Sidney Gulick

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Sidney Lewis Gulick
Sidney Lewis Gulick in 1919.jpg
Gulick in 1919
Born(1860-04-10)April 10, 1860
DiedDecember 20, 1945(1945-12-20) (aged 85)
Known forJapanese-American relations
Spouse(s)Clara May Fisher
ChildrenLuther Halsey Gulick + 4 others

Sidney Lewis Gulick (1860–1945) was an educator, author, and missionary who spent much of his life working to promote greater understanding and friendship between Japanese and American cultures.[1]


Gulick was born April 10, 1860 in Ebon Atoll, Marshall Islands. His father was missionary Luther Halsey Gulick Sr. (1828–1891), and mother was Louisa Mitchell (Lewis) Gulick (1830–1893). He was the brother of Luther Halsey Gulick, Jr. and grandson of missionary Peter Johnson Gulick (1796–1877). He graduated from Oakland High School in 1879.[2] He received an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College with his brother Edward Leeds Gulick in 1883,[3] an A.M. degree in 1886 and a D.D. degree in 1903. He also held D.D. degrees from Yale and Oberlin College.

He was ordained a Congregational minister in 1886, and then was a supply minister at the Willoughby Avenue Mission, Brooklyn. He married Clara May Fisher (1860?–1941) on November 7, 1887.[4]

In 1888 Gulick traveled to Japan, where he worked for the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions through the following twenty-five years. He mastered the Japanese language, fluently giving sermons and writing books in it. He taught English, science, and religion at several schools and universities in Japan. In his last seven years there, he served as Professor of Theology at Doshisha University in Kyoto and as lecturer at the Kyoto Imperial University.[5]

After returning to the United States in 1913, Gulick was dismayed to find growing discrimination and resentment against Japanese Americans. He campaigned against California's anti-Asian legislation and urged equality of treatment for all nations. An ardent worker in the cause of world peace, he was a vigorous proponent of the entry of the United States into the World Court.

After passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, which virtually halted immigration to the U.S. from countries seen as "undesirable", Gulick decided that the most productive way to encourage international understanding was through children.

Gulick was instrumental in forming the "Committee on World Friendship Among Children". In 1927, its first project was to organize the sending of American dolls to Japan for Hinamatsuri, an annual doll festival. This project had an overwhelming response from the American public, and altogether, 12,739 of these "American Blue-eyed Dolls" were sent to Japanese schools, each with an accompanying letter professing friendship.[6]

The Japanese later sent 58 dolls back to the United States – one for each state, plus more for states with larger populations. These Japanese friendship dolls were around three feet high, and were dressed in traditional Japanese clothing. They came with a trunk full of their belongings including equipment for the tea ceremony. After these dolls toured the United States, they went back to their state.

During World War II, many of the dolls, especially the ones in Japan, were seen as the enemy and were burned or stabbed. Many people saved dolls by hiding them until the war was over.

Gulick wrote many books about Japanese-American relations.

He died in Boise, Idaho, on December 20, 1945. According to his grandson, Sidney Gulick III, "his ashes were entombed in three places: alongside his father's in Springfield, Massachusetts; in Boise, Idaho; and in Kobe."[7] He had three sons, Luther Halsey Gulick (1892–1993) who developed theories of government policy, Leeds Gulick (1894–1975), and Sidney Lewis Gulick Jr. (1902–1988),[8] and two daughters, Mrs. Leverett Davis and Mrs. John Barrow.[2] His grandson mathematics professor Denny Gulick (Sidney Lewis Gulick III) has tried to revive the doll exchange project.[9]

Family tree[edit]

Selected works[edit]

Japanese titles[edit]

  • Shinshinkaron (1911)
  • Jinrui shinkaron / Shidoni Gyurikku cho. (1913)
  • Nihon e yoseru sho / Gyurikku Hakase (1939)


  • Advocate of understanding : Sidney Gulick and the search for peace with Japan by Sandra C. Taylor, Kent State University Press, 1984.


  1. ^ Rochester Museum & Science Center: Nagasaki Tamako - Dr. Sidney L. Gulick
  2. ^ a b "Dr. Sidney Gulick, Missionary, was 85: Educator, Author Who Worked Years in Japan to Improve Realtions (sic) With U.S. Is Dead". New York Times. December 24, 1945. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  3. ^ Dartmouth College (1906). Addresses of living graduates: of Dartmouth college, the Medical school, the Thayer school of civil engineering and the Amos Tuck school of administration and finance. Printed for the college. p. 141.
  4. ^ Hawaiian Mission Children's Society (1888). Annual report of the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society. p. 20.
  5. ^ "Scribner Books of Problems of the Day". The Independent. Jul 6, 1914. Retrieved July 28, 2012.
  6. ^ Franklin Odo (2002). "Friendship Dolls to Japan, December 20, 1926". The Columbia documentary history of the Asian American experience. Columbia University Press. pp. 202–203. ISBN 978-0-231-11030-3.
  7. ^ Nishimura, Kunio. "The Friendship Dolls". Look Japan (July 1995). pp. 30–33. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  8. ^ "Obituaries: Ga–Gz". Oberlin High School. Retrieved May 11, 2010.
  9. ^ "Denny Gulick,Ph.D". East Asian Scient and technology web site. University of Maryland. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved May 7, 2010.

External links[edit]