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James D. Tobin Collection


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Tobin Collection Materials

Oversize Materials

Uncatalogued Materials

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James D. Tobin Collection, 1893-1992 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: James D. Tobin Collection, 1893-1992


Extent: 14.75 Linear Feet


Please note that each item in the Tobin collection has a call number beside it.  This number can be used for further information on the materials by using our NIU online library catalog.

Just go to http://www.ulib.niu.edu/ and then click on "Our Online Catalog"

Languages: English, Japanese

Scope and Contents of the Materials

James D. Tobin Collection consists of manuscripts, catalogues, cards, correspondence, price lists, notes, negatives, photographs, newspaper clippings, magazine articles, cassette tapes, journals, and drawings.  His research and collection focused on Japanese print artists from the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa periods (1868-1989), which are the ‘Modern’ Japanese artists and their prints.  Tobin’s correspondence was mostly with other Japanese Art collectors, researchers, and dealers, such as Victor and Elsa Merlo, Sentaro Kondo, Stewart J. Tease, and Helen Merritt.

Collection Historical Note

Much of his biographical information was gleaned from his correspondence to fellow Japanese Art enthusiasts.  In a letter to Stewart J. Teaze (dated Jan 17, 1963), James D. Tobin states that he is 40 years old, making his birth year around 1923.  He attended the University of Chicago, the University of California at Berkley, and the University of Hawaii and later received his B.A. in the arts.  Tobin’s resume states that in 1938 he was working as an apprentice for RCA Corporation in Harrison, New Jersey.  In 1939 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and later became a Foreman of A&R Heat Treating for the Navy in NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii in 1944.  In 1948 he moved from Springfield, Massachusetts to Los Angeles, California in 1949, staying on as a Foreman in each job, but with more responsibilities.  In 1952, he became a Chief Inspector for the Industrial Steel Treating Company in Oakland, California and in 1955 he opened his own corporation, the Beaver Heat Treating Corporation, in Portland, Oregon.

          Along with his jobs, he has worked for the Bishop Museum in Honolulu and the Field Museum in Chicago.  Tobin also had some articles published in the field of metallurgy and wrote chapters for the A.S.M. Metals Handbook.  After years of collecting and researching Japanese Prints, his collection had thousands of pieces by the 1980s.  In 1990, he started liquidating his collection and he gave a portion of it to Helen Merritt (whose collection is in the Regional History Center at NIU).

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Related Materials:

Helen Merritt collection in Regional History Center

Van Zelst Family Collection in Rare Books and Special Collections

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Tobin Collection Materials],
[Series II: Oversize Materials],
[Series III: Uncatalogued Materials],

Series II: Oversize Materials
Envelope 143
Item 1: Leading U.S. Collectors Attend Local Groups First Program [newspaper article about Lillia S. Perry|The Sunday Oregonian] NE 59.7 .K845 1960za, May 19, 1968
Envelope 144
Item 1: Oriental Records Set & A Look at Oriental Art Sales [newspaper articles|Collector's Weekly] NE 59.7 .T62 T624 1960a, Nov 7, 1972
Envelope 145
Item 1: Calligraphied Kanji on calligraphy/rice paper [from Sentaro Kondo to James D. Tobin] NE 59.7 .T62 T624 1960za, [1964]
Envelope 146
Item 1: Yokohama Prints [newspaper article|The Christian Science Monitor] NE 59.7 .T62 T624 1960a, Oct 11, 1972
Envelope 147
Item 1: The Woodblock Prints of Japan [newspaper articles and envelope sent to James D. Tobin from Watanabe] NE 1112 .B38 B374 1915a, Mar 23, 1925
Envelope 148
Item 1: Elizabeth Keith's Prints to be Exhibited in Tokyo & Elizabeth Keith's Works to be Exhibited Feb 21 - 24 [newspaper articles|Asahi Evening News] NE 1300.8 .G72 K444 1937a, Feb 10 & 17, 1956
Envelope 149
Item 1: Color Print Artist Elizabeth Keith [newspaper articles|2 copies|Pacific Stars and Stripes] NE 1300.8 .G72 K444 1937a, Feb 7, 1956
Envelope 150
Item 1: Club to Display Prints by British Artist Keith [newspaper article|Nippon Times] NE 1300.8 .G72 K444 1937a, Feb 10, 1956
Envelope 151
Item 1: Shinsui Ito: Doyen of Japanese Artists [magazine article] page 16 to page 18|NE 1310 .M555 1900za, no date
Envelope 152
Item 1: Japanese Prints [newspaper article] NE 1310 .M555 1900za, Nov 17, 1968
Envelope 153
Item 1: You'll Find Japanese Woodblock Art Superb [newspaper article] NE 1310 .M555 1900za, no date
Envelope 154
Item 1: A Superb Display of Master Prints of Japan [newspaper article|Los Angeles Times] NE 1310 .M555 1900za, Apr 27, 1969
Envelope 155
Item 1: Japanese Artist Shows Prints [newspaper article] NE 1323 .M644 1950za, no date
Envelope 156
Item 1: From Japan: New Trends, New Artists [newspaper article|The Christian Science Monitor] NE 1323 .M644 1950za, July 14, 1951
Envelope 157
Item 1: Biographical information [handwritten by the artist in Japanese and translated by hand  to English|some have photos] on Toshi Yoshida, Hodaka Yoshida, Susumu Yamaguchi, Jihei Nemoto [Kagai], Kihei Sasajima, and Joru Mabuchi [collection includes listing of woodblock prints of Hirashi Yoshida] NE 1323 .M644 1950za, no date
Envelope 158
Item 1: Printmaker is Acclaimed at Reception [newspaper article|Gazette Times] and Art, East and West [newspaper article|The Japan Times] NE 1323 .M644 1950za, Mar 2, 1963 & Mar 6, 1957
Envelope 159
Item 1: Japanese Woodcut Display Spans 3 Centuries [newspaper article|The Oregon Journal], Balance of Serenity, Vitality Sought in Poetic Works By Noted Master of Collage [newspaper article|The Sunday Oregonian], and 5 Shows Compose Historical Survey of Woodcut in Japan [newspaper article|The Sunday Oregonian] NE 1323 .M644 1950za, Sep 19, 21, & 14, 1969
Envelope 160
Item 1: Letter or Poster sent to Stewart J. Teaze re: Un'ichi Hiratsuka's exhibition|NE 1325 .H57 U544 1950za, Feb 7, 1970
Envelope 161
Item 1: Letter or Poster sent to Stewart J. Teaze re: Un'ichi Hiratsuka's exhibition|NE 1325 .H57 U544 1950za, Oct 12, 1966
Envelope 162
Item 1: Butterfly Artist [newspaper article|Far East Stars and Stripes Weekly] NE 1325 .J2 P385 1941a, May [1940]
Envelope 163
Item 1: East, West Meet in Art [article|The Australian Magazine] NE 1325 .J2 P385 1941a, Jan 18, 1955
Envelope 164
Item 1: Exhibition catalogue poster for Shiko Munakata|NE 1325 .M8 S444 1900za, no date
Envelope 165
Item 1: Woodblock Color Prints by Hiroshi Yoshida [on cloth like paper] NE 1325 .Y66 H476 1927a, no date
Envelope 166
Item 1: Prints by Hiroshige [poster|Oriental Culture Chart number 15A] NE 1325 .Y66 H476 1927a, 1947
Envelope 167
Item 1: Color Prints of Urushibara Gaining World Recognition [newspaper aricle|Nippon Times Magazine] NE 1325 .U7 Y674 1949a, May 5, 1949

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Tobin Collection Materials],
[Series II: Oversize Materials],
[Series III: Uncatalogued Materials],

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