Scrapbook/photo Album * China, 1920s * 139 Images, Many Disturbing. By A Marine
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Scrapbook/photo Album * China, 1920s * 139 Images, Many Disturbing. By A Marine:
SCRAPBOOK / PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM
Assembled by a U. S. Marine, many gruesome images
Old Asian album with decorated cloth covers, 26 x 18 cm, condition G+ with wear and fraying to album covers, contents in VG- condition; one page detached. The rear endpapers earlier had postage stamps from the orient affixed with glue, as can be deduced by the remnants of the one stamp that remains; the other stamps were removed or have fallen out, and the old glue marks are still visible.
I believe this album was assembled by a U.S. Marine, as the uniforms in the photos have the look of Marine uniforms of the 1920s, and include their official emblem: the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. Although the U.S. Army also had a presence in China at the same time, that emblem was not used by them.
In 1927 the 4th Regiment of the United States Marine Corps was ordered to the Far East, "to protect the lives, property and commerce of American citizens in the International Settlement of Shanghai." Given that date, and the look and feel of the photos, I am confident that the album dates from the late 1920s. Some of the photos are labeled, and the cities mentioned are Peking, Hangchow, and Shanghai.
There are 52 pages and a total of 139 images, the images a mixture of personal and purchased photos. A very few of the photos are of Marines, with some family names given. The majority are of street scenes, buildings, monuments, ships, children, peasant women and laborers. There are 15 images of execution and torture scenes, some of beheadings with the severed heads exhibited as a warning to other criminals or rebels. (Please do not view the last five photos above if you would be offended by such images.) These were not photographed by the Marine, but likely acquired from locals who sold the gruesome images.
The last two pages of the album contain four Japanese photos from the same period, and one business card from a Yokohama establishment.
This week I have listed other rare Chinese books and ephemera on . Please click here to see a list.