Cultural understanding between the United States and China has been a long and complex process.
The period from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century is not only a critical era in modern Chinese history, but also the peak time of illustrated news reporting in the United States.
Besides images from newspapers and journals, this collection also contains pictures about China and the Chinese published in books, brochures, commercial advertisements, campaign posters, postcards, etc.
Together, they have documented colourful portrayals of the Chinese and their culture by the U.S. print media and their evolution from ethnic curiosity, stereotyping, and racial prejudice to social awareness, reluctant understanding, and eventual acceptance.
Since these publications represent different positions in American politics, they can help contemporary readers develop a more comprehensive understanding of major events in modern American and Chinese histories, such as the cause and effect of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the power struggles behind the development of the Open Door Policy at the turn of the twentieth century.
This collection of images has essentially formed a rich visual resource that is both diverse and intriguing; and as primary source documents, they carry significant historical and cultural values that could stimulate further academic research.