This blog is a series of biographical sketches of Chinese students who studied in universities and colleges in the United States during the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship program. Many of the students profiled will not be official Boxer Indemnity Scholars, but they will all have come to study in the US between 1900 and 1945.


If you think your ancestor was a member of this cohort, contact me and I can probably verify that for you. If you know your ancestor was a member of this cohort and you would like to see a blog post on them, let me know! I’m profiling students in no particular order and I would love to hear from you!

17 thoughts on “About

  1. I was a young claims representative for Social Security in Hackensack, NJ when a Chinese man in his 70’s came in to apply for retirement. He met the insured status requirement by filing as self employed under the 1972 amendment to the Internal Revenue code that extended coverage to employees of corporations wholly owned by foreign governments. I swear that he had something to do with getting this inserted into the tax code.

    I asked him what he did for a foreign government and he asked me if I knew my history. I told him that I was always interested in history and had a decent knowledge of it. “Do you know about the Chinese Boxer rebellion?” he asked. I told him that it was an uprising, supported by the empress, against foreign governments’ controls of parts of the country; that the foreign troops put down the rebellion and that China had to pay reparations to the foreign governments, including the US. “And do you know what the American government did with the reparation money that it received?” he asked. I told him that I did, that the US government used the money to educate Chinese students. He smiled. “I administer the reparations money. The Nationalist Chinese government has honored the agreement since it was signed in 1901. I pay the tuition, housing and allowances for every student that comes here.”

    I was impressed but I needed documentation for his claim. He smiled, opened his brief case and handed the Nationalist Chinese government’s copy of the presidential proclamation setting up the Boxer Indemnity Scholarship, big red seal, fancy red sash, presidential signiture and all! I couldn’t make a decent copy with those old photocopiers we used to have and had to certify all the information by hand. I awarded the claim and he was paid. Years later, I worked in Central Office and got to know the SSA historian. He had me write this up for the agency’s history, my small footnote to all SSA has done.


    1. That’s amazing! I had no idea that the program continued after the 50s – must have been administered by the Nationalist government in Taiwan. What a cool contribution to history you witnessed.


  2. How may I best email you? I have questions about a relative who is said to have applied for a Boxer Indemnity Scholarship in Shanghai, perhaps in 1917-1919, passed the test, but was prevented from leaving China by his domineering Grandma. Who keeps lists of students who went through the rigorous examination process? Many thanks.


    1. Hi there! Wow, how very interesting! I have not found a list of students who took the exam, but I am always in search of more resources, so if I find any info on students who have applied, I will let you know.


    1. Yao Liu, is your list a complete or partial list of the scholars awarded scholarships each year, or perhaps the scholars that arrived in the US each year? Do you know who might know more about the exams or interviews required to apply, and required to accept? Did the fund cover travel as well as tuition and room and board? Thank you.


  3. Just found your blog and find it very interesting. Lily Soo-Hoo Sung was my grandmother, so finding profiles of so many of her family members here is fascinating. May I ask what this blog is used for (university instruction, personal interest, historical research?) and who you are and what your background is? Digging deeper into our family history is often difficult, buy you seem to have very rich sources, and I would love to find out more! If there is a way to contact you, please let me know! Thank you. (cecisaysblog@gmail.com)


    1. Hello!

      This blog is sort of used for all of the above! I started this investigation with my own great-great-father, E. J. Chu; I was compiling a family genealogy for a Christmas present for my parents and before that I had no idea that there was an entire movement of Chinese students who came to the US. I’m also a university professor (of modern languages) who is studying for my doctorate right now, and these investigations will be the backbone of my dissertation. I write this blog for fun and as a way to give a more personal view into the rather boring statistics I am usually compiling about these students. As to sources, because of my university connections, I have access to a lot more historical newspapers, books, etc., but a lot of what I’ve linked here in the blog is in the public domain – you just need to know where to look!

      The Academic


  4. Hello There! I’m so lucky to have come across your blog! I’m a graduate student at San Francisco State University in the Asian American studies department. My thesis is on Chinese students who attended the University of Florida from 1915-1920. I have their names and pictures that I collected from the yearbooks but I desperately searching for more information about them and why they went to the University of Florida. Any direction you could point me in and any advice you could give would be extremely helpful! Thank you!


      1. Hi, I am so interesting in your blog.i am a teacher and am doing some research on Chinese Students in America. I am curious about students of California during 1900-1910. My email is 758736007@qq.com.Hope that we can know each other and exchange some information.


  5. Hello, I am a undergrad currently writing my senior thesis on Arthur Henderson Smith and the Boxer indemnity fund I was wondering if we could set up a line of contact for I have many questions and some information that may be pertinent to your research.


  6. Hello there, once you return from your hiatus, perhaps you will be interested in the book The Third Degree, by Scott Seligman (2018) about the murder in 1919 of Theodore Ting Wong, the Director of the Boxer Rebellion Indemnity Fund from 1911 until his death. A remembrance of T.T. Wong appeared in the Chinese Student Minthly v.14 (5). https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015076618092;view=2up;seq=308;skin=mobile
    His great grand-daughter is my wife.


  7. Thank you for such in depth work. So much to digest. How can I contact you to submit the name of my scholar to investigate?


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