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History - China in Revolution, 1895-1976

a special topic course guide

Digital Collections

The China Collection (Central Intelligence Agency)

The collection spans the pivotal period from the Chinese civil war and the consolidation of the Communist regime through the upheavals of the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. It chronicles the struggles within the top leadership, the buildup of the Chinese military, and the evolution of the Sino-Soviet split.

China's Cultural Revolution in Memories: The CR/10 Project (University of Pittsburgh, East Asian Library)

CR/10 (Cultural Revolution: 10) is an experimental oral history project. It aims to neutrally collect ordinary people’s authentic memories and impressions of China's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which lasted 10 years, from 1966 to 1976.

Chinese Digital Archive 1966-1976 (Australian National University)

The ANU Library holds a number of unique, and in some cases rare and fragile, collections in both print and microfilm relating to the Chinese Cultural Revolution period (1966-1976).  The material initially selected for inclusion in this database was from the Cultural Revolution period, however additional materials from outside this period (which are relevant to the events of the Cultural Revolution) are also being included.

Chinese Foreign Policy Database (Wilson Center Digital Archive - History and Public Policy Program)

Curating 1000s of documents from Chinese and international archives, it offers insights into China’s foreign policy since 1949 and its relationship to ideology, revolution, the economy, and traditional Chinese culture.

Chinese Maritime Customs Project (Robert Bickers, University of Bristol)

The CMCS was the only bureaucratic organ that continued to operate as an integrated institution in China throughout the period 1842-1950. Established to collect taxes on maritime trade when Chinese officials were unable to collect them during the Taiping Rebellion, its functions quickly expanded. It became responsible for domestic customs administration (the Native Customs), postal administration, harbor and waterway management, weather reporting, and anti- smuggling operations. It mapped, lit, and policed the China coast and the Yangzi river. It was involved in loan negotiations, currency reform, and financial and economic management. It was always much more than just a tax collection agency, was well informed about local conditions, deeply involved in local, provincial, and national politics, and in international affairs.

Chinese Propaganda Posters (Stefan R. Landsberger)

Over 2,750 Chinese propaganda posters are shown on this website, with information about their history, background and design. You can browse a Gallery of 200 highlights, look at over 250 theme presentations, or search and browse by poster or by artist.

Collected Works of Mao Tse-tung A nine volume translation of Chairman Maos works. Rendered into English by the CIA.

Down to the Countryside Movement (Dartmouth College Library)

Documenting the cultural memory of this period as experienced by the participants provides a unique perspective on the Down to the Countryside Movement. Since 2016, the Dartmouth Library has been collecting original materials from the rustication period including diaries, letters, photographs, and artifacts. These materials include participants' first-hand accounts reflecting on their experiences, shifting their perspectives, and recalling their living conditions during rustication.

Historic Photographs of China (Robert Bickers, University of Bristol)

Images from both private and public collections are available here, but mostly this site holds photographs of China taken by private individuals. The photographs presented here cover over a century of modern China's history, and a very wide range of places, communities and themes.

Image Database to Enhance Asian Studies (IDEAS Project) 

The Nanking Massacre Project (Yale University Library - Divinity Library)

A digital archive of first hand accounts and photographs from Westerners who remained in Nanking after the Japanese invasion.

National Archives and Records Administration (search "China" and other keywords)

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation's record keeper. NARA keeps only those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. There are approximately 13.28 billion pages of textual records; 10 million maps, charts, and architectural and engineering drawings; 44.4 million still photographs, digital images, filmstrips, and graphics; 40 million aerial photographs; 563,000 reels of motion picture film; 992,000 video and sound recordings; and 1,323 terabytes of electronic data.

Sydney D. Gamble Photographs Collection (Duke University Libraries)

The Sidney D. Gamble collection consists primarily of contact sheets, hand-colored glass slides, 35mm duplicate slides, contact prints, negatives, and other photographic formats documenting Gamble's four visits to China from 1908 to 1932. In total, there are over 5,000 unique images in the collection depicting urban and rural life, economic conditions, public events, agriculture, religious statuary, architecture, and the countryside. 

UC San Diego - Library Digital Collections

American Geographical Society Library (AGSL) Digital Photo Archive - Asia and Middle East Collection (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee)

This collection presents over 28,000 images from the holdings of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. The selection focuses on the countries of Asia and the Middle East. The images come from the collections acquired over many decades by the AGS Library including an extensive photographic print collection.

Virtual Shanghai (Christian Henriot - Institut de Recherches Asiatiques, Aix-Marseille University; Institut Universitaire de France)

Virtual Shanghai is a research and resource platform on the history of Shanghai from the mid-nineteenth century to nowadays. It incorporates various sets of documents: essays, original documents, photographs, maps, quantitative data, etc. The objective of the project is to write a history of the city through the combined mobilization of these various types of documents. The implementation of this approach relies on the use of digital and GIS technologies. On the research side, the platform offers various ways to step into the history of the city and follow its course at different levels over time. On the resource side, apart from providing original textual and visual documents, it develops a powerful cartographic tool for spatial analysis and real-time mapping.