Robert Henry Chandless papers, 1897-1988  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Chandless, Robert Henry
Robert Henry Chandless papers
1897-1988 (inclusive)
.42 cubic feet (1 box) plus one oversize folder
Collection Number
5999 (Accession No. 5999-001)
Papers related to the travels of Robert Chandless and Effie Chandless (formerly Ragsdale) through China
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Robert Henry Chandless was born in 1880 in Germantown, Philadelphia to Henry and Anna. Henry was born in London in 1853 and arrived in New York on April 28, 1876 onboard the S.S. Periere. He married Anna Jungkurth, probably in 1878. According to his son's passport applications, he spent much of his life in New York.

Robert Chandless married Effie M. Ragsdale after May 2, 1910 and before July 1912. Effie (born 1887) was the daughter of James W. Ragsdale, American Consul in Tientsin. Robert and Effie's daughter Florence was born July 20, 1912 in Tientsin, China. Florence later married John Stenhouse in Tientsin on October 31, 1934.

Robert arrived in Shanghai from New York in 1903 to join the British import-export firm of Poole Lauder. He later went to Tientsin to join a different firm, which then failed in 1906. The following year he joined with Mr. Batonieff, a Russian, and established the firm of Chandless Batonieff & Co. After Mr. Batonieff's death, the firm became Chandless & Co. which continued to do business under that name until 1939.

In the late 1930s Robert and his wife gave as their U.S. address on passenger lists, the residence of his brother-in-law as their destination: Colonel Earl J. Ragsdale, Curran Terrace, Norristown, PA. In the mid to late 1940s, Robert was living in Pasadena. He died in San Francisco on July 9, 1951. His wife Effie died February 24, 1980 in Mercer Island, Washington.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection primarily includes papers related to the travels of Robert Chandless and Effie Chandless (formerly Ragsdale), mainly throughout China.

Papers include, correspondence, legal records and correspondence pertaining to the imprisonment and property seizure of the Chandless' by the Japanese during World War II, emergency passports, illustrations, news-clippings, invitations and programs (in handwritten Chinese calligraphy script), 1925 passenger list of the SS Empress of Australia, family history/ancestry manuscript, a copy of "A Reporter at Large: homecoming" by John Hersey, and handwritten/typed accounts of "Reception at Summer Palace" (Effie Chandless) and "Imperial Audience/Visit to the Empress Dowager".

Also includes, handwritten and typed memoirs of James Ragsdale as well as government certificates appointing James Ragsdale as Consul and Consul General to China.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's copyrights transferred to the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. University of Washington Libraries Special Collections for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 Papers 1901-1988
2 Government Certificates from China, USA, and Russia 1897-1913
2 Effie's Account of the "Reception at the Summer Palace" undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Businesspeople--United States
  • Prisoners of war--Japan
  • Trading companies--United States--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities--Japan--Sources
  • World War, 1939-1945--Social aspects--Japan
  • Personal Names :
  • Chandless, Effie--Archives
  • Chandless, Robert Henry--Archives
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Ephemera
  • Personal correspondence
  • Records (Documents)

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)