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Guide to The Wu Jingxiong Collection

EPH 5038


Collection Summary

Title: Wu Jingxiong Collection
Dates: 1936-1989
Collection No.: EPH 5038
Creator: Wu, Jingxiong, 1899-1986
Creator: John Wu, Jr. (Wu Shu-teh)
Extent: 12 folders; .5 linear ft.
Language: Collection material in English and Chinese
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A collection of publications (magazines, and books), authored by, or about Wu Jingxiong, Wu's personal notes, and materials related to his funeral.

Selected Search Terms

Wu, Jingxiong, 1899-1986
Catholic converts -- China
Law -- Philosophy

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Wu Jingxiong Collection, [Collection and folder no.], Rare Books and Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Wu Jingxiong Collection is a gift of Wu, Shude (Wu, Shu-teh or John Wu, Jr.), the youngest son of Wu, Jingxiong to the Hesburgh Libraries in 2017. Arranged and described 2017, by John Lindblom and Hye-jin Juhn. Finding aid 2017, by John Lindblom and Hye-jin Juhn.

Biographical Note

Wu, Jingxiong (Wu Ching-hsiung or John C. H. Wu) is a scholar of international law, juristic philosopher, diplomat, translator, writer, and poet.

Wu was born in 1899 in Ningbo, Zhejiang. He was trained in traditional education based on Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. He studied law at the Suzhou Comparative Law School of China in Shanghai, where he came into contact with Western Methodist missionaries, and was baptized John. In 1937 while practicing law in Shanghai, he became a Roman Catholic. His conversion was motivated by a chance reading of the autobiography of St. Theresa of Lisieux. He later earned the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence at the University of Michigan Law School. While there, Wu then wrote a letter to the then eighty-year-old, Oliver Wendell Holmes, U.S. Supreme Court Justice and a neo-Kantian philosopher. Their correspondence continued for 11 years.

In 1944, Wu served as an adviser to the Chinese delegation at the United National Conference in San Francisco, and from 1947-1949, as Chinese ambassador to the Vatican. In 1951, he and his family moved to the United States, where he was a professor at Seton Hall Law School from 1951 until he retired in 1967. In 1957, he was appointed a judge of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.

Wu was a principal author of the Constitution adopted by the Nationalist Government in 1946. He was the founder of T'ien hsia monthly (1935-1941), the English-language periodical on Chinese culture. He translated Psalms (1946) and the New Testament (1949) into Chinese, and Tao teh ching (Dao de jing) of Laozi into English. He authored Beyond East and West (autobiography, 1951), The Interior Carmel: The Threefold Way of Love (1953), Fountain of Justice : A Study in the Natural Law (1955), Cases and Materials on Jurisprudence (1958), and Chinese Humanism and Christian Spirituality (1965). His papers, "The Status of the Individual in Chinese Thought and Practice" (1959) and "The Status of the Individual in the Political and Legal Traditions of Old and New China" (1964), were presented at the the East-West Philosophers' Conferences in Hawaii in 1959 and 1964, and are included in Charles Alexander Moore's book, The Chinese Mind: Essentials of Chinese Philosophy and Culture. Some of the letters Wu exchanged with Oliver Wendell Holmes were published in Justice Holmes to Doctor Wu; An Intimate Correspondence, 1921-1932 (1947). Some unpublished letters of Justice Holmes to Wu are at the U.S. Supreme Court Library.


- Boorman, Howard L., et al. "Wu Ching-hsiung," Biographical Dictionary of Republican China. New York, Columbia University Press, 1967. - Lindblom, John A. "John C. H. Wu and the Evangelization of China." Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, vol. 8, no. 2, 2005, pp. 130-164. - Marvine Howe. "John C.H. Wu of Taiwan, 86; Diplomat and Legal Scholar." New York Times (1923-Current File), Oct. 1986, p. B14.

Scope and Content Note

The collection, donated by John Wu., Jr. (Wu Shu-teh) in memory of his father, includes a variety of books, magazines, and non-book items written, translated, annotated, and autographed by Wu Jingxiong. Some of the items are related to Wu, such as a magazine article written by his son, a handwritten copy of Wu's Chinese translation of Psalms by a devotee (photocopy), and Wu's funeral program.

Arrangement Note

The collection's single series is ordered as follows: 1) Books; 2) Periodicals; 3) Miscellaneous Printed Texts; 4) Handwritten notes.

Container List

  • Book: Wu Jingxiong, The Art of Law and Other Essays Juridical and Literary. 1936(?). Folder 1 (EPH 5038-1).
    1 item. Photocopy.
    The author underlined a sentence on p. 43.
    • Book: Justice Holmes to Doctor Wu; An Intimate Correspondence, 1921-1932. New York: Central Book Company, 1947. Folder 2 (EPH 5038-2).
      1 item.
      The book contains letters (originally published in T'ien hsia monthly) of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his 80s, to Wu Jingxiong, a 22-year-old law student at the University of Michigan at the time. The "Prefatory" lists some of Wu's writings discussed in the letters.
      • Periodical: Chinese Culture: A Quarterly Review. Volume 12, no. 4, December 1971. Folder 3 (EPH 5038-3).
        Contains "The sorrows of estrangement, by Ch'u Yuan (B.C. 343-Circa 290): a new translation by John C. H. Wu."
        • Periodical: Cistercian Studies. Volume 12, no 3, March 1973. Folder 4 (EPH 5038-4).
          Contains Wu Jingxiong's "Letter to Cistercian Studies," in which he discusses his friendship with Thomas Merton. An article by E. Glenn Hinson in this volume, "Expansive Catholicism: Merton's Ecumenical Perceptions," has annotations by Wu Shude, Wu Jingxiong's son.
          • Periodical: Hai wai xue ren. Volume 92, 1980. Folder 5 (EPH 5038-5).
            Contains "Zen, its Origin and Significance," a reprint of Chapter 1 of The Golden Age of Zen by Wu Jingxiong.
            • Periodical: Zi you qing nian. Volume 74, December 1985. Folder 6 (EPH 5038-6).
              This volume, published a few months before Wu Jingxiong's death in 1986, contains "Shen cang ni de dao feng he dao ren: yi dai da shi Wu Jingxiong" ["Deeply concealing your knife point and knife blade: a generation's grandmaster Wu Jingxiong"], an interview with Wu Jingxiong's son, Wu Shude, about his father. The magazine's cover has a full-size watercolor illustration of Wu Jingxiong sitting in a thoughtful pose.
              • Periodical: Heng yi. Issue 431, February 1989. Folder 7 (EPH 5038-7).
                Two copies. This Taiwanese magazine contains "Wu Jingxiong bo shi zhui si," a Chinese translation of Wu Shude's article (originally written in English) about the life and thought of his father, Wu Jingxiong.
                • Wu Jingxiong: Miscellaneous ephemera, n.d. Folder 8 (EPH 5038-8).
                  Includes: a photocopy of Wu yi sheng yong shou chao ben ["A handwritten copy of Wu's Chinese translation of Psalms"], calligraphy by Shi Antang, 20.9 x 12.4 cm; a letter; two photos; a handwritten card; a business card from Lin Xuebi (Lam Suet Pik); and a photocopy of an entry about Wu Jingxiong from Qian li ming gao, a 1995 reprint of a 1935 directory of important persons in the early Republic of China. The items are contained in a stamped, hand-written envelope from Lin Xuebi, Holy Spirit Seminary College of Theology and Philosophy (Hong Kong), to Wu Shude.
                  • Wu Jingxiong: Offprint: "Joy in Chinese Philosophy," 1971. Folder 9 (EPH 5038-9).
                    Offprint of an article by John C. H. Wu published in Chinese Culture, vol. 12, no. 1 (March 1971), signed and annotated by Wu Jingxiong.
                    • Wu Jingxiong: Offprint: "Confucius and Chinese Culture," 1978. Folder 10 (EPH 5038-10).
                      Originally published in vols. 14-15 (1978) of the Journal of the China Society.
                      • Wu Jingxiong: Funeral ephemera, 1986 Folder 11 (EPH 5038-11).
                        Wu Jingxiong's funeral programs (28 copies), 26.5 x 19.2 cm; and cards (24 copies), 16.2cm x 11.6cm.
                        • Wu Jingxiong: Manuscript index, n.d. Folder 12 (EPH 5038-12).
                          A handwritten index (21 cm x 17 cm, 40 pages) to his book, Sun Yat-sen, the Man and His Ideas (1971).