RBML Announces Partnership with Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences to Digitize Wellington Koo Papers
NEW YORK, April 18, 2014 –

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is pleased to announce a partnership with the Institute of Modern History, an institute of the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences, to digitize the papers of the politician and diplomat, Wellington Koo, in cooperation with the Koo family.


V. K. Wellington Koo (1887 – 1985) came from an elite Chinese family and had a long and distinguished career in the Chinese Republic’s Foreign Service.  A triple graduate of Columbia University (BA, PhD, and LLD), Koo played an important role as part of the Chinese legation to the Paris Peace Conference and to the fledgling League of Nations.  A staunch nationalist, Koo defended the fragile Chinese Republic in the international arena from what he saw as encroachments by Japan and the Soviet Union.  

Koo went on to become China’s ambassador to France, and then, during WWII, to the United Kingdom, and finally, after the war, to the United States.  In 1957, he left the Foreign Service to become a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, a position he held for the next decade.  Koo is celebrated today as a patriot who struggled to raise China’s profile in the world, and his written works are routinely studied by Chinese diplomats.  

The Wellington Koo Papers, housed at RBML, contain correspondence, diaries, memoranda, manuscripts, notes, printed material, and photographs of Koo and his contemporaries.  The archive comprises nearly 300 document boxes and covers the full sweep of his career, including the constitution of the Chinese embassies in Paris, London, and Washington DC.

In this unique venture, the Libraries will oversee and manage the digitization of the Koo Papers, while scholars from the Institute of Modern History and librarians from the Shanghai Library will provide the metadata that will make the digital files searchable and accessible.  The project is being funded by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and may be followed by additional collaborative projects in the future. 

“This is really a milestone partnership for the Columbia University Libraries and the RBML; one that may serve as a template for similar collaborations with other entities around the world looking to virtually ‘repatriate’ primary source collections of interest and importance to them,” said James G. Neal, University Librarian and Vice President for Information Services.  “It challenges us – in positive ways – to adjust our policies and practices to meet the needs of new partners with new expectations.  We have truly entered an era of global archives.”

“The Institute of Modern History cherishes this unique opportunity to collaborate with the Columbia University Libraries and the RBML on this project to digitize the Wellington Koo papers,” said Jin Yilin, Vice Director of the Institute of Modern History and Director of the Archives of the Modern Chinese History. “We are looking forward to expanding our partnership to other areas based on this venture, for example, digitizing other archival materials related to modern China preserved at the RBML.  We hope to open these digitized archives to all scholars in order to promote research on twentieth century China and facilitate the cultural communication between China and the United States.”   

As an institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the largest government think tank in Asia, the Institute of Modern History is the most important research institute in China devoted to the study of modern Chinese History. There are more than one hundred full time researchers at the Institute. The Institute recently established the Archives of Modern Chinese History to preserve approximately 200,000 historical documents from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and a large amount of digital material from all over the world. 

Columbia University Libraries/Information Services (CUL/IS) is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 12 million volumes, over 160,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 21 libraries and various academic technology centers, including affiliates. CUL/IS employs more than 450 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.


哥伦比亚大学珍本手稿图书馆宣布与中国社会科学院合作将顾维钧档案数字化

纽约,2014年4月--哥伦比亚大学图书馆和信息服务部下属的珍本手稿图书馆很高兴宣布与中国社会科学院近代史研究所的合作项目,与顾氏家族携手,共同将知名政治家、外交家顾维钧的档案数字化。

顾维钧(1887-1985)出身于一个显赫的中国家庭,在中华民国的外交领域供职多年,并作出突出成果。他曾在哥伦比亚大学获得学士、博士和法学博士三种学位。顾维钧作为中国代表团的一员参加巴黎和会和新生的国际联盟,在其中起到重要作用。作为一名坚定的民族主义者,顾维钧在国际领域维护羸弱的中华民国,免于日本和苏联的侵害。

顾维钧曾任中国驻法大使,在二战中任驻英大使,并在战后任驻美大使。1957年,他离开外交部,成为海牙国际法庭的法官,并在此职位上工作长达十年。今天,顾维钧被视为一名爱国者而赞誉有加,他一生致力于提升中国的国际地位,他的著作被中国外交官们反复研读。

珍藏在哥伦比亚大学珍本手稿图书馆的顾维钧档案包括顾维钧及其同时代人的来往书信、日记、备忘录、手稿、笔记、印刷资料、照片等。这笔档案多达近300箱档案盒,涵盖了其全部职业生涯,包括中国大使馆在巴黎、伦敦、华盛顿等地的建设情况。

在这一特殊的合作项目中,本图书馆将监督管理顾维钧档案的数字化过程,而近代史研究所的学者和上海图书馆的图书馆员将在此基础上整理档案数据库,使数字化后的档案能检索获取。此项目由中国社会科学院出资,将来也许还会有更多的合作项目。

“这是哥伦比亚大学图书馆和珍本手稿图书馆一次具有里程碑意义的合作项目;世界上其他机构若有意寻求使那些对其有重要意义的史料‘重返故国’,那么这一项目也许可以为日后的类似合作提供先例”,哥伦比亚大学图书馆长暨负责信息服务的副校长James G. Neal如是说:“这是以一种积极的方式促使我们挑战既有政策和惯例,以满足新的合作伙伴的需求和期望。我们已经真正进入了全球档案馆的时代。”

“中国社会科学院近代史研究所非常珍视与哥大共同制作顾维钧档案数据库。”近代史研究所副所长兼中国近代史档案馆馆长金以林表示:“我们愿在此基础上进一步扩大合作领域,共同复制哥大收藏的近代中国档案文献,并充分尊重档案捐赠者意愿基础上,开放给学者利用,以促进20世纪中国史的研究,推动中美两国的文化交流。”

中国社会科学院是亚洲最大的政府智库,近代史研究所则是研究近代中国历史的最重要的学术机构,拥有专业人员百余人。该所新成立的中国近代史档案馆收藏从晚清到民国时期的档案原件近20万件,以及大量从世界各地复制的电子档案。

哥伦比亚大学图书馆和信息服务部(CUL/IS)位居北美研究型学术图书馆的前五名之一。其馆藏包括超过1200万册图书,16万余种期刊,以及大量电子资源、手稿、珍本书、缩微胶卷、地图、影音资料等。信息服务部门和馆藏分为22个图书馆和不同的学术技术中心,及其附属机构。CUL/IS聘用450余名专业人员和一般工作人员。图书馆网站首页是:library.columbia.edu。

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AM 4-18-14