MacMurray and Andrews Kalgan 1928
MacMurray (right) posing with Roy Chapman Andrews and a Chinese cavalry commander when departing from Kalgan, 1928

American diplomat John Van Antwerp MacMurray (1881-1960), whose papers are held in the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton, served as Minister to China from 1925 to 1929, when the country was divided by civil war.  Having captured rural life around Peking in 1913-17 in over 1600 photographs already, this time MacMurray brought a film camera during his travels, capturing life in China in 28 silent 16mm films. Although they include rare footage of warlords and Nationalist troops taking control of Peking in 1928, the majority of the films comprise local scenes in Peking and the Western Hills, and trips along the Yangtze River and to Nanjing.

I was able to research the films with the invaluable help of Shuwen Cao, East Asian Library, Princeton University, and displayed and described them in Mudd Library’s audiovisual blog “The Reel Mudd.”

  1. MacMurray’s films of China, 1925-1929: Kalgan, 1928
  2. Trip to attend the reinterment of Sun Yat-sen, 1929
  3. A diplomat’s trip along the Yangtze River, 1928
  4. Renting a temple in the Western Hills
  5. Marines and Chinese armies in Peking
  6. Trips to the South and the Philippines, 1926 and 1929
  7. Vacation with the Navy, Friends with the Marines
  8. Peking friends and family scenes
  9. Escape to the Diamond Mountains in Korea, 1928