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1911 Revolution in China: Francis Stafford's Photo Exhibition

From 13 June 2008 to 4 March 2009
Special Exhibition Gallery, UG/F, Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum

Francis Eugene Stafford was an American who in 1909 moved with his wife and son to Shanghai to work as a photographer and printer for the Commercial Press. By virtue of his profession, Stafford gained access to many different parts of China. The Wuchang Uprising of 1911 was an epoch-making event in modern Chinese history that captured the attention of the world's media, and many reporters lost no time in going to Wuhan to record the events taking place there; as a professional photographer, Stafford was no exception. During the 1911 Revolution, Stafford took numerous pictures of scenes from Wuhan to Shanghai, including the establishment of the Hubei Military Government, the confrontation between revolutionary and imperial troops, the burning of Hankou, the peace conference between the Qing Government and the independent provinces, as well as Dr Sun Yat-sen leaving Shanghai for Nanjing to assume the provisional presidency. This series of some 60 photos records not only important episodes in the late Qing and early Republican periods but also people's lives during that era, and they thus paint an exceptional backdrop to the founding of the Republic of China. The combat between the revolutionary and imperial armies at Hankou and Hanyang, which lasted more than 40 days, is particularly well documented in Stafford's photos, making this collection a valuable visual account of the 1911 Revolution.