Stepping Forth Into the World: The Story of the Xu Brothers
The exhibition, Journeys, tells the story of the students who participated in the Chinese Educational Mission (CEM). In this program, Henry Qu, who contributed his research and translation skills to the exhibition, will tell the story of three students, the remarkable Xu brothers. Qu will place the brothers’ story into the larger context of world history and reveal how the brothers’ lives became part of a complicated tangle of international exchange.
After the First Opium War (1840-1842), Britain and other countries forced the Qing court to open to foreign trade through international treaties. Collaborating with Chinese merchants, foreign traders ventured deeply into Inland China, created enormous wealth, and brought drastic changes to the life of millions. The Xu family is among these merchants. As the first group of Chinese who started to re-examine the world in the late 19th century, their family members left footprints in China, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Three of the Xu boys came to the United States with CEM, spending some of their teenage years studying and living abroad. Some of their home letters are still preserved by CHS, shedding light on the family’s story and history. This is a story of self-made entrepreneurs, a story of international exchange, and a story of personal struggles under the tide of history.
This virtual event is free and open to the public.