Professor Gregory Chow's Family Papers and Old Land Deeds

Land deeds are primary sources for inheritance and trading systems of real estates, legal system existing at a particular point of time, history of public administration, and many more topics of interest. As another digital humanities initiative, the CityU Library is exploring the opportunities to collaborate with academic departments concerned to unlock the wealth of economic and legal data in its land deed collections which the Library received through generous donations.

In 2013, the Library received a remarkable donation of some 360 Chinese land deeds and 1,500 family documents from the late Mr Tin-Pong Chow (鄒殿邦先生), the then Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce of Guangzhou in the 19th to early 20th Century.(more)

Treasures of an Old Merchant Banker from Kwangtung - Professor Gregory Chow's Family Papers and Old Land Deeds 房屋加建補稅上盖執照 廣東省政府財政廳 民國26年 (1937), 土地所有權狀 廣州市政府地政局 民國37年 (1948)
What have we received?
Business correspondences (公司業務信件) 124
Chinese seals (印章) 125
Land deeds (土地法律文件) 359
Receipts (收據) 352
Company documents (公司業務文件) 138
Letters and correspondences (書信) 10
Drawings (繪圖) 71
Others (其他) 705
改換斷賣新契紙 - 中華民國廣東財政司, 民國2年 (1913)

Research Value: These land deeds and documents, dated mainly from 1900 to late 1940 from an influential family, are very unique primary research materials. They provide important data on the economic and legal activities of China, particularly in Guangdong and Hong Kong, reflecting:

  • Inheritance and trading systems of real estates
  • Evolving economic and financial systems, e.g. banking system, corporate ownership
  • Monetary and fiscal policies in Early Republican China
  • Changes of land laws over a period of time
  • History of public administration
  • Socio-economic conditions of the past, e.g. inflation

By means of digital technologies and in collaboration with researchers, the Library envisions to unleashing the scholarly evidence of these documents for the discovery of the social-economic and legal environments in China during the 19th to early 20th Century.

What did the researchers say about the Collection?