Guide to the William White Collection

Special Collections & Archives
University Library
California State University, Northridge
18111 Nordhoff Street
Northridge, CA 91330-8326


© Copyright 2020 Special Collections & Archives. All rights reserved.

Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
Title: William White Collection
Creator: White, William
Identifier/Call Number: OCH.WIW
Extent: 12.3 Gigabytes
Date (inclusive): 1914-1962
Abstract: The William White Collection is comprised of four photograph albums primarily documenting the British military experiences of White family members serving in China in the 1920s, and their family life in China through the late 1940s.
Language of Material: English

Biographical / Historical

Robert John White was born in 1902 in Athlone, Ireland to William Robert White and Elizabeth Wolstencroft. His father William was in the British Army Royal Horse Artillery and was stationed in India before serving in World War I. Robert joined the Shanghai Municipal Police in 1924 and remained with the SMP until 1943 during the occupation of Shanghai by Japanese troops. He married Bella Gertzman in 1928 in Shanghai, China, and they had two children together, Ethel Elizabeth and William. They emigrated first to Hong Kong, and then to the United States in 1950, where Robert worked for the Los Angeles Times until his retirement in 1967. He passed away in Los Angeles in 1975.

Scope and Contents

The William White Collection is comprised of photographs and ephemera related to the White family's work and lives in China, especially the British military and Shanghai Municipal Police career of Robert "Bob" John White. The photographs depict Shanghai, Peking, Soochow, Tsingtao, Penang, Mokanshan, and Hangchow in China. Many Shanghai locations are depicted, including Jessfield Park, Hongkew Park, French Club Park, Race Course, Nanking Road, the Bund, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Whangpoo River, Sinza Station, Soowchow Creek, Stone Bridge, general street scenes, and depictions of corporal punishment for crimes. There are many photographs related to the Anti-Foreign Riots, also known as the May Thirtieth Movement, which began after the British Shanghai Municipal Police opened fire on Chinese protestors in the International Settlement on May 30, 1925. Photographs of locations outside of China visited during White's British military service include Hong Kong, Suez Canal, Aden, Port Said, and Singapore. A limited number of photographs document the White family's social activities in China and their lives in the United States.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

William White, 2003

Preferred Citation

For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

Processing Information

Mallory Furnier, 2020

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Albums (Books)

Digital Folder

White Family Photograph Album, ca. 1914-1962

Digital Folder

British Military Service Photograph Album, 1924-1926

Digital Folder

White, Robert J. Photograph Album, 1924-1926

Digital Folder

White, Robert J. Photograph Album, ca. 1926

Digital Folder

White, William with Horse Photograph