'History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme' - Mark Twain.
A gallimaufry of random China history and research interests
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
A Useful New Guide to Shanghai's Old Clubs
Interesting to see that Shanghai-based Earnshaw Books, who I've regularly plugged, are moving on from just reprinting great old classics on China to publishing new books that look like being very useful to people digging around in the troughs of China history.
Their first original book is Nenad Djordevic's directory of Old Shanghai Clubs and Associations. There's information on more than 2,000 of old Shanghai clubs and associations, both foreign and Chinese and also includes somewhat more informal groups such as those who got together at Gracie Gale's famous bordello or the group of American journalists who became known as the Missouri News Colony. The book covers the period from the 1840s to 1950s in alphabetical order. Nenad (who when he's not researching Shanghai history is the Serbian Consul General in the city) has done a great job and anyone looking for prominent individuals or charting the development/extent of Shanghailander society will find this a useful tool - it comes with a CD-ROM for those youngsters who do their research on electrical thingys.
As someone who divides their time pretty evenly writing about China now and China back then this seemed like a place to throw all the interesting bits that fall through the cracks somehow and never get used anywhere else.
It's basically the stuff that doesn't get used in my writing about modern China or in the books I do about old China - i.e. probably of little interest to anyone but me and therefore ideally suited to an obscure blog up a dark cul-de-sac of the Internet.