The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries have been pinning some remarkable photos of Shanghai in the 1940’s. The photos come from Aurthur Smith who studied medicine at Lincoln Nebraska and after serving military service in the Far East returned to UNL to practice medicine. These amazing photos were donated by his family in the 1990’s. Photos from this period where China was a republic but not yet a communist state are really rare and the photos are a fascinating snapshot of a modern and vibrant city in a country going through a huge transition.
After 50 years of civil war and a series of wars with Japan, China became a Republic in 1912. This was not a smooth transition and over 40 million people died or were killed from the 1850’s to the 1950’s. It wasn’t until 1949 that China became a communist state and China regained a level of political stability. The photos from the University of Nebraska Lincoln-LIbrary were taken during the Second World War when soldiers from Europe and America were stationed in China to help fight the Japanese. During the cultural revolution of the 1960’s much of the archive that documents this period was destroyed or went missing, meaning that even small archives of photographs from the 30’s and 40’s in China have become remarkably rare.