Paul S. Reinsch Papers, 1835-1924, 1963

Summary Information
Title: Paul S. Reinsch Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1835-1924, 1963

  • Reinsch, Paul Samuel, 1869-1923
Call Number: Wis Mss VO; Audio 310A

Quantity: 9.8 cubic feet (24 archives boxes and 2 volumes) and 16 tape recordings

Archival Locations:
Wisconsin Historical Society (Map)

Papers of Paul S. Reinsch, professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin, 1901-1913, and minister to China, 1913-1919. Some correspondence relates to his teaching career, but most of the papers concern his service in China as a United States diplomat and as legal and financial counselor to the Chinese government after his resignation as minister. Letters in 1920 discuss his unsuccessful campaign as the Democratic nominee for United States Senator from Wisconsin against the Republican candidate Irvine Lenroot. In content Reinsch's letters were frequently a combination of personal, professional, and diplomatic matters. Supplementing the correspondence are Reinsch's writings, including the manuscript for his book An American Diplomat in China (1922), copies of articles and addresses, 1902-1922, and drafts of classroom lectures written during his years as a professor. The collection also includes a diary written in 1906 by Mrs. Reinsch, eight scrapbooks covering Reinsch's career to 1922, some records, 1835-1913, that Reinsch collected of the American Consulate (later Legation) in China for the years preceding his service, and Reinsch's own files of Chinese materials spanning the period from 1878 to 1923.

Language: English

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Paul S. Reinsch was born June 10, 1869, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He received his higher education at the University of Wisconsin, where he was awarded the B.A. degree in 1892, the L.L.B. in 1894, and the Ph.D. in 1898. He became a full professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin in 1901, and remained in this position until 1913.

Reinsch was one of the organizers of the American Political Science Association, serving as second vice-president in 1904, and becoming president in 1920. He was one of the first educators to offer courses in world politics. In 1911 and 1912, he served as Roosevelt exchange professor at the universities of Berlin and Leipzig.

Reinsch was introduced into the world of practical diplomacy by serving on the United States delegations to the third Pan American Conference at Rio de Janeiro in 1906, the first Pan-American Scientific Conference at Santiago, Chile, in 1909, and the fourth Pan-American Conference at Buenos Aires in 1910. This experience, in addition to his reputation as a student of Far Eastern affairs, led to his appointment as Minister to China by President Wilson on August 13, 1913.

While Minister, Reinsch encouraged educational, industrial, and commercial development in China. He always remained sympathetic to the democratic movement, despite civil war, political intrigues, and two attempts to restore the Empire. His greatest fault as a diplomat was an inclination to “make Policy”-- that is, act without concrete instructions from Washington. The most serious instance of this was his promise to China that, if the Chinese would enter World War I against the Central Powers, the United States would support China's claim to sovereignty in Shantung Province. When, because of circumstances of which Reinsch had no knowledge, President Wilson allowed Japanese sovereignty over Shantung to be written into the treaty of peace, Reinsch resigned his position as Minister.

After his resignation in August 1919, he accepted an appointment as legal counselor to China. In this capacity, he represented China at the Washington Conference, and continued to lecture and write until his death on the evils of secret diplomacy and the value of better Sino-American relations.

In 1920, after his friend Joseph E. Davies persuaded him to run for the office, Reinsch won the Democratic Party nomination for Senator from Wisconsin. His campaign was not very actively pursued, however, and he was defeated in the election by Irvin Lenroot, the Republican candidate. Reinsch continued to work for China, and was in Shanghai, working on fiscal reform for the Chinese government, when he died on January 24, 1923.

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.

Gage, D.J., “Paul S. Reinsch and Sino-American Relations,” an unpublished dissertation in the Stanford University Library, 1939.
Kent, Alan, “Down From the Ivory Tower: Paul S. Reinsch, Minister to China,” Wisconsin Magazine of History,   Winter 1951.
Reinsch, Paul S., An American Diplomat in China. 
Administrative/Restriction Information
Acquisition Information

Presented by Fred Harvey Harrington, Madison, Wisconsin, May 28, 1962. 1970 additions presented by Mrs. J. Switzer (Pauline Reinsch), Williamsville, New York, December 18, 1970. Accession Number: M70-365

Processing Information

Original collection processed September 18, 1962. Hawkins' additions processed by Margaret R. Hafstad, November 29, 1963.

Contents List
Wis Mss VO
Series: Correspondence
Box   1
1892 January 30-1910
Box   2
1911-1914 November 30
Box   3
1914 December 3-1916 November 28
Box   4
1916 December 1-1918 February 20
Box   5
1918 February 21-December 5
Box   6
1918, undated; 1919 January-May 14
Box   7
1919 May 16-December 31
Box   8
Undated but between 1913 and 1919; 1920-1921 December 31
Box   9
1921, undated-1924 May 13; undated
Series: Files from the American Legation at Peking (Beijing)
Box   9
1835-1908 November 28
Box   10
1909 March 13-1913 June 4; undated
Series: Reinsch's Chinese Papers
Files Primarily Collected during His Ministerial Years
Box   10
1878 February 20-1902 May 9
Box   11
1902 August 7-1912 August 4
Box   12
1912 August 5-1921[?]; undated
Box   13
Post-Ministerial Chinese files, 1919 August 31-1924 May 20; undated
Box   17-20
Unsorted clippings
Series: Writings
Box   14
Articles and addresses (typescripts and manuscripts), 1902-1922; undated
Box   14
Book manuscripts (by Reinsch?), undated
Box   15
Manuscript: An American Diplomat in China
Box   15
Articles and addresses (printed), 1900; 1906-1913 July; 1921; undated
Box   16
Lectures and exercises, 1907 October-1913 May 13; undated
Box   16
Notes and research materials, 1899-1921 November 19; undated
Box   16
Certificates, 1869 March 2; 1906 May 18-1923 March 5
Box   17
Student papers, 1904 February 14-1913 March 11; undated
Box   17
Diary, 1906, by Mrs. Reinsch
Box   23
Volume   1
Diary, 1917 January 2-December 31, by Paul Reinsch
Series: Scrapbooks
Box   23
Volume   8
1891 June 5-1907 June 9
Box   22
Volume   2
1900 September-1911 March 11
Volume   3
1903 July 12-1915 September 10
Box   22
Volume   4
1912-1919 November 16
Volume   5
1915 January 2-1918 February
Box   23
Volume   6
1919 November 17-1920 September 27
Box   23
Volume   7
1920 October 1-1922 March 29
Series: Hawkins Additions
Box   21
Excerpts from Mrs. Hawkins' diary, 1913
Scope and Content Note: These include references to the appointment of Dr. Reinsch as Minister to China and comments written by Mr. Hawkins (in 1963) concerning the Island of Santuao where he was serving in 1913.
Box   21
Commentary by Horatio B. Hawkins relating to Alan Kent article
Scope and Content Note: Relating to an article in the Wisconsin Magazine of History, Winter, 1951, “Down from the Ivory Tower: Paul Samuel Reinsch, Minister to China,” by Alan E. Kent.
Box   21
Outlines, questions, and notes for making tape recordings 5-14, grouped in the order in which they were used and bearing penciled references to Reinsch materials referred to
Audio 310A
Tape recordings
An interview with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins conducted by Mr. William Schereck of the Society staff
Scope and Content Note: Dealing chiefly with reminiscences and background information.
An interview with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins by Dr. Paul Knaplund, emeritus professor of English history at the University of Wisconsin
Scope and Content Note: Dealing with the control of the Chinese customs service by foreign management, Dr. Reinsch's interest in the Sino-Japanese treaty, Japanese control of Formosa, the attitude of Reinsch toward the “Open Door Policy,” and other international affairs of the early twentieth century as they affected China.
Questions posed by Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins themselves and answered by them
Note: With this topical approach, they were able to discuss the life and work of Paul S. Reinsch as they remember and interpret it. See Box 21 for outlines, topics discussed, notes, and references to particular manuscripts in the papers.
An interview with Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins by Dr. William A. Williams, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin
Scope and Content Note: Concerning Mr. Hawkins' appraisal as to what Reinsch was trying to do in China, his attitude toward the Orient, and his influence on China's role in the world during World War I. Also discussed was the question as to how the Chinese, in all levels of society, felt about the United States in general and responded to Mr. Reinsch as Minister to China.
Wis Mss VO
Box   24
Series: Additional Reinsch Papers, 1903-1922
Appendix I: Prominent Correspondents
Jane Addams
1914 December 11
Charles A. Beard
1911 April 12; in Box 24: [1909?] August 12
Edward A. Birge
1919 March 15; 1921 March 25
William Jennings Bryan
1913 November 7; 1914 March 16; 1915 February 26; 1915 February 26; 1915 March 3; 1915 May 15
James Bryce
1911 April 10
Theodore E. Burton
1913 December 18
Nicholas Murray Butler
1910 April 7; 1911 March 30; 1911 May 31; 1911 June 7; 1911 June 15; 1912 February 13; 1912 March 27; 1914 March 31
Joseph E. Davies
1913 August 27; 1913 December 18; 1914 June 23; 1919 August 15 (1920 September?); 1920 September 11; 1920 September 24; undated; in Box 24: 1920 September 15
Pierre S. duPont
1918 August 5; 1918 August 27; 1918 October 4; 1922 April 10
Richard T. Ely
1899 September 10; 1902 March 31; 1911 May; 19; 1916 July 3; 1916 October 17; 1917 June 20
Elbert Gary
1918 September 13; 1918 November 18; 1919 April 3; 1919 August 26; 1919 December 30
Carter Glass
1919 April; 19; 1919 December 20
William C. Gorgas
1909 June 26; 1910 March 18
Christian A. Herter
1921 June 28
Oliver Wendell Holmes
1900 February 18
Stanley K. Hornbeck
1907 March 20; 1911 March 5; 1917 November 30; 1920 May 13; 1920 November 16; 1921 September 5
Edward M. House
1918 August 22
Paul O. Husting
1915 February 23
Robert G. Ingersoll
1892 January 30
Alleyne Ireland
1902 July 29
Chester Lloyd Jones
1916 January 18
Richard Lloyd Jones
1903 December 24; 1904 December 1; 1916 October 4
David Starr Jordan
1901 April 13; 1902 January 6; 1918 May 8; 1922 April 17
P.C. Knox
1910 March 14; 1910 May 23; 1910 June 13; 1911 January 14; 1911 May 3; 1911 May 10; 1912 January 11; 1913 January 9
V.K. Wellington Koo
1915 June 12; 1916 February 29; 1917 January 10; 1918 August 15; 1920 October 18; 1921 March 15
Robert M. La Follette
1908 May 8; 1909 April 28; 1913 December 18
Robert Lansing
1913 August 6; 1915 August 15 (telegram); 1915 August 19 (telegram); 1915 August 20; 1915 August 24; 1917 September 20; 1918 January 24; 1918 September 5; 1918 October 14; 1918 November 1; 1919 August 12; 1920 February 2
Thomas Lamont
1921 November 3; 1922 January 11
Stephen Leacock
1906 June 29
Irvine Lenroot
1918 July 1; 1920 November 11
Walter Lippmann
1920 November 26 (Missing, 1969)
Jack London
1903 December 24
Charles McCarthy
1915 September 28; 1920 March 13; 1920 December 27
Francis McGovern
1914 December 4
Walter Hines Page
1900 August 13; 1900 August 20; 1900 August 26; 1900 August 29; 1900 September 5; 1900 September 8; 1900 September 26; 1900 November 15; 1900 December 10; 1900 December 28; 1901 January 17; 1901 January 21; 1901 May 10; 1914 June 8
Bliss Perry
1907 July 23
Emanuel Philipp
1915 April 17
Michael Reilly
1913 December 18
Theodore Roosevelt
1913 May 2; 1916 October 31; undated (to Mr. Pierce)
Elihu Root
1908 February; 19; 1908 March 10; 1908 March 11; 1908 June 6; 1908 June 13; 1910 January 1; 1912 April 29; 1914 June 9; in Box 24: 1906 May 10; 1906 May 18
Edward A. Ross
1905 September 25
John C. Spooner
1903 January 14 (telegram); 1904 March 29
Isaac Stephenson
1913 December 17
Willard Straight
1913 September 17; 1913 September 30 (telegram); 1913 October 28; 1914 February 25; 1914 March 25; 1914 June 18; 1914 June 30; 1916 February 28; 1916 February 28; 1916 June 21; 1916 October 30; 1916 November 16; 1917 February 5; 1917 October 18
Sun Yat-sen
1919 January 10; 1922 August 26
Ida M. Tarbell
1922 April 25
Lowell Thomas
1922 October 11
Joseph Tumulty
1914 June 18; 1915 July 9 (telegram); 1916 December 29
Frederick Jackson Turner
1911 January 3
Charles R. Van Hise
1908 June 20; 1911 April 7; 1911 December 26; 1915 January 29; 1915 March 4; 1916 October 5; 1916 November 7; 1917 April 27
William F. Vilas
1908 February 19
Henry C. Wallace
1923 January 26
Booker T. Washington
1911 November 20
Henry Lane Wilson
1911 January 9
Woodrow Wilson
1913 June 30 (telegram); 1914 November 9; 1915 July 31 (telegram); 1916 December 27
John D. Works
1913 December 18