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   William Henry Donald papers, 1924-1946

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William Henry Donald papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


The William Henry Donald papers primarily consist of correspondence between William Henry Donald (1875- 1946) and his friend, Harold K. Hochschild (1892-1981) where he described about his work in China, his involvement in the Xi’an Incident, and his life later in the Pacific Islands and return to China. Other materials in the collection include biographical information, a sketch of Donald, and news clippings about Donald.

At a Glance

Bib ID:4078704 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Donald, William Henry, 1875-1946.
Title:William Henry Donald papers, 1924-1946
Physical description:0.25 linear ft (estimate 126 items in 1 box).
Language(s):In English
Access: This collection is located on-site. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



Arranged chronologically.

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Scope and Content

The William Henry Donald papers consist of correspondence primarily between William Henry Donald (1875- 1946) and Harold K. Hochschild (1892-1981), Donald’s long-time friend with personal and business interest in China who was also the Executive of the American Metal Company in New York, dating from 1924 to 1946. Other correspondent also include Li, Kuo Ching, a Chinese businessman in New York City, Gertrude Sergievsky, and Herbert Berridge Elliston. The correspondence in the collection focuses on Donald’s experience and his knowledge of Chinese politics as well as his personal relations to prominent Chinese Republican officials during his life in China. The highlight of Donald’s letters is the one which he wrote on January 17th, 1937, where he described his role as a mediator during the Xi’an Incident (西安事變). The correspondence also include a drawing of Donald and other biographical materials and news clippings about Donald’s death as well as his role in Chinese politics during the Chinese Republican era.

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Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); William Henry Donald papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Other finding aid

Content list

Related Material

Lewis, Winston George. (1872). Winston George Lewis - Papers, 1887-1996, concerning W. H. Donald, Together with Papers of the Donald Family, Ca. 1872-1978. MLMSS 7594. Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Finding aid

William Henry Donald papers, 1945-1946. Forms part of: Miscellaneous Manuscripts collection. Library of Congress Manuscript Division. Finding aid

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Cataloged 06/--/1989 Christina Hilton Fenn. Finding aid revised in July 2018 by Yingwen Huang.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion June 26, 2009 Finding aid written in English.
    2009-06-26 File created.
    2018-09-14 EAD finding aid was updated.

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Clippings (Information Artifacts).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
American Metal Company.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Chiang, Kai-shek, 1887-1975.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--Description and travel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--Foreign relations.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--History, 1928-1937.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--History, Military.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--History, Warlord period, 1916-1928.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--History--Xi'an Incident, 1936.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--Politics and government, 1912-1949.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
China--Politics and government, 20th century.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Hochschild, Harold K., 1892-1981.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Li, Guoqing, 1916-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manchuria (China)--Description and travel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Manila (Philippines)--Description and travel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Prisoners of war—Japan.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Shanghai (China)--Description and travel.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
World War, 1939-1945.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Zhang, Xueliang, 1898-PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Zhili Sheng (China).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note


William Henry Donald (widely known as Duan’na, 端纳) was born in Lithgow, Australia, 1875. Mr. Donald went to Hong Kong in 1903 as a journalist for the Hong Kong Daily and China Mail (德臣報). He soon became the Managing Editor of China Mail and covered mainly events in China. He later also became an editor at the Far Eastern Review based in Shanghai where he reportedly exposed Japan’s Twenty-One Demands on China to the western presses. In 1920, he resigned from the Far Eastern Review and began working at the new Bureau of Economic Information in Beijing. He associated closely with Sun Yat-sen and the Soong family. He was the adviser to the Young Marshal, Zhang, Xueliang. During the Xi’an Incident in 1936, Madame Chiang sent Donald as a mediator to negotiate for Chiang Kai-shek’s release. Donald successfully convinced the Young Marshal to release Chiang. He later became an advisor to Chiang Kai-shek and Madame Chiang. Donald left China in 1940 and toured the Pacific Islands. Subsequent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was arrested in Manila by the Japanese army and held at the internment camp in 1941. He was release three years later along with over 2,000 POWs and civilian prisoners during the U.S. Raid on Los Banos. He briefly visited New York City in 1945 after his release. He was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1946. He returned to Shanghai where he was treated at the Country Hospital (華東醫院) and died on November 9th, 1946.

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