Sidney D. Gamble Photographs Collection

Over 5,000 photographs, primarily of China, 1908-1932. More »

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Entrance College Graduation gamble_047B_0498
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Nanjing University Main Building gamble_362A_2070
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Paidle Pagoda & Bridge close gamble_171A_963
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About the Digital Collection »

Sidney D. Gamble (1890-1968), an avid amateur photographer, began taking pictures in China during his first trip to the country with his family in 1908. He returned three more times between 1917 to 1932 and continued photographing the daily life of Chinese citizens. A sociologist and renowned China scholar, he traveled throughout the country to collect data for social-economic surveys and to photograph urban and rural life, public events, architecture, religious statuary, and the countryside. Gamble used a few of the photographs from his extensive collection in his scholarly publications ( and in slide lectures, the majority of images were never published or exhibited during his lifetime.


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Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Sidney D. Gamble photographs 1906-2007

Collection #RL.10074 | 15 Linear Feet (Approximately 11,250 items)

The Sidney D. Gamble collection consists primarily of contact sheets, hand-colored glass slides, 35mm duplicate slides, contact prints, negatives, and other photographic formats documenting Gamble's four visits to China from 1908 to 1932. In total, there are over 5,000 unique images in the collection depicting urban and rural life, economic conditions, public events, agriculture, religious statuary, architecture, and the countryside. In addition to photographs of China, the collection contains a handful of images captured by Gamble from Japan and Korea and images captured by David Gamble in the western United States, circa 1906. Also included are artifacts, audiovisual materials, including moving images captured by Gamble in China from 1926 to 1933, scrapbooks, a small selection of Gamble's personal papers, and records of the Sidney D. Gamble Foundation for China Studies, which relate to the exhibition of Gamble's photographs in China and the United States, 1980s-2000s. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

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