Processing collections and creating finding aids according to updated archival standards gives RBML archivists the opportunity to discover anew our collections. In this post, Processing Archivist Yingwen Huang reflects on creating a new finding aid for the heavily used Wellington Koo Papers. Wellington Koo, a graduate of Columbia and a prominent statesman and diplomat from China, played a major role in positioning China in the 20th Century international political scene. Koo used this papers as the basis for his extensive (10,000+ pages!) oral history interview held in RBML’s Oral History Archives.
“I hope this record will contribute in some small way to a mutual understanding between East and West, and to an understanding of history.” – Speech on the presentation of the Koo oral history to Columbia University, May 28, 1976
At the age of 31, Koo was the youngest delegate in the Chinese Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. He was the key figure in speaking on the behalf of China in the direct restitution of Shandong province during the conference. He later went on to serve as the Chinese Ambassador to France, England, the United States, while representing China at the League of Nations and contributing to the founding of the United Nations.
Decoration by the Pope at the Vatican, 1939 March 12, Box 263 Folder 11.
Wellington Koo with Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace, June 1946, Box 264 Folder 11.
Wellington Koo with Edward Stettinus at Washington D.C. to attend the Dumbarton Oaks Conference, 1944 August 28, Box 264 Folder 4.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg leading a seminar discussion at the School of Law, ca. 1975 (Scan 4330) Historical Photograph Collection (Box 46). University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.
At the University Archives, working with researchers allows us to learn about a wide range of Columbians.
From a researcher, we learned about Otelia Cromwell, the first African American woman to receive a PhD at Yale. (Cromwell received a Master’s degree from Columbia in 1911.)
Another asked us about Anni Weiss-Frankl, one of the early researchers working on what is now known as autism. (Born Anni Babette Weiss, she was a student and an Associate of Child Guidance at Columbia University’s Teachers College in the late 1930s.)
But there are certain Columbians whom researchers frequently ask about.
In response to a recent flurry of requests about certain individuals associated with Columbia we’ve added a new section to our research guide: Notable Columbians. This guide provides information on what and how you can find materials related to these three amazing individuals: Bhimrao Ambedkar, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and V.K. Wellington Koo. We provide links to digitized resources (including PDFs of documents scanned for previous users) wherever possible and direct users to relevant analog collections across our holdings and those of the RBML.