The Ch’en Shou-yi Papers 陳受頤檔案

The Ch’en Shou-yi Papers consists of Prof. Ch’en Shou-yi’s correspondences, photos, private library collections, work notes, manuscripts, etc. donated to the Claremont Colleges Library by his family after he passed away. This valuable archival collection is now housed in the Special Collection Room of the Asian Library at the Claremont Colleges Library.

The library is in the process of sorting and archiving the Ch’en Shou-yi Papers, and creating a Chinese-English bi-lingual finding aid to this massive and valuable archival collection. Currently, the correspondences and photos in the Ch’en Shou-yi Papers have been sorted and digitized through the joint effort and collaboration between the Claremont Colleges Library, the Academia Sinica Center for Digital Cultures, and the Institute of Taiwan History of Academia Sinica (ITH). This digital collection of the Ch’en Shou-yi Papers highlights his connections and correspondence with key figures of modern Chinese intellectual history, such as Hu Shih (胡适),Fu Sinian ( 傅斯年),Lin Yutang (林語堂),Chiang Monlin( 蔣夢麟),as well as a few precious first-hand documents including papers, photographs, and manuscripts. Materials in this collection are dated approximately between 1930s and 1970s.

Photo of honorary doctoral degree certificate conferred to Hu Shih by the California College in China, 1942:


For more information on the contents and scope of the digitized photos and correspondence in the Ch’en Shou-yi Papers, please visit the 陳受頤文書 digital portal created by the Institute of Taiwan History of Academia Sinica. The original materials and items are owned and kept at the Claremont Colleges Library. Image print and the use of the originals are by permission only from the Claremont Colleges Library.

Professor Ch’en Shou-yi (Chinese: 陳受頤, 1899-1978) was a Chinese scholar known for his groundbreaking contribution to the comparative cultural studies of modern China and the historical studies of sino-western cultural exchange. He was born into a prestigious literati family in Panyu, Canton (Guangdong). His grant uncle Chen Li陳澧 was a very well-known Confucius scholar in Canton. Ch’en Shou-yi graduated from the Canton Christian College (later Lingnan University) in 1920. In 1929 he received a Ph.D. degree in comparative literature from the University of Chicago. He served as the Chair of the History Department of the Peking University from 1931-1937. He was a highly acclaimed scholar, developed close ties with prestigious scholars of the time such as Hu Shih (胡适),Fu Sinian ( 傅斯年),and Lin Yutang (林語堂), and Jiang Menglin ( 蔣夢麟), and maintained life-long friendship with them. In 1941 he joined the Pomona College faculty as a full-time professor and remained on that post until his retirement in 1967, dedicating all his life to cultivating researchers of China’s history and cultures among young Americans.

Photo of Letter from Hu Shih to Ch’en Shou-yi, 1937:


Prof. Ch’en was instrumental in initiating and expanding the Asian studies program at the Claremont Colleges by enriching Asian Studies library resources via grants from the Rockfeller Foundation, and by bringing to campus a number of prestigious scholars, Hu Shih included, as part of his effort to expand the curriculum of Asian Studies programs at both undergraduate and graduate levels. After retiring from 26 years’ teaching and research at the Pomona College, Prof. Ch’en kept going to his office for research on a daily basis. In 1978 he passed away due to illness at the age of 79. Per his wish, his family donated all of his books, documents, as well as personal correspondence to the Honnold/Mudd Library. The collection is now known as the “Ch’en Shou-yi Papers”.

Photo of Ch’en Shou-yi (right),Hu Shih (middle), and a friend. Date unknown: