The Elling Eide Center is a research library and nature preserve overlooking Little Sarasota Bay. Dedicated to the study of classical Chinese literature and art, the Center fills a unique role in the cultural and scholarly landscape of its Florida coastal location.

Bequeathed by Sarasota resident Elling Eide, the 72-acre waterfront preserve brings together Old Florida and new modern architecture. Sarasota architect Guy Peterson, FAIA,  designed the Center’s research library, which shares the landscape with a rich assortment of native and exotic plants. 

The Center’s collection amassed by Eide over six decades contains comprehensive library holdings and special collections of rare books, manuscripts and artwork that represent a significant new resource for Asian Studies scholars.

The Elling Eide Center Research Library and Preserve opens its doors in the fall of 2016. The Center will provide scholars and students with opportunities to research Chinese culture, history and art on a pristine preserve. The Center will also host conferences, special lectures and tours.


Visionary, scholar and preservationist, Elling Oliver Eide (1935–2012) was born in Chicago and raised in Sarasota, Florida, on his family’s compound alongside the bay. He attended Sarasota High School and Harvard University, from which he graduated in 1957 summa cum laude—with a degree in Far Eastern Languages.

A passionate researcher and gifted translator of Chinese poetry, Eide served in East Asia with the United States Marine Corps, attaining the rank of lieutenant. In the late 1960s, as a Harvard Junior Fellow, he studied in Taiwan and began collecting Chinese literature and art. Eide’s time abroad inspired him to create a comprehensive research library and nature preserve that would attract Asian Studies scholars from across the world. The project engaged him for the rest of his life.

Eide’s long and fruitful collaboration with local architect Guy Peterson, FAIA, is showcased in the light-filled spaces of the Elling Eide Center’s modern, state-of-the-art research library, and in the natural and built environment the Center calls home.

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