[People on Boats], ca. 1937
[Diary, Drawing, Bon Voyage to Sir Victor, Shanghai], 1935
[Diary, Sir Victor and Two Women, Monte Carlo], 1936
[Portrait of Emily Hahn],
[Chinese Civilians with Japanese Soldiers at Checkpoint], 1937
[Diary, Various People, Identified], 1940
About the Collection
Holding library: DeGolyer Library
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Sir Ellice Victor Elias Sassoon Papers and Photographs collection held at the DeGolyer Library contains a wealth of information related to Sassoon’s life and times. Sir Ellice Victor Elias Sassoon, Bart., G.B.E. (1881-1961) was raised in England. He was from a Baghdadi Jewish family who had made their fortune in investments in India. Sir Victor served in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I. He survived a plane crash in 1916 and sustained leg injuries that plagued him the rest of his life. When his father died in 1924, Victor Sassoon inherited his title and became 3rd Baronet of Bombay. He moved to India, where he managed his family’s textile mills and served in the Indian Legislative Assembly.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Sassoon transferred much of his wealth from India to Shanghai, China and contributed to a real estate boom there by investing millions of dollars in the economy. Sir Victor frequently traveled world-wide for business and pleasure and divided his time between India and Shanghai. He acquired the Cathay Land Company among many others in Shanghai. Sassoon built the Cathay Hotel, now the Peace Hotel, in 1929, along with other hotels, office buildings and residences, many in the Bund district. At one time, he owned over 1,800 properties there. Sassoon endeavored to protect Western interests in China and aid Jews in Shanghai.
Sir Victor loved photography, horse racing, international friendships and travel. He counted European aristocracy and such Hollywood stars as Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich, and Basil Rathbone among his acquaintances. An accomplished photographer, he made many images of friends and landscapes and created fifteen photograph albums now in the Sassoon collection. He also illustrated his many diaries (1927-1961) with his own photographs.
Sassoon lived in Shanghai until 1941 when, due to China’s ongoing war with Japan, he was forced to leave. After the Communist Revolution of 1949, he sold his business interests in China and relocated to Nassau, The Bahamas. In 1959, Sir Victor married Evelyn Barnes. He died in Nassau in 1961.
A finding aid for the Sassoon collection is available.
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