Monuments Man Lennox Tierney has died, age 101. Only five Monuments officers are still living. Of the twenty Monuments Men and women I have interviewed, only Tierney and Sherman Lee had served in the Pacific Theater, primarily in Japan. Fluent in Japanese, and a greater scholar of Asian art, Tierney was assigned to General MacArthur’s occupation headquarters as Commissioner of Arts and Monuments following the end of the war. In this role, he advised General MacArthur on all topics regarding arts, monuments, and culture, in particular the restoration of damaged cultural sites. He also photographed cultural sites, compiled reports, and served as translator to General MacArthur and his staff as needed. Tierney often worked independently at Occupation Headquarters liasing directly with other Monuments Men including Langdon Warner, Laurence Sickman, and of course Sherman Lee. He served in this position until 1952, but remained in Japan thereafter to continue his study of Japanese
Lennox had a very long and distinguished career as a teacher sharing his lifelong knowledge and love of Japan and its cultural history with others. When we met last year in Salt Lake City, Lennox—at 101 years of age—was in the late stage planning for another trip to Japan accompanying another of the many groups interested in learning more about this fascinating culture. I marveled at his energy, drive, and enthusiasm.
With the passing of Lennox Tierney the world loses another remarkable member of the “Greatest Generation,” whose sense of shared sacrifice helped build the world we enjoy today. Japan’s cultural heritage is richer because of Lennox Tierney; so too is the United States for introducing so many Americans to that country’s great treasures. He will be missed!