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 aworld 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.
Werner von Boltenstern was born in Berlin, Germany in 1904. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and settled in Los Angeles where he pursued a career as a free-lance photographer. His profession apparently sparked his interest in postcards and postcard collecting. Von Boltenstern amassed a huge personal collection which he donated to Loyola University in 1967. He continued to add to this collection until his death in 1978. Since then LMU's holdings have continued to grow through donations and currently contain an estimated one million cards.
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