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Peabody Essex Museum: Phillips Library

Research Access Guide for the Peabody Essex Museum.

General Information

Facility: Peabody Essex Museum Phillips Library
132 Essex Street
Salem, MA 01970
Phone: (978) 745-9500 ext. 3053
FAX: (978) 531-1516
Hours: Hours of operation

About the Library:

The Phillips Library specializes in documenting the global outreach of the Essex community as early as the 18th and 19th centuries. Items pertaining to Japan date as early as 1799.

For more information on the Japanese collection, please contact the library at (978) 745-9500 extension 3053 or via email.


Online access to all digitized items within the Phillips Library, numbering almost 400 items.

Research Collections

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Summary of Collections

Collection size: as of June 2014

The Phillips Library collections are estimated at approximately 400,000 items, including serials, with a large portion in Chinese and Japanese. The collections focus primarily on the global commercial life of Essex County beginning in the 18th century.

Notable Collections

  • Edward Sylvester Morse Collection: papers and sketches belonging to Edward Sylvester Morse, known as the father of Japanese archaeology. Morse donated a mollusk collection as well as a Japanese art collection to the Peabody Essex Museum.
  • Frederick Townsend Ward Collection: approximately 10,000 items documenting the history, culture, and interactions with the West of China through the early twentieth century.
  • Herbert Offen Research Collection: books relating to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean architecture, furniture, and gardens.


Online catalog:


How to Use the Facility

Research in the Collections

Visitors must first check in with security and are required to leave all coats, backpacks, briefcases, handbags, and pens outside the reading room. Laptop computers, notebooks, and pencils may be brought inside. Cell phones and cameras are not allowed. Visitors can apply for visiting researcher status to use the collections outside of reference hours.

For further information about policies governing use of the collections, please click here.


Items in good condition may be photocopied by librarians. Photocopying requests take 2-3 business days to process. Pricing information is available here.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
Copyright 2017
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