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Collection Overview

Gamble, Sidney D. (Sidney David), 1890-1968
Princeton University. Library. Special Collections
Sidney D. Gamble Photographs
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
2 boxes
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 1-2


Consists of eleven photograph albums of Sidney D. Gamble (Princeton Class of 1912). Two contain photographs taken during his senior year at Princeton; the remaining albums are filled with photographs which reflect the life he knew in China as a Y.M.C.A. official (1918-1919, 1924-1927).

Collection Description & Creator Information


The collection consists of eleven photograph albums of Gamble (Princeton Class of 1912), two of which contain photographs taken during his senior year at Princeton, including some of football games, Princeton President Hibben, and President Taft. The remaining albums are filled with photographs which reflect the life he knew in China as a Y.M.C.A. official (1918-1919, 1924-1927).



Collection Creator Biography:

Gamble, Sidney D. (Sidney David), 1890-1968

An heir to the Procter & Gamble fortune, Sidney D. Gamble (1890-1968) was a pioneer sociologist who worked in China between 1917 and 1932, a witness to a convulsive period in China's history. After studying at Princeton and the University of California at Berkeley, he was asked to undertake a social survey of Beijing in behalf of the Y.M.C.A. Over the course of several years there he gathered statistics on incomes, occupations and health care, and he supplemented these bare facts with his photographs. For the most part, however, his pictures were taken to illuminate China's social life and culture, not its political upheavals. His researches resulted in the publication of four remarkable studies of Chinese life: Peking: A Social Survey, 1921; How Chinese Families Live in Peiping, 1933; Ting Hsien: A North China Rural Community, 1954; and North China Villages: Social, Political, and Economic Activities Before 1933, 1963. These groundbreaking studies of Chinese life are still used as basic reference material by writers and scholars. In 1984, Sidney Gamble's daughter, Catherine Gamble Curran, discovered 5,000 black and white negatives, 600 hand colored glass slides, and 21 rolls of 16 mm movie film that had been taken by Gamble and which had been relegated to an attic cupboard in the family home. The Sidney D. Gamble Foundation for China Studies, Inc., was founded in 1986 to manage this archive and to make it available to the general public. Presumably, these scrapbook photographs are prints from some of the same negatives.

Collection History

Processing Information:

Folder inventory prepared by Allyse Terrell '2014 in 2011.

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and Use:

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Sidney D. Gamble Photographs; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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