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Kung (H. H.) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Use
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Existence of Copies
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Related Materials

  • Title: H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers
    Date (bulk): 1925-1947
    Collection Number: 2006C51
    Contributing Institution: Hoover Institution Library and Archives
    Language of Material: In Chinese and English
    Physical Description: 119 manuscript boxes, 3 oversize boxes, 3 oversize folders, memorabilia (50.37 Linear Feet)
    Abstract: The H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers (1901-1976) consist of speeches and writings, correspondence, reports, conference proceedings, and meeting minutes, relating to political and economic conditions in China and to Chinese diplomatic policy and finances during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.
    Creator: Kung, H. H. (Hsiang-hsi), 1880-1967
    Physical Location: Hoover Institution Library & Archives


    This collection is being digitized and additional online items will be made available as they are created throughout 2023 via the Hoover Institution Library & Archives Digital Collections portal. Original materials are closed due to the fragility of the documents.


    For copyright status, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Acquisition Information

    The H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers are on deposit with the Hoover Institution Library & Archives. Ownership of the collection lies with the Kung family. For more information, please contact the Hoover Institution Library & Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives, [permalink]

    Existence of Copies

    Microfilm use copies are available for boxes 1-51, with a finding aid available upon request for these materials. Boxes 52-114 were not microfilmed.

    Processing Information

    The Hoover Institution Library & Archives received the H. H. Kung papers on deposit from the Kung family in 2006. The collection was rehoused into archival boxes and folders upon receipt and during this process mold was discovered in some materials. In response, the entire collection was frozen, and a detailed preservation survey identified both levels of damage and required levels of treatment. 51 boxes were identified as not requiring extensive treatment for mold. These materials were left in their original order, defined as boxes 1-51, described, and published as "Part I" of the collection. Due to the fragility of these original documents, the materials were microfilmed and have been made available via microfilm since 2010. The rest of the collection underwent preservation treatment for mold and fragility; this work was completed in 2016. These materials were rehoused into archival boxes and folders in their original order and were defined as boxes 52-114. In 2017, boxes 52-114 were described by two graduate students (in both English and simplified Chinese) and were published as "Part II" of the collection. Boxes 52-114 were not microfilmed.
    In 2020, Hoover Institution Library & Archives began preparations for the complete digitization of the H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers. This work included reviewing and updating the description, converting the simplified to traditional Chinese characters to better reflect the language used in the collection materials, and applying intellectual arrangement to support discovery based on researcher feedback. During preparation, the original order of the materials was maintained, but to improve the physical stability of some materials, rehousing was performed and the total extent of the collection expanded to 122 boxes. The "Part I" and "Part II" designations that had been applied by the Library & Archives to delineate the content made available on microfilm in 2010 from the rest of the collection were removed once the collection had been intellectually rearranged.

    Biographical Note

    1881 Born, Shanxi Province, China
    1896-1900 Studied at North China Union College in Tongzhou
    1906 Graduated from Oberlin College, Ohio
    1907 Graduated from Yale University, M.A. in Economics
    1913 Secretary of the Chinese YMCA in Tokyo, Japan
    1914 Married Soong E-ling 宋靄齡
    1924 Joined the Kuomintang (KMT)
    1925 Received honorary LL.D. degree from Oberlin College
    1928 Named Minister of Industry and Commerce
    1929 Elected to the KMT Central Executive Committee
    1932 Appointed special commissioner to study European industrial conditions; assigned to secure foreign aid for the development of China's national defense
    1933 Vice-Premier, Executive Yuan
      Minister of Finance
      Governor, Bank of China
    1937 Received honorary degree from Yale University
      Represented the Chinese National Government as special envoy during the coronation of King George VI
    1938-1939 President, Chinese-American Institute of Cultural Relations
      Premier, Executive Yuan
    1948 Moved to New York, United States
    1967 August 15 Died, Long Island, New York

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The H. H. Kung 孔祥熙 papers bear witness to and describe significant turning points in the history of the Republic of China, such as the passing of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, the Manchurian (Mukden) Incident of 1931, the Xi'an Incident of 1936, the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), the Chinese Civil War (1946-1949), and the reformation of China's modern banking and monetary systems.
    Among the previously lesser-known historical accounts now revealed from Kung's personal papers are Nationalist China's endeavors to manufacture its own military weapons before and during World War II, as demonstrated by the wide range of aviation-related documents displaying international collaboration between China and other countries, intelligence reports concerning the Chinese Communist Party's financial, economic, and military operations in the Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region, Japanese secret activities in China in the early war years, and the intricate relationship between Chiang Kai-shek's central government, regional warlords, and various political factions.
    A major component of the collection consists of Kuomingtang / Guomindang (KMT) records, conference proceedings, meeting minutes, agendas, reports, resolutions, and other support documents from the Central Executive Committee and the Supreme National Defense Commission (bulk 1930-1943). It also contains a significant number of materials that discuss international affairs during the 1930s and 1940s, which are broken up into three categories: international loans, international relations, and international trade. These core domestic and foreign policy making files compiled throughout his political career serve to highlight Kung's domestic and international efforts and contributions as Head of the Executive Yuan (Premier and Vice-Premier), Minister of Finance, Minister of Industry and Commerce, President of the Central Bank, special delegate to the United Kingdom, diplomat to Germany and Belgium, and member of the National Aviation Committee. In this way, the H.H. Kung papers also present the turning points of the Republic of China era through the lens of Kung's various political appointments.
    Finally, the papers reveal Kung's intricate identity as an American-educated Chinese individual during the early half of the 20th century. They exhibit Kung's charitable and educational endeavors, such as his involvement in disaster relief efforts, as well as his role as founder and President of the Oberlin Shansi Ming Hsien School/Oberlin Shanxi Ming Xian School (see English correspondence files, 1917-1948), which fostered cross-cultural and educational exchange programs with the United States. Moreover, his speeches and writings cover a wide range of topics, namely banking and finance, industry and trade, mobilization and war, education, agriculture, diplomacy, and more. The topics found in both his personal and professional career papers complicate and deepen our understanding of Kung's complex identities and viewpoints as a philanthropist, educator, politician, banker, and diplomat.
    This collection is currently being digitized; links to digital materials are available throughout the finding aid and are browsable within the Hoover Institution Library & Archives Digital Collections portal.

    Related Materials

    Kia-ngau Chang papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Chen Li-fu memoirs, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Chiang Ching-kuo diaries, Hoover institution Archives
    Chiang Kai-shek diaries, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    T. V. Soong papers, Hoover Institution Library & Archives
    Zhongguo guo min dang records, Hoover Institution Library & Archives

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    World War, 1939-1945 -- Diplomatic history
    World War, 1939-1945 -- China
    China -- Economic conditions -- 1912-1949
    China -- Politics and government -- 1912-1949
    Finance, Public -- China
    World War, 1939-1945 -- Economic aspects
    Statesmen -- China
    Sino-Japanese War, 1937-1945
    Sino-Japanese Conflict, 1931-1933
    China -- History -- Republic, 1912-1949