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The Boston College library collections provide students and faculty basic reference tools and a core of secondary works on China, along with select Chinese-language sources. Yet they also offer researchers rare or unusual holdings of Western-language primary sources valuable to the study of Chinese history, religion, society, foreign relations and related subjects.

The John J. Burns Library holds more than 250 rare volumes and manuscripts in European languages concerning China.  Jesuit writings form the core of the collection, stretching back to a 1577 English edition of Pietro Martire d' Anghiera’s De orbe novo.  Other collection highlights include important works on missionary history in China, such as the early nineteenth century Annales de l'Association de la propagation de la foi, and accounts of diplomats and other travelers, including the papers of English sailor Henry Thomas Lyon. The Nicholas M. Williams Ethnological Collection also contains numerous late 19th and early 20th century travel accounts from China and Tibet, as well as works on Buddhism.

The main research collection in O’Neill Library features such large multi-volume Chinese works as Geming wen xian (革命文獻, Documents of the revolution) and the Zhonghua shuju edition of the Si bu bei yao (四部備要).  In English-language holdings, O’Neill has acquired an extensive library of Protestant and Catholic missionary works on China from the late 19th and 20th centuries.  Researchers may also draw on microfilmed materials, including State Department and British Foreign Office records, and the police files of the Shanghai Municipal Council.

For more information, please consult the online catalog (Quest), subject guides and specialists, and additional resources found at the BC libraries website:



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China in Boston Culture and History China at BC Travel and Study Abroad
China in Boston Culture and History China at BC Travel and Study Abroad