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Guide to the William Hillman Shockley photographs, 1897-1922, 2010 and undated, bulk 1897-1910

Abstract

William H. Shockley was an American-born mining engineer and amateur photographer. The collection contains the prints and negatives of thousands of black-and-white images taken by William Shockley during his travels as a mining engineer in China, Korea, India, Western Australia, and Russia (including Siberia) between the years of 1897 and 1905, shortly before and during the period of the Boxer Rebellion. Subjects featured include native citizens and officials (some of high rank), Europeans and Indians (including miners, soldiers, officials, missionaries, and guards), mining and engineering concerns (particularly of gold and coal in China), native dwellings and villages, religious buildings and art, street scenes, camps, landscapes, landscape features such as unusual trees and rock formations, domestic animals, caravans and other forms of transportation. There are many other work scenes in addition to mining settings. The collection contains approximately 2505 prints and over 200 nitrate and glass plate negatives. Many of the photographs are captioned. There is also a small quantity of Shockley's correspondence dating from 1905-1922. Arranged in series by format and by geographical location. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Descriptive Summary

Title
William Hillman Shockley photographs
Creator
Shockley, William Hillman, 1855-1925
Extent
3.5 linear feet, Approximately 2754 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Language
Material in English

Collection Overview

The collection contains the prints and negatives for thousands of black-and-white images taken by William Shockley during his travels as a mining engineer in China (including Manchuria), Korea, India, Western Australia, and Russia (including Siberia) between the years of 1897 and 1905, shortly before and during the period of the Boxer Rebellion. Subjects featured include native citizens and officials (some of high rank), Europeans and Indians (including miners, missionaries, guards, soldiers, and officials), mining and engineering concerns (particularly of gold and coal in China), native dwellings and villages, religious buildings and art, street scenes, camps, landscapes, landscape features such as unusual trees and rock formations, domestic animals, caravans and other forms of transportation by water and land. There are many other work scenes in addition to mining settings.

The collection contains approximately 2505 vintage gelatin silver prints: the great majority are small prints measuring from 3x4 to 4x6 inches, but there are also four mounted prints and 258 modern 8x10 inch prints, chiefly of Russia, made from original negatives, and a set of 53 8x10 inch black-and-white prints that are reproductions made from glass plate negatives in a private collection, that include images of an unidentified estate in England, a portrait of an unidentified man in uniform, and images of people playing tennis. There are also 245 original nitrate and glass plate negatives, which are restricted to use. Many of the vintage photographs are captioned. There is also a small quantity of Shockley's correspondence dating from 1905-1922.

Arranged in series by format and by geographical location, with further details on image content in each category. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. However, glass plate and nitrate film negatives may be consulted only with permission of the Curator of Documentary Arts.

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 Restrictions

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.

Contents of the Collection

Photographs, Bulk, 1897-1905

5 boxes

Consists of approximately 2505 black and white photographic prints from Shockley's travels as a mining engineer at the turn of the century to Australia, Russia, China, Korea, India. Included are many images taken in Siberia and Manchuria. Most of the prints were developed out contemporaneously, others were developed in the 2000s from original negatives. Titles are taken from Shockley's original labels.

The images include many topics and subjects, including landscapes, street scenes, crowd scenes, portraits, and group shots, posed and spontaneous. Frequently depicted are modes of transportation (horseback, donkey, camel, horse, cow, person-drawn carts, trains, steamers, canoes); agricultural activities and locales; mining activities (panning, surveying, drilling, carrying water, construction, machinery); religious objects, processions, and buildings; hunting; and architecture. There are many work settings in addition to mining, as well as depictions of commercial enterprises. Further details are offered under selected geographical groups below. Fifteen folders contain modern gelatin silver 8x10 prints printed from the photographer's negatives of Russia. Some of the 8x10 prints are duplicates that appear in the "Russia, 1905" folder. Unless otherwise noted, the majority of the prints are 3x4".

China - Peking [Beijing], 1897
(2 folders, 213 prints)

Subjects include native people, Qing government officers, salt workers, a funeral procession, and Chinese herb sellers. Working scenes include people washing quartz gold, fishing from boats, milling wheat. Other scenes feature ferry boats, city walls, Confusion Temple, a bell tower, Peking astronomy instruments, a Christian building, a Manchurian private garden in Peking, and a Buddha stone carving.

Box 1
China - Chin Ch'ang Kou Liang, 1897
(2 folders, 213 prints)

Chin Chang Kou Liang is located in a mountainous region north and north-west of Beijing, noted for its quartz gold deposits. Images depict native people and local officers, as well as houses, villages, a theater, a temple, and a market square in Chin Chang Kou Liang. There are local landscape features such as the Great Wall in Kou Pei Kou, bridges, and rivers. The majority of the photographs, however, concern mining operations, which include making gold washing and smelting ore to extract gold.

Box 2
China - Manchuria, 1897 and undated
(84 prints)

Images taken in Manchuria feature natural landscapes, mountains, Yalu river, cultivated fields and farms, and an iron mine. Other images depict scenes at a Manchurian emperor's temple, a bridge at Liaoyang, a pagoda at Moukden, a shrine, a priest's house, a Lama temple, a Manchu emperor's tomb gate, and a Westerner's house. Place names as written in the original captions include Moukden (Shenyang) city, Liaoyang Fu, Jehol, Pai Lou at Moukden, and Sumeru. Work scenes include an iron furnace at Sai Ma Chi, a camel team from Manchuria carrying coal, paying for a fur coat at Moukden, and series of images about a wagon caravan accident in Manchuria in 1897.

Box 3
China - Manchuria, 1897 and undated
(130 prints)
Box 4
China - Shanghai, 1897-1898 and undated
(185 prints)

Shanghai photographs feature street scenes; places as written in the original captions include Nanjing Road, Lung Hwa Temple, Wong Poo River, Soo Chow River, buildings and parks, Astor House, a Western boat on Huangpu River, and a memorial arch. People portrayed include a businessman, a criminal with a yoke, an amah or female servant, Indian guards, and Sikh police. Commercial sites include a restaurant, snack shop, ironsmith shop, carpenter shop, photographer's shop, taxi station, a shop for westerners, rice shop, medicine shop, and a vat shop. There is also an image of a significant funeral procession in Nanjing Road, an individual wearing traditional opera costume, and other scenes of popular life in Shanghai.

Box 4
China - Shanghai, 1897-1898 and undated
Box 5
China - Shanxi, 1897-1899 and undated
(133 prints)

Images in the Shanxi folders feature native people, local officers, Shanxi guards, soldiers, a miner, loess cave houses and a loess landscape, stables and dwellings, and religious buildings and deities. Work scenes depict salt-making, packing coal at Yu Hsien, and an iron furnace at Ta Yang. Place names as written in the original captions include Fen River, TaiYuan Fu, Yu Hsien, Shi Pa Pan in Shanxi, Kao Ping Hsien, Chihli, and Jehol. Many of these were areas where Herbert Hoover also worked as a mining engineer during roughly the same time period.

Box 5
China - Shanxi, 1897-1899 and undated
(57 prints)
Box 6
India, 1899-1900
(99 prints)
Box 6
India, undated
(64 prints)
Box 6
Korea, 1897 and undated
(1 folder, 64 prints)
Box 7
Korea, 1902
(62 prints)
Box 7
Korea, undated [envelope labeled "Manchuria Trip - Korea"]
(138 prints)
Box 7
Korea, undated
(79 prints)
Box 7
Russia - Bogoslak, 1904
(60 prints)
Box 7
Russia - Bogoslovsk, 1904
(2 folders, 68 prints)
Box 7
Russia - Bogoslovsk, undated
(27 prints)
Box 7
Russia - Bogoslovsk, second trip, undated
(2 prints)
Box 7
Russia - Kluchi, Eastern Siberia, 1909
(30 prints)
Box 8
Russia, 1905
(133 prints)
Box 8
Russia, undated
(Folders 1-8 of 15, 140 8x10 prints)
Box 9
Russia, undated
(Folders 9-15 of 15, 118 8x10 prints)
Box 9
Siberia, 1900
(84 prints)
Box 7
Washington, DC, circa 1901
(8 prints)

Chiefly city street scenes.

Box 9
Loose/Various, 1897-1898 and undated
(132 small prints)
Box 8
Australia, modern black and white prints from glass negatives, 2010
(37 8x10 prints)
Box 10
Western Australia, circa 1901-1902
(120 prints)
Box 10
England - images from unidentified estate, possibly Shockley home, circa 1905
(16 8x10 prints)
Box 10
Mounted prints, undated, no place noted
(4 prints)

Portraits of unknown babies and family members.

Box 10
Print envelopes, 1909 and undated
(1 folder, 5 items)
Box 10
Original glass plate negative boxes (empty), circa 1890s
(6 items)
Box 12
Contact prints and positive transparencies of Russia, London, and experimental images, circa 1900-1910

The London prints were in an envelope marked "1905."

Box 12

Correspondence, 1905-1922

1 volume

A bound volume of roughly 100 carbon copies of correspondence, written by William Hillman Shockley from places such as Paris, London, St. Petersburg, Irdell (Russia), Bogoslak (Russia), Palo Alto (California), and Reno (Nevada). The majority of this correspondence relates to Shockley's work as a mining engineer, as well as several personal letters to his wife and others, correspondence relating to his personal finances, and responses to a correspondence course entitled "Training of Children." The volume also contains several diary entries from 1922 and notes on the Kluchi mines in Russia. Four letters are in German.

Bound volume of correspondence, 1905-1922
Box 10

Drawings, undated

1 folder

Contains three small painted portraits of three individual unnamed women, roughly 2x3" each, artist unknown.

Three portraits, undated
Box 10

Negatives, between 1897 and 1910

245 negatives; 2 boxes

Shockley's nitrate film and glass plate negatives from which black-and-white prints were made both contemporaneously and in the 2000s. A few negatives reveal experimental images (double exposures and other effects). Some negatives do not have corresponding prints, and vice versa.

Glass plate and nitrate negatives may be consulted only with permission from Curator for Documentary Arts.

Glass plate negatives [FRAGILE], circa 1896-circa 1900
(134 plates, 3.25 x 4.5 inches)

Set of negatives on small glass plates; corresponding prints are in main collection.

Box 11
Film negatives - nitrate, circa 1897-circa 1910

Nitrate negatives are restricted to use and are currently in freezer storage; please contact Research Services staff before requesting access to this portion of the collection.

Box 13

Historical Note

William Hillman Shockley (1855-1925) was an American mining engineer and amateur photographer and botanist. He was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts and educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Trained as a mining engineer, he first worked in the American West, then traveled in Russia, Korea, Australia, and Northern China in search of mining opportunities, chiefly in gold, silver, copper, and petroleum, from about 1897 to 1905 - during roughly the same time period as Herbert Hoover, who also traveled to China to investigate mining and shipping interests. Shockley also traveled extensively in PerĂº, Sudan, and Egypt.

Shockley married May Bradford, who had been a federal deputy surveyor of the mineral lands, in 1908. The Shockleys returned to the U.S. from England in 1913, three years after the birth of their son, and settled in California. William H. Shockley died in Los Angeles in 1925. His son, William B., became known as the inventor of the transistor and winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics (1956).

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • William Hillman Shockley Collection (University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Special Collections)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William Hillman Shockley Photographs, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The William Hillman Shockley Photographs were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as purchases in 2010-2011.

Processing Information

Processed by L. Colby Bogie and Willeke Sandler, October 2010 and October 2011

Encoded by L. Colby Bogie, Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, and Willeke Sandler, October 2011

Accessions 2010-0154, 2011-0029 and 2011-0034 were merged into one collection and described in this finding aid.