The USC East Asian Library has been making remarkable progress collecting East Asian archival materials in diverse formats, including photographs, videos, audio recordings, manuscripts, diaries, letters, documents, and maps. These collections were donated to USC by donors in Los Angeles and across the Southern California region. Many of these archival collections focus on Republican China (1911-1949), a period of revolution, political upheaval, and social change in modern Chinese history. The USC Digital Library has digitized most of the items in these collections and made them available to the public. However, they are scattered across various collections and are difficult for researchers to track and discover. Furthermore, since many of these archival materials were given to USC by lesser-known donors and families, their research value may be overlooked by faculty, students, and scholars at USC and around the world. Therefore, conducting a systematic study to examine the content and research value of USC collections would increase their visibility and discoverability to the USC community and worldwide, demonstrating their breadth and significance and promoting more in-depth research in the future.
This exploratory study, funded by the FY2021 USC Libraries Research Grant, analyzes the metadata of over 1,500 items in various categories from digital collections related to Republican China in the USC Digital Library. Nearly one-third (31.8%) of these items are photographs, videos, and maps.
The digital collections included in the study are as follows:
- Lawrence P. Bischoff Family Collection: Lawrence P. Bischoff (1888-1970) served as captain of the gunboat USS Tutuila from July 15, 1930, to July 1, 1931, and as captain of the destroyer USS Bulmer from July 1931 to March 1932, conducting the U.S. Navy's Yangtze River Patrol and South China Patrol, respectively. In addition to photo albums, his collection also includes maps and diaries of the two patrols in China.
- Theodore Chen Collection, 1900-1924: Theodore Chen 陳錫恩 (1902-1991) was a distinguished professor of Education and the founding director of the Department of Asian Studies at USC. His collection mainly consists of photographs from China during the late Qing and early Republican periods.
- Saidee Pettus Hoose Collection: Saidee Pettus Hoose (maiden name Saidee Alice Pettus; 1887-1949) and her husband, Earl Albion Hoose (1886-1949), served as missionaries in China from 1915 to 1938. They first lived in Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, until 1927, when they had to evacuate in the face of the Kuomintang's Northern Expedition. They then relocated to Beiping (Beijing), where Earl became secretary of the American Bible Society. Her papers consist primarily of correspondences reflecting and recording some of the key events of the period, including the Kuomintang's conquest of Nanjing in 1927 and the growing threat of war with Japan in the late 1930s.
- Mark L. Moody Collection: Mark L. Moody (1892-1955) first went to Asia in 1919 as part of a YMCA team in Vladivostok, Russia. He married fellow YMCA member Alla Mae Simpson (b. 1889), and they moved to Shanghai, where Moody opened and operated an automobile dealership (Chrysler, Fiat, and REO) throughout the 1920s and 1930s. He was also an avid hunter and organized several hunting trips with friends. Moody traveled widely in China and left behind numerous photographs and films in the 1930s, including the Japanese attacks on Shanghai in 1932 and 1937.
- Pedro Loureiro Collection: Pedro Loureiro received his Ph.D. in history from USC in 1995. His research concentrates on pre-War Japanese espionage and relations with the United States. This collection consists primarily of reports, memos, and correspondence from the Asiatic Fleet, the 4th Marine Regiment (the "China Marines"), American Naval Attaches in Peiping (Beijing) and Tokyo, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and documents the political, economic, military, and social conditions in East Asia during the 1920s and 1930s.
Data visualization, mapping, social network analysis, and other analytic tools were used in the study to investigate their coverage and connections in terms of geographic locations, timeline, historical figures and events, themes, and possible social networks. The results of this study, particularly the visual mapping and analysis, will help researchers gain a deeper understanding of USC’s Republican China collections.