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About the Hart Collection MS15

Hart Collection MS15

This is a substantial collection of personal and official papers, comprising a range of interesting and insightful material relating to Hart’s official duties and experiences in Peking during his long career in charge of the Chinese Customs Service. Significant in this regard is the long series of 77 personal journals which Hart kept during this time. Running from 1854 when he first entered the Chinese administration, the diaries record many personal anecdotes and reminiscences about his life and work in China. The collection also contains a significant series of correspondence amounting to some 7000 letters dating from 1899 to 1911. Although the majority relate to personal matters, corresponding with family members, other relatives and friends, many have a bearing on customs affairs. Other items of interest include a set of notes and papers detailing Hart’s experiences and analysis of the Boxer disturbances in Peking, 1900; numerous photographs and glass-slides. This collection provides an important insight into the life and career of Sir Robert Hart.

Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections 

Catalogue of the Hart Collection

MS 15/1 Diaries
MS 15/2 Correspondence
MS 15/3 Personal Note Books
MS 15/4 Papers relating to the Boxer disturbances
MS 15/5 Periodicals, pamphlets, books and maps
MS 15/6 Photographs and slides
MS 15/7 Miscellaneous
MS 15/8 Personalia

As this is an extensive collection, the catalogue is a work in progress which is updated as more detailed information becomes available. Online access is available at Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections

Digital access to a range of materials from the Hart Collection is available at:


For their help in the preparation of this booklet
Andrew Norton
Martyn Boyd
Special Collections & Archives staff at the McClay Library

Text prepared by Deirdre Wildy,
Head of Special Collections & Archives, Queen’s University Belfast

Funding for the publication of this booklet has been kindly provided by the Library at Queen’s University Belfast.

About the Hart Collection MS15