Guide to the Eric J. Schmidt Collection, circa 1941-circa 1945

Special Collections & Archives

Oviatt Library

California State University, Northridge
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Northridge, CA 91330
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Overview of the Collection

Collection Title: Eric J. Schmidt Collection
Dates: circa 1941-circa 1945
Identification: OCH/EJS
Creator: Schmidt, Eric J.
Physical Description: 0.04 linear feet
Language of Materials: English
Repository: Old China Hands Archives
Abstract: Eric J. Schmidt is an Old China Hand that taught at the Shanghai American School and was interned by the Japanese in the Chapei camp outside of Shanghai. The collection contains drawings done by Schmidt, including pencil portraits of fellow internees at Chapei, as well as a pastel drawing of the camp buildings.

Biographical Information:

Eric J. Schmidt was born on December 4, 1915 in Hillsborough, Illinois. He attended UC Berkeley, and graduated in 1940 after taking some time off of school to work on ships.
In November of 1940, he and a friend went on a ship headed to Australia, as they had plans to travel around the country. The ship made a stop in Shanghai on the way to pick up departing American citizens, and Schmidt and his friend decided to jump ship and stay in the city. Schmidt began working for an advertising company as the head of the art department, and arranged for his fiancée to come to China from America as well. They were married in Hong Kong in 1941, and shortly after they both began teaching at the Shanghai American School.
In 1943, the Schmidts were placed by the Japanese into the Chapei Civil Internment Center outside of Shanghai, where they lived for two and half years. The internees were able to convince the Japanese to let them continue to run the Shanghai American School for children in the camp, so Schmidt continued to teach and eventually became principal of the school while interned. He and his wife also had a daughter who was born at the camp.
After the war, Schmidt found work with the U.S. Army and the State Department in China, before returning to the United States with his family. He eventually settled in the San Francisco area.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

Genre/Form of Material:

Paper records

Administrative Information

Processing Information:

Jessica Geiser, 2013

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Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge.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.

Conditions Governing Access:

The collection is open for research use.

Preferred Citation:

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

Related Materials:

Scope and Contents

The Eric J. Schmidt Collection contains drawings done by Schmidt, including pencil portraits of fellow internees at the Chapei internment camp outside of Shanghai, as well as a pastel drawing of the camp buildings.

Collection Contents

Flat File Cabinet 2, Folder 1

Pencil Drawings - 5 Portraits of Unnamed Internees at the Chapei Internment Camp

Flat File Cabinet 2, Folder 2

Pastel Drawing - Buildings of the Chapei Internment Camp