Guide to the Eric J. Schmidt Collection, ca. 1941-1945
Special Collections & Archives
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330
Phone: (818) 677-2832
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Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Eric J. Schmidt Collection
Dates: ca. 1941-1945
Schmidt, Eric J.
0.04 linear feet
Language of Materials:
Old China Hands Archives
Abstract: Eric J. Schmidt is an Old China Hand that
taught at the Shanghai American School and was interned by the Japanese in the Chapei
camp outside of Shanghai. The collection contains drawings done by Schmidt, including
pencil portraits of fellow internees at Chapei, as well as a pastel drawing of the camp
Eric J. Schmidt was born on December 4, 1915 in Hillsborough, Illinois. He attended UC
Berkeley, and graduated in 1940 after taking some time off of school to work on
In November of 1940, he and a friend went on a ship headed to Australia, as they had
plans to travel around the country. The ship made a stop in Shanghai on the way to pick
up departing American citizens, and Schmidt and his friend decided to jump ship and stay
in the city. Schmidt began working for an advertising company as the head of the art
department, and arranged for his fiancée to come to China from America as well. They
were married in Hong Kong in 1941, and shortly after they both began teaching at the
Shanghai American School.
In 1943, the Schmidts were placed by the Japanese into the Chapei Civil Internment
Center outside of Shanghai, where they lived for two and half years. The internees were
able to convince the Japanese to let them continue to run the Shanghai American School
for children in the camp, so Schmidt continued to teach and eventually became principal
of the school while interned. He and his wife also had a daughter who was born at the
After the war, Schmidt found work with the U.S. Army and the State Department in China,
before returning to the United States with his family. He eventually settled in the San
This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Genre/Form of Material:
Jessica Geiser, 2013
Conditions Governing Use:
Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s)
of this collection has not been transferred to California State University,
Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or
reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond
that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners.
Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of
the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Conditions Governing Access:
The collection is open for research use.
[Identification of item], [date],
Eric J. Schmidt
, Special Collections and Archives, Oviatt Library, California
State University, Northridge.
Scope and Contents
The Eric J. Schmidt Collection contains drawings done by Schmidt, including pencil
portraits of fellow internees at the Chapei internment camp outside of Shanghai, as well
as a pastel drawing of the camp buildings.
Detailed List of Contents
Flat File 1, Item 1
Pencil Drawings - 5 Portraits of Unnamed Internees at the Chapei
Flat File 2, Item 1
Pastel Drawing - Buildings of the Chapei Internment Camp