"Searching for Dean Lung" Public Talk and Panel Discussion held in Beijing

June 13, 2019

Mia Anderer and Paul Anderer, Mack Professor of Humanities and Professor of Japanese Literature at Columbia University, presented their research of  Dean Lung on a public talk hosted by Columbia Global Centers| Beijing together with the China Central Television (CCTV) on June 13. They also shared  discoveries in detail and future directions on a panel discussion of CCTV's documentary Searching for Dean Lung.

According to Mrs. Anderer, Dean Lung was a Chinese servant and companion to Columbia Trustee Horace W. Carpentier. In 1901, he donated a fund of $12,000 to Columbia University, which could be a substantial fortune for him at the time, for the establishment of “Chinese learning”. His employer, in Dean Lung’s honor, contributed a total of $225,000 funding the East Asian Department at Columbia over the years.

Mrs. Anderer traced the outline of Dean Lung’s life in the U.S. Using the resources at Columbia and in New York, she tried to find truths and facts in apocryphal stories and oral history. Written documentation and other concrete evidence of Dean Lung’s life in the U.S. were scarce, but by working with the University Archive, National Archive, and local historians, Mrs. Anderer found evidence indicating that Dean Lung left for China via Canada in around 1905 and never returned. Dean Lung’s name in Chinese was never documented in America, and Mrs. Anderer hopes that further efforts among Chinese scholars can discover Dean Lung’s origin and the turns of events after he came back from the U.S.

As the former Chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Professor Paul Anderer stressed the importance of remembering and continuing Dean Lung’s story in Columbia's community as well as in the world. As Mrs. Anderer pointed out, the future search for Dean Lung would be a joint effort for both the U.S. and Chinese scholars. The Searching for Dean Lung documentary project is a great opportunity for the legacy of Dean Lung to pass on. Yalin BU, Chief Director of Searching for Dean Lung, moderated the discussion.

Also joining the panel were Helena Xiao, Assistant Director of Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, who shared her own experience in knowing the legacy of Dean Lung and the Beijing Center's efforts in assisting the Searching for Dean Lung project in China. Jianxin CHI, General Manager of Beijing Discovery Documentary Media ltd., Baocheng JIA, Video Business Director of Weibo, and Yaliang LIU, Toutiao Project Manager, also shared their insights during the event.