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I started working on the metadata on Gamble photograph in January 2008, when these images had been sent to Duke University Libraries (DUL) after digitization. I was immediately fascinated by these images of Chinese life more than 100 years ago as I tried to figure out  the location and background of each picture, and later as I translated their titles into Chinese. Since then, I have wanted  to promote this collection to audiences  around the world.

In early 2012, Guo-Juin Hong and I started to work on creating an exhibition of Gamble photographs in Beijing. Among the 5,000 photographs in this collection, there are about 2,000 images related to Beijing, in which our host, Capital Library, has a special interest. Over the summer, we went through these 2000 images, narrowed down our selections and decided on the theme and arrangements. Karen Glynn, the moving archivist at DUL then, offered professional advice on the selection. In the fall, we had the good fortune of having three PhD students join the curatorial team. Jason Woerner, Ana Huang and Kshama Kumar explored the images, wrote photographic essays and assisted greatly on various curatorial tasks.

I’m also very grateful to my colleagues in the library who offered me timely professional support at different stages: Kirston Johnson and Margaret Brown helped me figure out the right size for printing the images; Sean Aery devoted a lot of time to designing and refining the website for the exhibition. Mike Adamo, quickly prepared all images to be sent to the vendor and digitize the exhibit plan blueprint.  Aaron Welborn helped us copy-edit this catalog. Aaron and Laura Brinn, director of global communications at Duke University, worked out the communications plan for the exhibit. Ann Elsner helped me with budget and the contract with the vendors. I’m also grateful to the students involved in this project: Sagar Patel and Jaeho Chang worked extraordinarily hard in planning and arranging images in the exhibit hall; Hui Dong accepted all my last minute tasks and accomplished them beautifully; Christine Farell composed the timeline of Gamble’s life and work in China; Ouwen Huang helped with the design and construction of the website for the exhibition. Last but not least, I’m grateful to Naomi Nelson, director of Rubenstein Library, for her advice and continued support of this project.

I am feeling very fortunate to be able to put up the exhibition at Capital Library of China as part of their centennial celebration. I have had the warmest support from the assistant directors of Capital Library, Mr. Li Guannan and Mr. Chen Jian.  I appreciate Mr. Li Cheng correcting the mistakes in the captions. I thank Mr. Liu Yang and Ms. Sun Jie for their help with handling the many details required to make this exhibition happen.

Luo Zhou

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