So began a mimeographed form letter from Reverend, H. G. C. (Henry Galloway Comingo) Hallock (1870-1951), a Presbyterian missionary in Shanghai, China. The recipient was Cleveland Public Library director, Linda Eastman (1867-1963). In the letter, Hallock (1870-1951) described an accompanying vibrantly-colored poster illustrating “Ho-zwen-bu-sah,” a Chinese god-of-fire.
“Ho-zwen-bu-sah,” before and after treatment by The Northeast Document Conservation Center
The Library’s Special Collections Department houses 18 such letters dating from June 21, 1927 to December 31, 1930. In addition to the letters is a collection of 12 color woodblock prints, illustrating various Chinese gods and festivals. An average prints measures 25” x 12.” Despite preservation treatment, the posters still retain small box-like creases indicating that the prints were folded and sent in much smaller envelopes (which were not saved.)
Hallock was a graduate of the Princeton Theological Seminary and served as a missionary in China from 1896 until his death in 1951.. In the mailings owned by the library, most consist primarily of a description of the enclosed print, but also included his experiences in Shanghai as a Christian missionary. Hallock also edited “Hallock’s Chinese Almanac” that included “daily Bible verses, prayer-meeting topics,… anti-foot-binding & anti-opium information.” According to a 1927 letter, a copy of the almanac was apparently sent to Eastman but is not in the Cleveland Public Library’s collection.
In 1988, the collection was sent to The Northeast Document Conservation Center, (responsible for the preservation of items such as The Emancipation Proclamation and Audubon’s “Birds of America.”) There, the tears and breaks to the prints were mended and they were encapsulated in polyester enclosures. The letters and prints
are available for viewing in Cleveland Public Library’s Special Collections Department
Mimeographed form letter from Reverend H. G. C. Hallock dated November 8, 1928