Anthony Koo: From Chinese Diplomat to MSU Professor

17 11 2015


Thanks to the MSU Department of Economics, the papers of Anthony Y. C. Koo are now available to researchers in the University Archives & Historical Collections.

Professor Koo, a native of Shanghai, grew up in a family that was open to Western ideas, unusual in China at the time. He graduated from St. John’s University, a highly-respected institution in Shanghai which had both Chinese and Western students. He then came to the United States, earning a master’s degree at the University of Illinois before completing a doctorate in economics at Harvard.

The majority of Professor Koo’s papers concern his appointment as an advisor to the Chinese delegation of the Far Eastern Commission, which was formed by the Allied Powers in 1946 to develop the policies and principles which would guide the post-war occupation of Japan. The Commission included representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France; Australia, Canada, and New Zealand; India, the Philippines, the Soviet Union, and the Republic of China.

The Far Eastern Commission papers provide a little-known perspective on the complex regional and global politics of the late 1940s, and the economic challenges facing Japan after the war. The material will be a valuable resource for students and researchers in history, international relations, and Asian studies.

Professor Koo worked with the Far Eastern Commission until 1950, when he joined the economics faculty at MSU. He was honored with the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1956 and the Distinguished Faculty Award in 1976. Both Professor Koo and his wife, Dr. Delia Koo, were enthusiastic supporters of MSU, and the academic wing of MSU’s International Center is named in her honor. Professor Koo died in 2011.

Written by Sarah Roberts, Acquisitions Archivist


New Acquisition: The Journals of T.C. Abbot

12 01 2012

Here at the University Archives & Collections, we love receiving new items, especially those tied very closely with MSU history! Just recently, we received two new pieces from the MSU Special Collections that once belonged to Michigan State University’s third president, Theophilus Capen Abbot.

T.C. Abbot was born on April 29, 1826 in Vassaboro, Maine and spent much of his childhood in Augusta, Maine. At the age of fifteen he enrolled in Colby University (later Colby College) at Waterville, Maine. He graduated in 1845 and received his A.M. (masters) degree from Colby four years later. After receiving the A.M. degree, Abbot taught in Vermont, at the Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine, at Colby University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and at the Union School in Ann Arbor. In 1858, Abbot accepted the Professorship of English Literature at the State Agricultural College. He also served as the treasurer of the college in 1860, and as secretary pro tempore of the State Board of Agriculture in 1861 and 1862.

On July 5, 1860, Abbot married Sarah Merrylees, a teacher at the Union School in Ann Arbor. Sarah and Theophilus Abbot had two children: Mary Monat and Joseph Rodney.

The State Board of Agriculture elected Abbot president of the college in December, 1862. Abbot assumed an active role in the administration of the college during his twenty-two years as president while continuing to teach. In 1866, he became Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic, and four years later received a LL.D. degree from the University of Michigan. He resigned the presidency in 1885, but remained at the college as a professor until his retirement in 1889. Abbot died on November 7, 1892.

The Special Collections have recently given to the archives, two journals belonging to Abbot. The first is a portfolio that he had from 1844-1845 while studying at Waterville College. In this portfolio, it appears as though he copied various essays, poems, hymns, quotes, histories, and passages from famous works. The passages are written in extremely elegant cursive handwriting with the traces and pressures of the pen that was once dipped into his inkwell. He writes in various languages as well, including English, Ancient Greek, and what appears to be Italian.

The second journal appears to be Abbot’s notes on various philosophies. There are notes on methodologies, diagrams of various ideas, charts regarding various subjects, reflections regarding certain ideals, rules of sorts, reactions to other people’s works, and religious thoughts. Although not as neat and tidy as the first, each page of this journal is completely full from top to bottom with various sorts of information.

Seems as though our University’s third president was quite the philosopher.