Item #010179 1910 – A missionary letter from Peking on impressive, illustrated stationery that was sent home to family in New Jersey inside a vibrant ‘red-band envelope’ that normally was only used for auspicious domestic Chinese mail. Debra or Delia Seavens.
1910 – A missionary letter from Peking on impressive, illustrated stationery that was sent home to family in New Jersey inside a vibrant ‘red-band envelope’ that normally was only used for auspicious domestic Chinese mail
1910 – A missionary letter from Peking on impressive, illustrated stationery that was sent home to family in New Jersey inside a vibrant ‘red-band envelope’ that normally was only used for auspicious domestic Chinese mail
1910 – A missionary letter from Peking on impressive, illustrated stationery that was sent home to family in New Jersey inside a vibrant ‘red-band envelope’ that normally was only used for auspicious domestic Chinese mail

1910 – A missionary letter from Peking on impressive, illustrated stationery that was sent home to family in New Jersey inside a vibrant ‘red-band envelope’ that normally was only used for auspicious domestic Chinese mail

Peking (Beijing), China: 1910. Envelope or Cover.

This three-page letter is written on illustrated Chinese stationery (each leaf has a different illustration) measuring 5” x 9”. It was sent on 29 May 1910 by a young woman in Peking, Debra or Delia Seavens, to her Uncle Wilson Smith in Montclair, New Jersey. It is enclosed in a “red-band” envelope that is franked with a 10-cent dragon stamp (Scott #129) and bears two Peking postmarks. A Peking transit mark is on the reverse along with an indistinct U.S. receiving mark. The letter was routed “Via Siberia” as indicated on the front of the envelope. A typed onion-skin enclosure is included. In nice shape. Transcript will be included.

Ms. Seavens was serving within Peking as she references travelling out of the city with a female associate. Although the letter doesn’t indicate the mission’s name, it was likely associated with the Anglican Society to Propagate the Gospel as at the time, it had the most prominent presence in the city.

Red-band envelopes, which were prized by the Chinese for their attractiveness and as a symbol of good luck, were usually reserved for sending auspicious personal or commercial messages. They were seldom used by foreigners. As explained by Ms. Seavens,

“Please do not be shocked by the envelope. It is truly Chinese. The proper form of address would be on the red line ‘Uncle Wilson Great Man’ and at one side ‘Please give to Mr. Smith’ with the address.” She also thanks him and her aunt for a thermos bottle which she used while visiting Chinese families to provide them with untainted cold water and hot milk.

As well, she enclosed a most interesting note from her Board Secretary regarding a visit from a Chinese woman . It reads in part:

“The caller was a serving woman from one of the more well-to-do- families in the village. She came on an errand when Miss Andrews and Miss Browne were both out. [Following her errand] she said coyly, ‘Would you have time to take me up stairs?’ It was quite evident that she was not used to stairs for she mounts it with great caution, feeling of the carpet at every step. Stair carpets are interesting . . . but they can’t compete with beds to one who has never dreamed of anything . . . but a k’ang. ‘Oh, how white and how soft,’ she said, ‘how many of you sleep here?’ This question was [answered] several times till she really took it in that we had a bed apiece. . .. She was dumb founded and crawled half way under the bed to see what could be making it behave so strangely [as to regain its shape when vacated.] She perched gingerly on the side of a rocking chair, so that I expected to see her tip over any minute. . .. She picked up a book and proudly showed me that she could read a few characters [and] fairly swelled with pride . . . as she recited a little hymn, running her fingers along the lines [pretending] that she was reading it. . .. Then we sang. . .. I hit the tune once in a while and she never by any chance did. . ..”

An original source historic, philatelic, and visual treasure.

. Very good. Item #010179

Price: $750.00