Contents and Arrangement

Subseries 9A: 16 mm black and white films of China, circa 1925-1929

3 boxes

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Subseries 9A contains twenty-eight 16 mm films that MacMurray shot while serving as US Minister to China (1925-1929). In these years the country was divided by civil war: the Nationalist Party, initially cooperated with the Communist Party in fighting rival warlords in order to gain control of the country. After establishing a Nationalist government in Nanking (Nanjing), the Nationalists took control of Peking (Beijing) in June 1928. Although the films of Peking contain footage of soldiers, MacMurray's films are not political in nature. They contain street and other local scenes in Peking and the Western Hills, where the family leased part of the Ta Pei Ssu temple, as well as in other places that MacMurray visited in China. In addition, some of the films contain footage of family and friends.

The subseries exists of fifteen 400 foot reels and thirteen 100 foot reels. The 400 foot reels were labeled by MacMurray himself and contain footage that he may have selected to display to family and friends. The remaining 100 foot film reels, which are only labeled in part, contain brief films and fragments, some of which similar to footage found on the 400 foot reels.

Digital conversions of the majority of the films in DVD format can be found in subseries 9D.


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:

Subseries 9A: 16 mm black and white films of China; 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): Boxes 161, 176, 202