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Beatrice Pilon fonds
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Beatrice Pilon fonds

  • 14
  • Fonds
  • 1926-1979, predominant 1947-1949

The fonds consists of material Pilon created and collected when she was in China from 1947-49. Pilon worked for the Pioneer Timber Co., and attended the Medical College at West China Union University (WCUU), in Chengtu, Szechwan, China. Prominent themes among the fonds materials are the daily life of an international student in China, Christian missionary work in China, and discussions (among English speakers) on the contemporary Chinese Revolution of 1949.

Records include letters, photos from China and Tibet, local publications, and drafts of Pilon's essays. The fonds also includes an original book of Mongolian Folklore (1926) and other misc. related items. Also includes digitized copies of material, created by Pilon's niece, Jane Wagner.

The records are organized into the following function-based files:

  1. Correspondence
  2. Photography
  3. Collected Publications
  4. Personal Writing
  5. Ideas
  6. Passports
  7. Mongolian Folk Lore
  8. Blank Stationary
  9. Collection of Chinese Currency
  10. Stamp Collection

Beatrice Pilon

Collected Publications

This file consists of materials not written by Pilon or addressed directly to her. It seems that Pilon collected them from local circulation. The materials include:

  • "The Colossal Conceit of Missionaries," a 16-page pamphlet by Leslie G. Kilborn
  • "Statement Regarding Sze Shen Tsi Hospital"
  • "United Church of Canada - West China Mission Executive Committee" November 13, 1948
  • "United Church of Canada - West China Mission Executive Committee" November 20, 1948
  • "Directory of Chengtu Foreign Community, as on January 1st, 1948"
  • "West China Union University News Bulletin" vol. 5, no. 2., May-June 1948
  • "Chinese Forms of Politeness," by Dr. O.L. Kilborn, 1926
  • "Notes on Talk Given by Commissioner Ren, of the Bureau of Education, Province of Szechwan -- to the Chengtu Rotary Club, on February 24, 1948"
  • "Spring Semester 1949 College of Arts the Department of Western Languages Background Lectures for the Study of Mediaeval and Early Renaissance Life and Literature"
  • "A Note on the Tukiangyien Irrigation System," small book published by Bureau of Hydraulic Engineering, Szechwan, China, 1943
  • "College of Medicine and Dentistry Report" 1937-1939
  • "UBC Student Looks Back To Adventures in Orient," newspaper article by Donna Kerrighan, ca. 1951
  • "Dear Friends around the World," letter by Earl Wilmott regarding the revolution, October 30, 1949
  • "Dear Friends and fellow-world-citizens," letter by Mary Katharine Willmott regarding the revolution, October 29, 1949
  • "Statement of Origin and Organisation of Higher Education for Women in West China Union University, Chengty, Szechwan, China"
  • "United Church of Canada West China Mission Executive Committee" November 27th, 1948
  • "Notes on a discussion of a meeting of Canadian Nationals in the Canadian School, on November 20, 1948 - at 2:00 P.M."
  • "An Anglo-Canadian Couple's 30 Years in New China," journal article by Isabel and David Crook, Eastern Horizon, December 1979

Collection of Chinese Currency

This file consists of several denominations of Chinese Golden Yuan, printed in 1947 and 1949 (out of circulation today). The denominations are 1, 500, 5,000, 10,000, 50,000, and 500,000.


This file consists of correspondence by and to Pilon, exchanged during her travels in China. There are multiple lengthy letters from Pilon describing her experiences in China.
The file also contains a letter from Doramma Nelli which included two lace doilies. The letter explains that Nelli's family (missionaries) is in need of financial aid, and hope to sell needlework pieces; the doilies are included to exemplify their skill.


This file consists of the contents of a folder marked "Ideas." The materials are a mixture of correspondence, poetry, unused stationary, and a copy of the "Report of the Leper Hospital of the West China Union University College of Medicine and Dentistry 1947."

Mongolian Folk Lore

This file consists of one copy of the book "Mongolian Folk Lore." translated by T. Attree in January 1926, in Tienstin. N. China. The file also contains a complete b&w scan of the book.


This file consists of one complete Canadian passport (expired 1952) and the photo page of a separate Canadian passport (expired 1964), both in Pilon's name.

Personal Writing

This file consists of 5 essays written by Pilon, as well as a draft of one of the essays.
Essay titles:

  1. "So you have never been to a Chinese play?!" (first line of apparently untitled essay) (draft copy included)
  2. "Superficially Civilized Hua Si Pa"
  3. "Street Sounds of Chengtu"
  4. "The Most Unforgettable Character I've Met" (written 1953 after leaving China)
  5. "Ends and Means - Aldous Huxley"


This file contains three sets of images. One set consists of 53 b&w photos and one postcard, collected by Pilon on her travels in China. Another set consists of three b&w photos. A third set consists of 14 negatives from a trip to Tibet that Pilon took circa 1948. This set has been digitized and can be viewed online (items a033047 through a033060)
Subject materials include Pilon and her companions, temples, festivals, landscapes, markets, residences, and residents.

Seated Buddhist monks

Image depicts four seated men wearing regalia that indicates they are probably Tibetian Buddist monks. They sit on the ground outside a building that may be a monastery or temple.

Stamp Collection

This file consists of 18 stamps from the National Central China Post.
10 stamps for 500,000 yuan : purple
4 stamps for 10,000 yuan : green
2 stamps for 10,000 yuan : red
2 stamps for 10,000 yuan: blue and red

Tibetan building

Image depicts a large Tibetan building, possibly a temple or a monastery. Traditional Tibetan architectural features visible here include a structure with multiple windows to let in sunlight and a flat roof to preserve heat. These dwellings are often constructed with a combination of wood, rocks, cement, and earth. Several figures are seated in front of this dwelling near a row of drums.

Tibetan building from a distance

Image depicts another view of the possibly religious structure depicted in item a033049. In addition to the architectural details noted earlier (many windows, flat roof, structure comprised of wood, earth, stone, and cement) this view depicts a prayer wheel, a cylindrical wheel on a spindle), visible on the roof, centre left of the image. The four sided walls indicate that this building may be located in the Ladakh region. A collection of drums and many seated individuals are visible in front of the building and one person appears to be dancing.

Tibetian Buddhist monks

Image depicts several men wearing robes that suggest they are Tibetian Buddhist monks. They are standing in a courtyard outside a large building and may be dancing.

Tibetian Buddhist monks dancing

Image depicts several men, dressed in what appear to be Buddhist robes, dancing in a courtyard outside a large building. They carry scarves, which appear to be a part of this dance.

Tibetian dance, distant view

Image depicts individuals dancing next to a large building that may be a Tibetian monastery or temple. The dancers wear regalia and carry scarves and may be performing the Black Hat dance.

Tibetian dancing

Image depicts another view of dancing what may be the Black Hat Dance in front of a building that may be a Buddhist monastery or temple. Also visible are some large drums, which may be played for this dance.

Tibetian dancing

Image depicts a distant view of several individuals dancing what may be the Black Hat Dance in front of a building that may be a Tibetian Buddhist monastery or temple.

Tibetian dancing, side view

Image depicts several individuals dressed in regalia dancing what may be the Black Hat dance. Also visible on the left side of the print are several seated men wearing what may be Buddhist monk's robes. This dance is taking place outside a large building that may be a monastery or temple.

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