Edward Guy Hillier
Manuscript Chinese-English manuscript dictionary from the ‘Peking’ - Beijing - office of HSBC written around the turn of the 20th century when th… Read more
Published in 1895 by No publisher.

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MANUSCRIPT CHINESE-ENGLISH DICTIONARY from the ‘Peking’ office of HSBC by Edward Guy Hillier

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Manuscript Chinese-English manuscript dictionary from the ‘Peking’ - Beijing - office of HSBC written around the turn of the 20th century when the influential manager and Sinologist, Guy Hillier was in charge. Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation’s senior manager in Beijing, Edward ‘Guy’ Hillier, is revered in company history for his business deals and the value he put on a deep command of Chinese language and literature during his period in charge of the Peking office from 1895-1923. This manuscript was written by a colleague or their spouse who shared the same pro-Chinese outlook.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION Octavo size (20.5x13cm) homemade book comprising 126 unnumbered pages - around half a dozen blanks only. Stiff paper wrappers followed by 3 substantial sewn gatherings. The writer has used red-ruled ledger paper from the Peking office (only produced between 1890 and 1910 according to the HSBC archivist), occasionally headed: 'Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Peking', using three columns of manuscript which offer the Chinese word in romanized form, an English translation and Traditional Chinese characters. The manuscript begins with the parts of speech, accomplished in pencil, quickly transitioning to black ink for the Chinese words and characters that form the third column. This is structured alphabetically by the writer’s phonetic renderings of the Chinese words. Each gathering ends with a couple of pages of slightly more informal notes.

CONTEXT The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation opened its doors for business in Hong Kong in March 1865, helping to finance trade between Europe and Asia, becoming the most successful international bank operating in Asia. As the bank still states in its mission statement, it was born from one simple idea – a local bank serving international needs. This fascinating document seems to represent the efforts of a British born employee, or relative, attempting to embody that aspiration by acquiring greater local understanding to graft onto their British education, under the influence of Guy Hillier who was born in 1857, worked first for HSBC in Shanghai and then moved to Beijing where his Chinese became so good that he could work directly using the Chinese language as strategist and deal-maker. After he went blind around 1905 he developed a system of Braille to reflect the Chinese language but continued in charge of the Peking Branch until 1923. HSBC archivist Helen Ceci has provided list of Hillier’s colleagues in the Beijing officer, one of whom (or a family member) seems certain to have written this document:

J A Murray (1895)

A M Bruce (1896)

M H Houston (1896)

W P Craig (1897)

A D Brent (1899)

R R Hynd (1901)

A D Brest (1901)

E C P Mayers (1903)

H H Kopsch (1904)

H A Courtney (1905)

H G Gardner (1906)

R E Sedgwick (1906)

J McArthur (1907)

H E Blunt (1908)

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Added under Manuscript
Publisher No publisher
Date published 1895
Subject 1 Manuscript
Product code 8489

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