When the Harold B. Lee Library purchased 255 Japanese rare books and manuscripts from San Francisco book dealer David Magee as part of a larger acquisition, no one imagined just how unique the collection would be. Spanning from the eighth to the early twentieth century, it includes early examples of printing in Japan, rare maps, and one-of-a-kind scrolls and manuscripts.
The collector who brought these items together was California lawyer Harry F. Bruning. Bruning’s careful collecting of Japanese material focused on several themes, including examples of early moveable-type printing, Japanese foreign relations, Nagasaki and Yokohama, and warrior history. The Lee Library was able to catalog the collection in the late 1980s, but recent work by BYU faculty and students has brought new information about these items to light, resulting in improved catalog descriptions and online exhibits to facilitate access to this fascinating material.