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Manuscript Records of Traders, Travellers, Missionaries & Diplomats, 1792-1942

Part 2: Sources from the William R Perkins Library, Duke University

This project offers the diaries, journals, letters, photographs and scrapbooks of a host of businessmen, tourists, scholars, missionaries, doctors, journalists and diplomats from the first British mission to China in 1792-1794 through to the mid 20th century.   All are in English and they are an ideal group of sources for student project work.

Part 2 covers seventeen individual collections of papers from Duke University.

  • Pride of place must go to the letters and diaries, 1743-1885, of Sir George Leonard Staunton and his son, George Thomas Staunton.  Sir George was Secretary of the 1st British Mission to China (the 1792-94 Macartney Embassy) and his 11 year old son was the only Briton of 700 who set sail who could read and write Chinese.  George Thomas Staunton was subsequently Chief of the East India Company Factory at Canton and a member of the Amherst Mission to China.  The diaries are full of drawings and observations.
  • Papers of American visitors to China include those of Martha Crawford, a missionary in Shanghai; Edward Hartshorn, an American customs official; Thomas Nicholson, a physician; Capt Parker Tenney, a zoologist and spy; and Lyman Spalding, US Naval Officer.
  • There are also papers, 1779-98 of George Macartney, British diplomat; and of Richard Gregory, businessman with British-American Tobacco, covering the period 1905-1910.


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