The Small Family Nanking University
Collection consists of a family history, a map of Nanking, copied correspondence, newspaper
clippings, and other materials on Nanking University, Lex's career as an architect, and the
Nanking Incident, compiled by Jaqueline Schurman, the Smalls' granddaughter.
Alexander and Mary Small, also known as Lex and Polly, travelled to China in 1912 shortly
after being married. Lex initially worked at the Fati Language School in Canton, where he
was the school's engineer, involved in various small building and maintenance projects.
After one year he was assigned to be the Superintendent of Construction for the Nanking
University, part of the China Union Universities, created and administered by four US
missions in New York. For over thirteen years, Lex supervised the construction of 66
buildings on campus, and he and Polly hosted numerous visiting missionaries. In 1927, the
Smalls fled down the Yangtsze River with few of their possessions in the midst of the
Nanking Incident, an uprising of Nationalist and Communist soldiers in which foreign
residents were attacked and their property looted and destroyed. The family left China for
the United States, eventually settling in Pasadena, California, where Lex worked for an
architectural firm and then the Los Angeles Board of Education
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of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.
The collection is open for research use.