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Gilbert Reid Papers

Identifier: yhm-arc-0000-007

Content Description

7 boxes of diaries, lectures, articles, clippings, correspondence, and publications by or related to Gilbert Reid. Professional correspondence of the International Institute of China and other material related to that institution and to Gilbert Reid, its director; newspaper clippings and journals. Includes professional correspondence of the I.I.C. to philanthropists (e.g. Carnegie and Rockefeller) and missionary organizations in the U.S. as well as other nations regarding support of the Institute; the journals, publications, manuscripts, sermons and addresses of Reid; newspaper clippings regarding Reid and life in China; volumes II through XVI of The International Journal of the I.I.C.; minutes of the meeting of the trustees of the I.I.C.; the visitor's book of the I.I.C.; legal documents regarding Reid's sedition trial. The letters of John G. Reid are also included in this collection.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1894-1932
  • Creation: 1974


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions governing access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Gilbert Reid, son of John and Ann Lawrence Reid, was born November, 29, 1857, at Laurel in Long Island, New York. He received his early education in the schools near his home, and in the fall of 1873 he entered Whitestown Seminary. Graduating from that institution in 1875, he entered Hamilton College from which he was graduated in 1879, with the dgree of Bachelor of Arts. In 1888, he was given the degree of Master of Arts, and in 1899 that of Doctor of Divinity, by Hamilton College. He was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. After his graduation from Hamilton, he entered Uinon Theological Seminary, from which he was graduated in 1882.

During the period when he was studying at the Seminary, he was engaged in active church work with the Spring Street Church in New York City. From May to September, 1880, he acted as supply pastor at the church. The summer of 1881, he spent as supply pastor of the Adams Memorial Chruch. He was ordained into the Presbyterian ministry on May 7, 1882, in New York. During that summer, he preached in the Presbyterian Church at Angelica, New York, where some years before his father had been the pastor. In the fall of 1882, he left for China, stopping in Chefoo where he ramined for three years, studying the Chinese language. In 1885, he was stationed at Chin-nan-fu, the capital of the province, and a center of Confucianism. His ideas for the methods for gaining the most influnence among the Chinese differed very frequently from those of his associates, and he frequently was at odds with the heads of missions and boards. Dr. Reid belived in devoting much attentiont to the conversion of the upper classes, believing that if they were converted, the lower classes would follow more readily the lead.

In 1893, he returned to the United States where he lectured frequently and was a delegate to the General Assembly. He made his home in Warsaw, New York from 1893 to 1894. In 1894, the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions asked Dr. Reid to return to China, but he disagreed with members of the board about methods to be employed, especially as to approaching those person of high rank. As a result, Dr. Reid resigned from the service of the board. He did return to China, however, and inaugurated the International Institute of China, which, in 1897, received the official sanction of the Chinese government. This institute was at first established in Pekin. In 1897 and 1898, he travelled in the United States, England, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia in the interests of the institute.

He returned to China in 1899 to find a hatred of foreigners growing. The Boxer Uprising of 1900 was the climax of the movement, and during it Dr. Reid and his wife were beseiged in the American Legation in Peking. Dr. Reid was wounded, and it took two months for his wound to heal. He acted as interpreter for the British forces during the uprising. In 1902, it was decided to move the International Institute to Shanghai. There he taught and carried on his work until the outbreak of the World War. He had gained the respect of the governing classes in China, and his advice was asked as to China's attitude tward entering the war on the side of the Allies. Dr. Reid's advice displeased the British, and influence was brought to have him expled from China.

In 1917, he returned to American and lived in Clinton, New York, until 1921. At various times he acted as correspondent in China of various newspapers, among them the London times, the New York Herald-Tribuen, and the London Morning Post. He was the author of several books on China, including "Glances at China" (1890), "Sources of Anti-Foreign Disturbances in China" (1893), "China, Captive of Free" (1921), and several books in Chinese. In 1917, he was the proprietor and editor of the Peking Post. It was his editorials in this paper that led to the charge of Seditious Libel against the United States government and caused his deportation from China. In 1921, he returned to China with his family to take up his work again with the International Institute. The war period had upset his work there, and made the renewal of activities very hard. Dr. Reid was a member of the China British Royal Asiatic Society, and the American Association of China.

Dr. Reid married Sallie B. Reynolds on December 1, 1897, in Columbia, South Carolina. They had two children, John Gilbert Reid '21 and Jean Reynold Reid. Dr. Reid died on September 30, 1927 at his home in Shanghai.

Source: Obituary located in Gilbert Reid '79 biographical file (yhm-arc-0000-182)


8 Linear Feet (7 standard record center boxes and 1 oversized folder)

Language of Materials







The Gilbert Reid Papers are organized into four series: I. Correspondence, II. Diaries, III. International Institute of China, IV. Publications. Materials are organized in alphabetical by subject and chronologically within each folder.

Jeremy Katz (May, 2022)
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Hamilton College Archives Repository

198 College Hill Road
Clinton NY United States