Source: The China Provincial Atlas and Geography

This posting is the first of what I hope will become a more frequent kind of offering here at Frog in a Well. I’m not sure how it will go yet but I hope that we can gradually expand Frog in a Well to incorporate a few new projects. The first new project I wish to announce is the Frog in a Well Library or the 文庫. Here we will post raw sources and scanned materials of interest to those who study the history of East Asia.

井底之蛙的文庫 – The Frog in a Well Library

The first addition to the library is a scanned copy of a 1935 book on the provincial geography of China put out by the North-China Daily News. It will be interesting to anyone who wants to see descriptions of each province, the shape and names of locations (in English), descriptions of the “character” of the “racial types” of each province, short descriptions of major cities, details of roads and railways as of ’35, industry, and even how many protestant/catholic missions there are. There is a separate section for 滿州國 and the foreign settlements in Shanghai, as well as a few interesting paragraphs on the “peculiar” status of Tibet (interesting to note that there is nothing on the “peculiar” status of Manchuria, or of Mongolia at the time) and after discussing Soviet influence concludes that Xinjiang “faces West rather than East.”

Library Download Page: The China Provincial Atlas and Geography


  1. I wanted to add: the book in question is from ’35, and though it is printed in Shanghai, depending on how it was registered, it may still be in copyright. In the future, I think we will stick to unambiguously expired works but on this one, given its historical value, and that it is only available as a non-circulating book, I’ll leave it up unless I get contacted by the copyright holder.

  2. China has a 50 year term of copyright so I think you’re fine. It would only be protected under US copyright law if it was specifically registered with the Library of Congress (the law at the time required explicit registration), which is extremely unlikely.

  3. Many thanks for the resource. It’s of historical importance, to be sure, but also enjoyable leisure reading in its own right. I am far from a research university and do not have easy access to this type of resource. Keep up the good work.

    a frequent visitor to Frog in a Well

  4. Wouldn’t “fair use” apply in this context? It’s non-fiction (i.e., “factual”) intended for educational use and to contribute toward a field of knowledge.

  5. Hi Ian, fair use is a very ambiguous term which has been interpreted differently by various people. However, if this work was unambiguously still protected, no reasonable definition of fair use I am familiar with would consent to my posting of the entire work online and making it available for download. The fact that it is non-fiction doesn’t help, I’m afraid.

    Again, however, I think we are ok in this case.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.