In the 1870s, the Chinese government sent 120 young male students to live and study in America — the first attempt to open China to western ways. Arriving in 4 detachments of 30 each over 4 years, the students were dispersed to host families throughout western Massachusetts and Connecticut and were taught in public schools, academies, and colleges in New England. The students were recalled by the Chinese government in
1881 and the project ended.
Now, researchers with the Pioneer Valley Network want to use the resources of our network to learn what documents, images, artifacts, and other research material might be available in the Pioneer Valley relating to this unique experiment in inter-cultural exchange. It’s possible that much of this research material, especially letters and photographs, may be in private hands, not in the museums and libraries. We’re hoping to use the PVHN connections in the local communities to help us track this material down. We need your help. Please let us know if you have something of interest to this project.
Particularly interesting to the researchers is understanding more about the host families in western Mass. which were in at least fifteen different communities — what connections existed between them (church affiliations?), and why and how were they selected. For more information about the host families, see our website: Chinese Educational Mission
For more background on the history of the Chinese Educational Mission, visit the “CEM Connections” website.