Lucy Monroe Calhoun letters, 1909-1923

Lucy Monroe Calhoun, sister of poet and editor Harriet Monroe, was born in 1865. Before her marriage to William J. Calhoun, she had been a freelance art critic for Chicago newspapers as well as national publications. When her husband served as U.S. minister to China, she became the social leader of the diplomatic community in Peking.

After her husband’s death, Lucy Calhoun served in the war effort in France in World War I. In the 1920’s she returned to Peking, established her home in an ancient temple, collected art, and become an “institution” in the city. She remained in Peking until the Japanese occupation of the city in 1937.Lucy Monroe Calhoun died in Chicago in 1950, aged 85.

The collection includes six letters by Lucy Monroe Calhoun and three by husband William J. Calhoun (U.S.Minister to China, 1909-1913), regarding their experiences in China during the last years of the Qing Dynasty. One letter describes in detail the wedding of Emperor Puyi in December, 1922. A seventh letter relates Lucy Calhoun’s visit to LeMans, France, which served as an embarkation point for troops at the conclusion of World War I. View collection guide