helped build Western’s Mongolia Collection of books and artifacts into one of the largest in North America, second only to the Library of Congress.
The vast collection of books, maps, music – even a Mongolian typewriter – covers history, economics, language, literature, religion, archaeology, biology, geology, medicine and more.
“Other schools did not collect in the same way,” says curator Wayne Richter (’68, Geography). “There are a few things at Harvard, some at Berkeley and a few other places. Indiana has a decent collection and Princeton has purchased the library of Walther Heissig, a major collection by an eminent Mongolist. The Library of Congress has the largest, and we’re the next-largest.”
The core of the collection is from WWU Professor Emeritus of History and East Asian Studies Henry G. Schwarz, who established the collection in the early ’70s with items he accumulated in his travels through Mongolia, China and the surrounding region.