Consisting of black and white photographs and negatives, the “Werner von Boltenstern Shanghai Photograph and Negative Collection” offers a valuable photographic record of life in Shanghai, China, in the war-torn years from 1937 through 1949. Every-day life in the city is captured in photographs of a sports rally for schoolchildren in Shanghai, the railroad station, or glassblowing. The greatest importance of the collection rests in its remarkable photographic documentation of the Jewish community of Shanghai, consisting mostly of Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust. Examples of subjects of these photographs and negatives include businesses, cultural life, living quarters, and government documents of Jewish refugees.
This collection probably came to Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount University) in 1967, when German expatriate Werner von Boltenstern (1904-1978) donated his million postcard collection to the university. Von Boltenstern was a world traveler, who documented his travels by photography. Von Boltenstern's official personal records, eg, his passport and Chinese identity card, establish that he was in Shanghai in the late 1930s and the 1940s, so he most likely took these photographs.