Hattie A. Gregory Papers, 1904-1934, 1945

(Manuscript Collection #388)

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Hattie A. Gregory Papers
Creator: Gregory, Hattie A. (Hattie Arrington), b. 1878
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1904-1934, 1945) consisting of copies of letters, telegrams, newspaper clippings, programs, decorating house, fashion, letters, strikes by workers, exchange rates.
Extent: 0.65 Cubic feet, 211 items , consisting of copies of letters, telegrams, newspaper clippings, and programs.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

September 4, 1979, 198 items; Copies of correspondence (1904-1934) written primarily from China and clippings. Loaned for copying by Dr. Jane Gregory Marrow, Tarboro, N.C.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Hattie A. Gregory Papers (#388), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Gift of Dr. Jane Gregory Marrow

Processing Information

  • Processed by C. Cook, February 1982

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Hattie B. Arrington was born in North Carolina in 1878 and educated in Greensboro. She married R. Henry Gregory in 1912, and traveled with him to Shanghai, where he became head of the Leaf Department of the British-American Tobacco Company. In the course of his work, Henry traveled extensively in China. The Gregorys raised two children while living in Shanghai- John, who died during childhood of diphtheria, and Jane.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

This collection consists of letters written by Hattie Gregory to her relatives in Tarboro prior to and during her stay in China, as well as several letters and cables from R. H. Gregory and a letter from their daughter, Jane.

Early letters in the collection mention Hattie Arrington's travels prior to her marriage. The bulk of Mrs. Gregory's correspondence (1912-1934) reflects the insular life led by the roughly two thousand foreigners living in Shanghai's International Settlement in the early 1900s. Hattie's social life consisted of numerous bridge and mahjong parties, teas, flower shows, and dinner parties with other foreigners. She did not enter a Chinese home until 1919- seven years after her arrival in China.

The vast majority of the letters in the collection describe the daily domestic and social life of a fairly wealthy family. Household chores and child care were largely the responsibly of the family's many servants, who are described in detail (Sept., 1913). Other topics include the problems of decorating their house, clothing fashions, Jane's education, and the family's health.

The letters contain occasional, brief references to Chinese social and religious customs, including funerary practices (Dec., 1929), New Year's celebrations (January of most years), and the Mid-Autumn Festival (clipping enclosed in Sept., 1921). A good description of American church mission schools is given in a letter of October, 1931. British-American Tobacco Company business is not discussed, except insofar as it related to R. H. Gregory's frequent trips to Hankow, Moukden, Harbin, Pootung, Frangtze, and Tsingtao.

Letters of 1918 frequently refer to the war and its effects on prices, employment, and the exchange rate. War relief efforts, the British commandeering of steamers, the entertainment of American servicemen en route to Manila, local Red Cross work, and Red Cross aid to Siberian forces also are discussed. A letter (Feb., 1919) describes the government confiscation of all German property and the expulsion of German citizens from China. Despite these frequent references to war, Hattie writes that life in the International Settlement "has been disturbed but very little, if any."

Later letters, however, indicate that the situation was changing. One letter (Dec., 1925) describes conditions in Canton as "very disturbed," and by mid-1927 many foreigners had fled China because of warfare (April, 1927). Strikes by millworkers and postal employees and the execution of strike leaders also are discussed.

Finally, the collection contains a copy of a letter by Eva Grace, Jane's friend, describing her captivity and subsequent release, possibly in the Philippines (1945).

For related material, see collection #280 and Oral History Interview #31.

Related Collections Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Box 1#0388.1
Correspondence, 1904-1929
Box 2#0388.2
Correspondence, 1930-1934, 1945

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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