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Black (Davidson) Family fonds
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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

Davidson and Margaret Black sous-fonds

This sous-fonds consists of correspondence, primarily between Davidson Black and Margaret Delamere, from the time of their engagement in 1878 until his death eight years later, but also letters of congratulation to Margaret from family and friends on her engagement. The arrangement is by names of the correspondents or groups of them. There is also a tintype photograph of their children, Redmond and Davidson, taken in 1886.

Black, Davidson, Sr.

Personal

Davidson Black kept a diary throughout much of his adult life. There are 28 volumes in this series. The earliest is for 1902, the year he entered medicine at the University of Toronto; it includes a tally of monthly expenses. The last diary is for 1934, the final entry being for 9 March, six days before his death. For each of the years 1922 and 1925, there are two volumes of diaries. There are no diaries present for the years 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, and 1912. The diary Davidson kept while on active service during World War I is filed with his service records in Series 4. Most of the entries are brief as the diaries, except for 1902, are small. Some of the loose entries with the diaries are longer.

A number of items document his personal activities. The earliest is a small well-thumbed copy of 'The Book of Common Prayer', presented to him by his mother on his 9th birthday in 1893. A notebook, a journal, and permits document his early interest in ornithology. Finally, there are files of memorabilia, poems and sketches, and on honours bestowed on him later in life, along with twelve diplomas and certificates.

Education

This series contains certificates and diplomas, correspondence, course and lab notes, term papers and memorabilia documenting aspects of Davidson Black’s education, running from the Wellesley School through Harbord Collegiate and the Faculties of Medicine and Arts at the University of Toronto. There is also a file on Davidson’s summer project in 1907 to earn money for his Bachelor of Arts program, prospecting in the Temagami Forest Reserve.

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.

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