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Daniel Vrooman (1818-1895) was an American missionary who served in China. He made the first Western map of Canton, finished in 1855.

Vrooman was sent to China with his wife, Elizabeth Clemens, by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in 1852. They settled in Guangzhou, then called Canton. Vrooman was intrigued by Chinese technology and science, as evidenced by a letter he sent to Scientific American, published in 1853.

His curiosity was limited somewhat by the closure of the Old City to Westerners. Undaunted, Vrooman used local informants and a convert he trained in measurement to assist him while he drew his large-scale plan of Canton.

Elizabeth died in Macao only two years after they arrived in China. Daniel remarried Maria Wilberforce and the couple stayed on as missionaries. Vrooman also served as American vice-consul. He is credited with introducing mechanized cotton spinning to Guangzhou as well. His other published work, a Cantonese phonetic alphabet, was published in 1863.

Vrooman retired from the ABCFM’s mission in Guangzhou in 1866, around the time his second wife died. He continued to work as an independent missionary in the area, until 1878 when he became superintendent of a mission to the Chinese based in Victoria, Australia. After retiring in 1881, he returned to the United States, where he died in California in 1895.


Canton / 1855
53.7 x 28.5 inches