Mongolia Collection: Henry G. Schwarz

This subject research guide provides information on Western Libraries' Mongolia and Inner Asia Collection.

Henry G. Schwarz

Henry G. Schwarz

Biographical Note

A teacher and scholar of East Asian Studies, specializing in the history, political development, ethnic minorities, and languages of China and Mongolia, Henry G. Schwarz was born on December 14, 1928, in Berlin, Germany. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin, where he received a BA in Sociology in 1954, followed by the MA (1958) and PhD (1963) in Political Science. He held a Fulbright professorship at the University of the Philippines from 1964 to 1965, when he was invited to join the faculty of the Russian and Far Eastern Institute at the University of Washington. In 1969, he joined the faculty of Western Washington University where he soon established the Center for East Asian Studies and served as its first  director. He also established and edited two book series, Studies on East Asia and East Asian Research Aids and Translations, which have been favorably received by scholars here and abroad.

Dr. Schwarz spent much time in East Asia. Aside from attending several conferences, he was the first American scholar to do research in China when in 1973 he arrived at the Central Nationalities Institute in Beijing. Almost every summer from then until 1983 he continued his research in Beijing, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang. He also spent two years as visiting professor at Asia University in Tokyo, and for several months immediately following his retirement he served as advisor to the Institute of Oriental and International Studies of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences in Ulaanbaatar.

A prolific contributor to the literature of East Asian Studies, Dr. Schwarz's works include the classic Minorities of Northern China: A Survey (1984) and the pioneering An Uyghur-English Dictionary (1993) as well as numerous book chapters and articles in scholarly journals. Also deserving special mention is Nicholas Poppe’s autobiography, Reminiscences (1983), which was created as a result of many sessions with his friend Henry Schwarz who then compiled and edited a large amount of stenographic notes and tape recordings over a period of more than two years.

Beside his scholarly activities, Dr. Schwarz also held many leadership positions, including president of the Western Conference of the Association for Asian Studies and of ASPAC (Asian Studies on the Pacific Coast). He also served as member of several governing bodies, including the board of directors of the Pacific Area Intercollegiate Council on Asian Studies, the executive board of the Seattle Committee on Foreign Relations, and the board of trustees of the World Affairs Council of Western Washington. He served as the president of the Mongolia Society of the United States from 1998 to 2007, and since 2002 as vice president of the International Association for Mongol Studies.

In 1994, on the occasion of Dr. Schwarz’s retirement, thirty-three scholars around the world presented him with the volume Opuscula Altaica: Essays in Honor of Henry Schwarz (Bellingham: Center for East Asian Studies, Western Washington University), and in 2006, in recognition of Dr. Schwarz’ thirty years of promoting Mongolian Studies in the United States, the President of Mongolia awarded him the nation's highest honor for foreigners, the Order of the Polar Star.

                                                                                                                                                       Written by Henry G. Schwarz, 2013

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