Diaries, photographs, personal correspondence, a radio script, copies of official papers, artifacts and ephemera document
the life of “China hand”, Roy Maxwell Talbot. Talbot worked in China as a Customs Service Agent from 1908-1942. The diaries
contain the greatest depth of information. The subjects in most photographs are not identified.
Roy Maxwell Talbot (1881-1963) began his career with the Chinese Maritime Customs in 1908. He served as Commissioner of Customs
from 1935 until 1938, when he became Audit Secretary in the Inspectorate General's Office. He was in that position until 1942.
He served in Canton, Icheng, Nanking, Shanghai, Harbin, Swatow, Kongmoon, Aigun, Antung, Changsha, Amoy and Kunning. In July,
1932, Talbot was arrested by Japanese officials in Amtung, Manchuria for refusing to hand over Chinese customs revenues. In
1941, he was held in the Bridge House, an infamous dungeon, for 42 days. Talbot's detention by the Japanese created an international
incident. Newspapers around the world carried headlines of an arrest of an "American employed by the Chinese".