Menu

Guide to the William Johnson Cole papers, 1910-1916 and undated

Summary

Employee of the Lepetkatta Tea Co., Ltd., in Barbaru, Assam, India. Cole signed his letters "Johnson." Collection comprises weekly letters Johnson wrote to his parents in England while he served as an engineer for a tea estate, and provides commentary written from a late-colonial perspective. There is information regarding the management of the tea estate, tea manufacture, tea prices and trade, and the transformation of work processes and personal lives by mechanization, the introduction of electricity, and brick making. In addition, Johnson wrote about local customs, labor, wildlife, weather, religious festivals, disease outbreaks (esp. cholera), and Indian politics. He also wrote about various engine repairs he undertook; transportation; his favorite pastimes (including hunting and playing polo); his various horses and pets; medical and dental treatments; people he met; as well as his activities in the volunteer British military guard, where he participated in military tests, drills, and sports, and served as Farrier Sergeant. His final letters contained extensive commentary on England's role in World War I, as well as the impact of the war on Assam. Includes a few postcards, one photograph, a clipping, and a tea invoice. There is also one undated letter written to Johnson by a native missionary who requested assistance.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.00245
Title
William Johnson Cole papers
Date
1910-1916 and undated
Creator
Cole, William Johnson, b. 1886-
Extent
1 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection comprises weekly letters Johnson wrote to his parents in England while he served as an engineer for a tea estate, and provides commentary written from a late-colonial perspective. There is information regarding the management of the tea estate, tea manufacture, tea prices and trade, and the transformation of work processes and personal lives by mechanization, the introduction of electricity, and brick making. In addition, Johnson wrote about local customs, labor, wildlife, weather, religious festivals, disease outbreaks (esp. cholera), and Indian politics. He also wrote about various engine repairs he undertook; transportation; his favorite pastimes (including hunting and playing polo); his various horses and pets; medical and dental treatments; people he met; as well as his activities in the volunteer British military guard, where he participated in military tests, drills, and sports, and served as Farrier Sergeant. His final letters contained extensive commentary on England's role in World War I, as well as the impact of the war on Assam. Includes a few postcards, one photograph, a clipping, and a tea invoice. There is also one undated letter written to Johnson by a native missionary who requested assistance.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], in the William Johnson Cole Papers, 1910-1916 and undated, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Historical Note

Employee of the Lepetkatta Tea Co., Ltd., in Barbaru, Assam, India. Cole signed his letters "Johnson."


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

Purchase, 2008

Processing Information

Processed by: Alice Poffinberger, February 2010

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, February 2010

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2008-0054