Pickens Family Japanese Doll Collection Donated to Columbia

The C.V. Starr East Asian Library at Columbia University received a donation of the Pickens Family Japanese Doll Collection (including the figures pictured here) from Mr. and Mrs. William Pickens III. Mr. Pickens began the collection in Japan in 1958, where he served as a Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. In 1980, he became a founding member of the United States-Japan Foundation.


Pickens currently serves as president of the Paul Robeson Foundation. He chose Columbia University for its strengths in Japanese Studies, and to mark the centennial of his cousin Paul Robeson, noted scholar, artist, athlete and activist, who graduated from Columbia Law School in 1923; and, to honor his aunt, Harriet I. Pickens, who was an M.A. candidate in history at Columbia before becoming the first African-American WAVE officer in U.S. history in 1944.