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Special Collections: Guide to the T.A. (Thomas Arthur) Bisson Papers

Arranged and described by Richard Robey February, 2012.

Administrative Information

Collection title:  T.A. Bisson papers
Collection number:  SpC MS 54
Dates of collection:  1928-1980
Size of collection:  6 boxes
Restrictions on access and use:  Stored in the library's remote storage area.  One week's notice requested for access.


Historical Note

Thomas Arthur Bisson was born in New York, New York in 1900. He received a B.A. in history at Rutgers University in 1923 and an M.A. in the teaching of history at Teachers College, Columbia University in 1924. He taught at the University of California in Berkeley, the Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, and Renison College at the University of Waterloo. He published works on the international relations of the Far East, the history and civilization of Japan and China, and the United States Far Eastern policy. He died in 1979.

A biographical sketch within the collection notes: "T.A. Bisson’s first book was Japan In China (Macmillan, 1938), written during the year of the Yenan trip. He had been Far Eastern staff member of the Foreign Policy Association since 1929, preceded by graduate work in Chinese studies at Columbia and a China teaching period in 1924-1928, first at a middle school in Hwaiyuen, Anhwei, then at Yenching University in Peking. In 1943, after wartime government service as economic analyst with the Board of Economic Warfare, he joined the International Secretariat of the Institute of Pacific Relations. The Secretariat published two of his books in 1945, America’s Far Eastern Policy and Japan’s War Economy.

In 1945-47 he was in Japan, first with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, then as adviser to the Chief, Government Section, GHQ, SCAP. Prospects for Democracy in Japan (Macmillan, 1949), a critique of occupation policy, analyzed the entrenchment of old-line party leaders and business interests in government power despite MacArthur’s seeming neutrality. Publication o Zaibatsu Dissolution in Japan (University of California Press, 1954) came at the end of a 1948-53 professorship in the Department of Political Science at Berkeley. He has completed a Japan memoir based on personal letters written while at Government Section at a time when the major reforms of the early occupation years were being applied.

During the late fifties and most of the sixties Mr. Bisson developed a pioneer small-college program of international studies at Western College for Women, Oxford, Ohio. In this period he contributed the antiwar view to an early and influential study of Vietnam issues. Entitled The United States and Viet Nam: Two Views (Public Affairs Pamphlets, No. 391, August 1966), it was later reprinted for total sales of close to 100,000 copies. Widely used by many types of discussion groups, its reading public was no doubt much larger."

Scope and Content Note

Papers of a scholar in international relations of the Far East. The collection contains papers regarding Bisson’s time spent in China, Japan, and other Far Eastern nations. There are also a series of publications, some of which are his personal writings, which reference the Far East and his work done there, as well as a collection of papers from his days as a professor at Western College for Women and various correspondence with students and old colleagues.  A few photographs and newspaper clippings are also included.


Arrangement

Bisson's original order maintained, including categories of material related to: I. Asian politics and government; II. Bisson's career as a professor; III. Bisson's published work; IV. Publications written by others on topics closely related to Bisson's research.

Contents

Box 1

Folder titles

1. The American-Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere – 1974
2. Biography, T. A. Bisson – 1970(?)
3. China – Literature, Art, Science, Philosophy – 1928-1929
4. China Village – by T. A. Bisson, with photos – n.d.
5. Chinese Communism Materials by Owen Lattimore – n.d.
6. Chinese poetry, etc. First session for course on Chinese history – 1968
7. Correspondence, Japanese studies – 1951-1968
8. Correspondence related to books, publishing – 1972-1973
9. Correspondence, trip activities – 1937
10. Diaries, daily journals – n.d.
11. Diary – 1921-1922
12. Diary, notes – 1935
13. Diary – 1936
14. Diary – 1937
15. Drafts – Introduction – n.d.
16. Drafts, Chapter 2, To Sian and an Escape – n.d.
17. Drafts, Chapters 3-4, On the Road to Yenan, At Yenan – n.d.
18. Drafts, Chapters 5-11, The Border Region – Return to Sian and Peking – n.d.
19. Drafts – Chuang Tqu’s Fifteenth Chapter: Is there an Indian influence? – n.d.
20. Drafts, Talks with Yenan Leaders June 1937 – Compiled 1972
21. Drafts, Talks with Yenan Leaders June 1937 – c.2 – Compiled 1972
22. East Asia Over Fifty Years: Selected Writings – Part 1 – n.d.
23. East Asia Over Fifty Years: Selected Writings – Part 2 – n.d.
24. East Asia Over Fifty Years: Selected Writings – Part 3 – n.d.
25. East Asia Over Fifty Years: Selected Writings – Part 4 – n.d.
26. Far Eastern Commission – Transcript of Joint Committees 1 and 2 – 13 December 1946
27. Formal Letters – Ann Arbor Abstract – 1967
28. Fund for the Republic – 1955
29. Hindu Society – Caste
30. Indian-Chinese Intellectual Connections – 1962-1963
31. Interview Notes – June 1937
32. Interview with Chou En-Lai – June 23, 1937
33. Interview with Chu Te – June 23, 1937
34. Interview with Mao Tse-Tung – June 22, 1937
35. Interview with Mao Tse-Tung, Second Interview – June 23, 1937
36. Interview with Po K’u – June 23, 1937
37. Japan – Operation Memoir
38. Japan’s post-treaty relations with Far Eastern Countries, Mayeda thesis – Part 1 – 1951
39. Japan’s post treaty relations with Far Eastern Countries, Mayeda thesis – Part 2 – 1951
40. Japanese Economy – 1947
41. Japanese Economy – 1951
42. Japanese Economy – 1968
43. Meetings, conference presentations, Asian studies – 1960s
44. Miscellaneous – 50 years
45. “Old Manuscripts” – Was Chuang Tzu a Quietist? – n.d.

Box 2

Folder titles

1. Photographs – n.d.
2. Report – Notes on Economic Aspects of Occupied Japan, J. Stewart – 1947
3. Sketches, maps for books – n.d.
4. Sodei Tsuru – 1976-1978
5. South Vietnam – My articles – 1965-1967
6. T.A.B. – Vietnam Writings – 1960s
7. Waterloo – Outside writing and speaking – 1970-1973
8. Writings – The Treaty and Japan’s Economic Position – n.d.
9. Addresses: Hon. Pat McCarron, Chairman – 1952
10. B.E.W. – 1942-1943
11. Book Review – Eleanor Hadley – by T. A. Bisson – 1970
12. Bronze Ages – Shang and Mycenae – Manuscript A – n.d.
12a. Bronze Ages – Shang and Mycenae – Manuscript A – c.2 – n.d.
13. California – MA – Ph.D. Candidates – n.d.
14. Chapel Talk – 1961-1962
15. Chapel Talk, Vietnam – 1967
16. The Chinese Novel – My Class Session Notes – n.d.
17. College Records
18. Correspondence – 1976-1979
19. Correspondence: Berkeley – n.d.
20. Course at California – Post-war Japan
21. Curriculum Vitae
22. Epics – General
23. Family Budget – 1952
24. Final Letter to Herrick – n.d.
25. General Correspondence – n.d.
26. General Correspondence – n.d.
27. Harper and Rowe – Yenan Conversations – Occupation Memoirs – n.d.
28. Jean: The Seminar – n.d.
29. Job Applications: Miscellaneous
30. Letters: Recent
31. Letters of Recommendation [Non-Majors]
32. McCarron Committee Hearings – n.d.
33. Medieval Europe – n.d.
34. Miscellaneous Papers
35. Miscellaneous Writings/Lectures
36. Mr. Bisson’s Statement
37. Nayar: Letters – n.d.
38. Political Science – 1946-1953
39. Post-World War Two Stablization
40. Regional Council: Asia Seminar – n.d.
41. Research Files

Box 3

Folder titles

1. Schonberger correspondence
2. Southern California
3. Student Commendations of my Curriculum – Faculty
4. Student Files – Allen, Sally Ann
5. Student Files – Berkebile, Janet
6. Student Files – Bromley, Margery
7. Student Files – Christian, Cheryl
8. Student Files – Clark, Katharine
9. Student Files – Davis, Leslie [Junior-Senior]
10. Student Files – Druist, Joanne
11. Student Files – Frier, Linda – ICS481-482 – 1961-1962
12. Student Files – Hiatt, Margaret [Senior]
13. Student Files – Homans, Susan [Senior]
14. Student Files – Jennings, Jane
15. Student Files – Jensen, Marie
16. Student Files – Johnson, Annette Power “Tori”
17. Student Files – Jones, Lethonee [Angela] Hendricks
18. Student Files – Kimball, Isabel
19. Student Files – Latham, Maria Ann
20. Student Files – Maturo, Carol
21. Student Files – Mwangi, Wamboi
22. Student Files – Newbury, Jane
23. Student Files – Payne, Mary
24. Student Files – Stanfield, Sylvia
25. Student Files – ten Houton, Mary Elizabeth
26. Student Files – Tokoyasu, Masako
27. Student Files – Toomey, Rowena
28. Student Files – Weidman, Holly – Senior Major
29. Student Files – Woode-Smith, Teryl [Senior]
30. Student Files – Wu, Linda
31. University Applications, Berkeley – Before and After
32. Western College: Letters
33. World
34. Writings – Talks – Book Reviews
35. Zaibatsu
36. Bisson Publications – Economic Purge in Japan – n.d.
37. Bisson Publications – Prospects for Democracy in Japan – n.d.
38. Bisson Publications – Nanking Government – 1929
39. Bisson Publications – Some Chinese records o Manichaeism in China – 1929
40. Bisson Publications – Crisis in India – 1930
41. Bisson Publications – Democracy in Japan – 1930
42. Bisson Publications – Origins of Chinese Art, Pre-Han Literature – 1930
43. Bisson Publications – Reconstruction in China – 1930
44. Bisson Publications – Re-Orientation of Japan’s Foreign Policy – 1930
45. Bisson Publications – United States and the Orient – 1930
46. Bisson Publications – Autonomous India – 1931
47. Bisson Publications – Basic Treaty Issues in Manchuria – 1931
48. Bisson Publications – Lao Tzu and the Tao te Ching – 1931
49. Bisson Publications – America and the Orient – 1932
50. Bisson Publications – Railway Rivalries in Manchuria – 1932
51. Bisson Publications – Rise of Fascism in Japan – 1932
52. Bisson Publications – Constitutional Developments in India – 1933
53. Bisson Publications – Dismemberment of China – 1934
54. Bisson Publications – Japan’s Trade Expansion – 1934
55. Bisson Publications – New Status in the Pacific – 1934
56. Bisson Publications – New Constitution or India – 1935
57. Bisson Publications – Trend Toward Dictatorship in Japan – 1935
58. Bisson Publications – Clash in the Pacific – 1936
59. Bisson Publications – Japan’s Trade Boom – 1936
60. Bisson Publications – Struggle of the Powers in China – 1936
61. Bisson Publications – American Policy in the Far East – 1937
62. Bisson Publications – Far Eastern Front Against Aggression – 1938
63. Bisson Publications – Japan’s Home Front – 1938
64. Bisson Publications – Origins of Sino-Japanese Hostilities - 1938
65. Bisson Publications – Japan’s Economic Outlook – 1939
66. Bisson Publications – Japan’s Position in the War Crisis – 1939
67. Bisson Publications – American Policy in the Far East 1931-1940 – 1940
68. Bisson Publications – America’s Dilemma in the Far East – 1940
69. Bisson Publications – Indo-China: Spearhead of Japan’s Southward Drive – 1940
70. Bisson Publications – Is Soviet-American Cooperation Impossible? – 1940
71. Bisson Publications – Showdown in the Orient – 1940

Box 4

Folder titles

1. Bisson Publications – American Policy in the Far East – 1941
2. Bisson Publications – Japan’s New Structure – 1941
3. Bisson Publications – Netherlands Indies at War – 1941
4. Bisson Publications – Shadow Over Asia - 1941
5. Bisson Publications – China’s Part in a Coalition War – 1943
6. Bisson Publications – Problems of War Production Control in Japan – 1943
7. Bisson Publication – Japan as a Political Organism – 1944
8. Bisson Publications – America’s Far Eastern Policy – 1945
9. Bisson Publications – Increase of Zaibatsu Predominance in Wartime Japan – 1945
10. Bisson Publications – Japan Can Be Democratic Book Review – 1945
11. Bisson Publications – Japan’s War Economy – 1945
12. Bisson Publications – What Program for Japan? – 1945
13. Bisson Publications – Reparations and Reform in Japan – 1947
14. Bisson Publications – Prospects or Democracy in Japan – 1949
15. Bisson Publications – Japan: Recovery and Reaction – 1952
16. Bisson Publications – Zaibatsu Dissolution in Japan – 1954
17. Bisson Publications – United States and Vietnam: Two Views – 1966
18. Bisson Publications – Japan in China – 1973
19. Bisson Publications – Yenan in June 1937: Talks with Communist Leaders – 1973
20-33. Publications written by others and saved by Bisson – n.d. to 1945

Box 5-6

Publications written by others and saved by Bisson, 1946-1980

Finding Aids for selected manuscript collections in the Special Collections Department at Fogler Library are accessible online in URSUS, in a browsable Guide to Manuscript Collections. Please contact Special Collections at spc@umit.maine.edu or (207) 581-1686 for further information.

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Special Collections Staff: spc@umit.maine.edu | Revised: 01/10/2014
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