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Chinese History

Chinese History & Culture

Primary Sources

Primary sources are original materials. They are first-hand accounts from the time period involved and may include such things as:

  • diaries, letters, photographs, art, maps, original video, film or sound recordings, interviews, or newspaper articles.

("Secondary" sources are created after the fact by individuals or groups who did not witness the events being discussed. They interpret, report, or correlate subjects based on their study of primary material. It is inevitable that we all interpret events of the past through the lens of our own experience, but reputable scholars attempt to minimize subjectivity.)

To find primary sources in the Library catalogue use keywords that describe your topic together with any of the following subject headings:

Autobiography / Autobiographies, Correspondence, Diary / Diaries, Interview / Interviews, Letter / Letters, Personal narratives, Sources, Speech / Speeches


Personal narratives China

China diaries

The Memory Project  - oral histories from survivors of the Great Famine that devastated rural China between 1958 and 1961. (most interviews provide a transcript in English)

Full-text Database of CCS Publications (CHI/ENG)  --An open-access database containing available publications by the Center of Chinese Studies.

Tibetan Oral History Archive Project - Library of Congress; The Tibetan Oral History and Archive Project (TOHAP) is a digital online web archive of oral history interviews in Tibetan and Chinese with accompanying written transcripts (in English) that documents the social and political history of modern Tibet. 


Sidney Gamble photographs, 1906-2007 and undated  - Sidney D. Gamble (1890-1968), an avid amateur photographer, began taking pictures in China during his first trip to the country with his family in 1908.

Friedrich Carl Peetz Photographs, 1900  - The album probably belonged to Friedrich Carl Peetz, most likely an officer in the German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) and crew member of the S.M.S. Hertha during the Boxer Rebellion.

Chinese Christian Posters  Includes 470 Christian posters published in China between 1907 and 1951.

East Asian Image Collection - University of Wisconsin

Historical Photographs of China - University of Bristol

Chinese Posters This website aims to present Chinese propaganda posters through virtual exhibitions, theme presentations and a web-database. 

The Chung Collection in UBC Open Collections