Diary no. III [3], May 27, 1928-October 12, 1928

ID: SIA RU007148

Creator: Graham, David Crockett

Form/Genre: Fieldbook record

Date: 1928

Citation: David Crockett Graham Papers, 1923-1936

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This field book is a diary from 27 May to 12 October 1928 documenting Graham's field collecting trips in the vicinity of Suifu (currently Yibin). Notes from the summer collecting trip are not included here; see folder 6. Graham provides a narrative description of daily activities including amounts and types of specimen collected by him or associates. Graham notes mostly birds and mammals, although some mention of insects and reptiles are included. Mammal numbers range from 104-121. Locations in which Graham collected include various localities near modern day Yibin. Descriptions of some specimen are occasionally provided. Graham also makes ethnological and anthropological observations during this trip. No scientific names are provided.

Date Range


Start Date

May 27, 1928

End Date

Oct 12, 1928

Access Information

Many of SIA's holdings are located off-site, and advance notice is recommended to consult a collection. Please email the SIA Reference Team at osiaref@si.edu.


  • Animals
  • Entomology
  • Herpetology
  • Birds
  • Mammalogy
  • Ornithology


  • Yibin
  • Sichuan
  • China


  • Fieldbook record
  • Field notes
  • Diary

Accession #

SIA RU007148

Collection name

David Crockett Graham Papers, 1923-1936

Physical Description

1 field book

Physical Location

Smithsonian Institution Archives


1 Box Folder 5

DIARY NO. III DAVID C. GRAHAM, SUIFU, SZECHUAN, CHINA. May 27, 1928 to October 12, 1928. ^[[The summer collecting trip is not included]] ^[[Box no. 83 Mammal no. 87]] May 28, filled box No. 84, insects. Today I received notice from Shanghai that nine boxes of specimens have arrived and are being forwarded to the Smithsonian Institution. I also received a letter for Dr. Wetmore asking that I discontinue sending packages until I hear from Dr. Wetmore again. The only parcels I have any worry about are those now being delayed at La Chi. I am requesting the postmaster to bring those packages back to Suifu so that I can send them to Shanghai in care of a friend who is to pass through on the way to Shanghai in a few days. The Chinese postoffice is really the safest and cheapest way of sending specimens, but long delays in forwarding parcels and even letters are sometimes unavoidable. May 29. Boxes No. 85 and No. 86 were packed today, both containing insects from the Yachow Prefecture secured by the collector Chen Gih Uen in April and May, altitudes varying from 1500 feet to 8000 feet. Box No. 87. Bird bones. Some of the bird specimens I have been preserving for their bones not for their skins have been nearly ruined by maggots. Today I have had to get after them with formalin and arsenic. May 30. Filled box No. 88, bird bones and small fish. June 2. Filled boxes [[strikethrough]] 89, [[/strikethrough]] ^[[90 89, Insects from Suifu,]] Insects, snakes, and frogs from the Yachow Prefecture, Box. 91, shrimps from Suifu and 92, artifacts from Kiating, Szechuan, China. 93, rat and bird skins. 94, fish. Today I received a letter from Mr. Ravenel stating that $500.00 gold has been sent to Miss Lacey to be credited to my account for a collecting trip to Moupin this summer. I'll begin getting ready at once in dead earnest. June 3. Spent a great deal of time getting 32 packages of specimens ready to send down the river. June 3. The sixteen packages being held by the General at La chi were brought back and returned to me through the kindness of the Suifu Postmaster. I am getting them ready to send to Shanghai in the care of a friend from Chengtu. June 4. I worked until midnight last night getting the packages ready to forward to Shanghai. Because boxes with hinges and locks go as baggage on the Yangtse river and no duty is required, I have put most of the 32 boxes of specimens in Chinese bamboo boxes with hinges and locks. I will have to purchase new boxes to replace them later. I have now packed the specimens all ready for shipping. I had to purchase four locks for these boxes. My idea is to send the specimens to Shanghai in care of some friend who can look after them all the way. This will be more expensive, but will avoid the delays in the Chinese Post Office due to civil war, etc. Our Mission Executive is thinking of asking me to go to Ningyuen, in south-
- 2 - eastern Szechuan after I have covered Moupin. June 5. Mr. Earl Cranston of the American Methodist Mission today passed through Suifu. He has taken along with him the 32 boxes of specimens to be handed over to the American Express Company at Shanghai. This will mean a safe and quick trip. A hot day. June 6, 1928. Today I secured about thirty bats, a few of which I will skin, putting the rest in formalin. There a kind of a beetle that generally comes out at night, which emits a bad-smelling vapor when it is attacked. Sometime ago I touched one, and when the vapor struck my hand I thought it felt like a burn. Later the skin turned red at this spot. Tonight I purposely touched another of these beetles. The vapor actually gives a burning sensation and the skin turns red afterwards. I have sent specimens of this beetle in formalin. I will send some folded in envelopes so that if desired this vapor or acid can be chemically analyzed. It is reported that a victorious army is approaching Chungking on the way to Chengtu. June 7. Yang Fong Tsang, the aborigine collector, arrived today with 56 birds and mammals. He has been sick for over a month, so will be paid for two instead of three month's work. There are 16 mammals, which I numbered from A to P. This makes 103 mammals to date. June 8. Packed two boxes of specimens, Box No. 95, bird bones, Boxes No. 96, Bird Skins. June 9. Packed Box No. 97, flies. There are rumors that civil war has actually broken out in other parts of the Province. Filled Box No. 98, a snake. June 10. Worked until nearly midnight getting ready for the trip south of Suifu. June 11. Travelled all day. It was exceedingly hot. Took a boat to Lan Guang, then crossed overland to the Little River above the falls. Then took another boat to Yoh Keo, or Moon Mouth. Here we secured an escort and travelled to a very small ^[[Si]] hamlet 15 li from Sa^[[1]] Ho^[[2]] E^[[4]], named Boh^[[5]] Dao^[[1]] Si^[[3]], or Thin Knife [[underline]] Li. [[/underline]] [[margin note, correction for Li: "Si"]] I secured a good catch of bees and wasps, and one brown flycatcher with a short tail. Aside from these we secured little else. I walked as usual, and feel well after the walk. We could have reached Sa Ho E, but there are few good inns, and always a big crowd collects so I like to spend the night in this quiet spot, and pass through Sa Ho E rather quickly. June 12. Reached Hua [[underline]] H [[underline]]an [[margin note, correction for Han: "Lan ?"]] Chiao rather early, killed 12 birds. More certain rumors are arriving of impending civil war. The aborigine collector went [[underline]] hom [[/underline]] [[margin note, correction for hom: "home"]] today. He will rejoin me in a few days. It is very hot. Met a number of old friends.
-3- June 13. Went to Shiu[[superscript]] ^[[ui]] [[/superscript]]n Gien Si in a drizzling rain. Secured only one bird. Secured some small fish and two varieties of turtles. The more yellow or brown variety seems much more active. The black variety seems more indifferent or inactive. The Chinese say the black ones are not so good to eat as the yellow or brown ones. Today I heard that all the boats were being commo [[superscript]] ^[[a]] ndeered at Suifu and being taken down to Luchow. June 14. A rainy day. Went to Kong Shien. The limestone rocks used to pave the road are worn smooth and are very slippery in rainy weather. Secured four birds, some fish, and some good moths. It is peculiar, but I secured some good moths by disturbing the bushes and the grass at daytime, but at night practically no moths came to the gasolene lantern, although it was a dark night. It is reported that there are many leopards in the mountains near here. June 15. I secured some fish today by means of the Smithsonian nets, and also secured five birds and a giant leech. The last-mentioned is the largest I have seen, and the only one of its kind I have seen. The Chinese say it can stretch out two feet long, but I doubt it. Secured a few small crabs. One bird I secured is entirely black, and looks much like a crow, but its tail is slightly longer in proportion and its body smaller. Its cry sounds like Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh.' to the Chinese, which means hunger. The Chinese therefore call it the hunger bird. This is the first bird of this kind I have secured. I spent the morning netting for fish and the afternoon after insects, and shot birds off and on all day. Spent some time drying out the insects. Late in the afternoon and in the evening a number of friends called. June 16. Travelled to Changlin or Changlinshien over a very muddy, sticky, slippery road. Got few insects and no birds on account of the rain. Got a few fish. It rained in the late afternoon so I stayed in and measured two Chinese and one Chuan Miao aborigine. It began to rain very hard about dark. June 17. It rained all night last night, and is raining this morning. This rainy weather is cutting down the number of specimens secured to a much smaller amount than I would ordinarily secure. I got a smaller number of fish today than I expected to, although some hard work was done. June 18. The weather did not really clear up, but a few insects appeared. I secured three flycatchers, one the more uncommon white flycatcher. I am having trouble preserving the bird bones without their getting stinky and full of maggots. I'll probably have to put arsenic on them in the future. I dried my insects today. June 19. Arrived at Ngan Lin Chiao a little after twelve. It rained last night, and the road was muddy. It cleared up just enough so that the wasps came out and I got a good catch. The aborigine is with me, and he is going along to Suifu to help me get ready for the summer trip. I am assuming that the summer excursion will be possible, although there is actually civil war in the province.
- 4 - June 20. Arrived early at Li Duan Tsang. Netted some fish. Killed two flycatchers. When I whistle like a flycatcher, the flycatchers fly in my direction so that it is easy to kill them. June 21. This morning a boy died of dysentery or typhoid in the chapel where I was staying. Had dinner at the home of a Chinese friend, then went to Gi Tien Ba. Killed one bird, and secured a lot of insects, mostly bees and wasps, in which line I think I am making the biggest contribution this spring. June 22. Went 60 li to Li Chuang, about 15 miles. Started at daybreak and arrived about noon. I was invited to a Chinese feast, after which I killed two birds, then watched for a while the dragon boat races. I shot both birds on the fly. The first shot went into the air. A Chinese woman near was so scared that she thought she was hit, and had a friend come and look at her head to see if a hole had been made in it, or at least to see if she were struck. Secured a snake and a few insects. Took anthropometric measurements of two Chinese. June 23. Returned to Suifu. Found five boxes of specimens from Yachow awaiting me. June 24. The Foreign Executive has asked me to take in Moupin, then go on to Ningyuenfu for the summer. This should mean a very fruitful collecting trip, as Ningyuenfu is a district I have not worked, and off from the other districts worked. I may not get another opportunity to go to Ningyuenfu. Labelled mammals, No. 104-108. Unpacked Yachow specimens. Packed about 15 boxes of specimens. They have still to be wrapped and labelled. It is probably impossible to forward them now, so we will have to wait until next fall to forward the specimens. The rough-neck boys have again begun to attack our compound wall by making holes through it and throwing stones. Word has come that there is practically a state of war at Moupin between the Lolos and the Chinese, so that it may be impossible to collect there in which case I will go to Ningyuenfu, probably. June 25. Labelled box No. 99, insects from Suifu. Box No. 100, insects, 102 fish and insects, 103 fish and shrimp; Box No. 104, insects from Yachow; Box 105, insects from Yachow; Box 106, bones; Box No. 107, bones; Box No. 108, contents snakes; Box No. 109 contents bones; Box No. 110, frog; Box 111, fish and shrimp; Box 112, bones; Box 113, fish and snake; Box 114, snake, turtle; Box 115 fish and shrimp; 116 fish and shrimp; Box 117, Yachow insects; Box 118, bats, $1.00. June 26. Bought boxes for travel and roped them up. Also prepared oil-cloth coverings--received a letter from the American Express Company saying that all packages previously shipped had been received and forwarded except box No. 58. This has apparently been either lost or delayed--possibly the latter. It is good news that these shipments have gone through. There is a state of civil war between the Lolos and the Chinese in Moupin. This may make it impossible to go to Moupin. I will then collect in Ningyuenfu, where
-5- the way is open now. If I go there the mission will provide a place to stay, thus cutting expenses, and will grant $120.00 mexican on the expedition. June 27, [[strikethrough]] 1928 [[/strikethrough]] ^[[28]]. These were busy days, with committee meetings, etc. Among other things I have had to take in a lot of money for the Suifu mission sub-treasury. Filled box 119, birdskins, and 120, rat skins, and packed them for shipping. I am now packing every day, hoping the summer collecting-trip will be possible. June 29. Today I did some more packing for the summer's collecting trip. I had a lot of work taking in money for the Suifu sub-treasury. There are 25 boxes of specimens that must be left in Suifu until fall until someone can take them to Shanghai. June 30. More packing. July 1. Another busy day. Got in more packing. There was a rumor that a great battle was raging at Chengtu. Later it was found to be probably mere rumor. July 2. A busy day. Had a committee meeting and many interviews. Prepared report of Chinese men, numbers 26-50 for Dr. Hrdlicka. Packing and arranging for the summer trip. July 3. Last night I was up until 12 o'clock packing and I was up early this morning. It is now twelve o'clock, and I am working yet. I expect to write out report No. 7 before going to bed, besides nailing windows, etc. [[line across page]] The account of the summer trip is contained in Diary Number four. September 4. This continues where we left off July 4th, two months ago. At that time it seemed very doubtful whether we ought to or could take a summer collecting trip. At that time eight out of ten people thought that civil war was certain in the province, and would probably reach Suifu. In that case I ought not to leave. My surmise has proven correct. There has been no civil war this summer in Suifu or in the Province. The summer collecting trip has been made. Today we have wrapped boxes for shipping. We will be at this sort of thing several days. Yesterday we packed the remaining birdskins in boxes. If I had not been sick at Kiating the large bat-skins would have been in better condition. I could have preserved them better. September 5. Packing of boxes, writing letters, etc. I now have fifty-five boxes ready to forward, and probably more than enough[[strikethrough]] t [[/strikethrough]] specimens to fill a dozen more boxes. Sept. 6. Filled eleven boxes with insects, serpents, etc., wrapped and labelled boxes 157, snakes, 158, insects; 159, insects; Box 160, insects; Box 161 snake, 162, red fox skin; 163 snake; 164, skin; 165 snake, fish; 166, snake. 167, stone pipes, etc. A very busy day, but managed to fill the boxes numbered above, and equip Yang
- 6 - Fong Tsang for two month's collecting on the Yunnan Border South of Suifu. Every box excepting possibly one that I have sent, containing specimens, has reached Shanghai and has been forwarded on American vessels to the Smithsonian Institution. Postal communication is now open [[strikethrough]] ,[[/strikethrough]] with Shanghai, and is rapid. It may close later. I will therefore mail all the specimens here at Suifu as early as possible, excepting the Lolo armor. I regard that as too precious to send, excepting in the hands of a personal friend. If I should wait, the specimens might not get through till next spring. I have told Yang Fong Tsang to by all means 1, secure mammals, and 2, secure night moths, [[overwritten]] s [[/overwritten]] ^[[S]]nakes, frogs, insects, birds, etc., come as a matter of course. Sept. 7. Spent much time labelling specimens and preparing the customs declaration slips, two for each package, for the postoffice. Sept. 8. Sent thirty-seven packages to the postoffice. Spent more time labelling packages and writing customs' declaration slips. Box 168, bats, snake. Box 169, lizards. Sept. 9. Today I sent ten boxes to the postoffice, mailing them to Shanghai addressed to the American Express Company. I also labelled and wrote out customs slips for fifteen packages or boxes which I will mail tomorrow. That will be a total of sixty-two boxes, all zoological specimens. I have still some artifacts from the Han Dynasty tombs at Kiating, and some bats in formalin, others mounted like mammals. Sept 10. Have sent fifteen boxes to the postoffice, making a total of 62 boxes of specimens. Sent short letter to Dr. Wetmore. I have begun working over the accounts and expect to bring them up to date within a few days. Sept 11. Today I worked some on accounts and drew a map outlining the trip to Ningyuenfu. At about 9:30 P.M. the dog was barking at something, probably at a rat. I started out of the front door with a lantern to see what it was. Just in front of our door I found a rare snake, and it is now in formalin. It was just such luck as this that we did not have on the Ningyuenfu trip. While we secure[[overwritten]] s [[/overwritten]]^[[d]] a fair catch, on the whole, we worked against adverse luck practically all the time. Sept. 12. Filled box 170, snakes, Box 171, insects. Developed the first film of the Ningyuenfu trip. There are more than a dozen other films to be developed. Secured a mole in the yard. Mammal No. 121. Sept. 13. Developed more films, worked on accounts, copied anthropological measurements. Sept. 14. Again rumors say that civil war is certain in Szechuan Province. The people say the Nationalist Government has demanded that the Szechuan military government 1, dismiss most of its soldiers, 2, do away with over half of the many customs
- 7 - offices that have been added in recent years, and 3, eradicate opium. Apparently Szechuan is not complying so war seems certain. I have today spent much time on the Lolo anthropological measurements, copying them for Dr. Hrdlicka. I will develop one or two films each day until they are all developed. Sept. 15. Today I spent all my spare time developing films, copying the Lolo or Noso anthropometrical measurements to send to Dr. Hrdlicka, and working over the accounts. I shall mail the measurements to Dr. Hrdlicka tomorrow. It will take me several days to get the films all developed. Some of the films were partly spoilt by the heat and dampness. Today there was a great religious parade or [[underline]] possession [[/underline]] ^[[procession]] in honor of the Kitchen God, conducted by the Pan Pien Shi temple, the largest temple diagrammed in Religion in Szechuan Province, China." Sept. 16. I have spent all my spare time today working over the Ningyuenfu collecting trip account. I will finish tonight the general account of all the details of the trip. Tomorrow I will work out a balance statement of all collecting to the present, and forward the statements to Dr. Wetmore and to Shanghai. Sept. 18, 1928. Filled box 172, artifacts from Kiating and new Chinese copper coins used in West China. Mailed boxes 171-172. Today General Hu, the highest military officer in this part of Szechuan, sent me a large picture of himself, more than a foot square. In box 172 is a large image of a man, complete, but the head is severed from the body--also other artifacts. Filled Box 173, Kiating artifacts from Chinese cave-tombs, ancient. Sept. 19. I attend a theatrical, purely Chinese, on the invitation of General Hu. [[overwritten]] a [[/overwritten]]^[[A]]t this theatrical all the military officers, leading business men and important dignitaries were present by invitation. Took some pictures and developed two films. Sept. 20. Sent fifteen boxes of specimens, mostly insects, to the postoffice to be sent to Shanghai by parcel post. This makes a total of 79 boxes sent since my return to Suifu this fall. Also filled box No. 174, Kiating artifacts of ancient Chinese burial tombs. Box 175, same as 174. Sept. 21. Filled Box 176, bats secured at Kiating Aug. 25-30, 1928. Mailed two more boxes of specimens, total of 81 boxes since summer so far. Filled also Box 177 with skinned bats, a mole, etc. Sept. 22. Mailed two more boxes of specimens, making a total of 83 boxes of specimens since summer. Was invited to another feast and theatrical, lasting until late at night. Sept. 23-28. I have developed the Ningyuen films, written reports, etc. I am forwarding the diary of the Ningyuenfu trip to Dr. Wetmore. This month I have been tied down to Suifu, but during the month of October I will be able to go to the outstations a great deal and hope to reach the Miao country. During the past two weeks it has rained almost every day.
- 8 - Generally the Yangtse River has receded a great deal by this time, but it is now the highest it has been known to be at this time for decades. It has been unusually cold, and this may hinder the collectors a good deal. Oct. 1, 1928. Today I paid the skinner Ho his monthly wage of $5.80 or about $2.75 gold. In addition, on trips he gets food allowance, and ten cents for every bird or mammal specimen, this to be doubled if the specimen is large. He said $5.80 is not enough, and wanted $6.00 per month. I did not give him the $6.00. I told him that I was afraid that the expense account I was reporting to the Smithsonian Institution looks large to the Smithsonian Institution and I was afraid to make it larger. There has been cold weather and almost continual rain during the month of September. This without doubt made collecting more difficult for Chen at Yachow and Yang on the [[overwritten]] Uu [[/overwritten]]^[[Yu]]nnan Border. I have been confined to Suifu, but during the month of October I hope to be out nearly all the month. Oct. 7. I have had carpenters making boxes in which to forward specimens. Received a letter from Chen Gih Uen at Yachow saying that the constant and unusual rains in September made collecting difficult and less fruitful. Chen will go to Moupin, probably, in the month of October. A box of insects from Chen have arrived. Oct. 8. Today a carpenter was busy making boxes in which to ship specimens and artifacts. Chen Gih Uen's box (first) of insects from Yachow arrived today. He has had a hard time, but I am disappointed in his catch. I took anthropometrical measurements of two women, making a total of 17 to date and 51 men. We secured a water-bird of a new variety, bluish. I am keeping both skin and skeleton. I leave tomorrow on a short trip to Beh Sou Chi and other towns west of Suifu. Friday, I return and take a much longer trip towards the Yunnan Border. Today I spent some time drying and packing specimens. Filled box 178, insects. Filled box 179, Lolo ^[[quivers.]] Oct. 9. Went to Beh Sou Chi. Secured four birds and a few insects, one mole, mammal 122. Oct. 10. Went inland to Shin ^[[1]]Tsang ^[[2]] or New Town. Secured one bird and a few insects. In the afternoon I went out with two soldiers and others who asserted that there was a leopard's den not far away. It was a false report. Leopards are apt to appear anywhere at times, but it is nearly impossible to find a definite den where they are sure to be found. Oct. 11. Killed four birds at one shot. Went to Ngan Bien. Oct. 12. Returned to Suifu. I expect to take an extended trip south of Suifu soon. I hope to get to the Miao Country and take measurements of Miaos. I received today a publication of Dr. Schauss with 160 new species, eight from [[overwritten]] w [[/overwritten]] ^[[W]]est China. I will mail this diary now, for it will be written full long before the end of the collecting trip. The diary of the summer collecting trip has already been forwarded to the Smithsonian Institution by registered letter postage.
-9- All my native collectors are waging hard for an increase of 25 cents gold per month in salary or wages. I have not yet agreed to give it. I'm afraid of running collecting expenses up too high. The Chinese were very friendly on my last trip, on the whole. Dr. Crook has recently passed through Suifu to Yachow. When he saw the Smithsonian calipers and other instruments for taking anthropometrical measurements, he remarked that he formerly had some such instruments, but that they were lost in a robbery on the road to Tat[[strikethrough]]r [[/strikethrough]] ^[[s]] ienlu [[Tatsienlu]]. In west China we constantly run the risk of being robbed by brigands. I have not been robbed yet, but may be at any time. In case I am I hope that the Smithsonian Institution will regard it as an unavoidable mishap. I always leave about half the collecting outfit at home so that if I should lose half in a robbery I could still go on collecting. I can do this with nearly everything but the guns. I leave one double-barrelled shotgun at home at least. I have so far been able to avoid robbery by using the utmost care and always having a good escort where [[underlined in pencil]] they [[/underline]] are ^[[there]] brigands. This adds to the running expenses but removes the necessity of replacing valuable instruments. D. C. Graham