China from Empire to Republic: Records of the Maritime Customs Service of China 1854-1949 provides an excellent primary source collection for the study of China and its relations with the West in the late Qing and Republican periods. The records included in this collection - official correspondence, despatches, reports, memoranda, and private and confidential letters - constitute invaluable and often unique evidence of Chinese life, the economy and politics through the Taiping Rebellion, the Boxer Rebellion, the Revolution of 1911, the May 30 Movement, the two Sino-Japanese Wars, and the Chinese Civil War.
The Maritime Customs Service of China (MCS) was an international, although predominantly British-staffed bureaucracy (at senior levels) under the control of successive Chinese central governments from its founding in 1854 until January 1950. It was one of the most important institutions in China during this period, and was at the heart of Chinese trade, communications and international affairs. It was also the only bureaucracy in modern China which functioned uninterrupted throughout all the upheavals between 1854 and the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
The records of the Maritime Customs Service of China are in manuscript form (scanned from microfilm) and are arranged into the sections listed below.
Collections in this Archive