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Upcoming Lecture



Speaker: Margaret Stocker
Date: Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015, 2:00 pm-4:00 pm


Saving China's Art:  The Heiress, the Diplomat and the 'American Emperor'

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 Peking.


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 10022


Free, but advance registration is requested.

Click here to register for this lecture

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