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These papers of Sir Harry Smith Parkes (1828-1885), diplomat and successively ambassador to Japan and China from 1865, were deposited on permanent loan to the Library by Sir John Keswick in 1957. The collection was subsequently converted into a gift in 1969.

Parkes' papers include a wealth of valuable material relating to European involvement in nineteenth-century East Asia. There is an extensive range of printed and manuscript material collected in Hong Kong, China, and Japan, during the various periods of Parkes' career. Correspondents among the 750 or so letters include Sir Rutherford Alcock, Major-General Charles George Gordon, Lord John Russell, and Sir Ernest Satow. There is an interesting collection of maps, a few documents in Chinese and Japanese, and a separate holding of letters, sketch maps, memoranda and other papers re Gordon's campaigns at the head of the so-called Ever Victorious Army in service of the Chinese Imperial government during the 1860s.

Access to the Parkes papers is restricted. Any person wishing to consult the collection must obtain written permission from M. G. Barrow, Esq., Matheson & Co. Ltd, 3 Lombard Street, London EC3V 9AQ. Applicants may submit their request using the standard Jardine Matheson letter of application or from the contact below. They must state specifically on the form that they desire access to the Parkes Papers. No photographic work of any kind can be undertaken without the prior written permission of Mr Barrow, or his designated deputy.

An online catalogue of the Parkes Papers is available on the ArchiveSearch database.

Contact: John Wells (01223 333055;