Souvenir de Chine

A collection of photographs taken during the Second Sino-Japanese War 中日战争照片集, featuring the occupation of Shanghai and Nanking.
A Chinese phoenix 鳳凰 holding a peony 牡丹 in its beak
Harvard-Yenching Library

This collection includes 475 photographs, chiefly documenting the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The photographs were likely taken by various Chinese and Japanese military personnel, press photographers, and others, and possibly compiled by a French foreign national in Shanghai. The collection is a visual record of atrocities that were committed during the Sino-Japanese War from 1937 to 1945.

The photographs were mounted in an album and given to Hollington Tong 董顯光. A graduate of the first class at Columbia University's School of Journalism, Tong served as editor and managing director of the Shanghai English-language newspaper The China Press before Chiang Kai-shek appointed him to supervise foreign propaganda activities as Vice Minister of the Fifth Board of the Military Affairs Commission.

This war related photographs in the collection include:

  • The 1937 Battle of Shanghai 淞沪战役 
  • The Nanking Massacre 南京大屠杀 
  • The First Battle of Shanghai in 1932
  • Bombs exploding, fires, rubble, and other destruction
  • Japanese and Chinese soldiers, including women
  • American and British soldiers
  • Artillery, tanks, heavy machine guns, aircraft, and naval vessels, including the USS Augusta and unidentified British ships
  • Soldiers in combat and in hospital
  • Military and civilian casualties, corpses, and human remains

Also included are images of: 

  • A Chinese wedding procession
  • Chiang Kai-shek and his wife 
  • A bird’s-eye view of Nanking Road
  • Foreign concessions in Shanghai

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