["Ten Thousand Good Deeds Brought Together"] - Subscription book, Peking Union Medical College

Scope and Content

Decorative volume, late Qing period [1903], containing details of individual subscriptions/contributions made by 'philanthropists' towards the founding of the Peking Union Medical College. The volume begins with a detailed inscription in Chinese. The name of each organisation or person making a contribution is written in Chinese on strips of red paper, adhered to the pages of the volume. Names include those of senior Chinese officals, ministries, businesses (including shops) and individuals - both Chinese and Western. Includes two translated letters (in English) towards the back of the volume. One of these is a translation from Chinese of an appeal made by Dr Thomas Cochrane upon request by the Imperial Treasury, for circulation throughout China. This letter outlines the purposes of the medical school, the need for funds to provide buildings, medicines, instruments and staff, and the total sum required. It states that on 26th May 1903, the fund had received the favour of an "Imperial Gift of ten thousand taels of silver", and goes on to request further financial aid. The other translated letter is from H. E. Jung Ching, President of the Chinese Imperial Board of Education to the Hon. Launcelot Carnegie, H. B, M. Charge d'Affaires, Peking, received 25th July 1906. This gives sanction for dispatch by officals of the Board to hold examinations at the conclusion of each course in the college, and for the issue of diplomas to successful candidiates certifying that they are entitled to practice medicine. Also includes duplicate copy of Chinese inscription from beginning of volume, and a small printed volume [also in Chinese] dating from 1910, outlining the history of the Peking Union Medical College, and a prospectus of the courses taught there.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Peking Union Medical College came into existence chiefly through the initiative and enterprise of an London Missionary Society [LMS] medical missionary, Dr Thomas Cochrane (1866-1953), who served with the Society between 1896 and 1912. In China he also served as secretary of the Society's China Council, played a leading part in the foundation of the Peking Language School for Missionaries, and was assiduous in the movement which resulted in the China Continuation Committee and the creation of the National Christian Council of China. The commission to found a medical college came, Conchrane said, immediately after the Boxer rising [Uprising], "as I was carrying on my medical work in a dilapidated stable adjoining the LMS ruins in Peking". The Peking Union Medical College opened six years later in 1906, with the co-operation of six missionary societies including the SPG, the American Presbyterian Board, the American Methodist Episcopal Board, and the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, with the patronage of the Empress-Dowager of China. Many other Chinese notables and officials lent their aid, Consular authorities helped, and a group of British and American doctors offered their services. In 1914 and 1915, the Rockerfeller Foundation sent two commissions to China to investigate the state of medical education, and on the basis of their report, created the China Medical Board of the Foundation. Through this Board substantial aid was given to various medical schools in China, focusing on the Union Medical College in Peking. The Board acquired the property from the LMS and reconstructed the college as a centre for medical education. The new college began work in 1919. The LMS was represented on the staff as well as on the governing board of the college. [Source: 'A History of the London Missionary Society, 1895-1945', by Normal Goodall]

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Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Subscriptions book quite fragile. Handle with care.