Skip to Main Content

Asian Studies - English Language Resources

Primary Sources

These sources are primarily in English or include significant English language content. For general information about using primary sources see the Primary Sources Research Guide.

Click on the links below to see lists of primary sources:


  • China: Culture and Society
    More than1200 English-language publications dating from from 1750-1929 about history, religion, culture and everyday life.

  • China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980
    Wide variety of original source material detailing China's interaction with the West from Macarthey's first Embassy to China in 1793, through to the Nixon/Heath visits to China in 1972-74.

  • Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980
    The complete British Foreign Office Files dealing with China, Hong Kong and Taiwan from 1949-1980. These files are particularly important because Britain was one of the first countries to recognise Communist China.

  • Hedda Morrison Photographs of China, 1933 - 1946
    Digital images of more than 5,000 photographs documenting "lifestyles, trades, handicrafts, landscapes, religious practices, and architectural structures that in many cases have changed or have been destroyed."

  • Medieval Travel Writing
    Manuscripts of travellers from 13th-16th centuries, including Marco Polo, with translations into English/modern English.

  • National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Books.
    "[D]eclassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act."  Topics include President Nixon's trip to China and  Tiananmen Square, 1989.

  • Nixon Years, 1969-1974
    Complete British Foreign and Commonwealth Office files  for the entire period of the Nixon administration.

  • HistoryWorld - HISTORY OF ASIA (complete to 1800)
    written by Bamber Gascoigne, it consists of about 300 narratives and some 10,000 events on searchable timelines.

  • World History Archives
    This website provides archive documents with topics in the history of Asia .

  • TimeMaps
    Founded in 2007 by Peter Britton, a visiting fellow at St John's College and an associate of Ustinov College. The website has layers of information, timelines, maps, images, animations and worksheets on Asian civilization, nation and empire.

  • East Asian History & Culture
    Numerous collections documenting the history and cultures of East Asia that describe life in China, Japan, and Korea during the last hundred years. Personal papers of diplomats, scientists, business people, and educators document life in East Asia from the late nineteenth century to the present.



North America

  • The Chinese in California 1850 - 1925
    Chinese immigration to California, about 8,000 images and pages of primary source materials

  • The Chung Collection
    The Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection includes archival documents, photographs, books and artifacts related to three broad themes: British Columbia history, Immigration and settlement and the Canadian Pacific Railway Company.