Haldore Hanson's China Collection (1937-1938)
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Haldore Hanson (1912-1992) was a native Minnesotan from Duluth. In 1935, after graduating from Carleton, he decided to go on an adventure to China. In China, he studied Chinese language and culture at a college in Beijing, supporting himself by teaching English at the college and serving as an editor for local English-language magazines. When Japanese troops invaded China and started the 'Marco Polo Bridge Incident' in July of 1937, Mr. Hanson was in Beijing and later gave an historical account of this incident in both of his books, "Humane endeavour : the story of the China war" (Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1939) and "Fifty years around the third world : adventures and reflections of an overseas American" (Fraser, 1986). Mr. Hanson was then hired as a part-time & free-lance war correspondent for the Associated Press and was the first foreign journalist who reported on the Chinese Communist Long March (1934-1935). During this time period, he also covered fighting between the communists and the nationalists, as well as between both groups and Japanese troops in Heipi Province. This collection includes photographs Hanson took in China between 1937 and 1938. Highlights of the collection include early photographs of Mao Zedong (毛澤東), Lin Biao (林彪), Zhou, Enlai (周恩來), and Chu Teh (朱德) at Yan'an (延安), prominent members of the guerilla troops that took over China in 1949, creating today’s “People’s Republic of China,” and Dr. Norman Bethune, the well-known Canadian surgeon who traveled to China in 1938 and created mobile medical units for Chinese forces fighting Japanese troops.
Mrs. Bernice (Brown) Hanson was also a Carleton alumna (‘36) and was involved in the Carleton-in-China Program from 1935 to 1936. She taught English at Mi I School at Fenchow in Shansi Province but was forced to leave China in February of 1938. Haldore and Bernice, who did not know each other at Carleton, met in China and were married in Chicago in 1939.
After returning from China in December of 1938, Mr. Hanson worked as a State Department official and later an economic development executive for the Ford Foundation. Mr. Hanson delivered a Convocation address at Carleton in 1979 and received a Carleton Distinctive Achievement Award in 1981. After her husband’s sudden death in 1992, Mrs. Hanson donated this collection of photographs to Carleton where they now reside in the Gould Library’s Special Collections. Another set of negatives of these photographs are housed in the Beijing Military Museum, China.
- Seungjoo Yoon, Associate Professor of History
- Kristi R. Wermager, Bibliographer & Curator of Special Collections in Gould Library
- This collection is open access.