Discovering Modern China: University of Washington & University of British Columbia Collections

Material Description

Discovering Modern China: University of Washington & University of British Columbia Collections


Among the top East Asian collections in North America, UW & UBC hold a wealth of hidden Chinese collections including pre-modern classical texts & source materials from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) through the early years of the People’s Republic of China (1949-). The pre- modern texts, in a literary form of the Chinese language, are printed in traditional complex characters & bound with string. The 20th century materials include thousands of imprints from the Republic Period (1911-1949). Materials cover subjects in social sciences, literature, humanities & traditional medicine. UW titles are largely from the early 20th century, although some date from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) through the 1970s. The collection includes 373 wooden fish books (i.e., rare & important Cantonese song lyric books), 120 scrolls of Chinese paintings, Republic Period texts & the papers of Wu Xianzi (1881-1959), an activist in the Chinese Constitutional Movement. UBC Library holds rare Chinese materials in pre-modern & contemporary formats from a dozen world-renowned collections, including the Puban, Pang Jingtang & Jing Yizhai collections. The hidden classical items include books, manuscripts, rubbings, maps & letter albums of key figures also from the Qing Dynasty to the early Republic & imprints of the Ming. The 20th century publications include unique or rare items: traditional Chinese medicine, fine art, textbooks & lineage association publications.


Cataloging Hidden Collections

Amount Awarded:


Year Added:



University of Washington


Joyce Agee

Collaborating Institution(s)

University of British Columbia Libraries

Collection Size

15 boxes, 2000 objects

Date Range

1600 - 1970

Geographic Scope

UW: Guangdong province & China in general UBC: Guangdong & Shandong provinces of China, & some Overseas Chinese publications