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Finding Aids to Personal Papers and Special Collections in the Smithsonian Institution Archives

Record Unit 7263

Sowerby, Arthur de Carle, 1885-1954

Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers, 1904-1954 and undated

Repository: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Washington, D.C. Contact us at osiaref@si.edu.
Creator: Sowerby, Arthur de Carle, 1885-1954
Title: Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers
Dates: 1904-1954 and undated
Quantity: 14.05 cu. ft. (20 document boxes) (20 3x5 boxes) (1 5x8 box) (1 16x20 box)
Collection: Record Unit 7263
Language of Materials: English
Summary:

These papers document the multi-faceted career of Arthur deC. Sowerby, especially his work as a naturalist and expedition member. They include correspondence, including a large amount with Robert Sterling Clark; fiscal records; material relating to his genealogical research and The Sowerby Saga; manuscripts, newspaper articles, and research notes written by Sowerby; photographs and lantern slides; the papers of his third wife, Alice Muriel Cowans Sowerby; paintings, sketches, and poetry; and a notebook, a diary, and an autobiographical memoir.

Historical Note

Arthur deC. Sowerby (1885-1954), naturalist, explorer, artist, and editor was born in Tai-yuan Fu, Shansi province, China, where his father served as a British Baptist missionary. After a brief stay at Bristol University, England, Sowerby returned to China and began collecting specimens for the Natural History Museum in Tai-yuan Fu. In 1906, he was appointed to the staff of the Anglo-Chinese College at Tientsin as lecturer and curator of the Natural History Museum. He was a member of an expedition to the Ordos Desert in southern Mongolia in 1907, where he collected mammals for the British Museum (Natural History). In 1908, Sowerby joined American millionaire Robert Sterling Clark on an expedition into Shansi and Kansu provinces of north China. This began a long association with Clark who financed several collecting trips by Sowerby. Many of the specimens collected by the Clark-Sowerby expeditions were deposited in the United States National Museum. During the Chinese Revolution of 1911, Sowerby led a relief mission to evacuate foreign missionaries in Shensi and Sianfu provinces. During World War I, Sowerby served in France as Technical Officer in the Chinese Labour Corps. After the war, he settled in Shanghai and established The China Journal of Science and Arts, which he edited until the outbreak of World War II in 1941. During the war, Sowerby was interned by the Japanese Army in Shanghai. He came to the United States in 1949 and spent the remainder of his life in Washington, D.C. pursuing genealogical research which resulted in a family history, "The Sowerby Saga."

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Descriptive Entry

These papers document the multi-faceted career of Arthur deC. Sowerby, especially his work as a naturalist and expedition member. They include correspondence, including a large amount with Robert Sterling Clark; fiscal records; material relating to his genealogical research and "The Sowerby Saga;" manuscripts, newspaper articles, and research notes, written by Sowerby; photographs and lantern slides; the papers of his third wife, Alice Muriel Cowans Sowerby; paintings, sketches, and poetry; and a notebook, a diary, and an autobiographical memoir.

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Preferred Citation

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 7263, Arthur de Carle Sowerby Papers

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Container List

Series 1

GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1908-1954, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence of Arthur deC. Sowerby. Of special interest is correspondence with Robert Sterling Clark concerning Sowerby's field expeditions under the auspices of Clark, and material regarding Sowerby's internment and the confiscation of his property by the Japanese Army during World War II. A small amount of correspondence concerns Sowerby's career as editor of The China Journal. Also included are letters of condolence received by Sowerby on the death of his father, Rev. Arthur Sowerby, and similar letters addressed to Mrs. Arthur deC. Sowerby on her husband's death. The correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

Box 1

Folder 1 Armitage - Christy and Moore. Correspondents include John Armitage, 1947-1954; William Bridges, 1954; Schuyler van R. Cammann, 1954.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 2 Clark, Robert Sterling, 1908-1938, and undated. Mostly concerns collecting expeditions by Arthur deC. Sowerby, financed by Clark.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 3 Dirickx - Goodwin. Correspondents include A. J. H. Goodwin, 1949.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 4 Hemingway - North China Daily News. Correspondents include Robert Lansing, 1916, concerning Sowerby's rescue work during the Chinese Revolution of 1911.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 5 Patterson - Sly.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 6 Sowerby, Rev. Arthur, 1931, 1934.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 7 Sowerby, Rev. Arthur. Letters of condolence written to Arthur deC. Sowerby on the death of his father, 1934.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 8 Sowerby, Arthur deC. Correspondence and related materials concerning the confiscation of Sowerby's personal property by the Japanese Army during World War II, 1941-1945.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 9 Sowerby, Arthur deC. Correspondence and related materials regarding a plea for non-deportation from the United States by Sowerby, 1950-1951.

Box 1 of 42

Folders 10-11 Sowerby, Arthur deC. Letters of condolence upon the death of Sowerby, 1954. A - W and unidentified.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 12 Sowerby, Clarice - Sowerby, Rosalie.

Box 1 of 42

Folder 13 Swiss Consulate General, Shanghai, 1942-1944. Concerns the protection of Sowerby's personal property during World War II. Also includes Red Cross letters received by Sowerby during the war.

Box 1 of 42

Box 2

Folder 1 Taylor - Yetts. Correspondents include Langdon Warner, 1953, and undated.

Box 2 of 42

Folder 2 Unidentified correspondence and illegible signatures.

Box 2 of 42

Series 2

FISCAL RECORDS, 1931-1953.

This series consists of records concerning Arthur deC. Sowerby's bank accounts, investments, and stocks.

Box 2

Folders 3-4 Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, 1931-1952. Consists of bank statements and correspondence concerning Sowerby's accounts.

Box 2 of 42

Folder 5 The Riggs National Bank of Washington, D. C., 1951-1952.

Box 2 of 42

Folders 6-7 Correspondence and related materials concerning investments and stocks of Arthur deC. Sowerby, 1937-1953.

Box 2 of 42
CORRESPONDENCE, GENEALOGICAL DATA, AND RELATED MATERIALS CONCERNING "THE SOWERBY SAGA," 1950-1954, AND UNDATED.

In 1952, Arthur deC. Sowerby, in collaboration with his wife Alice Muriel Cowans Sowerby and Joan Evelyn Stone, prepared a history of the Sowerby family entitled "The Sowerby Saga." Prepared in three volumes, the first two document family history, while the third is essentially an autobiographical memoir. This series consists of correspondence with family members and others concerning genealogical questions; genealogical data and research notes compiled by Sowerby; copies of "The Sowerby Saga;" and an annotated typescript.

Box 3

Folders 1-4 Correspondence, 1950-1954. A - Zoological Society of London and unidentified correspondence.

Box 3 of 42

Folders 5-7 Genealogical data and research notes.

Box 3 of 42

Box 4

Folders 1-4 Genealogical data and research notes.

Box 4 of 42

Folders 5-6 "The Sowerby Saga," vols. I-III.

Box 4 of 42

Folder 7 Annotated typescript.

Box 4 of 42

Series 4

MANUSCRIPTS, NEWSPAPER ARTICLES, AND RESEARCH NOTES, WRITTEN BY SOWERBY, 1922-1948, AND UNDATED.

Box 5

Folder 1 "On the Min River." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, January, 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 2 "The Hakkas of Fukien." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 29 May 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 3 "The Heart of the Wild." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 2 June 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 4 "Insect Denizens of a Chinese Garden." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 7 August 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 5 "Animal Life of the China Coast Line." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 21 August 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 6 "The Mosquito in China." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 7 "The Voices of the Forest." Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 1922.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 8 "Wildlife of the Yangtze Delta." Manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 9 "Nature Notes." Volume of newspaper articles from The North China Daily News, 30 May - 7 October, 1938.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 10 "What Year Were You Born?" Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 2 April 1939.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 11 "A Tiger shot near Putien, Fukien." Reprint from The China Journal, vol. XXXIV, no. 1, January, 1941, p. 40.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 12 "A Tiger Hunt in Manchuria." Reprinted from The China Journal, vol. XXXIV, no. 4, April, 1941, p. 184.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 13 "What is a China Pony?" Newspaper article from The North China Daily News, 15 October 1941.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 14 "Three New Land Snails from Shansi, North China." Reprinted from Musee Heude, Notes de Malacologie, 31 May, 1945, no. 6.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 15 "Notes on the Original Habitat of Father David's Deer." Handwritten manuscript, 1947.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 16 "The Philosophy of Nature and the Study of Animal Life." Unidentified newspaper article.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 17 "The Kurile Islands." Handwritten manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 18 "A New Species of Shrew from the Shanghai Area." Handwritten manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folders 19-20 "With Gun and Rifle in China." Manuscript copies of newspaper articles which appeared in the North China Sunday News.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 21 "Christmas Shooting in China." Handwritten manuscript and typed copy.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 22 "Why Worry?" Typed manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 23 "The Philosophy of Wang." Typed manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 24 "By the Waters of the Min." Typed manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 25 "The Natural History of China." Typed manuscript.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 26 "The Tiger in China." Handwritten manuscript and typed copy.

Box 5 of 42

Folder 27 Zoology notes.

Box 5 of 42

Series 5

PHOTOGRAPHS AND LANTERN SLIDES, 1908-1954, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of photographs and lantern slides taken and collected by Arthur deC. Sowerby. Much of the material documents Sowerby's career in China and includes photographs taken on expeditions; pictures of Sowerby and his family; various scenes depicting twentieth century China and Chinese culture; and many photographs of Chinese fauna. Many of the photographs were used in the publication of The China Journal. Also included are lantern slides of American Indians, particularly southwestern tribes. The photographs are arranged alphabetically.

Box 6

Photographs

Folder 1 Andrews, Roy Chapman. Photographs taken on the third Asiatic Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History, undated.

Box 6 of 42

Folders 2-7 Bali and Java, 1930. Includes landscapes, village and city scenes, people, ceremonial dances, religious shrines, and flora and fauna.

Box 6 of 42

Folders 8-15 Bali and Java, 1930.

Box 6 of 42

Box 7

Folder 1 Bali and Java, 1930.

Box 7 of 42

Folder 2 Bats.

Box 7 of 42

Folder 3 Bears. Includes photographs of Arthur deC. Sowerby with bears which he shot on a hunting expedition.

Box 7 of 42

Folders 4-6 Birds.

Box 7 of 42

Folder 7 Camels.

Box 7 of 42

Folders 8-10 China, miscellaneous photographs. Includes landscapes and seascapes, city and village scenes, people, architecture, and flora and fauna.

Box 7 of 42

Box 8

Folders 1-7 China, miscellaneous photographs.

Box 8 of 42

Box 9

Folders 1-9 China, miscellaneous photographs.

Box 9 of 42

Box 10

Folders 1-8 China, miscellaneous photographs.

Box 10 of 42

Box 11

Folder 7 Chinese Bridges.

Box 11 of 42

Folder 8 Chinese Floods.

Box 11 of 42

Folder 9 Chinese Jade Carvings.

Box 11 of 42

Box 12

Folder 1 Chinese Porcelains.

Box 12 of 42

Folder 2 Clark, Robert Sterling. Photographs taken on the Clark Expedition to Shansi and Kansu provinces, North China, 1908.

Box 12 of 42

Folder 3 Deer. Includes photographs of Arthur deC. Sowerby with deer he shot on a hunting expedition.

Box 12 of 42

Folders 4-6 Dogs.

Box 12 of 42

Folder 8 Elephant Hunting Expedition. Unidentified.

Box 12 of 42

Folder 9 European Bison.

Box 12 of 42

Folders 10-12 Fishes.

Box 12 of 42

Box 13

Folder 2 Fur Bearing Animals.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 3 Gazelles.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 4 Gorals.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 5 Hankow Flood, 1931.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 6 Hawaii.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 7 Hong Kong Typhoon, 1923.

Box 13 of 42

Folders 8-9 Hunting Trips. Miscellaneous photographs.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 10 Insects and Invertebrates.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 11 Japan. Miscellaneous photographs.

Box 13 of 42

Folder 12 Japan. Miscellaneous photographs.

Box 13 of 42

Box 14

Folder 1 Japanese Art Objects.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 2 Japanese Earthquake, September 1923.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 3 Kangaroos.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 4 Koala Bears.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 5 Leopards.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 6 Lynx.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 7 Mausoleum of Yuah Shih Kai.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 8 Ming Tombs, Nanking.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 9 Moody, Mark L. Photographs of a hunting expedition to Indo-China, undated.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 10 Monkeys.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 11 Netsukes.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 12 New Zealand.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 13 Otters.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 14 Pangolins.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 15 Peiping, China.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 16 Pribiloff Islands.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 17 Reptiles and Amphibians.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 18 River porpoises and sei whale.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 19 Rodents.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 20 Seals.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 21 Serows.

Box 14 of 42

Folder 22 Shanghai, 1938. Aerial views.

Box 14 of 42

Folders 23-24 Shanghai Museum. Photographs of exhibits.

Box 14 of 42

Box 15

Folders 1-2 Shanghai Museum. Photographs of exhibits.

Box 15 of 42

Folder 3 Sian Fu, China.

Box 15 of 42

Folder 4 Siberian Moose.

Box 15 of 42

Folder 5 Singapore.

Box 15 of 42

Folder 6 South Africa.

Box 15 of 42

Folder 10 Sowerby, Clarice Sara (Sowerby's second wife).

Box 15 of 42

Folder 11 Sowerby family.

Box 15 of 42

Box 16

Folders 1-2 Sowerby family.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 3 Takin.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 4 Tigers.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 5 Wild Asses.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 6 Wild Boars.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 7 Wild Sheep. Includes photographs of Arthur deC. Sowerby with sheep he shot on a hunting trip.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 8 Wolves.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 9 Yangtze River.

Box 16 of 42

Folders 10-12 Miscellaneous photographs.

Box 16 of 42

Folder 13 Miscellaneous negatives.

Box 16 of 42

Boxes 17-19

Lantern Slides

American Indians. Consists mostly of southwestern tribes, including Navajo, Moki, Papago, Pueblo, and Shahaptian. Also included are lantern slides of the Algonquian tribe.

Boxes 17-19 of 42

Boxes 19-24

Bali and Java, 1930. Prints of these lantern slides can be found in boxes 6-7.

Boxes 19-24 of 42

Boxes 25-27

Hunting Expeditions in China, Unidentified.

Boxes 25-27 of 42

Boxes 28-30

Hunting Expeditions in China, unidentified.

Boxes 28-30 of 42

China, miscellaneous lantern slides.

Boxes 28-30 of 42

Boxes 31-34

China, miscellaneous lantern slides.

Boxes 31-34 of 42

Boxes 34-36

Miscellaneous lantern slides.

Boxes 34-36 of 42

Box 37

Shanghai Museum. Mostly lantern slides of exhibits.

Box 37 of 42

Series 6

ALICE MURIEL COWANS SOWERBY PAPERS, 1920-1954, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of papers of Alice Muriel Cowans Sowerby, the third wife of Arthur deC. Sowerby. Included is incoming and outgoing correspondence, diaries, a volume of poetry, and fiscal records.

Box 38

Folders 1-2 Incoming correspondence, 1938-1953, and undated.

Box 38 of 42

Folder 3 Outgoing correspondence, 1947-1949.

Box 38 of 42

Folders 4-7 Diaries, 1948-1950, 1954.

Box 38 of 42

Box 39

Folder 1 Poetry, 1920.

Box 39 of 42

Folder 2 Fiscal records, 1936-1948.

Box 39 of 42

Series 7

PAINTINGS, SKETCHES, AND POETRY, 1904-1950, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of paintings, sketches, and poetry of Arthur deC. Sowerby. The paintings include original watercolors, usually depicting Chinese scenes and animals. Also included are prints of several watercolors. Pencil sketches and zoological illustrations are also included in the material. All of the poetry was composed by Sowerby and much of it published in Chinese newspapers and The China Journal.

Box 39

Folders 3-7 Paintings and sketches, 1904-1950, and undated.

Box 39 of 42

Folder 8 Poetry, 1923-1948, and undated.

Box 39 of 42

Series 8

NOTEBOOK, DIARY, AND AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR, 1930, 1949, AND UNDATED.

This series consists of a notebook containing observations recorded by Arthur deC. Sowerby on a trip to Java and Bali, 1930; the "Intimate Diary of Arthur deC. Sowerby," vol. V, 1949, which includes accounts of trips by Sowerby to South Africa, South America, New York City, and Washington, D.C.; and an autobiographical memoir written by Sowerby concerning his activities in China, 1912-1915.

Box 39

Folder 9 Notebook kept by Arthur deC. Sowerby on a trip to Java and Bali, 1930.

Box 39 of 42

Box 40

Folder 1 "Intimate Diary of Arthur deC. Sowerby," vol V, January 1-June 30, 1949.

Box 40 of 42

Folder 2 Autobiographical memoir of Arthur deC. Sowerby, 1912-1915.

Box 40 of 42

Series 9

COPY NEGATIVES.

Box 41

Copy Negatives

Box 41 of 42

Series 10

PORTRAIT.

Box 42

Portrait of Leo Sowerby

Box 42 of 42