Special Collections & Archives Blog

Looking for Lanneau Pt. 1

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 5:27 pm

Finding the Seige of Wutang, 1926.

I’d like to try to build on earlier scanning work done with the Sophie Lanneau materials in order to bring into DSpace a bona fide “digital collection.” To that end I spent about an hour in the stacks today with one of our student assistants, Paige, trying to find viable content. I was especially interested in finding examples of Lanneau’s published and/or public writing because I felt it would be a good way to quickly build some context around the photographs that have already been scanned. There are hundreds of handwritten letters, which present a very long road to context and metadata.

Here is a photo and a poem I found in the already-scanned Lanneau materials. Lanneau copied down the poem written during the Communist siege of Wutang (1926), translated it and interpreted it. I find it moving how Lanneau takes pains to capture the Chinese meanings and render them fully to English readers.

Poems written by Wang Mei's father during the Siege of Wutang, page 1 of 2.

Photo among Lanneau Papers Box 4 folder 152

[New Zealand] Evening Post, Volume CXII, Issue 77, 28 September 1926, Page 9



PEKIN, 27th September. ….Wu Pei Fu continues his retreat. He is now Tegarded as a negligible quantity. The anti-Red campaign is almost solely in the hands of Sun Chuan Fang. Wuchang, besieged for twenty-seven days, holds out, but its resistance is dwindling on account of Wu Pei Fu’s retreat and inability to relieve the city. Twenty-two foreigners are unable to escape. There has been no communication with them for four days. The promise of the opposing armies to release 50,000 or 60,000 women and children has been withheld at the last moment. This is due to the defending general sheltering behind their presence, as the Beds refrain from a heavy shelling of the city, involving the slaughter of non-combatants. Meanwhile, the civilians are dying on all sides of starvation. Soldiers are commandeering the food.

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