Charles Denby, Jr. (1861 - 1938)

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Death: Died
Managed by: Doug Robinson
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Immediate Family

About Charles Denby, Jr.,_Jr.

Charles Denby, Jr. (November 14, 1861 – February 15, 1938) was an American diplomat in China and later in Vienna, Austria, and was known as one of the top scholars of Chinese language and culture of his time.


Charles Denby, Jr. was born in Evansville, Indiana, to Charles H. Denby, who served as United States Ambassador to China for many years, and Martha Fitch. His maternal grandfather, Graham N. Fitch was a United States Representative and Senator. His brother, Edwin Denby, was a United States Representative and United States Secretary of the Navy. Charles was educated by private tutors before receiving his B.A. from Princeton University in 1882. He married Martha Dalzell Orr in 1895. They had three sons, including the dance critic and poet Edwin Denby. Charles retired in 1923 to Washington, D.C., where he later died.

Political career

In 1885, Charles Jr. accompanied his father to China as second secretary, and in 1894 he was promoted to first secretary of legation. After increasing incidences of riots against missionaries in China (such as the ones in 1891 in Nanking and I-chang and 1895 in Chengdu) he became a supporter of a stronger US government support of American missionaries in China (cf. Hunt, chapter 5). During the First Sino-Japanese War, he mediated many of the negotiations between China and Japan, and was the chief draftsman of the Treaty of Shimonoseki that ended the war. In 1900, he was appointed as secretary general of the provisional government in Tientsin, China during the Boxer Rebellion, and then from 1902 to 1905 he served as the chief foreign adviser to the Viceroy of Zhili, Yuan Shikai.

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