By PEGGY K. PEARLSTEIN
Marcia Ristaino, senior Chinese acquisitions specialist in the Chinese Acquisitions Section, has been selected as the Library's next Kluge Staff Fellow. She will begin her residency at the John W. Kluge Center on Oct. 1 for a period of up to 12 months.
In addition to the Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement in the human sciences, the senior chairs and fellowships supported by the Kluge endowment, the Kluge Center also provides for the selection of a competitively selected Library of Congress staff fellow each year.
The fellowship applications submitted this year by Library staff were
reviewed and rated for their completeness and appropriateness to the goals
of the program. Because of their overall excellence and the wide range
of proposed subjects, all of the applications were forwarded to an outside
review committee, which recommended Ristaino's selection.
The title of Ristaino's project is "The World Was His Parish: Father Jacquinot and the Chinese Refugees." The outcome of her research will be a case study of a French Jesuit, Robert Jacquinot de Besange, S.J. (1878-1946), who worked among Chinese refugees in Shanghai during the Sino-Japanese War years, 1937-1940. The priest's acclaim comes from his success in establishing a safe zone for at least 250,000 Chinese fleeing from the Japanese military onslaught during the months after August 1937 when the war reached Shanghai.
Jacquinot engaged in an early form of shuttle diplomacy and won substantial support from Japanese Foreign Minister Hirota Koki, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his humanitarian efforts. Roosevelt alone made $850,000 available to Jacquinot for the refugee camps. In addition to describing Jacquinot's contributions to peacemaking and refugee affairs, Ristaino's study should succeed in reviving interest in this remarkable and colorful individual.
Ristaino plans to use her knowledge of French, Chinese and Japanese to gain insight from the relevant resources that are in the Library's collections. These include at least six leading Shanghai publications of the period of research, numerous valuable secondary sources in both English and French, travel literature, religious journals, missionary publications, journalists' writings, and photographs and city maps of the period.
Ristaino also plans to consult the extensive microfilm records of the Japanese Foreign Ministry Files, which detail the Japanese presence in Shanghai; the 27-volume "Minutes of the Shanghai Municipal Council, 1854-1943," the body that presided over the Shanghai International Settlement where Father Jacquinot worked, which were only recently acquired by the Library; and the many local histories (difang zhi) and historical records (wenshi ziliao) that provide a Chinese view of the priest and his work among the Chinese.
Other relevant materials include the U.S. Congressional Records for the period of Jacquinot's fund-raising work in the United States and the 46-volume "British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers of the Foreign Office Confidential Print, 1914-1939," which are all in the Library's collections.
Ristaino joined the Library staff in 1981 as a senior China research analyst in the Federal Research Division, where she worked until 1990. From 1990 to 1997, she handled East Asian acquisitions in the Order Division. Since 1997 she has been a senior Chinese acquisitions specialist in the Chinese Acquisitions Section.
Ristaino graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1962 with a bachelor's degree in European history. She received a master's degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii in 1964 and earned a doctorate in history from Georgetown University in 1977.
Ristaino has published two books: "Port of Last Resort: Diaspora Communities of Shanghai" (Stanford University Press, 2002) and "China's Art of Revolution: The Mobilization of Discontent, 1927 and 1928" (Duke University Press, 1987). She has also written chapters for other books, articles for journals and presented papers at several conferences.
In addition to working at the Library, Ristaino has served as a member of the executive committee of the Council on East Asian Libraries (1997-2001), as executive editor (1992) of the Washington Journal of Modern China, and she has taught courses on modern Chinese history, East Asian civilization and Japanese history at local colleges and universities.
Peggy Pearlstein is an area specialist in the Hebraic Section of the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division.