Lorenzo James Hatch and Hatch family papers, circa 1890-1950, bulk 1908-1914

A Finding Aid to the Lorenzo James Hatch and Hatch Family Papers, 1902-1937, bulk 1908-1914, in the Archives of American Art, by Jayna M. Hanson

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Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art

Table of Contents:

Biographical Information

Lorenzo James Hatch (1856-1914) was born in Vermont and is best known for his work as a portrait engraver in Washington, D.C. and New York. He worked for the United States Bureau of Printing and Engraving, private bank note printers, and in China, assisting the government with establishing a government bureau of printing and engraving.

Early in his career, Lorenzo found his talent for engraving intricate portraits in metals. In 1874, the head of the United States Bureau of Printing and Engraving admired Hatch's portrait of George Washington on copper and hired him. During his time in Washington, D.C., Hatch spent his nights studying drawing and watercolor painting. However, his talent to engrave vignettes of presidents and other famous figures proved more impressive.

In 1888, Hatch moved to Chicago to work for a private bank note company. There, he met Grace Harrison of California. They were married and had one son, Harrison in 1902. After taking a job in New York City with another bank note company, Hatch solidified his reputation in the field. Around 1908, the Chinese government invited Hatch to establish a Bureau of Printing and Engraving modeled after that of the United States. He accepted a six-year contract to oversee the building of the bureau and train the Chinese to run the office. With his wife, their son, and sister-in-law Effie Harrision, Lorenzo moved to Peking.

During his time in China, Lorenzo Hatch succeeded in building the foundations for a modern printing bureau. However, the revolution in China between 1911-1912 hindered completion. He described his experiences, perceptions, and insecurities of being in China to his family and friends through letters. Before his contract ended, Hatch passed away on February 3, 1914.

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Overview of the Collection

Scope and Contents

The Lorenzo James Hatch and Hatch family papers consist of family correspondence, printed material, scrapbooks of printed materials and photographs, and a travel account. Most of the collection concerns the family's time in Beijing (formerly Peking), China from 1908-1914 while Hatch was assisting the Chinese government with creating a Bureau of Printing and Engraving. The papers reveal impressions of the social and economic conditions of the Chinese, the revolutionary events of 1911 and 1912, the Pneumonic Plague epidemic in China from 1910-1911, and sight-seeing trips. Included letters are from Lorenzo Hatch, his wife Grace Harrison Hatch, his son Harrison, and Grace's sister Miss Effie Harrison to mostly family members in the United States between 1908-1914.

Letters trace the family's journey from California to Peking, China, and their life in China. Lorenzo's correspondence includes information concerning Chinese politics and the revolution, the roles of Sun Yat-Sen and Yuan Shih K'ai between 1911-1912 and the fall of the Qing Dynasty. Effie Harrison's and Grace Hatch's letters discuss day-to-day life in China, sight-seeing trips and their reactions to the social and political unrest in the country. Additional correspondence includes condolence letters sent to the family after Lorenzo's death. There is a also a written account by Effie Harrison describing her travel to China on a steamer ship.

Printed materials consist of clippings and a Macbeth Gallery exhibition catalog from a 1937 show of Hatch's paintings.

There are three photographs of Peking. Three disbound scrapbooks include photographs of the Chinese landscape and monuments, interior shots, and of the family traveling through China. Photographs are of the Ming Tombs, the Great Wall of China, as well as temples and city buildings. Some later photographs are of family members that were taken around 1920, after their return to the United States. The scrapbooks also contain examples of Chinese currency designed by Lorenzo James Hatch.

Arrangement and Series Description

The collection is arranged into 5 series:

Subjects and Names

This collection is indexed in the online catalog of the Archives of American Art under the following terms:


  • Sun, Yat-sen, 1866-1925
  • Yuan, Shikai, 1859-1916


  • Engravers


  • China -- Description and travel
  • China -- History -- Revolution, 1911-1912
  • China -- History -- Qing dynasty, 1644-1912
  • China -- Social conditions -- 1644-1912

Types of Materials:

  • Photographs
  • Scrapbooks


  • Harrison, Effie C.
  • Hatch, Grace


The papers of Lorenzo James Hatch and the Hatch family were donated in 1989 by Hatch's great-grandniece, Janet Young Brockmoller.

How the Collection was Processed

The papers were processed by Jayna Hanson in September of 2008. In 2010, the collection was arranged for digitization by Jayna Hanson with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

How to Use the Collection

Restrictions on Use

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website. Use of original papers requires an appointment.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Lorenzo James Hatch and Hatch family papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

Available Formats

The collection was digitized in 2009 and is available via the Archives of American Art's website.

How to Cite this Collection

Lorenzo James Hatch and Hatch family papers, 1902-1937, bulk 1908-1914. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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Detailed Description and Container Inventory

Series 1: Correspondence, 1902-1914,
(Box 1-3; 0.9 linear feet)

Family correspondence consists primarily of letters written by and between Lorenzo Hatch, wife Grace, son Harrison, and sister-in-law Effie Harrison from China to family members back in the United States. Lorenzo's letters to his mother, Mrs. Francis E. Hatch are less informative than letters to his sisters, Lizzie Cheney and Mrs. Frederick Bush. Typically, Grace's letters are to her mother and mother-in-law discussing general daily activities Effie wrote to her mother, Lydia J. Harrison and sister Gail Harrison about her experiences in China. Combined, these letters are a rich source of information about the Chinese revolution in 1911-1912 and the fall of the Qing dynasty, as well as general information about Chinese people, places, and other affairs, particularly the pneumonic plague. Some topics are noted in the folder descriptions.

Letters are arranged by name of family member, followed by more general correspondence. Researchers should note that letters may not be in strict chronological order as Grace and Effie did not always put dates on their correspondence. Letters for which a specific date could not be assertained have been placed in a circa dated folder which is found at the end of each person's correspondence files. At times, original order has been maintained for undated letters although it is unclear at which point the letters were arranged in this manner.

Often, Grace and Effie included enclosures in their letters of fabric, photographs, and ephemera. These items are scanned directly following the letter in which they were enclosed. This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
1 1 Lorenzo Hatch, 1902, 1904
1 2 Lorenzo Hatch, 1908
1 3 Lorenzo Hatch, 1909
1 4 Lorenzo Hatch, 1910
1 5 Lorenzo Hatch, 1911
(Pneumonic Plague in China, October 11th revolt, revolutionary activities, potential abdication of Qing dynasty)
1 6 Lorenzo Hatch, 1912
(Abdication of Qing dynasty, Sun Yat-Sen, Yuan Shin K'ai)
1 7 Lorenzo Hatch, 1913
1 8 Lorenzo Hatch, circa 1910s
1 9 Grace Hatch, 1902, 1908
1 10 Grace Hatch, 1909
1 11 Grace Hatch, 1910
1 12 Grace Hatch, 1911
(Uncertainty of situation in China)
Box Folder
2 1 Grace Hatch, 1912
2 2 Grace Hatch, 1913,1914
2 3 Grace Hatch, circa 1910s
2 4 Effie Harrison, 1908
2 5 Effie Harrison, 1909
2 6 Effie Harrison, 1910
2 7 Effie Harrison, 1911-1912, 1914, circa 1910s
Box Folder
3 1 Harrison Hatch, 1908-1913
3 2 General, 1908-1913
3 3 General, Lorenzo's Death, 1914

Series 2: Writings, circa 1912
(Box 3; 1 folder)

This series consists of a written account by Effie Harrison about her journey to China and time spent there.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
3 4 by Effie Harrison, circa 1912

Series 3: Printed Material, 1902-1937
(Box 3; 2 folders)

This series includes one catalog of an exhibition of Hatch's work at the Macbeth Gallery in New York and three newspaper clippings concerning Chinese events.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
3 5 Clippings, 1902, 1912, 1922
3 6 Exhibition Catalog, 1937

Series 4: Photographs, circa 1911
(Box 3; 1 folder)

This series includes three photographs of Beijing (formerly Peking), China.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
3 7 Peking, China, circa 1911

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1908-1911, circa 1920s
(Box 3-4; 0.3 linear feet)

This series contains three scrapbooks consisting of photographs taken in China of and by the Hatch family, landscapes, and Chinese monuments, buildings and temples. Also found are examples of Chinese currency designed by Hatch, postage stamps, some clippings and postcards.

The scrapbooks were photocopied in their original order and disassembled for preservation.

This series has been scanned in its entirety.

Box Folder
3 8 Photocopies of scrapbooks, 1908-1911, circa 1920s
Box Folder
4 1 Oversized Scrapbooks, 1908-1911, circa 1920s