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Atmore and Yasukawa-Matsumoto Family Papers


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center [Contact Us]3401 Market Street, Suite 210, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Craig Atmore (1875-1933), son of a Philadelphia business family with English roots, attended Penn in 1891 and graduated with a B.S. from Wharton in 1895. Craig succeeded his father in 1908 as president of a family company manufacturing mincemeat. He was vestryman in St. Stephen's Protestant Episcopal Church and also a member of the Manufacturers and Bankers Club. The Atmores first lived in North Broad Street and later moved to Wayne, a Philadelphia suburb.

Kenjiro Matsumoto (1870-1963) and Seizaburo Yasukawa (1877-1936) were brothers from a Japanese samurai family that rose in the Meiji restoration period. They bore different family names due to Matsumoto's adoption in his early years by a relative, also a Penn alumnus. Matsumoto registered for the Towne Scientific School in 1891, the same year Atmore was enrolled. Matsumoto, however, cut off his study at Penn due to the need of his family in Japan in 1893. Seizaburo Yasukawa was enrolled at Penn in 1896 and graduated with B.S. in 1900. Matsumoto's early experience at Penn brought the three Penn alumni together. Lonely and far away from home, Matsumoto joined the fraternity Phi-Delta-Zeta and stayed in its dormitory for three months. Later, his classmate Craig Atmore, concerned about his condition as a foreign student, invited Kenjiro to his home for room and board. The Atmore family treated the Japanese student so kindly that over time Kenjiro Matsumoto became just like a member of the Atmore family.

Soon after Kenjiro's return to Japan, his brother Seizaburo came to Penn. Upon his arrival in Philadelphia, Seizaburo settled with the Atmores to learn English. After he was enrolled at Wharton, he visited the family frequently and stayed for weekends with Craig. The two Japanese students' experiences at Penn turned out to be the beginning of a century-long warm friendship between the two families. Keiichiro Yasukawa, father of the Japanese family, met and extended thanks to the Atmores during his visit to the U.S. in 1911, which was followed by the visit of another brother Daigoro Yasukawa in 1914.

The Matsumoto-Yasukawa family began in the coal mining business, but later expanded to cotton industry, steel, and electric machinery. Kenjiro, Seizaburo and Daigoro achieved great success in business in Japan. They founded a Yasukawa-Matsumoto partnership in 1935.

Although Craig Atmore died unexpectedly in 1933, and Seizaburo Yasukawa followed in 1936, the friendship forged by the three Penn alumni continued between the two families through exchanges of correspondence and visits. Invited by Kenjiro, Craig's wife Emma and her daughter Virginia visited Japan in the fall of 1935. They stayed in Japan for three months, including five weeks living with the Japanese family. Craig's son Robert visited Japan the next summer.

World War II interrupted the exchanges between the two families. Communications, however, were restored soon after the war ended. As a staff of the American Red Cross, Robert Atmore came to Japan with the U.S. Army from the South Sea Islands in the fall of 1945. He was delighted to locate Kenjiro amid Tokyo's war ruins and thus resumed the friendship between the two families. In the early 1950s, at the initiative of Robert and his sister Ede, the two families started to collect data to trace the development of their friendship despite war and cultural differences. In 1956, Penn awarded Kenjiro Matsumoto an honorary degree in its 200th commencement.

This small collection of correspondence records the international and inter-cultural relationship between the two families - the Atmores in Philadelphia and the Matsumoto-Yasukawa family in Japan.

The collection consists mostly of letters, which are all coded by the donor, the descendents of the Atmore family. Apparently for a better understanding of the backgrounds, the collection has also included two family charts of the Japanese family, an autobiography of Kenjiro Matsumoto, a chronicle of Seizaburo Yasukawa's life experience, a reminiscent account by Emma Atmore of the history of the friendship between the two families including her visit to Japan in 1935, and a book in Japanese tracing the rise and development of the Matsumoto-Yasukawa family in Japan. For the convenience of researchers, a list of original code index has been preserved with errors marked and corrected in pencil.

This collection has been arranged chronologically except for several non-correspondence items that are attached at the end.

Donated to the University Archives as a gift in 2009

University of Pennsylvania: University Archives and Records Center
Finding Aid Author
Kaiyi Chen
Finding Aid Date
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Collection Inventory

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#75, Baron [Keiichiro] Yasukawa's book, excerpts of journal, 1911 Oct. 12 to December 13.
Box 1 Folder 1
#73A, Daigoro Yasukawa's diary, [1914] Jan. 1 - Aug. 26.
Box 1 Folder 2
#3, #62, #70, Keiichiro Yasukawa to Mrs. Atmore (Mrs. Robert E. Atmore, Craig's mother), 1918 Aug. 25, three copies with different codes, #70 being an older carbon copyl.
Box 1 Folder 3
#5, #39, Seizaburo Yasukawa to the Atmore Family, 1921 May 25, a tribute to Craig's mother (Mother Atmore, Mary Elizabeth Craig), #39 being the handwritten original.
Box 1 Folder 4
#31A, Kenjiro Matsumoto to Craig, 1921 May 25, condolences on Mother Atmore's death.
Box 1 Folder 5
#41, Craig Atmore to Shigeru Matsumura, 1925 June 15, thank-you note for a gift cigarette case.
Box 1 Folder 6
#27, Kenjiro Matsumoto to Craig Atmore, 1927 Sept. 1.
Box 1 Folder 7
#32A, #33A, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1929 March 30, same letter with one in handwriting and one in typescript.
Box 1 Folder 8
#9, #35a, #37, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig and Emma, 1929 June 2nd, #35A being the original, #9 and #37 in typescript.
Box 1 Folder 9
#10, Craig Atmore to Sabro Yasukawa, 1929 June 27, in response to the latter's letter of 1929 June 2.
Box 1 Folder 10
#11, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1929 August 1.
Box 1 Folder 11
#12, Kenjiro to Craig, 1929 Oct. 22.
Box 1 Folder 12
#13, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1929 Oct. 22, re Michiko's death.
Box 1 Folder 13
#16, Craig to Sabro Yasukawa, 1929 Nov. 10, condolences on Michiko, etc.
Box 1 Folder 14
#15, Craig to Kenjiro, 1929 Nov. 11.
Box 1 Folder 15
#43, #60, Craig and Virginia to Sabro Yasukawa, 1930 Jan. 6, two copies with different codes.
Box 1 Folder 16
#14, Craig to Kenjiro, 1930 March 31.
Box 1 Folder 17
#17, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1930 April 5.
Box 1 Folder 18
#18, Craig Atmore to Sabro Yasukawa, 1930 April 25.
Box 1 Folder 19
#19, Craig to Kenjiro, 1930 May 2.
Box 1 Folder 20
#20, Craig to Sabro Yasukawa, 1930 May 14.
Box 1 Folder 21
#21, Craig to Kenjiro, 1930 June 27.
Box 1 Folder 22
#36, #38, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1930 Dec. 13, #36 is the original and #38 is a typescript in multiple copies.
Box 1 Folder 23
#22, Craig to Kenjiro, 1931 March 17.
Box 1 Folder 24
#40, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1931(?) April 14, re wedding of his son Hirosi.
Box 1 Folder 25
#23, Craig to Sabro Yasukawa, 1931 April 21.
Box 1 Folder 26
#24, Craig to Kenjiro, 1931 April 23.
Box 1 Folder 27
#42, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1931 May 5.
Box 1 Folder 28
#25, Sadako Yasukawa to Mrs. [Craig] Atmore, 1931 May 9.
Box 1 Folder 29
#26, Craig to Sabro Yasukawa, 1931 Sept. 1.
Box 1 Folder 30
#28, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1931 Dec. 31.
Box 1 Folder 31
#29, Kenjiro to Craig, 1932 January.
Box 1 Folder 32
#30, Craig to Sabro Yasukawa, 1932 Jan. 25.
Box 1 Folder 33
#31, Craig to Kenjiro, 1932 Feb. 2.
Box 1 Folder 34
#32, Craig to Kenjiro, 1932 June 20.
Box 1 Folder 35
#33, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1932 Sept. 4.
Box 1 Folder 36
#34, Sabro Yasukawa to Craig, 1932 Sept. 12.
Box 1 Folder 37
#35, Clifton Maloney to Craig, 1932 Nov. 18, returning two letters from Yaskawa to Craig [separately filed] and one from Harry McKinley to Craig, 1932 Oct. 26. Both Yaskawa and McKinley mentioned in their letters Japan-China relations.
Box 1 Folder 38
#68, Sabro to Robert Atmore, 1933 Feb. 18, re Craig's sudden death.
Box 1 Folder 39
Newspaper clippings, two, 1933 and 1945, re Craig's death in 1933 and Robert Atmore's post-war trip to Japan.
Box 1 Folder 40
#69, Sabro to Robert Atmore, 1934 July 4, on Bob's graduation from college.
Box 1 Folder 41
#49, Sabro Yasukawa to Emma and Virginia, 1936 Jan. 1, reminiscing on Emma's trip to Japan.
Box 1 Folder 42
#47, Bob Atmore to his mother, etc., 1936 July 19, re his travels in Inland Sea with Kenjiro and his family.
Box 1 Folder 43
#54, #55, #56, #57, #52, #53, Robert Atmore to Emma, Molly, Edward, and all, 1936 July 22 -- August 3, re his trip to Japan and his visit with the Kenjiro.
Box 1 Folder 44
#64, Matsuko (Diagoro's wife) to Emma Atmore, 1936 July 28, reporting Bob's arrival in Tokyo.
Box 1 Folder 45
#66, #67, Farewell notes to Bob Atmore, from Haruko and Kanio, 1936 Aug. 15; from Kuroda, Kazuko, etc., 1936 Aug. 11.
Box 1 Folder 46
#4, #61, #76, "Best friend, Craig Atmore," account of the friendship between the Atmores and the family of Kenjiro, [after 1945], three copies coded differently.
Box 1 Folder 47
#6, Emma Atmore's account [after 1945] of the friendship between the Kenjiro's family and the Atmores and her visit to Japan in 1935.
Box 1 Folder 48
#59, #78, memoirs by Kenjiro Matsumoto, 1952, excerpts re his first trip to the U.S. and his acquaintance with the Atmores during his study at Penn, 1891-1893, two copies coded differently.
Box 1 Folder 49
#46, Kanejiro (Kenjiro's 2nd son) to Ede and Bob Atmore, 1952 Feb. 8, providing data re the history of the relations between the two families.
Box 1 Folder 50
#51, Kenjiro to Emma, 1952 Feb. 15.
Box 1 Folder 51
#58, Aaruko to Robert Atmore, 1952 March 9, in Japanese.
Box 1 Folder 52
#48, Kenjiro to Robert Atmore, 1952 Sept. 4, with separate sheets answering questions re his early years including time spent at Penn and with the Atmores.
Box 1 Folder 53
#50, Two pages dated 1952 Sept. 22 outlining Daigoro's experience from 1913 to about 1952.
Box 1 Folder 54
#29A and #30A, Kenjiro to Emma (Mrs. Craig Atmore), 1953 Sept. 9, with a translation of his memoirs "Unique friendly relations with Atmore Family".
Box 1 Folder 55
#36A, Hiroshi Yasukawa to Emma, 1953 Nov. 16.
Box 1 Folder 56
#71, Kenjiro to Emma Atmore, 1956 March 12, an aerogram re his coming trip to Philadelphia for honorary degree from Penn.
Box 1 Folder 57
#2, Wayne Suburban article on Kenjiro Matsumoto's visit to Mrs. Craig Atmore, newspaper clipping, 1956 June 8.
Box 1 Folder 58
#7, newspaper clipping from the Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, 1956 June 13, "Penn honors UN representative and alumnus from Japan".
Box 1 Folder 59
#73, Daigoro Yasukawa, newspaper clipping "Personality Profile" of Japan Times, 1964 Jan. 22.
Box 1 Folder 60
#8, Masato Hirano to Robert C. Atmore, 1968 Oct. 4, re Daigoro Yasukawa's visit to New York, with a bio sheet of Daigoro.
Box 1 Folder 61
#44, Robert Atmore to Kane, Kaoru, and all, 1968 Nov. 14, request for translation of books about Kenjiro.
Box 1 Folder 62
#45, Photocopy of a circular with clippings about Emma, prepared by Robert Atmore in celebration of her 99th birthday, 1980.
Box 1 Folder 63
#74, Book (in Japanese) of the history of the Yasukawa-Matsumoto family and industrial group, 1980, articles originally carried in Kyushu newspaper.
Box 1 Folder 64
#65, Yasukawa/Matsumoto family chart, 1989 February, with notes by Sho Niiyama.
Box 1 Folder 65
#63, Seizaburo Yasukawa, lifetime chronicle, 1877-1936.
Box 1 Folder 66
#72, Kenjiro Matsumoto's autobiography, English translation, undated; with #34a, part of the autobiography (pp. 35-51).
Box 1 Folder 67
#1, Yasukawa Family chart, 2008 Sept. 8.
Box 1 Folder 68
Listing of "Matsumoto-Atmore Correspondence," #1- #74, [2008], incomplete, with errors noted and corrected, also with photocopy of the original folder packages of the material sent to Penn Archives.
Box 1 Folder 69

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