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Guide to the Edward Thomas Williams Papers, [ca. 1872-1944]
BANC MSS C-B 977  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Brief Biographical Sketch
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Edward Thomas Williams Papers,
    Date (inclusive): [ca. 1872-1944]
    Collection Number: BANC MSS C-B 977
    Creator: Williams, Edward Thomas, 1854-1944
    Extent: Number of containers: 1 box, 9 cartons, 1 volume, 1 oversize folder and 2 rolled items (in 1 package) Number of microfilm reels: 4
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Correspondence; MSS of his writings on China and the Far East; and of an unpublished autobiography; diaries; account books; clippings of articles written by him; personalia; photographs; and scrapbooks, relating primarily to his career in the U.S. diplomatic service in China; as professor of oriental languages, University of California, Berkeley; as advisor on far eastern affairs to the American Commission to Negotiate Peace, 1919; and as a special assistant to Department of State for the Conference on Limitation of Armament, 1921-22. Included also is some material prior to 1896 relating to his ministry in the Disciples of Christ Church in the U.S. and China
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Edward Thomas Williams papers, BANC MSS C-B 977, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    • 1 carton of photographs
      Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1965.011-.020)
      and 1 photograph of San Francisco residences
      Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1965.001--PIC)
      were transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.

    Brief Biographical Sketch

    Edward Thomas Williams was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1854. In 1875 he graduated from Bethany College and was also ordained in the Disciples of Christ Church. After serving in pastorates at Springfield (Illinois), Denver, Brooklyn, and Cincinnati, he was sent to China in 1887. Here he became intensely interested in the country and began to study the language, history and customs.
    In 1896 Williams left the ministry to serve the American goverment in China in a succession of posts of increasing importance and responsibility. For several years he was interpreter to the American Consulate-General at Shanghai, and from 1901 to 1908, Chinese Secretary of the American Legation at Peking. In 1909 while serving as Consul General at Tientsin, he was transferred to Washington to the post of Assistant Chief of the Division of Far Eastern Affairs in the Department of State.
    Williams returned to China in 1911 as Secretary and Chargé d'Affairs of the American Legation at Peking. As such he was able to observe first-hand the revolutionary movement and to represent the United States government on the occasion of the recognition of the Chinese Republic. Again recalled to Washington, he served as Chief of the Division of Far Easten Affairs in the Department of State from 1914 to 1918. He resigned in 1918 and accepted the position of third Agassiz Professor of Oriental Languages and Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. His academic career was interruped several months later when he went to the Paris Peace Conference as technical advisor on far eastern affairs to the American commission. Again in 1921 he was granted leave to serve as consultant on far eastern questions to the American delegation to the Conference on the Limitation of Armaments.
    In the course of his academic career he wrote two books, China Yesterday and Today (1923), and A Short History of China (1928), many articles on China and the far east, and reviews and translations. He was a memeber of numerous societies and received three decorations from the Chinese government. Professor Williams retired in 1927 and died in Berkeley in 1944.

    Scope and Content

    This collection of papers was a gift to The Bancroft Library from his daughter, Gladys Williams, and son, E. T. Williams, in 1965, with additions in 1966 and 1967. It relates mainly to his career in government service and to his writings. Portraits have been cataloged separately (14911-14924).
    A key to arrangements follow.