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University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services Black (Davidson) Family fonds
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Adena Nevitt Black sous-fonds

This sous-fonds contain Adena Black’s diaries from the time of her marriage through the First World War, followed by correspondence from family members, her mother-in-law, Margaret Davidson, and, especially from her husband, Davidson. There are also a few letters from friends, some of whom, like the Houghtons, were associated with the Peking Union Medical School. The correspondence is grouped by family and, from Davidson, is arranged chronologically.

Also present are files documenting some of Adena’s activities in China and, in particular, her attempts to market Chinese-made objects, initially through a partnership with Daisy and Marion Boulton in Toronto (1924-1928) and latterly (1931-1934) through the Peking Temples Company, incorporated in Wilmington, Delaware in 1931. The goods were sold through a store in Port Carling in Muskoka, and through other venues. These files contain correspondence, and financial records and, for the Peking Temples Company, incorporation documents.

This sous-fonds ends with correspondence relating to the death of Davidson Black, tributes to him, and the design for and photographs of his grave. There are also files documenting Adena’s final years in China, including some on her husband’s library, her continuing interest in the fate of the Peking Union Medical School, and the writing of Dora Hood’s biography of her husband.

Black, Adena

Black (Davidson) Family fonds

  • UTA 1084
  • Fonds
  • 1871-2011

Personal records of the Davidson Black family, covering three generations, with particular reference to Davidson Black, the discoverer of Peking Man. Included are his diaries, extensive family correspondence and a few professional letters; files on his education, his employment, including his service in World War I but especially at Peking Union Medical College, his life in China generally, along with a few on his writings, and some artifacts. There is an extensive and well documented photo collection that helps tie the whole together. There are also a number of films made by Davidson Black between the late 1920s and 1932.

Black (Davidson) Family

Employment

Except for photographs, this series contains little documentation on Davidson Black’s employment before 1917 when he enlisted with the Canadian Army Medical Corps and went overseas. The bulk of this series relates to his work in China at the Peking Union Medical College, his anthropological research including his discovery of "Peking man", and his travels within China and to Mongolia, India, Siam, and elsewhere.

The files contain correspondence, photographs, addresses, and publications (including some drafts), and memorabilia. Most of the photographs were taken by Dr. Black himself, though some were taken by Adena and others (especially presentation copies) by friends and colleagues. Dr. Black carefully annotated many of the photos he took, often in considerable detail even to the time of day and the shutter speed used. Included are a few glass-plate negatives and about 50 lantern slides. The negatives are usually dated and were kept except if they were in good condition. On his travels, Dr. Black collected autographed photographs of many of the scientists and academics he met; these are included in this series.