The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Museum of the American China Trade
Museum of the American China Trade
0.5 linear feet (1 box, 1 flat file)
The Museum of the American
China Trade records contain governance records, correspondence, programming records,
and miscellaneous items.
SERIES I. Museum Governance SERIES II. Correspondence SERIES III. Programming SERIES IV. Other
Scope and Content Note
The Museum of the American China Trade records contain governance records,
correspondence, programming records, and miscellaneous items. The majority of these
items are dated from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. This collection has been
divided into four series.
Series I. Museum Governance contains materials from
the Museum's governing bodies. Included in this series are proposed committees and
advisory board, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, reports, applications for
membership, and invitations to join the Museum. Included in the invitations is an
invitation to join the Keechong Society.
Series II. Correspondence contains various forms of
correspondence to and from the Museum and its founder. The majority of the
correspondence is between H. A. Crosby Forbes and Francis B. Lothrop, a fellow
collector and trustee of the Peabody Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Other
correspondence includes business-related correspondence, and letters from the Museum
such as annual appeals, notices of meetings, and invitations. The invitations
include Museum-related events, as well as Keehong Society events. Also included in
this series is the Museum's newsletter; unfortunately, some issues are missing.
Series III. Programming contains materials about
programs and conferences sponsored by the Museum, the Museum's American Alliance of
Museums accreditation, brochures, and a printout about the first Keechong Club's
Series IV. Other contains miscellaneous items such as
articles and news clippings about the Museum and its collection, images of Houqua
II, a famous Canton merchant, and miscellaneous notes.
The Museum of the American China Trade was founded by Dr.
H. A. Crosby Forbes (1925-2012) in 1964, at Forbes' family home, the Forbes House
Museum, in Milton, Massachusetts, (originally referred to as the Captain Robert
Bennet Forbes House). It was the Museum's mission to utilize its collection as a
foundation for the scholarly study of the artifacts of the China Trade. It was
intended to be an institution devoted to the study of the early East-West trade, and
to the fuller understanding, through research and exhibitions, of the enduring
artistic legacy of that trade.
The Museum published its first book in October 1975, Chinese Export Silver, 1785-1885 authored by its founder. It also sent
out regular newsletters beginning in the fall of 1965; the first one was called
The Capt. R. B. Forbes House, Register. The second
newsletter was titled, Museum of the American China Trade
Newsletter; it is unclear when this newsletter began and the first ended,
but it was being sent out in 1971. In 1972, the newsletter once again changed its
name to China Trade Register in 1974. The Museum, later
called the Museum of China Trade, received accreditation from the American
Association of Museums in 1982. In 1984, the Museum merged with the Peabody Museum
of Salem, and became the Peabody Museum's Department of Asian Export Art.
The friends' organization of the Captain Robert Bennet Forbes House was called
the Keechong Society. It was the purpose of this society to preserve the history of
an important era in America's past when relations between the Chinese and American
people were mutually profitable and were based on courtesy and respect. The Society,
whose name derives from the Chinese word for the merchant house Russell & Co.,
supported the Forbes House and the Museum.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Forbes, H. A. Crosby (Henry A. Crosby)
Lothrop, Francis Bacon
Peabody Museum of Salem
China trade silverwork
Historic house museums
Milton (Mass. : Town)
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Museum of the American China Trade Records, MH 167, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was donated by the Museum of the American China Trade.
Collection processed by Hilary Streifer, February 2017.
The Museum of the American China Trade records contain governance records, correspondence, programming records, and miscellaneous items.
Keechong Society; Peabody Museum of Salem; Milton (Mass. : Town); Forbes, H. A. Crosby (Henry A. Crosby); Houqua, 1769-1843; Lothrop, Francis Bacon; China trade; China trade silverwork; Historic house museums; Museum curators; Museum exhibits; Museum publications; Newsletters
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.