Paul S. Reinsch Papers, 1835-1924, 1963

Scope and Content Note

The Paul S. Reinsch Papers are organized in these categories: Correspondence; Files from the American Legation at Peking (Beijing); Reinsch's Chinese Materials; Writings; Scrapbooks; the Hawkins Additions; and one box of Additional Reinsch Papers received in 1970.

Correspondence in the Paul S. Reinsch Papers is arranged chronologically by date. No attempt was made, for the years that he was Minister to China, to separate the diplomatic correspondence from Reinsch's personal correspondence. The reason for this becomes clear upon examination of the papers. It is apparent that the line which divided Reinsch the Minister from Reinsch the private citizen was very ill-defined, and decisions as to which correspondence was diplomatic and which personal could become very subjective. In Appendix I of this finding aid is an alphabetical list of Reinsch's more important correspondents, with the dates of letters they wrote to him.

Following the correspondence are other documents pertaining to China. The first group is made up of files from the American Consulate (later Legation) at Peking (Beijing) from the period before Reinsch became Minister. Following these files are Reinsch's own Chinese materials: translations from Chinese newspapers, translations of the minutes of the meetings of the National Council of the Republic of China, cultural information, etc., collected during his years as Minister; then a small file of papers pertaining to China which Reinsch accumulated during his period of working for the Chinese government after he resigned as American Minister. Finally there are three boxes of newspaper clippings. These clippings are unorganized, but practically all are from the period while Reinsch was Minister to China. They were retained in the collection because they are primarily from English language newspapers in China which are unobtainable for use by researchers. Other clippings and many articles from learned journals were discarded because these materials are available in other places.

The Writings category includes manuscript materials by Reinsch, printed copies of articles he wrote if there are not manuscript copies in the collection, certificates, student papers, a 1906 diary by Mrs. Reinsch, and a very skimpy 1917 diary by Paul Reinsch. Scrapbooks in the collection date 1891-1922.

In the fall of 1963, Mr. and Mrs. Horatio B. Hawkins of Berkeley, California, visited the Wisconsin Historical Society for the purpose of studying and annotating the Reinsch papers. They came at the invitation of the Society and the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin.

Mr. Hawkins (A.B., 1905; M.A., 1909) was a student of Paul Reinsch, kept in contact with his former professor after going to China in 1906, where he worked for the Chinese government's Imperial Maritime Customs, and was in China throughout the period from 1913 to 1919 when Dr. Reinsch served as Minister to China. In 1911, Mr. Hawkins married Dr. Reinsch's sister-in-law, Hildred Daisy Moser (A.B., 1908), and through more than half a century, both in China and in the United States, they were closely associated with members of the Reinsch family.

Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins gave invaluable aid in more correctly dating and in annotating the Reinsch papers. In explaining or commenting on a manuscript, they wrote their annotations on separate paper and clipped the note to the letter or document. These annotations have since been numbered (in red, upper right corner), mounted on sheets of bond paper, and placed in order in a folder in Box 21 of the Reinsch papers labeled “Hawkins Annotations”. Each manuscript to which an annotation or note had been attached was given the corresponding number, in red, and was then interfiled into the Reinsch papers again. The researcher may be guided to proper annotations by use of the key numbers. For instance, a letter of December 12, 1914 in Box 3 bears the number 15, and filed in Box 21 the annotation relating to this letter also bears the number 15.

During the weeks that Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins were at the Historical Society, they made a total of twenty-nine tape recordings--sixteen of them relating to the career of Paul S. Reinsch, and thirteen relating to Mr. Hawkins' own career in China from 1906 to 1940, and in India in the early 1940s. The former are included in this collection. The latter are described and cataloged separately, under Mr. Hawkins' name.

The final box in the collection contains Additional Reinsch Papers, 1903-1922, received from Pauline Reinsch Switzer in 1970. These consist mainly of correspondence plus an occasional clipping, report, and other items. The materials are arranged chronologically.