Contents and Arrangement

China and the Far East (including Wyoming), 1912-1917

18 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this group consists of 1,500 3x4 inch and 3x5 inch contact prints and negatives, as well as over three hundred 6½ x 9½ inch enlargements, which were donated by John Van Antwerp MacMurray's surviving children in February 2007 (ML.2007.06). MacMurray, an avid amateur photographer, took the photographs while serving as Secretary to the U.S. Legation in Peking (Beijing) from 1913 to 1917. He had his photographs developed and printed in a local camera shop in Peking.

The majority of the photographs depict sites and scenes in Peking and its vicinity, particularly the Western Hills, the region to the northwest of Peking, which was renowned for its scenery and temples. Other photographs were taken during longer trips to, among others, the northern province of Jehol (Rehe) and the Yangzi Valley. A small amount of photos were taken prior to MacMurray's appointment in China during a vacation in Wyoming (U.S.A.) in 1912.

MacMurray, who kept a record of the places he visited in his diaries (See Series 4) listed the subjects and dates of the photographs at the front of the albums in which he kept his contact prints and negatives. In some cases MacMurray wrote the subject at the back of a photograph. Additional information can be found on the postcards that MacMurray had printed of his negatives, which he sent to his mother and sisters, often with brief descriptions of the image. MacMurray continued this practice until his mother died in 1929 (kept separately among the correspondence in Series 2).

The group includes negative albums with indexes, prints with negatives, sepia prints and enlargements, and additional photographs.


No arrangement action taken or arrangement information not recorded at the time of processing.

Collection History


No appraisal information is available.


The John Van Antwerp MacMurray Papers were reprocessed with the generous support of Adelaide MacMurray Cooper, Shirley S. French, Joan Ipsen, Frank G. MacMurray '40, Worth D. MacMurray '77, Alison Starkey, Lois MacMurray Starkey, Mills Ten Eyck Jr., Christine Wainwright, and William Waldron. Digitization of the films in Box 161-167, 172, and 176-184 was made possible by the generous support of the East Asian Studies Program, Princeton University.

Processing Information

This collection was reprocessed by Victoria Coleman '99 in 1998 and by Helene van Rossum in 2002 and 2008-2009 with the assistance of Jessica Solano, Ganga Bey '09, Pauline Nalikka '11, Marli Wang '11, and Jamie LaMontagne '11, and additional help from Liz Parsons '11 and Jeremy Russell '12. Finding aid written by Helene van Rossum in 2002 and 2009-2010. With thanks to Nancy N. Tomasko, East Asia Library Journal, Princeton University, for help with transcriptions, and to Shuwen Cao, East Asian Library, Princeton University, for assistance in identifying the contents of the films.

As part of a collections survey in 2020 this finding aid was updated to reflect the consolidation of the following ranges of boxes containing av materials: 161-175, 176-184, 185-190, 202-214. Each box now retains the first box number in the range, with item-level notes detailing the previous number. All labeled items retain their original titles;only the box numbers have changed.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

China and the Far East (including Wyoming); John Van Antwerp MacMurray Papers, MC094, Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (mudd): Box 125-142