Roy Maxwell Talbot (1880 -1963) began his career in the Chinese Maritime Customs in 1908. He served as Commissioner of Customs from 1935 until 1938, when he became Audit Secretary in the Inspectorate General's Office. He was in that position until 1942. He served in Canton, Icheng, Nanking, Shanghai, Harbin, Swatow, Kongmoon, Aigun, Antung, Changsha, Amoy and Kunning. In July, 1932, Talbot was arrested by Japanese officials in Antung, Manchuria for refusing to hand over the Chinese customs revenues. In 1941 he was arrested by the Japanese and held in the Bridge House, an infamous dungeon, for 42 days. Talbot's detention created an international incident. Newspapers around the world carried headlines of an arrest of an "American" employed by the Chinese.
The collection was donated by Cecelia Talbot, daughter of Roy Maxwell Talbot, in 1970. Diaries, printed material, photographs and negatives, personal correspondence, radio script, copies of official papers, ephemeral material, artifacts, and miscellaneous records of Roy Maxwell Talbot document his life in China as a Customs Service Agent from 1908-1942. The diaries contain the greatest depth of information. The majority of the photographs are not identified. The collection is contained in 12 boxes, approximately six linear feet.
The research material in the collection is available to view by appointment.