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Commercial documents, 1800-1920

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS JM/H1

Scope and Contents

Chops, receipts and other commercial papers of the Hongs (Chinese merchant houses) and Hong merchants, many including stamps. The documents are in Chinese, but some include English notes describing the contents. The word 'chop' has been used in the documents in the sense of the Chinese word 'chah' (pronounced 'chap' or chop), meaning a contract, diploma or similar document, rather than the more standard meaning of a seal, stamp or brand, which was the use employed in the Pigeon English of the Chinese ports.


  • Creation: 1800-1920


Conditions Governing Access

From the Fonds:

Access to the collection is subject to special conditions and is at the discretion of Matheson and Co. Ltd, part of the Jardine Matheson Group. A statement of the conditions and an application form are available in the Manuscripts Reading Room. Printed copies of the form are available by post (please contact the University Library). An electronic version can also be found at

Records described in the catalogue as being in a bad condition are in a fragile state that precludes them being made available to readers.

Access is generally available to documents dated up to 1969. Access to some earlier records may be restricted under the terms of the Data Protection Act, 1998.


c. 577 item(s) (c. 577 items)

Language of Materials



Other Finding Aids

An examination of the origins and meanings of the word chop can be found in Henry Yule and A.C. Burnell, 'Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive', 2nd edition (London, 1985).

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom