Inventory of the Francis E. Stafford Photographs

Finding aid prepared by Hoover Institution Archives Staff.
Hoover Institution Archives
434 Galvez Mall
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, 94305-6010
(650) 723-3563
© 2012, 2013

Title: Francis E. Stafford photographs
Date (inclusive): 1909-1933
Collection Number: 2012C34
Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 3 oversize boxes (1.2 linear feet)
Abstract: Photographs of scenes in China, mainly between 1909 and 1915, and 1932 and 1933.
Physical Location: Hoover Institution Archives
Creator: Stafford, Francis E., 1884-1938


Originals closed. Digital use copies available.

Publication Rights

For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Archives.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Francis E. Stafford photographs, [Box number], Hoover Institution Archives.

Acquisition Information

Acquired by the Hoover Institution Archives from Ronald E. Anderson (PhD, Stanford University, 1970) and family in 2012.


Materials may have been added to the collection since this finding aid was prepared. To determine if this has occurred, find the collection in Stanford University's online catalog at . Materials have been added to the collection if the number of boxes listed in the online catalog is larger than the number of boxes listed in this finding aid.

Biographical Note

Stafford was an American missionary in China from 1909 to 1915 and 1932 to 1933. A lithographer and photographer, he arrived in Shanghai in 1909 and was hired by the Commercial Press-then Asia's largest publishing company--to manage its printing division from 1909 to 1915. During the onset of the Wuchang Uprising in October 1911, Stafford was on hand to capture remarkable photos of the Qing Dynasty's collapse.

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection, which consists of nearly 1,100 images, includes the largest number of surviving original photographic prints of the Chinese Revolution of 1911. Stafford's historic pictorials record the turbulent period between 1910 and 1933, as China transitioned from feudal monarchy to republic. Depicted are battle scenes, military and political figures, as well as everyday people, life, and culture in China. Also included are rare glimpses of printing operations and employees of the Commercial Press.
Stafford's photos first appeared in such publications as the Da Ge Ming Xie Zhen Hua (War Scenes of the Chinese Revolution) and were reproduced as illustrated posters. His work has also been highlighted in several major museum exhibitions in Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2010 the University of Washington Press republished 162 of the photographs in The Birth of a Republic: Francis Stafford's Photographs of China's 1911 Revolution and Beyond. As noted by the book's editor, Hanchao Lu, Stafford's unique photographs "reveal sweeping social and political change, as well as the tenacity of tradition" and "appeal to historians interested in modern China, revolution, and war."

Subjects and Indexing Terms

China--Pictorial works.

Box 3

Album A: Photographs of China's natural landscapes, urban scenes, cultural landmarks, social customs, and people 1909-1915

Box 3

Album B: Photographs of China's natural landscapes, urban scenes, cultural landmarks, social customs, and people 1909-1915

Box 1

Album C: Photographs of the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and the Shanghai Commercial Press 1909-1915

Box 2

Album D: Photographs of China's natural landscapes, urban scenes, cultural landmarks, social customs, and people 1909-1915

Box 2

Album E: Photographs of the Seventh Day Adventist Church missionaries in China 1932-1933

Box 2

Collected materials

Scope and Content Note

A binder of additional photographs, correspondence, and documents about Francis E. Stafford. Also includes information and brochures on the exhibits and publications in which the Stafford photographs have been included and 1 CD of digital image copies of the photographs in the albums.