Guide to the Warner Wells Collection, 1945-1972


Drafts and other preparatory materials for the publication of Hiroshima Diary, originally written in Japanese by Dr. Michihiko Hachiya and translated and edited into English by Dr. Warner Wells and Dr. Neal Tsukifuji in 1955. The collection also includes clippings and press coverage of the book's publication; a scroll painted by Shuka Takahashi; and miscellaneous printed materials discussing Hiroshima.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Warner Wells collection
3 Linear Feet, 1 records storage box; 1 boxed scroll; 1 volume
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English and Japanese

Collection Overview

The bulk of the collection consists of holograph and typescript drafts of Hiroshima Diary and its earlier iterations. Early versions are holograph copies prepared in Japanese by Michihiko Hachiya or his wife, Yaeko Hachiya. English translations initially titled as Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip later evolved to the 1955 galleys for Hiroshima Diary.

The collection also includes several disbound folios of press clippings and comments following the volume's publication; assorted stray correspondence from Hachiya; photographs from Hiroshima, including the city center and victims, as well as of Hachiya's hospital; some assorted Japanese publications about Hiroshima with manuscript English captions or other annotations; and a scroll depicting the bombing, sent to Hachiya by his friend Shuka Takahashi in 1945.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Warner Wells Collection, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Hiroshima Diary correspondence and photographs, 1945-1955

Letter (signed) by Dr. Hachiya; photographs of Hachiya, Wells, and Tsukifuji; photographs of Hiroshima atomic bomb victims and aftermath.

Box 1
Hiroshima Scroll, by Shuka Takahashi, 1945

A painted scroll (69"x16") in the form of an illustrated letter, sent to Dr. Hachiya by his friend, artist Shuka Takahashi, five weeks after the bombing of Hiroshima. Marked on gasenshi, Chinese drawing paper that has the elongated form of a kakemono scroll. The image is a metaphorical representation of the moment of the bomb blast: an angry god of wind is releasing air from a huge sack. At the bottom, the city of Hiroshima burns amidst a haze of smoke and fire. Takahashi's picture includes tiny details -- fallen telephone poles, ruined houses, and running figures -- dwarfed by the devestation of the great pikadon (flashboom). Takahashi's text in the scroll's center expresses sadness at the state of the city and relief that his friend is alive.

Description excerpted and abridged from The Physician's Art: Representations of Art and Medicine, by Julie V. Hansen and Suzanne Porter (Durham, 1999).

Box 2
Hiroshima Diary: holograph manuscript by Mrs. Yaeko Hachiya (in Japanese), 1950
Box 1
Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip, by Michihiko Hachiya; holograph manuscript prepared by Yaeko Hachiya, 1950

Manuscript (52 p., in Japanese) sent to The Teishin Igaku (Hiroshima Medical Journal) for serial publication; later edited and translated by Warner Wells and published in book form in 1955 under title Hiroshima Diary.

Box 1
Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip, by Michihiko Hachiya: holograph manuscript of English translation, draft, 1950-1952
(2 folders)

"First holograph copy of manuscript -- WW."

Box 1
Atom Bomb Gossip edited draft, 1952
(3 folders)
Box 1
Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip typescript, with edits: "rough draft", 1954
(2 folders)

"Original typescript ... with [some] beginning editing to 'Hiroshima diary'--WW."

Box 1
Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip typescript, with edits: "copy 2", 1954
Box 1
Hiroshima Diary: bound manuscript copy with final edits before galley proofing, 1955

Typescript copy with pre-press ms. editing (chiefly) by Gwen Duffey sent to be published in book form by the University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, N.C. Bound volume.

Box 1
Hiroshima Diary: carbon copy of final pre-press edition, 1955
(2 folders)
Box 1
Hiroshima Diary: galley proof with manuscript pagination, 1955

Galley proof (70 leaves, 396 p.; 64x19 cm). Manuscript editing presumably by G. Duffey.

Volume 1
Folios of press clippings, comments re: Hiroshima Diary, 1955-1957
(5 folders, arranged as Vol. 1, 1A, and 2)

Chiefly English (part Japanese) disbound scrapbooks with mostly mounted material: clippings, pamphlets, photographs, etc. concerning the publication of Hiroshima Diary by Michihiko Hachiya.

Box 1
"A Record of Husband and Wife," Shukan Sankei magazine with accompanying letter from M. Hachiya to Wells, 1959

A copy of Shukan Sankei ("First-rate Weekly," in Japanese) published 1959 Feb. 8 and including an article about Hiroshima Diary. Also includes a letter from M. Hachiya to Dr. Wells and a description of the serial by Wells.

Box 1
Hiroshima Diary scrapbook, 1955-1970

Scrapbook (17 inches x 22 inches, 95 pages) for Hiroshima Diary. The scrapbook was likely created and maintained between 1955 and 1970 by the University of North Carolina Press, the volume's publisher, or by Wells. Inside are photocopies of articles, book reviews, recommendation lists, commentaries, best-seller lists, and other material provided to the Press by an outside clippings service. Clippings were primarily from the United States, but there were several from locations around the world. There are also newspaper articles on related topics, such as the 10th anniversary of the dropping of the atom bomb and "the atomic age," studies of positive uses for nuclear power, and on the lessons Hiroshima provides regarding preparedness for nuclear attack. Additional material includes press releases; letters to the author of the diary, Dr. Hachiya, and a few of his replies; sales accounting reports for 1960; and a 1961 report on the scholarship fund Hachiya established with his royalties. Includes two black-and-white photographs.

Volume 2
Hiroshima: War and City, by Yuwana mi Shashin Bunko, 1972

Published booklet (61 p., in Japanese) and holograph manuscript translation of captions (35 p, in English).

Box 1

Historical Note

Warner Wells (1913-1991) was a Durham native and Duke alumnus, earning his B.A. and M.D. and then working as a resident in the surgery department between 1943 and 1949. He served in the U.S. Army as a neurosurgeon from 1944 to 1946.

Following World War II, Wells traveled to Hiroshima as part of the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission to learn about radiation injuries and illness. His work there led to ongoing research and interest in Japanese culture, and he began to learn Japanese. While on the ABCC, Wells met Dr. Michihiko Hachiya, a physician at the Hiroshima Communications Hospital. Hachiya's diary about the immediate aftermath of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, including the activities of him and his wife, Yaeko, was published serially in Teishin Igaku, a Japanese medical journal. Hachiya shared the original diary with Wells, who worked on a translation with the help of Dr. Neal Tsukifuji. The diary was initially titled Hiroshima Atom Bomb Gossip.

The translation was published by University of North Carolina Press in 1955, the same year the Dr. Wells moved to UNC as a member of their surgical faculty.

Warner Wells was married to Rebecca Atzrodte and the couple had five children. He died in 1991.

Related Material

Duke Libraries and the Rubenstein Library also hold writings and other items collected in post-war Japan by Wells, which are searchable on the library's website using the phrase "Hiroshima Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Warner Wells."

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Processing Information

Processed by RL and Medical Center Library staff. Updated by Meghan Lyon, November 2017.