Henry William Christian PETERSEN (aka Hansy) [1892-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Henry William Christian PETERSEN (aka Hansy) [1892-????]

Henry William Christian
Alias / nickname: 
Birthplace (town, state): 
Hong Kong

Henry William Christian Petersen was the only son of Christian Friedrich Wilhelm and his wife Mary Towamoy.

He was baptized on July 10, 1892 - Chinese Congregation




Passenger List Liverpool to Baltimore 17 July 1920

Henry William Christian Petersen 28 male single student British Scotch [?] last permanent residence Oxford England final destination Detroit Michigan. Friend or relative in country from which alien came J W Ramage 21 Inverleith Gardens Edinburgh

Travelling with him was Cecil Beresford Ramage age 25 student whose friend or relative was J W Ramage 21 Inverleith Gardens Edinburgh

Passenger List arriving Los Angeles USA 7 November 1940/ Alien Manisfest for USA

Henry William Chistian Peteresen 48 male single occuation journalist. Last permanent residence London England

US World War II Draft Registration Card

Henry William Christian Petersen born 4 June 1892 in Hong Kong China self-employed

Residence in 1942 Hotel Wentworth New York City

Passenger List 1947 Venezuela to USA 1947

Henry Wm C Petersen 55 male single occupation writer born Hong Kong China languages spoken English Spanish German

Border Crossing Canada to US 4 May 1947

William Henry Peterson (sic) age 54 single occupation writer lecturer. Place of Birth Hong Kong China  Race Scandinavian.

Last permanent address 345 Elgin Street Ottowa Canada. Ever in US previously Yes November 1942 - September 1947. Purpose in coming  - Reside Permanent

Height 5 feet 11 inches Compexion Medium Eyes Brown

US Social Security Index

William Henry Peterson (sic) Born 4 June 1892 Hong Kong 

SSN 098269407 Father Frederick W Peterson Mother Mary Doe (sic)

Notes: 1950 Name listed as William Henry Peterson

annpake, many thanks for leaving a comment! The information helps a lot as noone of our family knew what happened to "uncle Hansy". He is said to have left towards Australia after the death of his sister Annie Bertha in 1936 and the family never heard of him again. Regards, Susann

I found a  rather odd reference in the Catalog of Copyright Entries. New Series: 1933, Part 1 

Peterson (sic) Henry William Christian 1896 (?)

Honourable and Peculiar Ways by Peh Der Chen (pseudonym) with a foreward by Ernest Bramah and twelve illustrations by Harold W Hailstone Published London 1932 by Harold W Hamilton

Honourable and Peculiar Ways by Peh Der Chen - Hamish Hamilton 1st September 1932 - 5 page introduction by Ernest Bramah - supposedly a Chinamen's impressions of England - 'it is instructive as well as amusing to see ourselves through Oriental eyes' - 224 pages, with 12 illustrations by Harold W. Hailstone Peh Der Chen was apparently a pseudonym of Henry William Christian Peterson (Peh Der Chen - Pe-ter-son). In 1938, the author planned to discard his European name and join General Chiang Kai-Shek's Army at Hankow, whether he did or not I don't know

Honourable and Peculiar Ways | Peh Der CHEN, Ernest Bramah


In 2016 Susann contacted me about her great-grandfather's son, Hansy Petersen. We already knew that our great-grandfathers had been each other's executors in Hong Kong. It turns out that Hansy seems to have got a job at a school called St Christopher's, located in a very beautiful beach resort, called Babbacombe Bay a few miles away from where we live in Devon and where people used to go for their health in the Victorian era. Oscar Wilde even rented a house there with Sir Alfred Douglas. The school was located in an even tinier place called Tormoham that is now only commemorated by a road of the same name. From there, Hansy must have progressed to Oxford and London. It would be interesting to find more of his writing, whether under the name of Petersen or Peh Der Chen.

Have just found this brief reference to Peh Der Chen's journalism on the British Chinese Heritage site:

"Interestingly enough, although chop suey has been portrayed by the westerners as China's national dish before 1960s it has been labeled by Chinese who visited Britain as "monstrosity" on the London Daily Graphics newspaper, Peh Der Chen went on to say that "...If, primed with London-acquired knowledge of food, you went to China and asked for chop suey, you would not be understood and, if you were, you might be thrown out", which suggests that chop suey was not a dish that originated from China, but mostly likely a dish created by early immigrations as an adaption to the western palates, or a solution to cover the shortage of raw ingredients at the time."

Ernest Bramah (who wrote the inroduction to Peh Der Chen's book) was a well known writer and created a Chinese character called Kai Lung.


Perhaps he shared a mutual interest in China with Petersen?