Finding Aid to the Eli Taylor Sheppard Papers, ca. 1858-1927

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Geographical (By Place) --United States (excluding California) History --History, California Geographical (By Place) --California Social Sciences --Political Science --International Relations

Finding Aid to the Eli Taylor Sheppard Papers, ca. 1858-1927

Collection number: BANC MSS 71/253 cz

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
January 1989
Encoded by:
James Lake
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Eli Taylor Sheppard Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1858-1927
Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/253 cz
Creator: Sheppard, Eli T.
Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 3 cartons, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 5
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: Eli T. Sheppard papers: Chiefly relating to his diplomatic career as U.S. Consul to China and later as Advisor on International Law to the U.S. Minister to Japan. Includes correspondence, diaries,chitbooks, writings, certificates, scrapbooks and clippings. Includes some material pertaining to his ownership of the Madrone Vineyards near Sonoma in the 1880s.

Miscellaneous family and other papers : Includes accounts of his father-in-law, Lewis Lewton, 1864-1889 (the earliest including accounts for the Ohio National Guard) and of the Lewton estate; records of the Glen-Ellen Viticultural Club (minutes, constitution and by-laws); account by Marguerite Brindley (E.T. Sheppard's daughter) of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English and Chinese

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

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], Eli Taylor Sheppard Papers, BANC MSS 71/253 cz, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Removed or Separated Material

  • Pictorial materials have been transferred to the Bancroft Library's Pictorial Collections.
  • Some published materials have been transferred to the Bancroft Library's book collection.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Eli T. Sheppard papers came as a gift to The Bancroft Library, June 16, 1971, from his granddaughter, Mrs. William E. Hilbert. A small number of additional items were received from the estate of Mrs. Hilbert, through the assistance of her cousin, Mrs. Evelyn Stewart.


When the distinguished professor of history of the University of California at Berkeley, Henry Morse Stephens, returned some letters he had borrowed from Eli Taylor Sheppard, he wrote the former American Consul to China, "May I beg you to see that this most interesting preserved in some safe place, -I dare not suggest the Bancroft Library, -on account of its very real historical value." Fifty-four years later, the Bancroft Library, through the generous gift of Mrs. William S. Hilbert was indeed to receive the fascinating and rich collection of Papers of her grandfather, Eli Taylor Sheppard.
Eli Taylor Sheppard, lawyer and diplomat, was born in Belmont County, Ohio, on September 26, 1842, and spent his early years on his father's farm. By 1858, he had begun teaching in the nearby Pumpkin Ridge county school. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted with the 85th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, serving until April 1863. Encouraged by Mr. John A. Bingham in his desire to read law, Sheppard entered the Union Law College in 1864, graduating with honors in March 1865. His early practice with the firm of Bingham, Stanton and Lewton led to his appointment as Proctor in Admiralty in the Circuit and District Courts of the United States, and in 1867 as Register in Bankruptcy.
Soon after the visit in 1868 of the first Chinese Ambassador to the United States, the commercial exchanges between the two countries necessitated the sending of American officials to China. At the instigation of Anson Burlingame, who had been instrumental in the development of relations with China, Sheppard, eager to apply his knowledge of international law, applied for, and obtained an appointment as U.S. Consul to China in April of 1869. He took up residence in Chinkiang for two years, after which he was transferred, with the title of U.S. Consul for North China, to the port of Tientsin.
Throughout these years, Mr. Sheppard gained a reputation for dealing with firmness and tact in such varied matters as his intervention in the case of the persecution of an American missionary at Chimi near Chefoo. His friendly relations with the metropolitan viceroy, Li Hung Chang, the real ruler of China, were instrumental in Sheppard's ability to adjust differences between China and the treaty powers, especially in the Formosan difficulty with Japan in 1873, and later in disputes arising between China and Japan concerning Korea and the Lew Chew Islands.
At this time, however, his mentor, Mr. Bingham, now minister to Japan, urged Sheppard to come to Japan as Advisor in International Law. Upon his arrival in Japan in 1877, he found the country to be undergoing exciting changes in its transition from insular feudalism to the mainstream of international life, responsive to outside aid, and generally more in touch with the West than was China. Here Sheppard assisted in establishing a consular service modeled on European and American systems, worked in clarifying rights and duties of foreigners residing in China and Japan in relation to treaty revisions and extraterritoriality. Other legal questions to be untangled included the nature of the rights of foreign vessels in offshore Japanese waters, issues of naturalization, etc.
Suffering from ill health, Sheppard decided to abandon his post, returning to California in 1881. He settled down temporarily in Napa, then near Sonoma, growing grapes at the Madrone Vineyards which he later sold to Senator George Hearst in 1889. After traveling in Europe, he resumed his law practice in San Francisco in 1890. He travelled to Mexico and Washington D.C., lectured at the University of California, Berkeley on international law and on the American Consular Service, and from 1912 spent his remaining years in Oakland, where he died in 1927.

Scope and Content

The correspondence, diaries and photographs, carefully preserved all these years, depict the day to day life of a diplomat --revolving around Chinese officials, intricate ceremonials, and ticklish questions of diplomacy, the whole interwoven with accounts of revolts and political intrigue. In addition to rich details of Chinese life and customs, and of travels throughout the country, one finds in these papers accounts of innumerable receptions, interaction with consuls from Germany, England, and France, as well as details of the delicate negotiations between the Chinese and the Peruvian commission over an accusation of coolie trafficking. Herein also are described small pox epidemics, the death of the old Emperor and the subsequent period of official mourning, negotiations to curb Chinese taxes on imported foreign goods, the Transit of Venus in 1874 with attendant scientific dignities, and the funeral arrangements for the United States Minister to China, Benjamin P. Avery.


Outgoing letters, 1871-1927

Physical Description: (4 folders)
Box 1

Transcripts of outgoing letters, 1871-1879

Additional Note

(N.B.: Originals of some letters, particularly those written from Japan in 1877-1879, are lacking)

Letters from his wife, Lida (Lewton) Sheppard, 1871-1928


Incoming letters

Box 1

Single letters in an A-Z Miscellany

Physical Description: (2 folders)

Miscellany, unidentified

Physical Description: (1 folder)

Incoming, A-K.

Physical Description: (15 folders)

Additional Note

Two or more letters, arranged alphabetically by author, then chronologically within each folder. A partial list of correspondents may be consulted at the end of the report.
Box 2

L - Z

Physical Description: (39 folders)

Transcripts of miscellaneous letters


Letters, 1858-1880, written to Mrs. Sheppard by girlhood friends in Ohio, some of them concerning the Civil War

Physical Description: (3 folders)

Calling cards and miscellaneous publications

Box 3

Calling cards and miscellaneous publications


Diaries, accounts, and chitbooks

Ctn. 1

Diary, 1869: Begun in May when in Washington D.C., prior to beginning his consulship and kept during his trip across the country to the west coast.


Diary, 1873-1875: Kept as U.S. Consul in Tientsin, China


Diary, 1875-1876: Kept as U.S. Consul in Tientsin, China


Diary, 1877-1878: Describes return voyage from San Francisco to Tokyo and his duties as advisor upon international law to the Japanese Office of Foreign Affairs.


Diaries, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889: Madrone Vineyards, farming near Sonoma


Diaries, 1892-1895: San Francisco

Physical Description: (4 v.)

Diaries, 1896-1898: Oakland


Diary, 1900: Washington, D.C.


Account book for U.S. Consulate at Tientsin, 1873-1875


Check stubs, 1874/5-1875/6


Chitbooks, 1886-1881

Physical Description: (6 v.)

Miscellaneous papers and writings


Misc. papers

Ctn. 2

Certificates of appointments, passports, etc., relating to his military, consular and legal careers, 1862-1899

Physical Description: (some oversize)

Accounts, 1872-1876, relating mainly to his consular service in China


Map of Mexico, annotated


Misc. relating to consular service including:


Copy of John A. Bingham's speech in support of General Grant, July 10, 1872, translated into Chinese and published in Tientsin, China.


Notice of the reception of the ministers of western powers by the Emperor of China. Printed, 1873.


Memorandum of an interview between E. T. Sheppard and the Toutai at Chefoo, May 4, 1874


Program for entertainment, Jan. 1875


Order of funeral procession for Benjamin Avery, Nov. 1875


Invitation for consular celebration of U.S. Independence in Tientsin, July 14, 1876


Program, printed on silk, for July 1876 celebration in Shanghai


Inventory of public property of U.S. Consulate at Tientsin, Sept. 30, 1876


Testimonial to E. T. Sheppard, Oct. 1876


Memo of articles proposed by Mr. Wade in settlement of the Yin Nan affair, n.d.


Sketch map of Tientsin, annotated


Invitation to reception in Tokyo in honor of General U. S. Grant, ex-president


Agreements with R. B. Mostyn, 1873, re rental of consular buildings


Communications in Chinese


Madrone Vineyards (Napa Valley): Account Book, 1884-1888, kept by Eli Taylor Sheppard.

Scope and Content Note

Also included are other accounts, not for the vineyard, 1874-1888.

Accounts of Sheppard's father-in-law, Lewis Lewton, 1864-1889.

Physical Description: (3 v.)

Scope and Content Note

Early accounts were for the Ohio National Guard. Accounts of the Lewton estate also included.

Misc., including minutes, constitution and by-laws of the Glen-Ellen Viticultural Club, 1885; account by Marguerite Brindley, oldest daughter of E. T. Sheppard, of the San Francisco Earthquake and fire around the "Flag House," April 20, 1906.


Writings of Eli Taylor Sheppard - manuscripts, reprints, clippings

Ctn. 2

American Consular Service


An American Missionary Statesman




Korean War


The Future Of China


The Future of the Pacific Ocean


General Grant in the Orient


Ideals of American Diplomacy




Memoirs of Li Hung Chang


Our Relations with the Orient


The Pacific Ocean in the Twentieth Century


A Pilgrimage to Dai Butz


Port Arthur, The Tragic Monument to Li Hung Chang's Diplomacy


Prince Ito, The Maker of Modern Japan


Results of the War in the Orient


Russia and Japan


Russian Expansion in Asia


[Theodore Roosevelt]


A Traveler's Notes

Additional Note

(articles written for the Napa Register, 1889)

Treaty Revision



Ctn. 2

Autobiographical; John A. Bingham; China; Japan; railroads and traveling; miscellaneous


Biographical material

Ctn. 2

Hilbert, Mrs. William E.: Fugitive Scraps and Patches

Scope and Content Note

Drafts of her biography of Eli Taylor Sheppard, and notes assembled for this purpose

Kellogg, Annie (Sheppard): [Reminiscences]


Scrapbooks and clippings

Ctn. 3

Scrapbooks containing clippings, programs, menus, calling cards, etc. relating to China and to Eli Taylor Sheppard, including some articles written by him

Physical Description: (2 v.)


Scope and Content Note


Roughly arranged by subject: John A. Bingham, China, William Denman, humor, Japan, Abraham Lincoln, Divie Bethune McCartee, Mexico, San Francisco, Eli Taylor Sheppard, trains, Mark Twain, miscellaneous
oversize Oversize folder

Bachelor of law degree from Ohio State and Union Law college, 1865


Certificates of appointment as United States Consul to China


April 19, 1869


April 19, 1871


A-Z Miscellany


Balfour, Frederic Henry


Letter, March 16, 1875


Beard, James E.


Letter, n.d.


Bigelow, Samuel C.


Letter, March 25, 1899


California, University. President, written by secretary Victor Henderson


Letter, March 21, 1901


Campbell, John Allen, 1835-1880


Letter, June 19, 1876


Carr, Wilbur John, 1870-1942


Letter, April 3, 1902


Chipman, Norton Parker, 1838-1924


Letter, August 30, 1917


Davidson, George, 1825-1911


Letter, May 13, 1899


Deering, Frank Prentiss, 1855-1939


Letter, February 13, 1902


Delano, M. M., re his efforts as U.S. Consul at Foochow to obtain telegraphic service in China.


Letter (with transcript), February 3, 1875


Denman, James, 1829-1909


Letter, January 28, 1900


DuBois, James T., 1851-1920


Letter, March 19, 1902


Estee, Morris M., 1838-1903


Letter, March 29, 1899


Fitz, W. W.


Letter, June 2, 1875


Flint, W. Ston., 1835-1906


Letter, January 5, 1874


Garcia y Garcia, Aurelio, as Peruvian emissary to China


Letter, June 16, 1874


Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1895, received Correspondence from O. E. Babcock


Letter, February 3, 1873


Hanks, Abbot Atherton, 1869-


Letter, n.d.


Hayes, Rutherford Binchard, 1822-1893

Additional Note

Includes autographs and photographs

Hopkins, Anna B., re her experiences in Mexico


Letter, March 14, 1913


Japan, Department of Foreign Affairs, received letter by Terashima Nuneori concerning Sheppard's appointment as assistant adviser to the Japanese government upon international law


Letter, October 23, 1876


Johnson, Hiram Warren, 1866-1945


Letter, June 20, 1917


Johnson, N. M., re consular activities at Hankow


Letter (with transcript), January 3, 1875


Jordan, William H., 1849-


Letter, March 23, 1899


Li, Hung-chang, translation in Sheppard's handwriting


Letter, October 20, 1874


Lodge, Henry Cabot, 1850-1924


Letter, February 18, 1902


Low, F. C.; contains recollections concerning her father, F. F. Low


Letter, March 22, 1914


Martin, William Alexander Parsons, 1827-


Letter (with typed transcript), September 15, 1876


Meadows, John A. T., d. 1875


Letter (includes transcript), April 6, 1872


Montgomery, Douglass William, 1859-


Letter, September 22, 1925

See also: Chit-Chat Club


Moore, M. T.


Letter, July 28, 1874


Murray, David, 1830-1905


Letter, September 7, 1902


Nichols, William Ford, 1849-1924


Letter, October 25, 1909


Osborne, Antrim Edgar


Letter, n.d.


Pacific Commercial Museum, letter from Irving M. Scott


Letter, November 10, 1900


Porter, Robert Cushman


Letter, April 13, 1899


Priestley, Herbert Ingram, 1875-1944, enclosed copy of an article on Low


Letter, n.d.


Seward, Kate (Sherman), (Mrs. George Frederick Seward)


Letter, July 1, 1876


Sheppard, C. A.


Letter (includes typed transcript), August 1, [1873?]


Shepard, Morgan, 1865-1947


Letter, March 4, 1902


Stevens, Durham White, 1852-1908


Letter, February 25, 1902


Taussig, Rudolph Julius, 1861-1922


Letter, June 3, 1917

See also: Chit-Chat Club


Twinem, James


Letter, March 23, [187?]


U.S. Library of Congress, written by J. F. Jameson


Letter, December 21, 1928


Wilson, Henry, 1812-1875


Letter, February 1, 1873


Woodruff, Francis Eben, 1844-1914


Letter, March 25, 1875


Separately foldered correspondents


Adams, Ephraim Douglass, 1865-1930


17 letters, 1915-1925

Additional Note

Copies of his pamphlets, Why We Are At War With Germany also included (no. 1 missing).

Avery, Benjamin Parke, 1829-1875


17 letters, 1874-1875

Additional Note

Mainly transcripts.

Babcock, Orville Elias, 1835-1884

See Grant, Ulysses Simpson, 1822-1885


Bentley, Charles Harvey, 1869-1922

See Chit-Chat Club


Bingham, John Armor, 1815-1900


5 letters, 1872-1875

Additional Note

Some are transcripts only.

Blaine, James Gillespie, 1830-1893

See U.S. Department of State


Cadwalader, John Lambert, 1837-1914


2 letters, 1877-1878

Additional Note

1877 letter written for U.S. Department of State.

Campbell, Donald Y.

See Chit-Chat Club


Chit-Chat Club


2 letters, 1914-1919

Additional Note

1914 letter signed by F. H. Wheelan, Charles A. Murdock, Donald Y. Campbell, Horace Davis, H. Moses Stephens, Rudolph Taussig, Bradford Leavitt, James Eaves, Henry M. Sherman, W. A. Doble, C. H. Bentley, James K. Moffitt, Louis T. Hengster, D. W. Montgomery, O. L. Elliott, E. P. Lewis, J. M. Stillman, M. W. Haskell, Payson J. Treat.

Clark, George Thomas, 1862- 1940

See Stanford University. Library


Cornabe, W. A.


3 letters, 1874-1875

Additional Note

With transcripts.

Davenport, James LeRoy, 1845-1914

See U.S. Bureau of Pensions


Davis, Horace, 1831-1916


2 letters, 1902-1916

See also: Chit-Chat Club


Davis, John Chandler Bancroft, 1822-1907

See U.S. Dep't of State


Doble, W. A.

See Chit-Chat Club


Elliott, Orrin Leslie, 1860-1940


2 letters, 1902 and n.d.

See also: Chit-Chat Club


Elmore, J. Federico


4 letters, 1874-1875

Additional Note

Peruvian minister to China.

Forbes, F. B.


3 letters, 1874


Fyffe, Joseph


2 letters, 1876-1877

Additional Note

Transcripts and photographs included.

Gundy, R.


7 letters, 1874-1875

Additional Note

Some for the North China Herald.

Haskell, Melon Woodman, 1863-1948

See Chit-Chat Club


Henderson, Victor Hendricks

See California. University. President


Hengstler, Louis Theodore, 1861-

See Chit-Chat Club


Hinckley, Frank Erastus, 1871-1950


2 letters, 1903


Holcombe, Chester, 1844-1912


6 letters, 1875-1876

Additional Note

With transcripts.

Jameson, John Franklin, 1859-1937

See U.S. Library of Congress


Leavitt, Bradford

See Chit-Chat Club


Lewis, Exum Percival, 1863-1926

See Chit-Chat Club


Lewton, Lewis, 1816-


40 letters, 1869-1879

Additional Note

Father-in-law. 1870-1871 letters are transcripts only. Letters from October 1878 written from Napa, California.

Low, Frederick Ferdinand, 1828-1894


66 letters, 1872-1874

Additional Note

Transcripts only of letters written while U.S. Minister to Peking and upon his return to San Francisco.

Lyman, Benjamin Smith, 1835-1920


2 letters, 1899-1902


McAdie, Alexander George, 1863-1943


5 letters, 1917-1927


McCartney, sir Samuel Halliday, 1833-1906


2 letters, 1875 and n.d.


McCormick, Frederick, 1870


3 letters, 1924-1925


Mills, Susan Lincoln (Tolman), 1826-1912


4 letters, 1900-1902


Mills, William Harrison, 1837-1907


3 letters, 1896-1906


Moffitt, James Kennedy, 1866?-1955

See Chit-Chat Club


Morgan, James


12 letters, 1874-1876

Additional Note

With typed transcripts.

Mori, Arinori Ju-goi, 1847-1890


2 letters, [1876-1880?]

Additional Note

Transcripts and photograph included.

Murdock, Charles Albert, 1841-1928


3 letters, 1899-1927, mainly re Chit-Chat Club.

Additional Note

Memorial on Sheppard's death included.

See also: Chit-Chat Club

Osborne, John Ball, 1868-


2 letters, 1902


Page, Thomas Walker, 1866-1937


3 letters, 1901


Pethick, William N., 1848-


16 letters, 1871-1874

Additional Note

Typed transcripts of most letters and E. T. Sheppard's comments on Pethick included.

Raaslow, W.


8 letters, 1874-1875

Additional Note

With typed transcripts.

Rankin, Henry William


8 letters, 1902-1923, re his work on Dr. McCartee.


Salter, A. E.


2 letters, 1874

Additional Note

Typed transcripts included.

Sandore, Peyton


2 letters, 1880-1892, re his experiences in Tokyo.


Scott, Irving Murray, 1837-1903

See Pacific Commercial Museum


Scott, Winfield, 1879-

See U.S. Bureau of Pensions


Seward, George Frederick, 1840-1910


71 letters, 1874-1904

Additional Note

Some, for 1874-1876, are transcripts only.

Sherman, Harry Mitchell, 1854-1921

See Chit-Chat Club


Smith, Pat R.


2 letters, 1874, from the North China Herald office.


Stanford University. Library


3 letters, 1923-1924, by George T. Clark


Stanwood, Edward B.


2 letters, 1917

Additional Note

re F. F. Low, 1856 Vigilance Committee

Stephens, Henry Morse, 1857-1919


2 letters, 1916-1917

Additional Note

Also included: inscribed copy of his article, Nationality and History.

See also: Chit-Chat Club

Stillman, John Maxson, 1852-1923


3 letters, 1902-1918


Treat, Payson Jackson, 1879-


18 letters, 1917-1927

See also: Chit-Chat Club


U.S. Bureau of Pensions


2 letters, 1903-1926, by J. L. Davenport and Winfield Scott


U.S. Department of State


4 letters, 1871-1881, by J. C. B. Davis and James G. Blaine.

Additional Note

1881 letter is copy only.

See also: Cadwalader, John Lambert

Watson, James Craig, 1839-1880


2 letters, 1874, with typed transcripts.


Wheelan, Fairfax Henry, 1856-1915


7 letters, 1899-1914

See also: Chit-Chat Club


Williams, Samuel Wells, 1812-1884


37 letters, 1873-1876.

Additional Note

Transcripts only (except in one letter, June 8, 1874). (Originals in Library of Congress)

Wood, Arthur B.


3 letters, 1873-1877