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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:781 1930-1951

Hsia Pin-fang papers


Incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports to the head office of the Bank of China, cables, and some bank records.


  • 1929-1977
  • Majority of material found within 1936-1952


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information on access procedures and reproduction services.

Conditions Governing Use

In many cases, Baker Library does not hold the copyright to the materials in its collections. Researchers are responsible for determining copyright status and identifying and contacting any copyright holders for permission to reproduce or publish content from collections. Baker Library has included the names of third-party copyright holders at the folder and item level when known.


6.5 linear feet (16 volumes, 13 boxes)

The collection contains private letters, business correspondence, reports, memoranda and other documents written or received by Hsia Pin-fang between 1935 and 1952, with the bulk of the material dated from 1939 to 1951. Most of the material covers the period dating from Hsia’s 1939 appointment as manager of the New York agency of the Bank of China until his resignation from the bank while serving as London branch manager in 1951.

The records document Hsia’s work for the Bank of China during World War II, the Chinese Civil War, and the Communist takeover. The New York records cover Hsia’s tenure as agency manager, 1939-1943, including his work on remittances of funds between the U.S. and China, day-to-day agency operations, correspondence with bank officials and others in China, interactions with U.S. banking and government officials, and the gathering of political and financial information that Hsia reported to the bank’s home office in China. There are also records documenting Hsia Pin-fang’s work as the Bank of China’s representative in Canada from 1943 to 1946.

Also includes records created during Hsia’s years as London branch manager, 1946-1951. The London records document Hsia’s involvement in the operations of the Bank of China’s London office in the immediate postwar years and during the Communist takeover. These records cover Hsia’s efforts to navigate the competing pressures from the Communist government in Beijing and the nationalists in Taiwan concerning the status of the London branch. Finally, the records cover Hsia Pin-fang’s eventual decision to resign from the Bank of China in 1951, and to travel to the U.S. to reunite with his family in New York.

The collection is arranged in two series. The first consists of sixteen volumes of bound correspondence, 1935-1948. The second is unbound material containing letters, reports, memoranda, and other records, 1929-1977.

Biographical / Historical

Hsia Pin-fang (1902-1970) was an executive of the Bank of China who managed the bank’s operations in New York, Ottawa, and London from 1939 to 1951, during the height of World War II and the Chinese civil war that resulted in the Communist takeover of 1949. Hsia was born in Anjing, Anhui province, China, on December 2, 1902. He was admitted by examination to Tsinghua University in Beijing and graduated in 1924. A scholarship funded his study in the United States, where he first earned a B. A. in economics and business administration from Colorado College in Colorado Springs in 1925. Hsia then attended Harvard Business School, where he graduated with an M.B.A. in 1927, concentrating on investment banking. While in the U.S., he met Lui Shuting, graduate of the University of Michigan with a Ph. D. in mathematics. The couple were married in December 1929 and returned to China, settling in Shanghai.

Upon his arrival in Shanghai, Hsia Pin-fang joined the international department of the Bank of China, one of China’s largest banks, which by 1935 was one of four banks controlled by the Chinese government. During the 1930s, he worked in various roles in the Bank of China’s international business and trust departments. In 1939, Hsia was appointed manager of the Bank of China’s New York agency. From 1939 to 1944, he oversaw the daily operations of the New York branch, which handled the bank’s activities in the Western hemisphere, including investment management and remittance transactions between New York and China. These activities were complicated by the circumstances of World War II and the Japanese occupation of parts of China. Hsia’s responsibilities also included providing the bank’s home office with status reports on political, economic, banking, and military issues. He was considerably involved in fundraising and other public activities aimed at increasing support for China’s cause in the Western world.

In 1944, Hsia was transferred to Ottawa to serve as the Bank of China’s resident representative in Canada and to establish a branch there. Then in 1946, Hsia was appointed manager of the Bank of China’s London branch, and was responsible for the bank’s operations and activities in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Africa during the period of economic recovery following the end of World War II. His years in the London office, 1946 to 1951, coincided with the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949) and the founding of the People’s Republic of China in October 1949 after the Communist victory. The effect of the Communist takeover on the Bank of China proved a considerable challenge to Hsia, who was pressed for loyalty by the Communist and Nationalist (then based in Taiwan) sides. Both claimed jurisdiction over the foreign assets and activities of the Bank of China.

In 1951, as the Communist government increased its control over the Bank of China, Hsia Pin-fang decided to resign his position. Having previously sent his family to the United States, he left London in February 1951, traveling first to Canada and then to New York. He left the banking industry and with the help of friends, joined the oil firm Magnus, Maybee and Renard in New York in 1952. In 1969, Hsia became a U.S. citizen. He died in New York City on December 22, 1970.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Edward Hsia, 1977 and Calvin Hsia, 1984.

Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections and Archives, Harvard Business School Repository

Baker Library Special Collections and Archives holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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