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Building a Collection: Giok Po Oey and the John M. Echols Collection

In the US as a Student

After earning his degree from the Sinological Institute, Giok Po originally applied to come to Cornell for graduate studies in 1951, but chance intervened when he was given funding by the US embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia and encouraged to attend the University of California at Berkeley for one year of graduate studies. There, he continued his coursework in Chinese language and literature. During the summer after his successful year at Berkeley, Knight Biggerstaff, then Chair of Cornell’s Department of Far Eastern Studies, arranged to fund a position for Giok Po in the Hoover Institute collections at Stanford, where he created a bibliography of every publication in Chinese relating to Southeast Asia. At the completion of that summer, Giok Po finally made his way to Cornell where he had a research assistantship waiting. He initially intended a course of study that would fall short of a Master’s degree. After some time on campus, he changed his mind and ultimately earned a Master’s degree from Cornell in August of 1953.