My first encounter with Haldore Hanson’s materials was in Special Collections in 2008 at Carleton’s Gould Library. A photo album of his trip to China in 1937–1938 caught my eyes. The library also houses two of his books, “Humane Endeavour”: The Story of the China War (1939) and Fifty Years Around the Third World: Adventures and Reflections of an Overseas American (1986). Mr. Hanson’s life-long interests in developing countries and international development took him around the globe more than once. His involvement in international affairs won him a 1981 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Carleton Alumni Association.
Mr. Hanson’s photographs and writings on the Second Sino-Japanese War in 1939 as a part-time Associated Press reporter have left a mark on my library work, and together with my library colleagues we were able to make his stories and photographs accessible to an international audience: Haldore Hanson’s China Collection.
Mr. Hanson’s family donated a set of photos to Carleton’s Gould Library in 1992, and donated a second set to the Chinese Military Museum, as well. The trip that he describes in his 1939 book was quite significant. Don’t take my words for it; instead, view this clip from China’s Xinhua News Agency:
‘More than 80 years ago, American Haldore Hanson came to China. He left a collection of photos documenting the experience to a Chinese museum. These images offer a unique glimpse into the nation during that time.’