Vassar College Digital Library
Guide to the Shigeko Nagai Uriu Papers, 1878–1995 (bulk 1909)

Table of Contents

Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Uriu, Shigeko
Title: Shigeko Nagai Uriu Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1878-1995
Bulk Dates: 1909
Quantity: 0.2 cubic feet (1 box)
Abstract: General biographical material as well as some documentation of Uriu's time at Vassar College.

Biographical Note

Shigeko Nagai Uriu (1861-1928) came to the United States from Japan in 1872 with the Iwakura Mission, a group of diplomats, scholars and students sent abroad as political and cultural ambassadors. The mission included 5 young girls ranging in age from 6-14. Nagai, then ten years old, was placed with the family of the historian John S. C. Abbott Family in New Haven, Connecticut. She spent five years there, learning about American life and attending the local high school. In 1879, Nagai and Sutematsu Yamakawa, another young member of Iwakura Mission placed in New Haven, were accepted at Vassar College. Yamakawa (later Princess Oyama) went on to become the first Japanese woman to earn an college degree. Nagai did not earn a degree but remained at Vassar for three years as a Special Student in music. She returned to New Haven during the summers, and while there was introduced to Baron Sotokichi Uriu, then a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. The two returned to Japan after he graduated in 1881 and were married in 1882, making her the Baroness Uriu. They had four sons and three daughters.

During a visit to the United States in 1909, the Baroness presented Vassar College with a silver and enamel bowl. The bowl had originally been given to her by the Emperor of Japan. When the Emperor heard of the Baroness's upcoming visit to Vassar, he gave permission for the Baroness to present the bowl to the College. The bowl is maintained within the College's collections.


Scope and Content Note

The Shigeko Nagai Uriu Collection includes correspondence, most of which is transcribed from the original letters; published materials, photographs, and miscellaneous realia. The greatest portion of the collection are periodical articles and newspaper clippings covering the period 1882-1995, the bulk from 1909, the year that the Baroness and her husband revisited the United States.



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to quote (publish) from unpublished or previously published material must be obtained as described in the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library.

  • There are additional letters from the Shigeko Nagai Uriu to Alice Bacon in the
  • There is additional material in the biographical records gathered by the Vassar College Alumnae and Alumni Association. Contact the Archives and Special Collections staff for further information about these records.

Subject Headings


  • Uriu, Sotokichi, Baron, 1857-1937


  • Vassar College--Students


  • Japanese students--United States
  • Marriage--Japan
  • Women college students--New York (State)--Poughkeepsie
  • Women--Education

VCL Categories

  • Vassar College

Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, June 2007.


Preferred Citation

Shigeko Nagai Uriu Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown. Guide last updated October 2008.

Acquisition Information

Gift of various donors.


Container List

Series I. Correspondence

Folder 1.1 Correspondence from and about Shigeko Nagai Uriu, 1882-1928 (4 letters)

Series II. Printed Material

Folder 1.2 Articles written by Shigeko Nagai Uriu, 1927, [n.d.]
Folder 1.3 Clippings and articles published about Shigeko Nagai Uriu, 1878-1995
Folder 1.4 Clippings about the Baron and Baroness Uriu's 1909 visit to the United States, 1909

Series III. Miscellaneous Materials

Folder 1.5 Japan Society of New York dinner invitation honoring Baron and Baroness Uriu, 1 June 1909
Folder 1.6 Program of Eighth Soirée Musicale, Vassar College School of Music, 1879 (photocopy)
Folder 1.7 Transcript of courses taken by Shigeko Nagai Uriu while attending Vassar College, 1878-1881
Folder 1.8 Family tree of Shigeko Nagai and Sotokichi Uriu prepared by great-grandson, Kenichi Furumi, October 1999

Series IV. Photographs

Folder 1.9 Photographs of Shigeko Nagai Uriu while at Vassar, [ca. 1881] (2 poses)
Folder 1.10 Photographs of the silver and enamel bowl given to Vassar College by Baroness Uriu, 1909 and 1999 (3 photos)
Folder 1.11 Photographs of Takeo Uriu and Kenichi Furumi, grandson and great-grandson, respectively, of Shigeko Nagai Uriu during a visit with their wives to Vassar College, August 1999

Return to the Table of Contents


General biographical material as well as some documentation of Uriu's time at Vassar College.

Finding Aid Date
Inclusive Dates: 1878-1995
Collection Title
Shigeko Nagai Uriu Papers