Oral Histories

Interview of Richard Rudolph

UCLA professor of Chinese literature and archaeology.
Creating an Oriental Languages Department and Library
Interviews not in a series, part one
UCLA and University of California History
UCLA Faculty
Biographical Note:
UCLA professor of Chinese literature and archaeology.
Klein, Kenneth D.
Rudolph, Richard
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Enters University of California, Berkeley, as a premed student; takes a Chinese language course from Peter Alexis Boodberg; decides to go into graduate work in Chinese; Berkeley's emphasis on classical Chinese to the detriment of the spoken language; memories of Ferdinand Diedrich Lessing; Rudolph is selected to assist H. G. Creel at the University of Chicago; faculty and staff in the Chinese program at Chicago; faculty and staff in the Japanese program at Berkeley; Boodberg's criticism of Creel's article; Rudolph finishes his Ph.D. at Berkeley; works as a research associate with Lessing; becomes head of the Chinese section in the Department of Navy Language School at the University of Colorado in Boulder; appointed assistant professor at the University of Toronto; writes various articles; moves to UCLA to start Chinese program; difficulties of being chairman of the newly founded UCLA Department of Oriental Languages; sets off for China on a Fulbright scholarship; suitcase confiscated and sent back to the United States; people in Asian studies in the Los Angeles area in the late 1940s; arrives in China; American and European scholars in Beijing; dilapidation of the Forbidden City in Beijing; buying books in Beijing; decides to stay in China despite embassy warnings that he should leave; visits Han cliff tombs; book buying in Ch'engtu; alarm and unrest in anticipation of a communist takeover of Ch'engtu; problems connected with the devaluation of Chinese currency; Rudolph visits a mosque in Ch'ing-hai containing illuminated Arabic manuscripts; Societatis Verbi Divini (SVD) priests' desire to remove their neolithic pots from Sining before the communists arrive; Sining; decision against establishing a Korean program at UCLA; visit with SVD priests in Lanchou; Governor Ma Pu-fang; buying books in Japan; SVD priests come from Japan to UCLA with their library; Rudolph offers Lao Kan a full-time position at UCLA; Rudolph's activities since retirement and his involvement in cataloging his collections.