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Part 3 of this project is devoted to the Papers of James Augustus Thomas (1862-1940), tobacco entrepreneur, philanthropist and Sinologist. Thomas was director of the British-American Tobacco Company Ltd and the British Cigarette Company, and was chairman of Mustard and Company Ltd from 1905 until his retirement in 1922. Between 1888 and 1922 he pioneered the introduction of American cigarettes into Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, India, Japan, China and other Asian countries.

Thomas spent a significant part of his life in China. Initially his interest in China was mainly commercial. However, he soon became involved in a number of projects which broadened his interest and influence in China. For instance, he organised the Chinese-American Bank of Commerce, founded two schools for the Chinese, and played an active role in the Chinese Red Cross. He was also Chairman of China Child Welfare Inc; Treasurer of China Famine Relief USA Inc; Director of the China Society of America; and an Executive Committee Member of the American Asiatic Society. He was the author of A Pioneer Tobacco Merchant in the Orient (1928) and Trailing Trade a Million Miles (1931). In recognition for his services to China he was made a Crystal Button Mandarin by the Empress Dowager of China in 1905, and was decorated with the 6th and 3rd classes Order of the Golden Harvest and with the Order of the Jade, Red Cravat with White & Blue Borders (China) in 1937. He was also decorated by the Dalai Lama.

We offer complete coverage of his correspondence, c1905-December 1923. This covers the entire period in which Thomas resided in China. Important topics covered by the papers are:

the marketing of tobacco in Asia and Australasia
the American court in Shanghai
the British-American Tobacco Company
the Asiatic Institute
the partnership between Standard Oil and the Chinese government
the work of the Navy YMCA in China
the Boxer Rebellion in 1900
the Russo-Japanese War in 1904-1905
foreign troops guarding the Peking-Mukden Railroad
the Chinese Rebellion in 1911
Fred McCormick and the China Monuments Society
Sino-Japanese relations in 1915, including the Twenty-One Demands and a proposed railroad from Chungking to Ichong
Anson Burlingame and Willard Straight
the Panama Pacific Exposition and trade opportunities in China
the Japanese occupation of Korea
Chinese boycott of Japanese goods
the presidency of Yuan Shih-k’ai
the visit of the Chinese Trade Commission to the United States
Wellington Koo, Chinese minister to Mexico, and relations between the United States and Mexico, 1914
the changing status of women in China
purchase of indigo paste in China by the Erwin Cotton Mills, Durham
the Chinese American Bank; banking and currency in China
the Second Consortium in China and the work of Thomas Lamont
the China Trade Act
missionary schools in China
the Harvard Medical College of China in Shanghai
the Washington Conference on the limitation of armaments, 1921-22
the conflict between Chang Tso-lin and Wu P’ei-fu
Sun Yat-sen and his power in China
the Nine-Power Open Door Treaty

We also include complete coverage of his Addresses, Papers and Articles, 1905-1915.

The Papers of J A Thomas are an important source for scholars exploring Asian Studies, Economic History, World History and American, British and Chinese relations from 1900 to 1923. They provide a mine of information concerning business, education, agriculture, legal systems, medicine and cultural affairs in China. There is also much information on Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Part 3: The Papers of J A Thomas, c1905-1923, from the William R Perkins Library, Duke University
17 reels of 35mm silver-halide positive microfilm plus guide to Parts 1-3
Sterling Price: £1480
US Dollar Price: $2260

Manuscript Records of Traders, Travellers, Missionaries & Diplomats, 1792-1942
Part 3: The Papers of J A Thomas, c1905-1923, from the William R Perkins Library, Duke University


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