Goebel Oriental Art Collection

Dublin Core


Goebel Oriental Art Collection


Japanese and East Asian art


The Oriental Art Collection contains approximately 825 items, consisting of various articles of Japanese art generally labeled as “minor arts of Japan” (as distinguished from larger art fields of painting, sculpture, etc.). The collection includes examples of the following categories: bronze and iron objects, fans, masks of the No Theatre, paintings, tea bowls, tobacco boxes, fine lacquer ware, prints & drawings, seals, and more.


Various artists


Dr. Harry C. Goebel was born on February 27, 1893. He was a lawyer from New York, NY, though he was retired from that field by the time he donated his collection to the library. He started collecting while in high school, focusing first on books with an emphasis on fine printing and books with original illustrations in limited editions. Afterward, he began collecting graphic arts and prints by leading artists, then arts of the Near and Far East countries, specifically Japan. As part of his collection, he wrote a book titled Japanese Art and Graphic Art Collections which remained unpublished. He also donated 595 pieces of his Chinese and Japanese artworks to St. John’s Center for Asian Studies posthumously, a place he had previously lectured at in 1975. Dr. Goebel died on September 5, 1976 at age 82. His last residence was at 11207 Moffat Street, Brooklyn, New York.


Donated to Eastern University in 1966.


Dr. Harry C. Goebel


All rights held by Eastern University for the entire collection. If you wish to use any of the items in the collection, please contact the library for permission.


Bronze and iron objects, fans, masks of the No Theatre, paintings, tea bowls, tobacco boxes, fine lacquer ware, prints & drawings, seals, and more.




Various types


As the collection was formed and shaped over many years, Dr. Goebel began to seek a place where they could be cared for and maintained for the foreseeable future. As stated in a Friend of the Library Bulletin, dated January 1969, “It has been [Dr. Goebel’s] hope that after I had assembled representative items in my three collections, I could be in a position to present them to some organization where they could be used for educational purposes, study and pleasure, especially by young men and women who might have a liking for the things in which I too share an enjoyment and spent a lifetime in selecting.”

It was then that Dr. Goebel was informed about then-Eastern Baptist College from his pastor, Rev. James W. Dagino, at Greenwood Baptist Church in Brooklyn. Rev. Dagino is a graduate of Eastern and suggested the college as a place where Dr. Goebel’s collection could reside. After making several visits to the campus, Dr. Goebel agreed to donate the collection valued at more than $100 thousand to the Warner Memorial Library so that it might “form the nucleus of a special collections room.”

On November 15, 1966, the official announcement to bequeath the collection to the college was given to the campus during a chapel exhibit. From 1968 to 1976, Dr. Goebel would come to the college to supervise the cataloging and displaying of the collection in a room furnished by the Friends of the Library. During this time, he received an honorary Doctoral of Laws degree from Eastern. He would also give talks to the faculty and students about the collection and how it could be used for educational purposes. These visits did not end until his death on September 5, 1976.

After Dr. Goebel’s passing, several appraisals of the collection were completed. On December 6, 1976, the Book Collection was appraised by Louis Appelfeld, and on March 15, 1977, the Graphic Art Collection was appraised by Laurence Casper. An official letter was written by the law firm Greenwell, Porter, Smaltz, & Royal on January 12, 1978 to confirm the worth of the collection.

Two exhibits displaying portions of the collection have occurred at Montgomery County Community College, from 2017 to 2019.