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Bernard and Katherine Read Papers

Call Number: RG 157

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection relates to Bernard Read's scientific research and writing regarding pharmacology. A full listing of titles of his writings is in the first folder of Series 3. Added to the collection in 2014 was an unpublished typescript manuscript by Read titled "Vegetable and Plant Drugs."

Extensive correspondence of Read records his interactions with colleagues in China and elsewhere. The collection also provides valuable documentation from the period when Read was interned by the Japanese during World War II. Also of interest is the correspondence from Katherine L. Read to her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Henderson, who were missionaries in Burma, and correspondence between Katherine and Bernard during their separation caused by World War II.

The collection includes a biography of Bernard Read written by his wife and son, and an annotated copy of a memoir written by Katherine L. Read with Robert O. Ballou, which documents the work of her parents, Albert and Cora Henderson.

Added in 2014 were more than 500 3" x 3" glass slides accompanied by a listing of identification by number. The slides include plant, insect, and animal specimens, microscope slides of chemical compounds, archaeological sites in China, scientific equipment, individuals, class groups, scenes in China.


  • 1902-1964


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Robert E. Read.


  1. I. Family Correspondence, 1918-1949, n.d.
  2. II. General Correspondence, 1902-1964, n.d.
  3. III. Writings of Bernard E. Read, 1917-1949, n.d.
  4. IV. Personal Items and Memorabilia, 1919-1951, n.d.
  5. V. Glass Slides, 1920s, n.d.


11 Linear Feet (24 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


These papers document Bernard Read's work as a scientist in China from 1909 to 1949, as well as the life of his family in China and his internment during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, 1941-1945. Bernard Read was not directly engaged by a missionary agency but spent the first part of his career in China at the Peking Union Medical College, a union venture related to various mission agencies. Read left the Peking Union Medical College due to disagreements with its leaders, and went to work for the Henry Lester Institute, an organization financed by an American businessman in Shanghai.

Biographical / Historical

1887 May 17
Born in Brighton, England
York Place Secondary School
Pharmaceutical Training
Business training, Hove, Sussex, London
College of Pharmacy, M.P.S., Ph.C.
Lecturer in Chemistry and Pharmacy, Peking Union Medical College
Johns Hopkins Medical School, Biochemistry, with summer classes at Chicago University and Harvard
Yale University, Nutrition, M.S.
Married Katherine Luella Henderson
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Peking
Yale University, Pharmacology, Ph.D
University of Chicago, Pathology
Professor of Pharmacology, Peking
Head of Physiological Sciences, Henry Lester Institute of Medical Research, Shanghai
King Gold Medal, Peking Natural History Society
Interned by Japanese during WW II
Director of Henry Lester Institute
Chairman, Chinese Mission to Lepers
Chairman, Canadian Aid to China and Nursing Aid Committee, China
Member of Union Community Church, Shanghai
1949 Jun 13
Died in Shanghai
Guide to the Bernard and Katherine Read Papers
Compiled by Elizabeth Pipes and Martha Lund Smalley
2000, 2014
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared According To Local Divinity Library Descriptive Practices
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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