- May 11, 1979
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to the public.
Biographical / Historical
Herschel Webb (1924 - January 8, 1983) was born in David City, Nebraska. He attended the University of Chicago before interrupting his studies to enter the Navy in 1943. In 1945, he reached the rank of officer and also became a student at the Oriental Language School, where he began studying Japanese. Once he was discharged in 1946, he was recruited by the Army as a civilian to go to Japan with Department of Army Civilians, arriving in late 1946. Once there, Webb was assigned to the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, where he worked as a translator, an editor, and a checker. While in Japan, he also taught English and English literature to Japanese high school students. He left Japan in 1948 and went back to the University of Chicago to get his bachelor’s in history, going on to receive his doctorate in Japanese history from Columbia University in 1958. He became a full professor at Columbia in 1974. During his career, he authored three books and became an authority on the Japanese emperors and imperial institutions. He had also served as the chairman of Columbia's department of East Asian languages and Cultures. In 1983, Herschel Webb passed away at the age of 58.