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Maxwell Family Collection

The Maxwell Family Collection consists of some 563 photographs taken, bought, or commissioned by James Laidlaw Maxwell Sr. (1836-1921) and his son John Preston Maxwell (1871-1961).

James Laidlaw Maxwell Sr. was born in Edinburgh. After studying medicine and working in the Brompton Hospital, London and at Birmingham General Hospital, a became a pioneering medical missionary for the English Presbyterian Mission, working in Taiwan. Maxwell married Mary Anne Goodall (who died in January 1918) of Handsworth on 7 April 1868 in Hong Kong. Their two sons, John Preston and James Laidlaw Jr., both became medical missionaries. See

John Preston Maxwell, obstetric missionary, was born in Birmingham, England. Maxwell became a medical missionary for the English Presbyterian Church and, in about 1898, went to China's southeastern Fujian province, where he spent most of his professional life. He became a Director of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Peking Union Medical College (PUMC) in Beijing. Maxwell returned to England in the summer of 1934. He married (Edith) Lilly Isaacson in 1899 (who, as a proficient artist, illustrated some of her husband's research papers) and they had one daughter, Marjorie Gordon Maxwell, who was born in 1908 (she became Mrs Marjorie Steen). See

We are grateful to the Cadbury Research Library, University of Birmingham, for permission to digitise photographs in the John Preston Maxwell Papers and make the images available here. 

HPC ref: Mx-s (Cadbury Research Library finding number: DA26/2/4).

HPC ref: Mx01 (Cadbury Research Library finding number: DA26/2/2/4 – Scrapbook, 'Formosa, Yungchun, Port Said, Hong Kong etc').

HPC ref: Mx02 (Cadbury Research Library finding number: DA26/2/2/1 – Album, 'Changpoo and environs Kulangeu. Toa Bo').

HPC ref: Mx03 (Cadbury Research Library finding number: DA26/2/2/2 – Album, 'Yung chun and environs').

HPC ref: Mx04 (Cadbury Research Library finding number: DA26/2/2/3 – Album, 'Formosa. Changpoo. Yungchun Peking. Corea. U. S. A. Canada Bangkok. HongKong.').