Biography and History

James H. Morrow was a young physician with an extensive background in natural history and agriculture when Secretary of State Edward Everett appointed him to serve as agriculturist with the U.S. expedition to Japan in February 1853. Commodore Perry's ship having already departed for Asia in the fall of 1852, Morrow sailed on board the U.S.S. Vandalia in March 1853 to meet with Perry at the Lew Chew (Liu Ch'iu) Islands in the East China Sea. The parties came together in July, and for nearly six months Morrow and the other scientists of the expedition based themselves in Macao preparing for the Japanese mission and touring the vicinity of Macao, Hong Kong, Whampoa, and Canton, where they made various scientific and cultural observations. In February 1854, the expedition arrived in Japan, and for eighteen weeks Morrow carried out his instructions as agriculturist to introduce and distribute Western seeds, plants, and agricultural implements to the Japanese; to collect and care for indigenous seeds, specimens, and agricultural tools and products; and to keep a full and accurate journal, which would be delivered to the Department of State upon his return.

Source: From the finding aid for C1414

  • James H. Morrow Papers. 1842-1865 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1414

    James H. Morrow was a young physician with an extensive background in natural history and agriculture when Secretary of State Edward Everett appointed him to serve as agriculturist with the U.S. expedition to Japan, led by Commodore Matthew Perry, in February 1853. Included in the collection are Morrow's original autograph draft of his expedition journal (approx. 213 pp.), other expedition-related material, and a number of documents of biographical interest about Morrow.