The Renwen Society of China Institute and the Confucius Institute
for Business at SUNY Global Center jointly present an illustrated
lecture on Saturday, Oct. 31 by Margaret Stocker, trustee of the
India House Foundation, on a book she is writing: Saving China's
Art: The Heiress, the Diplomat and the 'American Emperor.' The
heiress, philanthropist and suffragist was Dorothy Payne Whitney
Straight, whose fortune flowed from the Standard Oil Company. The
diplomat, Willard Straight, collected Indo-Tibetan and Chinese
bronzes and wall hangings in Manchuria and Korea while a
correspondent for the Associated Press during the Russo-Japanese War
of 1904-5 and then through 1911 under the US State Department's
'Open Door to China' policy. The 'American Emperor' is the title
that the 13th Dalai Lama used to refer to Theodore Roosevelt.
The talk will feature the work of the Asiatic Institute, established
by Dorothy and Willard Straight at India House, a private club in
New York City they also founded. The Asiatic Institute's mission
was to "bring the east and west together" through trade and cultural
diplomacy. Ms. Stocker, formerly curator of the Collection at India
House, has uncovered rare monographs published by the Asiatic
Institute between 1913 and 1916 that reveal an international lobby
to support Yuan Shikai and the newly established Republic of China
and to save China's cultural treasures and establish a museum in
Ms. Stocker, an independent scholar specializing in American art of
the nineteenth century, was surprised to rediscover the significance
of the Asian art at India House, long interpreted as a 'maritime'
collection. Her book will document the 1000 paintings, prints, ship
models, and nautical artifacts exhibited in the 'Old Cotton
Exchange' on Hanover Square in 1914, which document America's
expansion into the Pacific Basin in the nineteenth century.
Ms Stocker, a resident of New York City, was born in Salem,
Massachusetts, where she started her career at the Peabody Essex
Museum. She co edited East Hampton Invents the Culture of
Summer: The Woodhouse Family of Huntting Lane, 1994, and edited
Not for Widows and Orphans: The History of International
Shipholding Corporation 1947-2007, published in 2007.
Exhibitions curated by Margaret Stocker include Forged by Fire,
for the first anniversary of 9/11, and Ships, Explorers and the
World Trade Center, in 2010.
Date: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015
Time: 2:00-3:30 pm (lecture); 3:30-4:00 pm (reception)
Location: SUNY Global Center, 116 East 55th Street, New York, NY