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DuBois S. Morris and Alice Morris Papers


Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections


Reverend DuBois Schanck Morris (1873-1956) was a member of the Princeton University Class of 1893. He and his family lived in Nanjing, China from 1898 to 1901 and Huaiyuan, Anhui, China from 1901 to 1928 doing missionary work on behalf of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. During his time in China, he collected Chinese art pieces which he donated to the Princeton University Art Museum between 1946 and 1949.


Alice Ray Morris née Buell (1879-1966) was a missionary in Huaiyuan, Anhui, China. Shortly after her marriage to Dubois Schanck Morris in 1910, they moved to Huaiyuan and did missionary work on behalf of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions until 1928.

The collection consists primarily of correspondence, photograph albums, lantern slides, printed material, film reels, and sermon drafts documenting the years DuBois S. Morris (Class of 1893) spent as a Presbyterian missionary in Eastern China during the late 1800s through the 1920s.

The majority of the correspondence is from the years leading up to, and including, DuBois Morris's time in Anhui Province, with main correspondents being family members, such as DuBois S. Morris, Alice Ray Buell Morris, Theodore Wilson Morris, and Alice Ely Buell. A large portion of the correspondence and some of the ephemera were collected by Alice Ray Buell Morris, as a large portion of correspondence is addressed to her, and one of the donor notes refers to Alice Morris as the "saver of all these letters." Much of the printed material in the collection are annual and station reports from missions to the Central Presbyterian Church, primarily from Huaiyuan, which is romanized as Hwai Yuen and Hwaiyuan in the collection.

Another significant portion of the collection is photograph albums and the lantern slides. These albums and slides predominantly depict the communities, locales, and people affected in Huaiyuan by the missionary work sponsored by the Central Presbyterian Church in New York. There are duplicative images among the albums themselves, among the slides, and between the albums and slides. The photograph albums also include family photographs of the Morris family and their home(s) in Huaiyuan, as well as other missionaries in Anhui Province; and photographs of family members in the United States and Canada. Some of the photograph albums have loose photographs that had not been affixed to the albums. Photographs have captions in various hands. There are also numerous donor notes throughout the collections on post-it notes, scraps of paper, and directly on documents with summaries, identifying information, and transcriptions. Some donor research was also retained among the materials. There is some offensive language used to refer to Chinese people in the materials. There are far fewer identifying annotations among the lantern slides, but the contents of the slides are similar to the albums.

There are also reels of 16mm and 8mm film. The reels consist of a variety of subjects, with the majority of labels indicating various overseas trips across Europe and East Asia, as well as of the Morris's time in China. Nearly all of the film reels feature footage from visits to Stoney Lake, Ontario. There is also footage of regattas, picnics, and other family events.

To a lesser extent, the collection contains family papers, which includes photographs, correspondence, and ephemera; school and alumni-related materials, such as ephemera, printed material, and schoolwork; and art-related materials, such as ephemera, lectures, and correspondence and documentation related to Morris's art collection and his donation of artwork to the Princeton Museum of Historic Art.

Materials are grouped by genre/type and arranged in the order in which they were received.

Eloise Clark received the 11 film reels of the 2023 accrual from her first cousin, Marjorie Cave, the eldest daughter of John McLean Morris, one of Dubois S. and Alice Morris's four children.

Gift of Eloise Clark in 2020, 2021, and 2023 (2021-25, AM 2022-089, AM 2024-013).

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

The lantern slides are fragile and require special handling in the reading room. Some of the photograph albums are brittle and deteriorating, and require special handling in the reading room.

This collection was partially processed by Amy C. Vo in March 2022. Finding aid written by Amy C. Vo in March 2022.

The remainder of the collection was processed by Amy C. Vo in December 2022. In more cases than not, materials are already foldered and labeled; these folders were retained, along with their donor-supplied titles. If folders were replaced, donor-supplied description retained. The finding aid was revised by Amy C. Vo in December 2022 to reflect the incorporation of the rest of the collection material.

Finding aid title updated by Amy C. Vo in October 2023 to elucidate Alice Morris's role as one of the collection's creators.

In January 2024, the 2023 accrual was processed and the finding aid was revised to reflect the incorporation of these materials into the collection.

Manuscripts Division
Finding Aid Author
Amy C. Vo
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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Collection Inventory

Photograph Albums, circa 1890-1920s. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Consists of two photograph albums. One album has "DuBois S. Morris" inscribed on the first flyleaf of the album, with a post-it from the donor noting that it is an "Educational Album, c. 1900." Photographs are captioned, likely by the creator. The album may be from Morris' time when he was first contracted to set up a mission in Anhui Province for the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions; some of the photographs depict others who may have also been missionaries with him. Some of the photographs are of local people and various locations in Guling, Beijing, and Nanjing, but there are a number of large landscape photographs, as well as panoramic photographs, and a series of photographs pieced together to form a panorama.

The second photograph album is green with "Photographs" and "D. B. S. Morris" inscribed on the cover. There are a few loose negatives and a map in the album. Some of the captions in this album are in the donor's, or some other person's, hand. Most of the photographs in this album are family photographs, including family photos from before Dubois S. Morris's marriage to Alice Ray Buell; photographs of their wedding in 1910; with the majority of the photographs taken in China over a span of years. Many of the photographs are of their growing family, the local community and its people and environs, including houses and buildings. There are fewer landscapes and large photographs, but there are also landscapes photographed.

Physical Description

1 box

Photograph Albums, circa 1890-1920s. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Consists of five photograph albums. One of the albums is reddish-brown with "Photographs" and "D. B. S. Morris" inscribed on the cover. Photographs are captioned, likely by the creator. One of the albums contains "glimpses of Hwai Yuen," at least some of which are from 1904. Many photographs show other missionaries in China and their family members. Another large portion of photographs depict people in the community, in various activities in storefronts or on the street, as well as interior and exteriors of buildings and homes, and class photographs.

Another album has an embossed cover with a gilt pattern and woven string binding. The photographs roughly span the years 1910 to 1924, and are largely family photographs, with many donor-supplied captions. There are photographs of Dubois and Alice Morris's family, house, and garden; photographs of several other weddings; photographs of other buildings, people, classes of students, church groups, etc. in Huaiyuan; and there are a few photographs taken at the Jersey Shore.

Three of the photograph albums have "Snap Shots" embossed on their covers. One of the albums contains photographs from a trip taken with Edgar and Florence Morris to Beijing, from around 1920. Almost all of these photographs are of landscapes, temples, and other buildings, with very few people depicted.

One of the albums seems to be photographs from one or more family summer vacations in Québec City, Québec; Stony Lake, Ontario; and possibly Princeton, NJ and "Spring Lake." Many of the photographs depict family members hiking, swimming, and canoeing in various natural environments.

There is a photograph album of local people and places, with more street photography than travel or landscape photography. There are also group photographs, for example of the Han Mei Boys School, the Women's Industrial School, and other classes. There are a few family pictures and portraits, some interior and exterior building shots, and landscape and nature photographs. Creator-supplied captions indicate that some or most of the photographs were taken in Huaiyuan, with some other locations, like Guling.

Physical Description

1 box

Correspondence and Reports, 1882-1930, 1956. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

The earlier correspondence from 1882-1906 are letters between Alice Ray Buell Morris and her parents, with some letters corresponding with siblings and other relatives. There are some letters from the 1890s about Dubois Morris's decision to go to China. The 1910 correspondence is addressed to Alice Buell and primarily pertains to Dubois Morris's marriage proposal, advice from Buell family members, and her October 1910 marriage to Dubois. The correspondence spanning 1911-1928 consists of letters between Alice Morris and her mother, Alice Buell, with some letters from Dubois Morris to his mother-in-law; letters from Dubois Morris to Alice Morris; and letters from Dubois Morris to his father, Theodore Morris. There are some photographs and newspaper clippings among the correspondence.

This box also contains reports and business letters (1926-1931) from Dubois Morris on Huaiyuan, including annual, visit, station, and financial reports. Some of the correspondents include David van Dyke, William L. Amerman, Margaret Colman Smith, Elizabeth K. Lamont, Hattie R. MacCurdy, and T. M. Yates.

There is a small amount of materials related to the Morris house in China, including a list of their possessions, a Guling estate office document of properties and lots, and a list of possessions lost.

Physical Description

1 box

Correspondence, Reports, Sermons, and Artwork-Related Documents, 1896-1968. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Contains correspondence primarily between Dubois Morris and Alice Morris during their marriage, as well as letters during their courtship in 1910. There is a wedding invitation and a marriage album embossed with "The Marriage Service." Some correspondence pertains to Dubois Morris's decision to do missionary work in China. Other correspondents include George Rowley from the Department of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University; William S. Dix from Princeton Library, regarding donating Morris's archives; and some ephemera regarding Dubois Morris's death in 1956.

Also contains materials pertaining to Dubois Morris's collection of Chinese paintings. Materials generally pertain to the artwork that was presented to the Princeton Art Museum (at the time called the Princeton Museum of Historic Art); various events and presentations of Dubois Morris's collection; and lectures on Chinese painting. There is correspondence, inventories, ephemera (e.g. booklets, event flyers, event programs, press clippings), legal documents (e.g. appraisal, deed of gift), some photographs of paintings, lectures and notes, and a 1926 honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Princeton.

Materials also pertain to Dubois Morris's missionary work and consist of annual reports on missionaries in the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City, NY, and annual reports from Huaiyuan. There are also sermon outlines, notes, and talks.

Physical Description

1 box

Reports, Sermons, Ephemera, and School Materials, 1890-1997. 1 box.
Scope and Contents

Materials also pertain to Dubois Morris's missionary work and consist of annual reports to and from the Central Presbyterian Church in New York City, NY, and annual reports from Huaiyuan. There are also sermon outlines, notes, and talks. There are several school papers and a heavily annotated Bible, likely from Dubois Morris's time at Harvard University and/or Columbia University while he was completing his postgraduate theological studies. There are cabinet cards from Morris's time at Princeton, and materials related to his inclusion in the Class of 1893, including Class Day booklets, directories, reunion books, etc. from the decades following. There are a couple of booklets on membership rules and bylaws for other organizations, such as The Pilgrims, the Quill Club, and the Shanghai Tiffin Club. There is a small amount of family papers, including a paper from Dubois Morris's younger brother, James Edgar Morris; and 1997 journal entries and photographs of a trip to Huaiyuan from Robert Morris, Dubois Morris's grandson. The scrapbooks consist of an 1898 scrapbook pertaining to George Candee Buell's passing; a bridal book containing information about the bridal party, engagement gifts, and wedding gifts, with loose scraps and notes; a Huaiyuan photograph album from 1912; and a photograph album which appears to contain photographs from Alice Buell Morris's schooldays and of her travels.

Physical Description

1 box

Lantern Slides, circa 1895-1930. 6 boxes.
Scope and Contents

Consists of six boxes of lantern slides (glass slides). There are some duplicate images across the glass slides and across the photograph albums. Some of the slides have identifying information about people and places provided by the donor, but some of these notes may be in incorrect spots as they have moved. Most of the people who are identified are Morris family members, though there are other missionaries and their families who are also pictured in the slides. The majority of the people pictured in these slides are Chinese people from the communities of Huaiyuan in which missionaries of the Presbyterian Church were present. For example, there are many photographs of the various classes, events, groups, and organizations that Chinese people in Huaiyuan attended or staffed, such as the Women's Industrial School, various schools for children, a band or orchestra, the hospital, sports events, holidays, etc. Some of these photographs are candid, but most are posed group portraits. There are a few portraits of families who are not identified.

All of the slides are of places in China, and are primarily of people and locales in Huaiyuan, Anhui Province, China. A small number of slides are noted as being of Beijing. Many of the images are of the Morris family house and gardens; various other home interiors, exteriors, courtyards, and gardens; and the church-built structures in Huaiyuan. There are interior and exterior photographs of the church that was built, and it seems that there are photographs of the various schools and hospitals in the province.

Another large chunk of the lantern slides consists of photographs of sites and other types of landmarks and locations. These include landscapes, river- or water-scapes, city- or town-scapes, architectural and sculptural details, interior and exterior shots of buildings and locations. There are also quite a few street scenes of people walking or going about their daily lives in town, including people at work (potters, street vendors, etc).

There are a fair number of hand-colored slides, about a third of the slides or more. Most of the slides are uncredited, but of those that are credited, they include: Mission Photo Bureau, Shanghai; Scott Studios, NYC; Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church, NYC; Chas. Beseler Co., NYC; Beseler Lantern Slide Co. Inc, NYC; Lantern Slide Bureau, Methodist Episcopal Church in China; and Henry B. Ingram Co. Inc. Maker World Famous Nonpareil Slides, NYC.

A few slides seemed to have been created for presentations on the status of the Church's missionary work in China. One of the slides has a creator-supplied note: "Pages from New Testament presented to Empress Dowager of China by the Christian women, 1895, John 14 beginning with 1st vs." Other slides are maps to show the size of Anhui and the growing number of "converts" and "Christians" between 1807 and 1923 in both Anhui Province and China as a whole.

Physical Description

6 boxes

Films, circa 1920s-1930s. 29 items.
Scope and Contents

The majority of the audiovisual material is 16mm film. Five of the reels (two 16mm and three 8mm reels) are unlabeled with descriptive information (they are all labeled "Morris"). One of the reels of 8mm film is labeled "Director." There is also one DVD of a "lost film canister." The "lost film" contains footage from Dubois Morris's time in China as a missionary, and is noted to have 1928 footage of Shanghai, Nanjing, and Huaiyuan. The labeled 16mm film reels consist of a variety of subjects, with the majority of annotations indicating trips to various places, including Japan, England, Perry's Creek, Switzerland, France, Bavaria, China, etc. Most of the trips abroad are to European countries, though a couple films are noted as containing footage of Freehold, N.J., Princeton, N.J., and possibly Newark, N.J. Nearly half of the film reels feature footage from Stoney Lake, Ontario. About a quarter of the reels feature footage of their time in China. The films also contain footage of regattas, picnics, and Elizabeth Morris's graduation.

Physical Description

29 itemsin 2 record cartons.

Photographs and Map of Anhui Province, circa 1910-1920. 1 oversize folder.
Scope and Contents

Consists of a large 1920 map of Anhui Province in eastern China, titled the "Postal Map of Anhwei District." The majority of the map is in Mandarin with some English. There are four large photographic prints: a hand-colored print of a city scene; a landscape shot of docked boats, with a note on the back "Hwai River?"; a family portrait of Dubois Morris, Alice Morris, and their three young children (circa 1914); a landscape shot of the Morris's garden in Huaiyuan, with Dubois Jr. and Elizabeth Morris, as older children, standing on the garden bridge in the distance.

Physical Description

1 oversize folder

Print, Suggest