1974 - (Professor David Hawkes)

Scope and Content

Within this series is correspondence regarding the conferment of the Medal and Professor Hawkes declining of it.

Administrative / Biographical History

In 1974, the Society wished to confer the Gold Medal on Professor David Hawkes. However the correspondence in this series reveals that Professor Hawkes did not feel able to accept the honour and therefore the Medal was not given in 1974.

David Hawkes was born in London. He entered Oxford University in 1942 as a student in Christ Church, where he studied the Latin and Greek Classics. After his first year, during the height of the Second World War, Hawkes was recruited to study Japanese in London. His talent for East Asian languages was soon recognized by his military superiors, and he was made an instructor to the Japanese codebreakers. After the war's end in 1945, Hawkes returned to Oxford, where he transferred from Classics into the newly established Honours School of Chinese. Hawkes studied at Oxford until 1947, when he moved to China to continue his studies at Peking University. He left China in 1951 and continued his study at Oxford becoming Oxford's chair of Chinese in 1959. Hawkes formally retired from Chinese scholarship in 1984 and relocated with his wife to Wales, donating his 4,500-volume Chinese book collection to the National Library of Wales. He died in Oxford in 2009.

Related Material

In the Council Minutes for 14 February 1974, it was noted that the President requested to nominate three members for the Selection Committee and to report back at the next meeting and in the Minutes for 4th April 1974, it is recorded that the President nominated Professors Shorto and Long, and Dr Loewe as the Selection Committee. In the Minutes for 13th June, the Committee recommended Professor David Hawkes as the Gold Medal recipient for his contribution to both Chinese and English literature through his translation of "The Dream of the Red Chamber". In the Minutes for 10 October 1974, it is reported that Professor Hawkes had regretfully declined the Medal and to give the lecture and that is was hoped that Dr Carmen Blacker would deliver the Arthur Waley Memorial Lecture in his place.