Lot 317
  • 317

Williams, Samuel Wells

2,000 - 3,000 USD
2,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • A series of 8 pocket diaries kept by Williams (1876, 1882) and his wife, Sarah Walworth Williams (1870, 1873, 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879)
  • paper, ink, leather
8 standard pocked diaries issued by various publishers (most ca. 4 3/4 x 3 in.; 122 x 76 mm, with some variation). Various calf or pebbled cloth with overlapping front covers, most with a tongue and strap closure. Generally fine condition.

Catalogue Note

An illuminating series of diaries from the later phase of the life of Samuel Wells Williams, missionary and one of the pioneering Sinologists from the United States. WIlliams first went to China in 1833 to supervise the printing press of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions at Guangdong. After sometime as a missionary and journalist, Williams, who had married Sarah Walworth in 1845, joined the U.S. diplomatic corps, serving successively as the official interpreter for Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry's expedition to Japan, Secretary of the United States Legation to China, and chargé d'affaires for the United States in Beijing.

In 1877, he left China and became the first Professor of Chinese language and literature in the United States at Yale University, a position that provided him time for his own research, writing, and translation. Williams's 1876 diary details his a lecture tour of the United States from Washington to San Francisco, his final voyage to China, and his preparations for leaving China, including many final visits to colleagues and congregants alike. The other diaries offer keen insight into life in late nineteenth-century New Haven.