was William Sturgis Bigelow?
son of Dr. Henry Jacob Bigelow, a famous Boston surgeon, William
Sturgis Bigelow (18501926) seemed destined to follow
in his father's footsteps. He graduated from Harvard Medical
School in 1874 and continued his medical education in Europe,
where he studied under Louis Pasteur. After returning to Boston
and practicing surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital
for two years, however, young Dr. Bigelow became restless.
Displeased with medicine and his life in Boston, in 1882 he
traveled to Japan with Edward S. Morse; there, they joined
Ernest F. Fenollosa to form a "Boston triumvirate"
of apostles of Japanese art and culture. Bigelow remained
in Japan for seven years to study Buddhisma study that
would continue for the remainder of his life. His 1908 Ingersoll
Lecture at Harvard University was published as Buddhism and
before his long residence in Japan, Bigelow had begun to amass
an enormous collection of Japanese art. While in Japan and
after his return to the United States, he organized exhibitions
of traditional Japanese art, as he continued his study of
art and religion. Through his exhibitions, writings, and especially
through the donation of his immense personal collection of
Japanese artmore than 15,000 pieces, as well as 40,000
ukiyo-e printsto the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in
1911, Bigelow played a major role in bringing an awareness
of Japanese culture to the West.
William Sturgis Bigelow lived between two worlds, and according
to a biographical sketch of his life by Dr. Curtis Prout,
when Bigelow died in 1926, half of his ashes were interred
at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and half
were buried in Japan, near a Buddhist temple and overlooking
a favorite lake.