Cincinnati has been home to some unique people. Learn about one of the city’s former residents, Lafcadio Hearn, at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Main Library.
Who was Lafcadio Hearn?
Hearn was born in Greece in 1850. After a fairly troubled childhood, at age 19, he emigrated to Cincinnati. After working a variety of jobs, he began to write for the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Cincinnati Commercial. He submitted prose poems and articles that were before their time; topics included urban African-Americans, something not regularly discussed in those days. He also worked for Thomas Vickers, the Librarian of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Hearn began translating stories by French writer Théophile Gautier and later traveled to New Orleans to cover Louisiana politics. He continued with his translation work and began write his own adaptations and unique works. He wrote about anything that caught his attention – Buddhism, science, antisemitism, and his life in the French West Indies.
Lafcadio Hearn and Life in Japan
When he transferred to Japan, he discovered his greatest passion – Japan. Hearn married Setsuko Koizumi and became a Japanese citizen. He adopted the name Koizumi Yakumo, and became a professor of English literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo. He died there in 1904.
Hearn was the first Westerner to translate Japanese stories and fairy tales into English.
Lafcadio Hearn Collection Donated
In the 1950s, the Vickers family contributed his collection of Hearn’s work to the library. With generous donations of first editions, the collection has grown to 600 volumes. It includes the only known collection of Ye Giglampz: A Weekly Illustrated Journal Devoted to Art, Literature and Satire. This magazine was Hearn’s literary journal.
See Lafcadio Hearn Works
You can see selections from the collection during the The Strange & Exotic World of Lafcadio Hearn from July 28 – Aug 20. Enjoy one of a kind art and stories while you learn about this Cincinnati resident and his passion for Japan.
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