Oliver Hadley Statler (1915-2002) was a Bestselling Author and Japanese Art Expert
From his small-town, midwestern roots, Huntley native Oliver Hadley Statler found his life’s passion in Japan and became an internationally acclaimed best-selling author and interpreter of Japanese art, culture and history. Today, the Huntley native’s impressive collection of Japanese art is maintained by the Art Institute of Chicago and his books still are available on Amazon.
Oliver H. Statler was born in Huntley on May 21, 1915. His father, Dr. Oliver I. Statler (1879-1954), had come to Huntley in 1908 after graduating from medical school. His mother, Alice Mae Hadley (1884-1964), was the daughter of early village settlers. Oliver Hadley Statler, an only child, attended public school in Huntley before graduating from the Elgin Academy. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago, then joined the US Army in 1941 to serve in Japan during World War II.
After the war, Statler returned to Yokohama from Huntley and remained for four years to do research and to write. He became an internationally known expert on Japanese block prints. He wrote several books on Japan and Japanese art, including his first book “Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn.’ According to the Art Institute website, Statler accumulated the most comprehensive collection of modern Japanese prints in the world.
In 1961 he penned the bestseller book “Japanese Inn,” a historical novel. Statler had become close friends with best-selling author James Michener, who encouraged him to write “Japanese Inn.” In 1977, Statler moved permanently from Huntley to Hawaii where he died in 2002.
Statler returned to Huntley one last time, shortly before his death, to meet with local residents at the Huntley Area Public Library to sign copies of his book.
For information on Oliver Statler’s Japanese art collection at the Art Institute of Chicago visit:
Oliver Statler’s books are available at the Huntley Library. They include:
Modern Japanese Prints: An Art Reborn (1956)
Japanese Inn (1961)
The Black Ship Scroll (1963)
Shimoda Story (1969)
Japanese Pilgrimage (1983)