The Monuments Men

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Harold G. Henderson ( 1889-1974 )

A Japanese scholar, Harold Gould Henderson served with the MFAA at General MacArthur’s Headquarters of the occupation forces in Tokyo as an advisor on education, religion and art. Along with fellow scholar R.H. Blyth, he acted as a liaison between General MacArthur and Japan’s Imperial household and helped write the Emperor of Japan’s historic speech in which he renounced his personal divinity.

Henderson also served in the U.S. Army during World War I after graduating from Columbia University. From 1927 to 1929 he worked as an assistant curator of the Far East department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1934 Henderson began teaching the history of Japanese art at his alma mater and remained at Columbia until his retirement in 1956. He was president of the Society of Japanese Studies and the Japan Society from 1948 to 1952, and was also the author of The Bamboo Room (1933) and its revised version, An Introduction to Haiku (1958), the first notable works on modern English-language haiku. Henderson’s papers were given to the New York Public Library following his death in 1974.