This section provides all the main datasets extracted from the Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. All the files are available on the ENP-China data repository on Zenodo. The datasets contain both the curated data (Data tab in each file) and the various statistical analysis or compilation made in each case. These statistical analyses are listed under named tabs. The entries below include only the main datasets, but we have made available more files in the ENP-China data repository. We use various forms of coding and classification in the datasets. This is documented in the BDRC Glossary file.
The BDRC includes 589 individual figures and one family (Song family). The BDRC did not provide systematic data for the members of the Song family, except those who have their own biography. The data includes the basic information on birth (year, location [city/xian, province, country]), death [city/xian, province, country], sex, and when known the dates of birth and death, ethnicity (Han, Mongol, etc.), and the cause of death. The original source is indicated with the exact volume and page numbers, as well as the original text in the source. Finally, we added links to the biographies on Wikipedia and Baidu whenever available.
The BDRC provides a very limited level of information on primary education. In most cases, it was expressed in fairly vague or imprecise terms. We garnered from the information retrieved in the BDRC that 286 individuals (49%) received a form of elementary education, of which 51 (9%) received it at home or from private tutors. We have slightly more information about secondary education (328 individuals, 66%), which a vast majority received in China proper (85%). A small number of individuals (31; 9,4%) took the opportunity missionary institutions offered to pursue their secondary education in such institutions. The individuals that figure in the BDRC received for the most part a high level of education. Altogether 264 of them received a college degree (we retained only the highest degree obtained by each individual) while 255 received a higher education, even if the nature of their degree is unknown. In sum, 519 individuals received a higher education, in China and abroad, which represents 88% of the BDRC population.
In the sample of 548 individuals whose career is documented in the BDRC, we identified a total of 3,721 named positions over the century (1860-1968) during which these individuals were active or alive. The first obvious observation to be made about the distribution of positions and institutions is the heavy weight of central government institutions (835) and central political organizations (651). The next most important group is made up of positions in military units (424), to which we can add those in military command institutions (197) and in military academies (66). Altogether the military provided 687 positions. The range of positions in the BDRC included a secondary layer of positions in local governments (422), as well as positions in Chinese diplomacy (41).
The BDRC mentions a large number of persons beyond the 589 figures who are the subject of a biography. Altogether, we identified 2,671 named individuals. We extracted all the pairs of relations between the 589 biographed figures and all the individuals mentioned in their biography to build a directed network. We counted only one instance of a relation, even if an individual was mentioned several times in a biography. This produced 9,533 unique pairs of person-to-person relations. We provide both the raw output from NLP (natural language processing) processing and the standardized file that served to create the edge and node lists.
We have produced three index files corresponding respectively to all the individuals (3,678), institutions (584), and locations (1,415) mentioned in the BDRC, with their number of occurrences. For individuals, we relied on Vol. 5 of the BDRC to add the Chinese characters as well as the pinyin transliteration. For names that came without Chinese characters, the pinyin transliteration is based on an automatic conversion of the original Wade & Giles transliteration. Some names were not identifiable when they contained only the transliterated surname and the initials of the given name (e.g., N.Y. Zung). The name of institutions is provided in English, as in the original text. The same is true for locations, although we added the Chinese characters for the locations mentioned at least fifty times.