Papers of Sir John Thomas Pratt

Scope and Content

Most of the papers date from after 1941 (he was blitzed three times), and include correspondence concerning his various publications, files on his campaign against British involvement in the Korean War, articles, lecture notes and press cuttings. Also includes correspondence, dating from 1949 to 1957, with his brother William (Billy) Henry Pratt (1887-1969), whose stage name was Boris Karloff.

Administrative / Biographical History

John Thomas Pratt was born on 13th January 1876, sixth son of Edward Pratt who worked for the Indian Salt Revenue Service. He was educated at Dulwich College. In 1905 he was called to the Bar, Middle Temple. Between 1898 and 1924, he served with the British Consular Service in China, holding various posts including Student Interpreter from 1898; British Assessor in Mixed Court at Shanghai Consul from 1909; Vice-Consul in China from 1910; Consul at Tsinan from 1913 and Consul-General from 1919; Nanking 1922 and Shanghai 1924. In 1925 he was transferred to the Foreign Office, acting as Adviser on Far Eastern Affairs. He remained in this post until 1938. From 1939 to 1941 he served as Head of Far Eastern Section of the Ministry of Information.

For twenty years he served as the Foreign Secretary's representative on the Universities China Committee. He was also Chairman of the British and Chinese Corporation, Member of the Scarborough Commission and Vice-Chairman of the Governing Body of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

John Thomas Pratt was married twice, to his first wife Edith Violet Houson Parker in 1914 (d 1937), and his second wife Dorothy Barker in 1943. He died on 23rd January 1970.

He had authored several works including Great Britain and China ; Japan and the Modern World , 1942; War and Politics in China , 1943; Before Pearl Harbour , 1943; China and Japan ; China and Britain , 1944; Expansion of Europe into the Far East , 1947 and several pamphlets.


The papers are arranged into 5 categories: general correspondence; Korean War; personal and family correspondence; published works, articles, lectures by John Thomas Pratt; miscellaneous.

Access Information


Acquisition Information

Deposited by Lady Dorothy Pratt in 1976.

Other Finding Aids

Unpublished handlist

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Copyright held by Pratt/Karloff family