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Archive of Elsie Breeze relating to China

 Single Item
MS. 17324
Held in our offsite storage facility

  • Request
  1. Six letters from Elsie in China to her daughter and son in law in England, Sep 1964-Jan 1966, and letters to Elsie from friends in China (Ruth Kensitt, Wang Yu-fen, Charlotte [surname not known], L. Taylor, Betty Chandler) discussing the progress of the Cultural Revolution, Feb-Aug 1967, with three photographs of political effigies and posters and an anonymous typescript "Why is it that foreigners working here at the heart of the world revolution are being pushed down the revisionist road?'.
  2. Photograph album containing postcards and photographs of Peking and visits to a People's Commune, the Summer Palace, the Great Wall of China, Sian and Ta Chai, including photographs of Elsie Breeze and her son, Richard, 1965-1966.
  3. Loose photographs comprising three week trip to Sian (Xian) Yenan Taiyuan in 1965 (22 photos); Old Summer Palace (2 photos); students from the school/college where Elsie taught (3 photos); 2nd National Games closing ceremony, Sep 1965 (9 photos); Ming Tombs (4 photos); the Great Wall of China (16 photos); various locations including some of Elsie with colleagues from the Foreign Languages Press (57 photos) and unidentified locations (10 photos).
  4. Margaret Clark's account of her mother's time in China, 1964-1966, with The Marriage Law of the People's Republic of China (Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1977) and The Constitution of the People's Republic of China (Foreign Languages Press, Peking, 1978) acquired by Margaret Clark on a tour of China in 1978.
  5. Book created in 2021 by Margaret Clark (Elsie's daughter), Jim Clark (Elsie's grandson) and Matthew Edge (Elsie's great-grandson) containing photographs of Elsie's time in China, of Margaret's study tour of China organised by the British Association of Social Workers in 1978 and selected photographs of Elsie from childhood to old age.


  • Creation: Creation: Majority of material found within Bulk, 1964-1966
  • Creation: Creation: 1964-1966 and 2021


1 box

Language of Materials

  • English

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries [followed by shelfmark and folio or page reference, e.g. MS. 17324].

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.


MS. 17324

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 17324, 21095


Archive of Elsie Breeze relating to China.

Biographical / Historical

Elsie Tappenden was born in London in 1921 and became a primary school teacher. During the Second World War she met and married Edward Breeze, a conscientious objector and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, and under his influence became involved in politics and joined the Communist Party.

In 1964 Edward Breeze was offered a contract to work at the Foreign Languages Press (F.L.P.) Headquarters in Peking but, as his mother was very ill at the time, Elsie agreed to go in his place. She worked at the F.L.P. as a proofreader and lived in the Friendship Hostel with other foreigners who had been invited to work there as they believed in Marxism and wanted to see the progress China was making since the 1949 revolution. Elsie came back to England in the summer of 1965 and returned to Peking in September taking her 13 year old son, Richard,with her. Richard attended school and learnt Chinese. Elsie moved to a post as a teacher at a college which trained young Chinese adults for work at the F.L.P.

Elsie and Richard returned to England in November 1966 following the disruption to schools and colleges caused by the Cultural Revolution.

For further details see Margaret Clark's account of her mother's time in China in the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated to the Bodleian Library by Margaret Clark and Richard Breeze, children of Elsie Breeze, in 2019 and 2021.

Catalogue of the Archive of Elsie Breeze relating to China
Finding aid prepared by Lucy McCann
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom