The China Biographical Database is a freely accessible relational database with biographical information about approximately 370,000 individuals as of April 2017, primarily from the 7th through 19th centuries. With both online and offline versions, the data is meant to be useful for statistical, social network, and spatial analysis as well as serving as a kind of biographical reference. The image below shows the spatial distribution of a cross dynastic subset of 190,000 people in CBDB by basic affiliations (籍貫).
The long term goal of CBDB is systematically to include all significant biographical material from China’s historical record and to make the contents available free of charge, without restriction, for academic use. That data is regularly being enriched and new biographical entries are being created for Tang, Five Dynasties, Liao, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing figures.
CBDB originates with the work of Robert M. Hartwell (1932–1996). Professor Hartwell bequeathed his estate, including the first version of this database, to the Harvard-Yenching Institute which ceded its ownership.
The development of CBDB is now a joint project of:
For more details, please see General Introduction to CBDB 201404
John Fryer Collection: This collection consists of over 2,000 volumes on Chinese history, philosophy and classics, which are mostly 18th and 19th century imprints. It also contains some of Fryer's translations of Western scientific and technological works, 5,000 lantern slides, and original manuscripts submitted by contestants in a novel writing contest Fryer organized in 1895, which were published recently as a 14-volume 清末時新小說集(2011).
Chinese rare book collection: It contains over 800 titles in over 11,000 volumes dated before 1795, including 43 titles printed during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1271-1368) Dynasties, and manuscripts that were hand copied by well-known scholars. 41 titles of the Song Yuan rare books have been reprinted in China. 柏克萊加州大學東亞圖書館藏宋元珍本叢刊 (2014). The East Asian Library has published a Chinese rare book catalog 柏克萊加州大学東亞圖書館中文古籍善本書志(2005), A relatively comprehensive catalog of the Chinese books (pre-1912) is published in 2017.
The Stone and Bronze Rubbings: The collection includes more than 2,000 items of fine model copybooks of Chinese calligraphy and stone rubbings. A two volume catalog 柏克萊加州大學東亞圖書館藏碑帖 was published by the East Asian library in 2008. The library also purchased a collection of rubbings compiled by the well-known Qing Dynasty antiquarian Chen Jieqi 陳介祺, entitled 簠齋存古餘錄.
Early Buddhist Scriptures: The East Asian library has acquired the Ho-Chiang Collection of Early Buddhist Scriptures, which contains woodblock and manuscript sutras that date from the 8th to the 19th centuries. This collection was originally collected by Ho Kuang-chung and his wife, Chiang Chen-yu. The library also holds one outstanding volume of manuscript that was calligraphed by the Qing scholoar Qian Qianyi 錢謙益, which was a rare gift that it received from the grandson of Chiang Ju-tsao 蔣汝藻, owner of the fine private library 密韻樓.
Paul Fonoroff Film Collections for Chinese Film Studies: This collection was acquired by the C.V. Starr East Asian Library in 2015. Now it is the largest and most comprehensive Chinese film studies collection in North America. It contains over-70,000 periodicals, posters, photographs, and ephemera.