Archives in Jiangsu Province

Chuck Kraus's picture

Has anyone on H-PRC done research in any archive in Jiangsu Province recently? I am most interested in the provincial archives and the municipal archives in Nanjing, Taizhou, Suzhou, Changshu, and Wuxi, but would be happy to hear about procedures and conditions on access for other archives in Jiangsu as well.

I read Toby Lincoln's post on Dissertation Reviews about the Jiangsu Provincial Archives and the Wuxi Municipal Archives from 2013. Having to get a letter of introduction from the provincial archives to research at the Wuxi Municipal Archives is discouraging, and I wonder if this is true at other municipal archives in Jiangsu?

I am considering a research trip through Jiangsu later this month or next. I'm happy to show up 'blind' at the archives and test my luck, but if anyone has any advice, I hope you will share it with the community here.

Thanks,

Charles Kraus
George Washington University

 

Hi Chuck,

Lorenz Luthi used the Jiangsu provincial archives a few years back, and I believe Zachary Smith (zpsmith@email.unc.edu) did more recently. They might know the current state of access.

Regards,
Covell

Dear Professor Kraus,

Yes, it's still the case. It's not necessary for Nanjing Municipal (which, however, has moved to a new location in Hexi from the one given in Dissertation Reviews). But for Wuxi (I visited two years ago) and Zhenjiang (this past summer), yes. The provincial archive, however, was accommodating both times.

Rebecca Nedostup

I visited the Nantong Municipal Archives in 2013. The staff were friendly but insisted on a literal reading of their rules. Initially they said foreigners should arrange visits 30 days in advance, through the Foreign Affairs (waishi) department of a Chinese university, but we found a way to work around this. I could read whatever I wanted but was not allowed to copy or photograph more than 2 pages out each document. They also made me sign a form that I would not republish any of their material without permission. The archive appears to be well organized and much of the material is digitized. For a person wanting to do a large research project on Nantong, the bureaucratic hurdles may not be a big problem. I was hoping to quickly pick up some materials to supplement my interviews, and found the restrictions frustrating.

Jacob

Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. Sounds like I should visit the Provincial Archives first and then move on to the municipal archives.

Rebecca, may I ask how long it took the Provincial Archives to prepare your letters?

Thanks again,
Chuck Kraus

Hi Chuck,
I tried to do some work on the 1954 Discussion of the Draft Constitution in both places, without success. At the Provincial Archive they gave me a copy of the constitution and nothing else. Nor could I look at the index or use the computer--even though I know someone who works there. In Nanjing a section head let me see some material, but as soon as her boss saw what sort of things were being said about the CCP in 1954, quickly took it away. Similar things happened in 1994, 2003 and 2008. Whether this is a question of overly sensitive topics or a very conservative institution is hard to say.

Neil

Hi Chuck,

My recollection's a little hazy since I was rotating libraries and archives, but it was a pretty quick turnover -- a working day or so. Feel free to email me if I can help, though I myself was looking at pre-49 material (itself not entirely unproblematic.)

Rebecca