The Oil Prince's Legacy: Rockefeller Philanthropy in China

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The Oil Prince's Legacy traces Rockefeller philanthropy in China from the nineteenth century to today. Family diaries, letters, interviews in China, and institutional archival records are used to tell a compelling story about successive Rockefeller generations and U.S.–China cultural relations.

This book describes how Rockefeller philanthropy came to focus on elite science and medicine and ensured their ongoing importance in the American-Chinese relationship. That importance is still seen today in the ties of the two countries in natural and social sciences, the humanities, economics, and higher education. The Rockefeller family's involvement with China continues in the fourth and fifth generations, even as Rockefeller philanthropy is reshaped in response to China's rise as a global power. Understanding the origin, evolution, Cold War interregnum, and post-Mao renewal of Rockefeller philanthropy brings new clarity to the nature and tenacity of this ongoing bilateral relationship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In The Oil Prince's Legacy, Mary Brown Bullock offers a meticulously researched examination of Rockefeller philanthropy in China. Bullock, an historian of China who has been studying the Rockefeller foundation for decades, draws upon family diaries, letters, institutional archives and interviews to create this detailed description of the relationship between the Rockefeller family and China from 1863 to 2010."—Carolyn L. Hsu, The China Journal

"Bullock should be congratulated for having produced this fine piece of work . . . [S]he is uniquely qualified to reassess the Rockefeller legacy in China from the vintage point of China's rise in the early twenty-first century. The effortlessness with which she weaves the various threads together into a seamless story belies the painstaking research, extensive reading, and percipient thinking that produced this work. It is a compelling story told with deep empathy and without compromising her critical stance."—Yung-Chen Chiang, Journal of Chinese Studies

"This is an extraordinary, nuanced, and complex evaluation of the Rockefeller family's motives, actions, and achievements where East Asia is concerned. Showing the impact of China on the Rockefellers as well as the Rockefellers' impact on China . . . makes for some captivating and at times breathtaking reading."—Laurence A. Schneider, Professor Emeritus of History, Washington University in St. Louis

"This is a book that should be of interest to not only the Sinological community, but also to historians and others interested in philanthropy, civic society, cultural diplomacy, and the role and function of epistemic communities."—David M. Lampton, Johns Hopkins University

"Mary Bullock, a leader in the development of cultural relations between China and the United States since the 1970s, has given us an impressively researched and balanced account of the Rockefeller family's involvement with China, including some of its less attractive features. She does a superb job of providing the context of American efforts to change China. Her chapter on the post-Mao era is especially valuable. The book is a major contribution to the history of Chinese-American relations."—Warren Cohen, University of Maryland Baltimore County

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804776882
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 7/13/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Brown Bullock is President Emerita of Agnes Scott College and Distinguished Visiting Professor of China Studies at Emory University. She is a Senior Scholar and former director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center.

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Table of Contents

Figures x

Preface and Acknowledgments xi

A Note on Names xv

Introduction: A Century of Rockefeller Philanthropy in China 1

1 Origins: Medicine, Art, and Oil 9

2 Agenda: "Missionaries of Science" 47

3 Politics: Encountering Nationalism and Communism 81

4 Survival: Peking Union Medical College 117

5 Renewal: Rockefeller Philanthropy in Post-Mao China 147

6 Legacy: Anniversaries 183


A Rockefeller Philanthropic Expenditures for China 207

B Interviews with Peking Union Medical College Faculty and Graduates 209

C Chinese Names 210

Notes 215

Bibliography 229

Index 235

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