From January through July of 1932, my grandfather, Charles Graham McCord traveled to the Philippine Islands and China, stopping in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. Although he was there as a Naval Attache, being an expert both in naval aviation and submarine warfare, he traveled with his wife, Florence and his 5 year old daughter, Charlotte.
My mother had vivid memories of her travels, despite being so young. She told me of seeing the Great Wall, and of Ah Lo, her amah (nursemaid.) She described her mother having to negotiate with the thieve's guild of Shanghai in order to get back the laundry that was stolen from the clothesline.
The pictures in this album come from a beautiful photo album, long and narrow, with black pages. The front has some lovely embroidery on silk, so I believe that the album itself came from China.
Many of the pictures here are of pleasant domestic scenes. Children playing in beautiful gardens. Many more are of the fantastic architecture of China. There are a few, however, that are less pleasant.
In 1932 the Chinese and Japanese were in an undeclared war. In February of that year, the Japanese bombed Chapei, a suburb of Shanghai. My grandfather or grandmother included images of this, right next to images of their child. I have tried to be true to that juxtaposition.
I have also tried to be true to the notations in the album, hence the unexpurgated references to "coolies." If this offends, please accept my apology. This is meant simply as a reflection of the time in which the pictures were taken.
These photographs are © 2004 and may not be reproduced or republished without express written permission.