My exposure to Chinese affairs began slightly more than twenty years ago, when I went from Guam to north China after the Second World War as an officer of the military forces. In that role and subsequently as a graduate student at Yale University and as a Chinese language officer of the Foreign Service stationed at Peiping (1947-50) and Hong Kong (1950-54), I encountered some of the practical and research difficulties in contemporary Chinese biography and became aware of the urgency of attempting to preserve detailed biographical data of significance to historians that were, even then, in danger of disappearing. Here particular mention should be made of my friend Mr. William C. C. Wu, who provided much initial guidance and should, in a sense, be counted the evocator of the present reference work.
In 1954-55, when on leave from the Foreign Service as the holder of a Rockefeller Public Service Award, I made a specific proposal for the preparation of a biographical dictionary of twentieth-century China, which was approved by the Ford Foundation. Mr. David C. Munford, then an officer of the Foundation, and Mr. Paul F. Langer, then a temporary consultant on research and training problems, provided essential counsel during this period. Since 1955, financial support for the biographical dictionary work has been provided by the Ford Foundation through grants to the School of International Affairs of Columbia University, and I should like to express my appreciation for the Foundation's sustained confidence in the enterprise and the editor during this extended period.
Although planned independently, since 1955 the biographical dictionary has been sponsored by the School of International Affairs of Columbia University. I must express my appreciation to the two Deans of the Faculty of International Affairs at Columbia under whom I have served as director of the project: Dr. Schuyler C. Wallace and Dr. Andrew W. Cordier. Professor Philip E. Mosely, the Associate Dean of the Faculty of International Affairs, deserves a special note of thanks. Professor Mosely has assumed primary responsibility for administrative and budget programing, and his knowledge and vision have supported the editor's efforts in completing the book. I should also like to express my gratitude to Mrs. Margaret Chalmers, the Administrative Assistant to the Dean of the School of International Affairs at Columbia, for her assistance in the complexities of budget management. The East Asian Library at Columbia University provided an essential library base without which this work could not have been completed. The Columbia University Press has helped greatly in transmuting a massive and unruly body of manuscript into a form suitable for a standard work of reference. Dr. William Bridgwater and Mr. Henry H. Wiggins of the Press provided essential guidance throughout the period of the work, and Mrs. Katharine Kyes Leab of the Editorial Department of the Press helped me to learn about reference books. Not least, a word of thanks should be given to Mr. and Mrs. Willi Lubach, custodians of the Columbia University building at 635 West 115th Street, for their protracted struggle against the grime of New York City and for their tolerance of the mass of papers, books, and file folders among which a biographical dictionary project is doomed to exist and work.
Except for the editor, no one person has been continuously engaged in preparing the dictionary from the time the project was established. Some members of the staff, including Dr. John M. H. Lindbeck, who was deputy director of the project in 1 958-59, were able to serve only briefly because of other professional opportunities. The Staff page lists all who have made substantive contributions to the project at any stage, regardless of length of service.
So many people in so many places have aided this work that it would be invidious to single out some for special mention and to omit others. I therefore limit explicit commendation to the three men who rendered the most extensive and helpful services. Mr. Richard C. Howard, the Associate Editor, joined the staff in the autumn of 1959 and served as my deputy until his resignation in June 1963 to accept the position of Curator of the Wason Collection at Cornell University. His unusual combination of historical sense, linguistic skills, punctilious research, and writing abilities were of the greatest importance in developing and sustaining the standards of the work; he prepared many of the longer biographical articles, particularly on individuals prominent in the obscure pre- 1928 era in China. Staff Editor O. Edmund Clubb began work on a part-time basis in September 1960 and continued to assist the biographical work until June 1966. A retired officer of the American Foreign Service (under whom I served at Peiping in 1948-49) with nearly twenty years of experience in China, he is also the author of Twentieth Century China and of numerous articles on contemporary Asia. Mr. Clubb made a massive contribution toward the completion of the work; he prepared many biographies of political and military figures. Finally, I record with regret the untimely death of Mr. Yong Sang Ng, who died in Hong Kong in July 1966 as these paragraphs were being written. Mr. Ng, with whom I had worked intermittently since 1950, both in the Far East and in the United States, was also a member of the staff of the American Consulate General in Hong Kong. Mr. Ng's energy, industry, and wit will be remembered by all who worked with him, and his contribution to the work is reflected in the biographies of certain figures with roots in Canton and south China, whom he portrayed with understanding and perspective.
In addition to the staff, scholars in the United States and in other countries contributed single articles or groups of articles. A few have contributed articles both to Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period and to the Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. Specific mention should be made of three men who prepared articles on important groups of individuals within their special fields of competence: Mr. Chang Kia-ngau 张嘉璈, former general manager of the Bank of China, now resident in the United States; Professor Wang Yi-t'ung 王伊同 of the University of Pittsburgh, formerly of the University of British Columbia; and Professor Wu Hsiang-hsiang 吴相湘of Taiwan and Singapore.
To the many experts throughout the world who have given both time and knowledge to read draft articles and to suggest emendations and improvements, I extend my warm thanks.
HOWARD L. BOORMAN