Guide to the John Fryer Papers, [ca. 1861-1921]

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Guide to the John Fryer Papers, [ca. 1861-1921]

Collection number: BANC MSS C-B 968

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Brooke Dykman Dockter
© 1997. The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: John Fryer Papers,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1861-1921]
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 968
Origination: Fryer, John, 1839-1928
Extent: Number of containers: 1 box, 6 cartons
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Correspondence (including letters from George Davidson, Benjamin I. Wheeler and Charles W. Woodworth); MSS of his writings and lectures; lecture notes and course material; and clippings. relating to his study of China and the Chinese and to his career as professor of oriental languages and literature, University of California, Berkeley.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research. RESTRICTED Letterpress copies in Box1, use microfilm or published transcripts. UNARRANGED and UNAVAILABLE, Cartons 4-6.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], John Fryer papers, BANC MSS C-B 968, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.


John Fryer was born in England in 1839. In 1860 he was graduated from St. James' School at Bristol. The following year he received his teachers certificate from Highbury College in London and was appointed principal of St. Paul's College at Hong Kong. From 1863 to 1865 he was professor of English at Tung-Wen College in Peking. He then became head of the new Anglo -Chinese School at Shanghai. During the period he also edited the first Chinese newspaper published in Shanghai.
In 1868 Fryer entered the service of the Chinese government as translator of scientific books into Chinese. In addition to his work he took an active interest in the many educational innovations that were carried on in China during this period. In 1884 he founded the Chinese Scientific Book Depot. This company, which he owned until 1911, printed and sold books on scientific subjects, and later, on general subjects also.
He left China in 1896 to accept the position of first Agassiz Professor of Oriental Languages and Literature at the University of California at Berkeley but visited China yearly to oversee his business interests and in 1911 he founded the Institute for the Chinese Blind at Shanghai. Under his direction the Department of Oriental Languages was expanded and his active interest in the department and in Chinese student affairs continued after his retirement in 1914. He also gave illustrated lectures on China and the Chinese and was a member of the Philological Society, Hung Tao Society, and president of the Oriental Institute of California. Professor Fryer died in 1928.

Scope and Content

The John Fryer papers were transferred to the Manuscripts Division from the University Archives in 1965 and relate mainly to his studies and writings on China and the Chinese and to his professorship.
A key to arrangement follows.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by John Fryer, 1861-1915. Original letters written to his brother George W. Fryer and other relatives; and letterpress copies of professional and business letters. Arranged chronologically.


Letters written to Fryer. Relate mainly to his Chinese studio and writings. Arranged alphabetically and include letters from the following:


California. University. Regents. Dec. 15, 1915. Written by Victor H. Henderson, secretary.


Condit, Ira M. Dec. 15, 1896.


Davidson, George, 1825-1911. Aug. 24, 1898


San Francisco. Chamber of Commerce. Nov. 5, 1902. Written by E. Scott, secretary


Wheeler, Benjamin Ide, 1854-1927. 3 letters (copies), 1900


Woodworth, Charles William, 1865-1940. Nov. 14, 1921

Ctn. 1

Essays and lectures. Mainly typescripts. Arranged alphabetically by subject as follows.


China - general


Anniversary of the Chinese Republic, 1914


The China of Today


The Chinese Problem


The Commerce of China


The Future of China


Our Relation with the Reform Movement of China


The Outlook for China - Aug. 1902


The Political and Financial Position of China


The Reciprocal relation of the Anglo-Saxon and the Oriental


Sketch of the T'ai P'ing Rebellion


Trade with the Orient passing through San Francisco


Why Japan has Developed Differently from China




Can Western Knowledge Be More Effectually Imparted to the Chinese Nation ... by ... Translations of Foreign Books, or by Teaching Them to Speak and Read Foreign Languages


The Chinese Normal Essay


Education in China


The Education of the Chinese Blind


[The Recent Educational Reform]


The Great Men of China


The 3 Great Founders of Chinese Civilization (Fu-hsi, Shen-nung, Hwang-ti)


The 3 Great Chinese Buddhist Travelers to India (Fa-hsien, Hsuan-chuang, I-ching)


The 3 Great Reformers of China (Wang-an-shih, Chu-yuan-chang, Kang-yiu-wei)


The 3 Great Chinese Viceroys of the Last Dynasty (Tseng-kuo-fan, Li-hung-chang, Chang-chih- tung)


The 3 Great Philosophers of the Confucian School (Confucius, Mencius, Chu-hsi)


The 3 Great Poets of China (Li-tai-po, Tu-fu, Su-tung-po)




A Contribution to Chinese Philology


Introduction to the Mandarin Language


One Language for all China


Philology of the Chinese Language




Chinese Drama


Chinese Poetry


Chinese Literature and Libraries


Literature of China


Religion and Philosophy


Ancient Oriental Conceptions and Modern Occidental Thought


Chinese Buddhism


Chinese Symbology


The Chinese System of Ethics


Christian Missionary work in China


The Confucian Divinatory or Diagram Philosophy


The Confucian Ethical Philosophy




The Divinatory Philosophy of the Chinese


The Fifth Century Buddhist Mission to America


The Future Religion of China


The Influence of the Religions of the Far East on Palestine at the time of Christ


The Jews in China


Missionary Work in China


Numerical or Mathematical Philosophy of the Chinese


Roman Catholicism in Shanghai and the Vicinity




Three Great Religions of China




Across China from Shanghai to the Borders of Tibet


Ancient Chinese Sacrificial Vessels


Chinese Architecture


Chinese Home and Social Life


Chinese Myths


The Flowers of China


The Mission of the Japanese and the Anglo-Saxon Peoples


Women in China


Misc. fragments, etc.

Ctn. 2

Lecture notes and other course material for classes he taught at the University of California at Berkeley. Arranged by course as follows:


Course 1


Language and literature


The Commerce of China


The History of China




Course 2


Confucian and Taoist Philosophies




Course 3


Mandarin Language


Course 11


Economic Features of the Commerce of China and Japan




Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs; Tariff


The Exports and Imports of China


Commercial Methods and Banking Systems; Coinage


Tenure and Transfer of Land and Property; Taxation


Weights and Measure; Revenue Population


Commercial Characteristics of the Chinese; land and water transportation


Railway Transit; Postal and Telegraph Systems


Army and Navy


The Commerce of China and Japan


Famous Women of Chinese History


The War between China and Japan


Productions and Manufactures of China


Education in China


Government, Laws and Social Conditions of China


The Outlook for American and European Enterprise in China


Treaty Ports and Spheres of Influence




Course 12


The Religions of China


Chinese System of Ethics


Buddhist and Taoist Eschatology


Buddhism and other religions in China


Philosophies and Religions of Japan




Course 102 B


Chinese language and literature

Ctn. 3

Course 108-B


The Great Men of China


Course 111


Politics and Commerce in China


Course 126 B


Chinese Music


Exams and class lists


Travels. Typescripts, arranged as follows:


Diary of Voyage to China, 1861


First Impressions of Hongkong and the Chinese People, 1861


Account of 3 days excursion on the mainland of China, 1862


Account of a trip to the Hills, 1883


Recollections of Peking, 1863 (outline only)


A Fortnight's Adventures in China and Mongolia, 1865


An Account of a trip to the "Snowy Valley", 1880


Yosemite, 1905


Trip to the Great Wall of China, n.d.


Account of an Excursion in China, n.d.


Reminiscences of life in China


Fiction. Mainly annotated typescripts.


A Buddhist Legend of the Inland Sea of Japan


Israel in China - A Story of the Chinese Jews of a Thousand Years Ago




Miscellaneous manuscripts (grouped roughly by subject)




History and Government of China




Language and Literature (Chinese)


Religion and Philosophy


Translations of articles, poems, etc.


Miscellaneous manuscripts re China (education, Chinese proverbs, Social and Political Aspects of Chinese Jews, Chinese Agriculture)


Fragments and unidentified


Miscellaneous manuscripts (Oriental Studies in American and European Universities, Chicago Worlds Fair)


Miscellaneous materials


Announcements of lectures; manuscript lists


Articles not written by Fryer


Book lists


Genealogy of the Fryer family (includes biographical sketches)


Lists of slides accompanying lectures


Material re Chinese Scientific Terminology


Material re Education in China. Includes: Report to the Regents of the University of California on the Educational Reform in China, 1909, by Fryer; two pamphlets re the Institution for the Chinese Blind, founded by Fryer; articles for incorporation of the Oriental Institute of California


Papers re the Chinese Exclusion Act


Papers by Edward James (The Religion of China before Confucius; Reflections from a Mirror 3 Milleniums Old, a Study of Ancient China, from the Shi King; Lao Tzu of the Tao Teh Ching)


Papers by S. C. Kiang Kand Hu (1 folder)


The Shu Ching of "Book of History"


The Shih Ching of "Book of Poetry"


The Li Chi of "Book of Rites"


The Ch'un Ch'iu of the "Annual History of the Lu State"


The Examination System in China


Lectures on the "Four Books"


Lectures on the "Five Canons"


Syllabus of 60 lectures on Chinese Culture


Why is the Chinese Language Useful and Important to an American Businessman?


Photograph and Diagrams


The Pi-Pa-Chi (English translation of Chinese drama, 1404)


Reprints of Articles by Fryer


Material written in Chinese. Mainly unidentified



carton Ctns. 4-6