George Percival Scriven:
An American in Bohol, The Philippines, 1899-1901

An On-line Archival Collection
Special Collections Library, Duke University

More information about related collections.

Scriven's journal was written during the first months of the American occupation of the Philippines. The Philippine Islands had been a colony of Spain since 1521 when Magellan arrived and declared it part of the Spanish Empire. The United States gained possession of the more than 7,000 islands that compose the Philippines in the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American war that had occurred from the end of 1897 until December 10, 1898. The Philippine-American War began on February 4, 1899, two days before the U.S. Senate ratified The Treaty of Paris, ending the Spanish-American War, ceding Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, and placing Cuba under U.S. control. After the departure of the Spanish in December of 1898, several rebellions were mobilized on various islands in the Philippines in order to resist recolonization by the United States. Probably the most famous Filipino resistance leader was General Emilio Aguinaldo. There was a rebellion on Bohol itself which was lead by Pedro Samson, and which was sympathetic to the Republic established by Aguinaldo. This rebellion is not addressed directly in Scriven's diary, although he does mention the existence and control of "insurgents" and the fact that the island had maintained its own government, school system, churches and police force.

The photos that accompany Scriven's diary in this digitized collection are taken from four other collections related to the Philippines at Duke's Special Collections Library: The Philippine Islands and Far East photograph albums, Edward Sharp's Papers: 1901-1980, "Scenes Taken in the Philippines" by J.D. Givens, and "Fighting in the Philippines" by Neely F. Tennyson. Edward Sharp was an American school teacher on Bohol between 1902 and 1904 whose collection consists of many school documents and numerous photos of daily life on the islands. Neely and Givens were most likely affiliated with the U.S. Army as their photo collections are taken mainly during the Spanish-American war and during the suppression of the insurgents that followed the war. The photos are placed in the text of the diary itself to add illustration to the narrative. The photos, though, are not part of Scriven's collection, and most were taken a few years after the diary was written, when the Americans had fully established their control over the Philippines. Or, in the case of Neely and Givens, the photos were taken before Scriven arrived, when the Spanish were still present. There is also a photograph index where all of the photos can be accessed at once. Each photo is accompanied by as much information as is available about it as well as the collection that it comes from.

You can find more information about the Special Collections Library and other holdings related to Americans in the Philippines and the American colonization of the Philippines through various collections at Duke. For more information about other materials related to the Philippines, browse the Duke on-line catalog or contact our reference desk directly at

More information on the subject of the Philippines during this time, and the American colonization of the Philippines, can be found in this selection of materials and others available in your local library. Most interesting are the accounts of the invasion and of American attitudes during the occupation and colonization. These books, especially those from the turn of the century, reflect the diverse views and various perspectives that people had of the Philippines, the war and colonization.

Alip, Eufronio Melo. In the Days of General Emilio Aguinaldo. Manila: Alip, 1969.

Alvarez, Santiago V. The Katipunan and the Revolution: Memoirs of a general; with the original Tagalog text. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press; Madison, WI: Center for Southeast Asia Studies, 1992.

Brooks, Francis Augustus. The Unlawful and Unjustifiable Conquest of the Filipinos. Boston: Press of George H. Ellis, 1901.

Crow, Carl. America and the Philippines. New York: Doubleday, Page & company, 1914.

Harper, Frank. Just Outside Manila: Letters from members of the First Colorado Regiment in the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. Denver: Colorado Historical Society, 1991.

Millet, Francis Davis. The Expedition to the Philippines. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1899.

Stanley,Peter W. A Nation in the Making: the Philippines and the United States, 1899-1921 . Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1974.

[Scriven Diary title page]

A project of The Digital Scriptorium, Special Collections Library, Duke University. May 1997