International Conference/International Exchange

International Conference/International Exchange


Lecture "The Beate Sirota Gordon Archives at Mills College"

Date:January 15, 2020

Beate Sirota Gordon (1923-2012) came to Japan at the age of five, after her father, Leo Sirota, a well-known pianist, was invited to Japan, She lived in Japan until 1939, when at the age of 15 she entered Mills College, an historic women's university founded in 1852, in Oakland, California, USA.
After World War II, she returned to Japan as a member of the GHQ Civil Affairs Bureau, where she was involved in drafting the Constitution of Japan, contributing to the drafting of Article 14, "Equality under the Law" and Article 24, "Principles of Equality of the Sexes." After returning to the United States in 1947, she introduced Japanese and Asian traditional performing arts to the United States at the Japan Society and the Asian Society.From the 1990s onward, after retiring, she actively continued to give lectures on the Japanese Constitution at more than 200 locations across Japan.

NWEC came into possession of a collection of materials related to Beate, having received donations of materials relating to Japan from Beate's eldest daughter Nicole A. Gordon, as well as relevant materials from friends and women's organizations she interacted with during her lecture tour in Japan. These materials were on display in a Women's Archive Center Collection exhibition entitled "Beate Shirota Gordon Exhibition: Including Gender
Equality in the Constitution of Japan" held from April 26 to November 4, 2019.
Beate's materials were donated to her alma mater, Mills College, in her will. In May 2019, a catalog of the materials was released, and some of the materials were digitized and exhibited online.

On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, NWEC invited Janice Braun, director of the Beate Sirota Gordon Archives at Mills College Library to give a lecture. Ms Braun has worked at Mills College since 1995, where she is in charge of special collections. In her lecture, she talked about the history of Mills College, building the library's collection, and Beate's materials, catalog, and online exhibitions.

alt Janice Braun’s lecture

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