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Communication of Librarianship between China and the United States in the R.O.C. Period: A Preliminary ReportApril 17, 2020
As a part of my Ph.D. dissertation, "From Professional Activity to Cultural Diplomacy: Communication of Librarianship between China and the United States in the R.O.C Period" (a period also known as 民国，from 1912 to 1949), I sought to understand the position philanthropic foundations played in library communication during this period. This paper is only a preliminary report of my findings related to my visit to the Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) in 2016. While there, my work focused on evaluating the Rockefeller Foundation's role and impact on the course of Sino-American library and book exchanges. From my experience, I recognize the extensive value of the RAC archives on this topic.
In 1927, the Library of Congress (LOC) started a comprehensive project of copying manuscripts related to the history of the United States and the Americas, stored in the libraries, archives and museums of several European countries. Internally referred to as "Project A", research assistants ventured out in order to select and superintend the systematic photographing of masses of documents preserved in institutional and private collections throughout Europe. Project A was financed through a substantial grant from the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) for an initial period of seven years and resulted in over three million still images. The LOC made ample use of microphotography, a photographic technique that was not new, but subject to major improvements starting in the 1920s. These improvements concerned the camera and projector technology as well as the development of fire-resistant celluloid acetate film as a purportedly stable image carrier. Compared to manual copying and earlier forms of reproduction photography, such as Photostat duplication, the storage of visual data on light-weight and flexible 16mm, 35mm and 70mm film rolls enabled the reproduction of entire books, journals, newspapers, individual documents or bits of information.
Wartime Planning, Postwar Response: Rockefeller Foundation Contributions to Cultural Reconstruction in Post-World War II EuropeJanuary 1, 2010
Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic year, the generous support of a Rockefeller Archive Center (RAC) Grant-In-Aid allowed me to visit the RAC several times a month to conduct research for my dissertation, "Books across Borders: The Politics of Cultural Reconstruction in Early Postwar, Post-Holocaust, Cold War Europe." Through a comparative analysis of efforts undertaken in France and Poland particularly, as well as to surviving Jewish groups and communities scattered throughout World War II-devastated Europe, my dissertation investigates the centrality of postwar cultural reconstruction to the mission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). More specifically, I explore how national and international organizations, foundations and institutions collaborated with the newly established UNESCO in order to respond to the pressing needs of Europe's ravaged library and book cultures. The research I conducted at the RAC allowed me to examine the nature and extent of the involvement of the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) Humanities Division in UNESCO and in postwar library and book-related reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.
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