The Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr. Collection on Muslims in China

Biographical Note

"Wei River Valley - W. Shensi. Gospel Hall,
Ch'i Hsien." (CP02.11.05) from The Rev. Claude L. Pickens, Jr., Trip to Northwest China, photograph album, p. [11]

Claude L Pickens, Jr. (1900-1985) and his wife, Elizabeth Zwemer Pickens, were Christian missionaries of the China Inland Mission (C.I.M.) and had a particular interest in the category of China's Muslims who are now officially designated as "Hui" in China. Their interests were both evangelical and scholarly. From 1927 to 1937, Pickens worked in river ports along the Yangzi and for the Episcopal Diocese in Hankow, where he was assistant pastor to the Chinese pastor at St. Peter's Church.  In 1933, accompanied by his father-in-law, Samuel M. Zwemer, a missionary to Muslims in the Middle East, and again in 1936, Pickens and other China missionaries made surveys of Muslims in northwest China, northeast Tibet, and Inner Mongolia.  In 1933, Rev. Samuel Zwemer was invited by the Kuling Convention Committee in Kiangsi, China, to address the Convention. Zwemer, who was editor of the influential journal Moslem World, had previously visited China in 1917 and made a trek into China's northwest in 1936, during which time he supplemented his earlier photographic record.

From 1937 to 1938, during the Sino-Japanese war, Pickens was on leave in the U.S. and in Zamboanga, Philippines, where he worked with Muslims. In 1939 the family returned to central China. During WWII they were held from 1941 to 1942 by the Japanese as prisoners of war; then from 1942 to 1945 Rev. Pickens worked for the FDMS in New York City and attended Columbia University. In 1945 he received an M.A. from the Dept. of Chinese and Japanese with a  thesis entitled Annotated Bibliography of Literature on Islam in China (Hankow: Society of the Friends of Moslem in China).  His own copy of the Bibliography contains numerous citations added by him in hand over the years and is held in the Harvard-Yenching Library's collection of his materials. Rev. Pickens described the genesis of his collection in a letter to the Library in 1984:

I began collecting such literature in 1926 when I met Mr. I. [Isaac] Mason in Shanghai. He left to retire in England the next year and gave me a number of the old books. I was able to accumulate a number of the later publications through the Muslim Book Store in Peking. When we had to leave China after Pearl Harbour [sic] I brought some of these Islam books home, took them back to China in 1945 and brought them out again in 1950. If nothing else, they have traveled a good deal.

After WWII the Pickens family returned to central China where Claude was Canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, Hankow, until 1950 when the family returned to New York. From 1953 to 1965, he worked with the National Council of Churches' Student Volunteer Movement of the National Council of Churches, and then with foreign students in New York City for the Foreign and Domestic Missionary Society-Episcopal Church Center. In 1962, he took a leave to minister to Aramco employees in Arabia. He  retired to Annisquam, MA, in 1969 to study and write.

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Islam in China: A Selected Bibliography of English-Language Publications

Atwill, David G., The Chinese sultanate: Islam, ethnicity, and the Panthay Rebellion in southwest China, 1856-1873 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005)

Ben-Dor Benite, Zvi,  The dao of Muhammad : a cultural history of Muslims in late imperial China (Cambridge: Published by the Harvard University Asia Center ; dist. by Harvard University Press, 2005) 

Dillon, Michael, China’s Muslim Hui community: migration, settlement and sects ( Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1999) 

Friends of Moslems : the quarterly newsletter of the Society of Friends of the Moslems in China.   (Hankow: The Society, 1928-1951). Title varies.    

Gladney, Dru C., Muslim Chinese: ethnic nationalism in the People’s Republic (Cambridge: Council on East Asian Studies, Harvard University: dist. by Harvard University Press, 2nd ed. 1996)

Israeli, Raphael, with the assistance of Lyn Gorman, Islam in China: a critical bibliography (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994)  

Israeli, Raphael, “The cross battles the crescent: one century of missionary work among Chinese Muslims (1850-1950),� Modern Asian Studies 29, no. 1 (1995), 203-221.

Jaschok, Maria, and Shui Jingjun, The history of women’s mosques in Chinese Islam: a mosque of their own (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000)

The Legacy of Islam in China : an international symposium in memory of Joseph F. Fletcher, Harvard University, 14-16 April 1989 / sponsored by the John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies & the Andrew D. [sic] Mellon Foundation. 
(Cambridge: The Center, 1989]   

Leslie, Donald, The integration of religious minorities in China: the case of Chinese Muslims (Canberra: Australian National University, 1998)  

Leslie, Donald, Islamic literature in Chinese, late Ming and early Ch’ing: books, authors, and associates (Belconnen: Canberra College of Advanced Education, 1981)

Lipman, Jonathan, Familiar strangers: a history of Muslims in Northwest China (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997)

Mason, Isaac, Notes on Chinese Mohammedan literature. Reprinted 1939 from Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. LVI, 1925, pp. [172]-215.

Pickens, Claude L., Annotated bibliography of literature on Islam in China. (Hankow: Society of Friends of the Moslems in China, 1950). Originally appeared in successive numbers of Friends of Moslems.

Wang, Jianping, Concord and conflict : the Hui communities of Yunnan society in a historical perspective (Stockholm : Almqvist & Wiksell, 1996) 

Wang, Jianping, Glossary of Chinese Islamic terms (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press on behalf of Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, 2001)

Xinjiang : China’s Muslim borderland, ed by  S. Frederick Starr ( Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2004 )

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