Report on the impact Carleton College's Haldore Hanson's China collection (1937-1938)


Report on the impact Carleton College's Haldore Hanson's China collection (1937-1938)


Carleton College Archives and Special Collection holds 147 print photographs taken in China in 1937 and 1938 by Haldore Hanson (1912-1992). After Hanson’s death, his family donated these photographs to Carleton College, from which he graduated in 1934. The subjects of these photographs include the 1937 Marco Polo Bridge Incident, guerrilla warfare in 1938, and the Chinese leaders Mao Zedong 毛澤東, Lin Biao 林彪, Zhou Enlai 周恩來, and Zhu De 朱德, Lü Zhengcao 呂正操. The study of history is enhanced by exploring a variety of perspectives, and Hanson was the first Western reporter to observe guerrilla troop activities in Hebei, Shanxi, and Shaanxi. Although Hanson published a book in 1939 about his adventures and experiences in China, his name has rarely been mentioned in scholarly publications about the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Carleton College Special Collections digitized Hanson’s photographs in 2008 and in 2018 Kristi Wermager and Hsianghui Liu-Spencer published an article in The Journal of East Asian Libraries describing the historical significance of these photographs and exploring their reach. Web usage reports during 2014-2017 indicated significant international interest, suggesting Hanson’s previously unseen work was influencing scholarly exploration of this period in Chinese history.

Our staff continued monitoring the web usage of the Hanson Collection from January 2018 through early June 2020. This poster supplements the 2018 paper by showing this digital collection’s continued widespread use and impact, including in two forthcoming books by historians who discovered our collection through our portal and requested permission to reproduce the images. We hope that this poster session will inspire other institutions to expose their small, local collections to international audiences by the creation of open-access online digital collections.


Liu-Spencer, Hsianghui; Lamb, Tom


Chinese American Librarians Association




2020 CALA Annual Conference






Poster: Text

Position: 379 (14 views)


Liu-Spencer, Hsianghui; Lamb, Tom, “Report on the impact Carleton College's Haldore Hanson's China collection (1937-1938),” CALASYS - CALA Academic Resources & Repository System, accessed January 28, 2021,