China, America and the Pacific

Trade and Cultural Exchange

Explore the cultural and trading relationships that emerged between America, China and the Pacific region between the early 18th and 20th centuries.

Sourced from world-class collections at American and Canadian libraries including the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, China, America and the Pacific offers unique insights into the history of North American trade and cultural interactions with China. Coverage also includes Pacific trading centres, such as Hawai‘i.

This collection is a long awaited resource, which will be of great benefit to anyone concerned with America’s interactions with Asia. It offers researchers some of the best detailed sources available, covering topics from trade and politics to religion and culture.
Paul A. Van Dyke, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

Key Data

Period Covered

  • 18th and early 20th Century


  • Correspondence, logbooks, diaries and shipping papers, revealing the immense impact of the Old China Trade on America’s economic and cultural development
  • The logbooks for the first American ships to visit China
  • A rare letter book of Houqua, a Canton trader
  • Trade letters from King Tamoree and Queen Charlotte Tapoolee of Kaua‘i (Hawai‘i)
  • Photographs, logbooks and correspondence documenting the development of the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific whaling industry
  • Coverage of China’s economic dealings with the whole of East Asia and the Pacific
  • Early fur traders in Canada and the Pacific Northwest

Source Archives

  • American Philosophical Society (APS)
  • Boston Athenaeum
  • Bridgeman Art Library
  • California Historical Society
  • Hagley Museum and Library
  • Hawaiian Historical Society
  • Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Nantucket Historical Association
  • Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum
  • University of Alberta
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library

Material Types

  • Ships' Logs (valuable records of commodities and trading information)
  • Manuscript sources, including family and business papers of merchants, shipping dynasties, shipbuilders, shipmasters and supercargoes
  • Rare newspapers
  • Rare printed books
  • Visual material (including paintings, illustrations and photographs)
  • Historic maps
  • Objects
  • Ephemera, including Clipper ship cards

Editorial Board

  • Michael Block, University of Southern California
  • James Fichter, Lingnan University
  • John Haddad, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Paul A. Van Dyke, Sun Yat-sen University


  • Old China Trade
  • Early Commercial Development of US Cities (New York, Boston, etc)
  • Maritime Routes: East and West Coast
  • Development of Hawaii as Trading Post
  • Chinese-American Cultural Exchange
  • Fur Trade in the Pacific Northwest
  • Diplomacy and Politics of American and the ‘Far East’

Key Features

  • Museum Objects
  • Interactive Map
  • Interactive Chronology
  • Extensive Image Gallery
  • Online Exhibitions
  • Carefully selected external links
  • Contextual essays
  • Detailed Glossary


Highly recommended. Lower-level undergraduates and above

Visited Apr'14 China, America and the Pacific provides core primary source text and image material from 13 major cultural heritage institutions in North America. Covering the 18th to ......