James A. Thomas and Two Eunuchs, Photograph, 8" x 11" (matted in a 14"x 18" frame)
This photograph was taken in 1900, in Beijing, when the Empress Dowager decorated Thomas. It is now located on the second floor, at the northern entry to the Thomas Room. Thomas is wearing a Mandarin robe of the Fifth Grade of the Qing Court (1644-1911) and a crystal button hat. At his side are two eunuchs holding and smoking British-American Tobacco Company cigarettes.
James A. Thomas (1862-1940), a friend and business associate of James and Benjamin Duke, spent over thirty years in China managing operations for the British-American Tobacco Company. Thomas was instrumental in the creation of a Far Eastern collection in the Duke University Libraries. After his death in 1940, a proposal to continue the book collection and establish a James A. Thomas Memorial Room in what was then the Woman's College Library was approved. The room was officially dedicated on December 1, 1942.
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