Guide to the Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1929-1939 UA.40.04

ULS Archives & Special Collections

Summary Information

Repository
ULS Archives & Special Collections
Title
Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection
Creator
University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Chinese Nationality Room Committee..
Collection Number
UA.40.04
Date
1929-1939
Extent
2.5 linear feet (5 boxes)
Language
The bulk of the material in this collection is in English, but some papers are in Traditional Chinese.
Abstract
The Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection holds records pertaining to the design, funding, and construction of the Chinese Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. The committee was established in 1929, and the room was dedicated on October 6, 1939. The collection is composed of correspondence, design notes, blueprints, newspaper clippings, financial reports, meeting minutes, summaries of daily progress, photographs, pamphlets, invitations, and publicity pertaining to the establishment of the Chinese Nationality Room.

Preferred Citation

Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1929-1939, UA.40.04, University Archives, Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh LIbrary System

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History

The Chinese Nationality Room Committee, or the Committee on China Memorial Room, was established in 1929 by the Chinese Students Club to raise funds for and coordinate the construction of the Chinese Classroom in the Cathedral of Learning. After fundraising among Chinese communities in Pittsburgh and on the East Coast, the Chinese Nationalist government agreed to donate $10,000 to the project after a petition from the committee chairman, Dr. Chi Fang Lai. The committee received the contribution in 1935, and the room was dedicated on October 6, 1939, as one of the original 19 Nationality Classrooms.

The first chairman of the committee was Dr. Lai, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. On September 20, 1930, John Tsui was appointed the second chairman of the Chinese Nationality Room Committee. The design for the Chinese Nationality Room was drafted by Teng Kwei, a Beijing artist who had been studying at Harvard, and the architect was Dr. Henry Killam Murphy, the architectural advisor to the Nationalist government. The room was established with the assistance of Ruth Crawford Mitchell, Advisor to the Nationality Rooms, and was dedicated by Dr. Hu Shih, the republic of China’s ambassador to the United States.

The room, inspired by the Forbidden City’s palace hall, contains one circular table which seats both the students and the professor. Above the table is a relief of a golden, five-clawed Imperial dragon, which is surrounded by a ceiling decorated in the Chinese style. The doorframe is guarded by laughing lions and carved with plum blossoms, the national flower of the Republic of China. On the west wall is a panel decorated with the image of Confucius, to whom the room itself was dedicated. The chalkboard is capable of sliding out, and the base below it displays a carved image of the Bagua.

Today, the Chinese Nationality Room Committee provides a scholarship which allows students to study abroad in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection is composed of documents related to the design, funding, and construction of the Chinese Nationality Room in the Cathedral of Learning. The bulk of these records date from between the start of planning in 1929 and the dedication of the room in 1939. These documents consist of correspondence, primarily between Ruth Crawford Mitchell, members of the Chinese Nationality Room Committee, and the architects Teng Kwei and Henry K. Murphy; design notes; blueprints; newspaper clippings; financial reports; committee meeting minutes; summaries of daily progress; photographs; pamphlets; invitations; and publicity pertaining to the Chinese Nationality Room and the Chinese and Chinese-American community in Pittsburgh. Materials are primarily in English, though some are in Traditional Chinese characters.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

ULS Archives & Special Collections, October 2015

University of Pittsburgh Library System
Archives & Special Collections
Website: library.pitt.edu/archives-special-collections
412-648-3232 (ASC) | 412-648-8190 (Hillman)
Contact Us: www.library.pitt.edu/ask-archivist

Access Restrictions

No restrictions.

Copyright

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Acquisition Information

Transferred to the University Archives by the Nationality Rooms Program on August 3, 2014.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Alexandra Hebda in October 2015.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Chinese Nationality Room Committee..
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.

Genre(s)

  • Architectural drawings (Visual works)
  • Clippings (Information artifacts)
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Photographs

Personal Name(s)

  • Kwei, Teng
  • Lai, Chi Fang
  • Mitchell, Ruth Crawford, 1890-
  • Murphy, Henry Killam
  • Tsui, John H., 1900-1978

Subject(s)

  • Chinese Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh

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Previous Citation

Chinese Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1929-1939, UA.40.04, University of Pittsburgh Archives

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Collection Inventory

  BoxFolder
Correspondence with Architect, 1929 11

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1930 2

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1931 3

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1932 4

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1933 5

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1934 6

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1935 7

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1936 8

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1937 9

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1938 10

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  Folder
Correspondence with Architect, 1939 11

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  BoxFolder
Newspaper Clippings, 1930-1939 21

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  Folder
Financial Statements, 1931-1939 2

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  Folder
Committee Meeting Minutes, 1931-1939 3

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  Folder
Running Memo, 1929-1939 4

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  BoxFolder
Photographs, 1929-1939 31

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  Folder
Drawings, Chinese Room Design 2

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  Folder
Ceiling Design, Measurements and Estimates 3

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  BoxFolder
Publicity, 1929-1939 41

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1929 2

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1930 3

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1931 4

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1932 5

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1933 6

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1934 7

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  BoxFolder
General Correspondence, 1935 51

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1936 2

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1937 3

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1938 4

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  Folder
General Correspondence, 1939 5

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  Folder
Events, 1942-1959 6

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  Box
Committee Archives Box 6

This large box contains four smaller, silk covered boxes that originally contained the archives of the Chinese Nationality Room Committee. All five containers are held closed with bone clasps.

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