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Williams (Edward T.) Papers
BANC MSS C-B 977  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Brief Biographical Sketch
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Content
  • Material Cataloged Separately
  • Publication Rights

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Edward Thomas Williams Papers,
    creator: Williams, Edward Thomas, 1854-1944
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 977
    Physical Description: 11 linear feet (9 cartons, 1 box, 1 oversize box, 1 volume, 1 oversize folder and 2 rolled items in 1 package);
    Physical Description: 4 reels (4 microfilm reels)
    Date (inclusive): approximately 1872-1944
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.


    Collection is open for research with the exception of the scrolls in package 1, which are fragile and require curatorial permission.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection of papers was a gift to The Bancroft Library from his daughter, Gladys Williams, and son, E. T. Williams, in 1965, with additions in 1966 and 1967.

    Brief Biographical Sketch

    Edward Thomas Williams was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1854. In 1875 he graduated from Bethany College and was also ordained in the Disciples of Christ Church. After serving in pastorates at Springfield (Illinois), Denver, Brooklyn, and Cincinnati, he was sent to China in 1887. Here he became intensely interested in the country and began to study the language, history and customs.
    In 1896 Williams left the ministry to serve the American goverment in China in a succession of posts of increasing importance and responsibility. For several years he was interpreter to the American Consulate-General at Shanghai, and from 1901 to 1908, Chinese Secretary of the American Legation at Peking. In 1909 while serving as Consul General at Tientsin, he was transferred to Washington to the post of Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs in the Department of State.
    Williams returned to China in 1911 as Secretary and Chargé d'Affairs of the American Legation at Peking. As such he was able to observe first-hand the revolutionary movement and to represent the United States government on the occasion of the recognition of the Chinese Republic. Again recalled to Washington, he served as Chief of the Division of Far Easten Affairs in the Department of State from 1914 to 1918. He resigned in 1918 and accepted the position of third Agassiz Professor of Oriental Languages and Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. His academic career was interruped several months later when he went to the Paris Peace Conference as technical advisor on far eastern affairs to the American commission. Again in 1921 he was granted leave to serve as consultant on far eastern questions to the American delegation to the Conference on the Limitation of Armaments.
    In the course of his academic career he wrote two books, China Yesterday and Today (1923), and A Short History of China (1928), many articles on China and the far east, and reviews and translations. He was a memeber of numerous societies and received three decorations from the Chinese government. Professor Williams retired in 1927 and died in Berkeley in 1944.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edward Thomas Williams papers, BANC MSS C-B 977, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Scope and Content

    Correspondence; MSS of his writings on China and the Far East and of an unpublished autobiography; diaries; account books; clippings of articles written by him; personalia; photographs; and scrapbooks, relating primarily to his career in the U.S. diplomatic service in China; as professor of oriental languages, University of California, Berkeley; as advisor on far eastern affairs to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, 1919; and as a special assistant to Department of State for the Conference on Limitation of Armament, 1921-22. Included also is some material prior to 1896 relating to his ministry in the Disciples of Christ Church in the U.S. and China. Also includes two scrolls created by Empress Tzu Hsi created for Mrs. Edward T. Williams in approximately 1900. Portraits can be found in the Portrait collection of the Bancroft Library.

    Partial List of Correspondents

    • Adee, Alvey Augustus, 1842-1924 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Alsberg, Carl Lucas, 1877-1940 (Letter, May 21, 1934) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Anderson, George Everett, 1869-1940 (Letter, Nov. 24, 1913) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Arnold, Julean Herbert, 1875- (Letter, July 11, 1912) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Bacon, Robert, 1860-1919 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Baker, Ray Stannard, 1870-1946 (3 letters, 1922)
    • Barrows, David Prescott, 1873-1954 (2 letters, 1929-1934)
    • Bliss, Tasker Howard, 1853-1930 (Letter, May 1, 1919); enclosure: Letter (copy) from Bliss to President Wilson, April 29, 1919. (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925 (2 letters, 191[2?]-1915)
    • California. University. President (8 letters, 1918-1941. Written by B. I. Wheeler, R. G. Sproul, and M. E. Deutsch); enclosure to letter, July 1, 1918: letter to Wheeler from Warren Olney, June 29, 1918.
    • California. University. Regents (4 letters, 1921-1925. Written by R. G. Sproul and C. J. Struble)
    • California. University, Berkeley. Library (3 letters, 1928-1929. Written by Harold L. Leupp)
    • Carr, Wilbur John, 1870-1942 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • China Commerce Club of California (Letter, Dec. 6, 1918); Copy, signed by Robert Dollar) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Clark, Champ, 1850-1921 (Letter, Apr. 6, 1911 (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Coffee, John Main, 1897- (Letter, May 10, 1939) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Colegrove, Kenneth Wallace, 1886- (Letter, Feb. 19, 1929) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Crowell (Thomas Y.) Company (4 letters, 1927-1934. Concern Williams' book, China Yesterday and Today)
    • Deutsch, Monroe Emanuel, 1879-1955 (see California. University. President)
    • Dollar, Robert, 1844-1932 (see China Commerce Club of California) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Fletcher, Henry Prather, 1873-1959 (Letter, Aug. 30, 1909) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Ford, Guy Stanton, 1873- (Letter, June 1, 1927) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Freemasons. California. Henry Morse Stephens Lodge, no. 541 (2 letters, 1933-1940)
    • Greene, Roger Sherman, 1881-1947 (2 letters, 1912-1939. Letter dated 1939 written while chairman, American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression)
    • Grose, George Richmond, 1869-1953 (Letter, Oct. 1, 1924) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Harado, Tasuku, 1863- (2 letters, 1920-1921)
    • Harper and Brothers (4 letters, 1922-1928. Concern Williams book, Short History of China)
    • Harris, Norman Dwight, 1870- (2 letters, 1924-1927)
    • Hinckley, Frank Erastus, 1871-1950 (Letter, Oct. 17, 1934) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Hornbeck, Stanley Kuhl, 1883- (3 letters, 1934-1936)
    • Hughes, Charles Evans, 1862-1948 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Johnson, Hiram Warren, 1866-1945 (Letter, June 12, 1919) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Johnson, Nelson Trusler, 1887-1954 (2 letters, 1929-1937)
    • Kerner, Robert Joseph, 1887-1956 (2 letters, 1937-1939)
    • Lansing, Robert, 1864-1928 (see U.S. American Commission to Negotiate Peace and U.S. Dept. of State
    • Lessing, Ferdinand Diedrich, 1882-1961 (2 letters, 1939)
    • Leupp, Harold Lewis, 1877-1952 (see California. University. Berkeley. Library)
    • Lineberger, Walter Franklin, 1883-1943 (Letter, June 10, 1925) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Lobingier, Andrew Stewart, 1862-1939 (Letter, Nov. 19, 1928) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Lockhart, Frank P., 1881-1949 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • MacMurray, John Van Antwerp, 1881- (6 letters, 1912-1925)
    • McClatchy, Valentine Stuart, 1857-1938 (Letter, Aug. 2, 1924); enclosure: Letter (copy) from McClatchy to K. Abiko re Japanese exclusion, July 23, 1924. (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • McCormick, Frederick, 1870-1951 (Letter, Dec. 11, 1928) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Miller, Ransford Stevens, 1867-1932 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Nicolay, Helen, 1866-1954 (see Washington, D.C. All Souls Sunday School)
    • Olney, Warren, 1870-1939 (see California. University. President)
    • Patchin, Philip Halsey, 1884-1954 (Letter, Oct. 18, 1934) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Phillips, William, 1878- (Letter, July 24, 1911) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Polk, Frank Lyon, 1871- (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Root, Elihu, 1845-1937 (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Rowe, Leo Stanton, 1871-1946 (Letter, Nov. 3, 1921) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Saunders, Kenneth James, 1883-1937 (Letter, Aug. 2, 1922) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Sproul, Robert Gordon, 1891- (see California. University. President and California. University. Regents)
    • Stephens, Henry Morse, 1857-1919 (2 letters, 1919)
    • Straight, Willard Dickerman, 1880-1918 (Letter, Feb. 25, 1914) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Sze, Sao-ke Alfred, 1877-1958 (Letter, May 15, 1936) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Taft, William Howard, 1857-1930 (Letter, June 12, 1915) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Thomas, Elbert Duncan, 1883-1953 (Letter, May 16, 1936) (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • U.S. American Commission to Negotiate Peace (3 letters, 1919. Include letters from Robert Lansing)
    • U.S. Library of Congress (Letter, Dec. 21, 1917); signed by Herbert Putnam, librarian (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • U.S. Dept. of State (17 letters, 1907-1937. Written by Elihu Root, Robert Bacon, R. S. Miller, A. A. Adee, W. J. Carr and others)
    • Washington, D. C. All Souls Sunday School (3 letters, 1919. Letter dated May 11 written by Helen Nicolay)
    • Willcox, Walter Francis, 1861- (4 letters, 1927)
    • Wilson, Huntington, 1875- (see U.S. Dept. of State)
    • Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 (Letter, Mar. 30, 1915); written to Sec. of State William J. Bryan (in A-Z miscellany folder)
    • Wittfogel, Karl August, 1896- (3 letters, 1934. With these: Letter dated Aug. 17, 1933 written by M. Winternitz asking help in securing Wittfogel's release from German prison)
    • Young, Wallace Jesse, 1880-1923 (see U.S. Dept. of State)

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • 1 carton of photographs transferred to the Pictorial Collections of the Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1965.011-.020)
    • 1 photograph of San Francisco residences transferred to the Pictorial Collections of the Bancroft Library (BANC PIC 1965.001--PIC)
    • Portraits in the Portrait Collection of the Bancroft Library

    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.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Williams, Edward Thomas, 1854-1944