Jiao Tong hosts letter exhibition

A batch of hand-written letters between officials of Shanghai Jiao Tong University and famous people are on display to show its history and how strict it has been in education.

A collection of hand-written letters sent between officials at Shanghai Jiao Tong University and famous individuals are now on display at the school. 

The university archives have more than 1,000 letters penned by figures such as entrepreneur Zhang Jian, educator Cai Yuanpei, general Feng Yuxiang and Chinese geographer and meteorologist Zhu Kezhen, and now 26 of these documents are on public view for the first time.

The exhibits include one letter written on August 14, 1947 by scientist and Jiao Tong alumnus Qian Xuesen to Cao Hesun, Qian’s former classmate and then dean of the university’s aerospace department.

Cao had written to ask Qian for information on American companies that produced wind tunnel facilities. At that time, the university, which had just moved back to Shanghai after the end of World War II, was planning to purchase wind tunnel equipment from the US for its own research and education.

Qian, then a professor at MIT, said in his reply letter that he had collected materials from several American wind tunnel companies and would send them along.

Another letter was written on September 30, 1934 by Du Yuesheng, a noted mob boss in Shanghai, to Li Zhaohuan, then president of the university.

Du wrote to intercede with Li on behalf of a friend’s son who was forced to repeat his sophomore year. Du said in his letter that the student failed an exam because he was sick and missed too many classes.

Li checked the student’s academic records and found he had failed several other exams. He rejected Du in his reply and sent him a list of the courses the youngster had failed.

The exhibition is being held at the C.Y. Tung Maritime Museum on the Xuhui Campus of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. It will run till September 28.

Visitors can not only view the letter contents and handwriting of their authors, but also imitate their writing at an interactive display.

Dong Jun / SHINE

A visitor takes picture of the exhibits.

Dong Jun / SHINE

A letter by Du Yuesheng (left) and the reply by Li Zhaohuan (right).

Ti Gong

 The exhibition is held at the C.Y. Tung Maritime Museum

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