DCSIMG

Culture: Global Exchange

文化—邮政联系

The Chinese Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair was modeled after Prince Pu Lun’s summer residence.
The Chinese Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair was modeled after Prince Pu Lun’s summer residence.
Courtesy Library of Congress
The Chinese Pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis
World’s Fair was modeled after Prince Pu Lun’s
summer residence.
Courtesy Library of Congress

Stamps and mail show many examples of the cultural exchange between China and the U.S. in science, literature, politics, religion, and other fields. Before 1949, American missionaries in China often shared their experiences in letters.

Much later, hundreds of millions of copies of The Quotations of Chairman Mao circulated inside China and, in translation, around the world and the U.S. At different times, both countries also made personal connections and shared ideas through international sports and global cultural events like world's fairs.

Missionary mail from Allentown PA to Shanghai 'opened in error' cover, 1916
Missionary mail from Allentown PA to Shanghai “opened in error” cover, 1916
Missionary mail from Allentown PA to Shanghai “opened in error”
cover, 1916

Many American missionaries in China learned local languages and dialects, living there for most of their lives. Missionaries often established and worked in schools, universities, hospitals, and orphanages, helping to bridge languages and cultures. Anti-foreign campaigns in the early 1950s ended the missionary era.

Missionary mail with unrecognized postage and postage due cover, Manchuria, China, 1921
Missionary mail with unrecognized postage and postage due cover, Manchuria, China, 1921
Missionary mail with unrecognized postage and postage due cover,
Manchuria, China, 1921
Missionary mail from Shanghai to Richmond VA cover, China 1949
Missionary mail from Shanghai to Richmond VA cover, China 1949
Missionary mail from Shanghai to Richmond VA cover, China 1949
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service,
Postmaster General’s Collection
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
5c Pearl Buck model, 1982
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service,
Postmaster General’s Collection

The Nobel Prize winning American novelist Pearl Buck (1892–1973) grew up in China as the daughter of American missionaries. She wrote about Chinese rural life in books that included The Good Earth (1931). Artist Paul Calle sketched her portrait for the USPS Great Americans stamp series.

8f Mao “Sun of the Revolution” with people holding up the Little Red Book, China, 1967
8f Mao “Sun of the Revolution” with people holding up the Little Red Book, China, 1967
8f Mao “Sun of the Revolution” with people
holding up the Little Red Book, China, 1967
8f Mao and people of the world with the Little Red Book, China, 1967
8f Mao and people of the world with the Little Red Book, China, 1967
8f Mao and people of the world with
the Little Red Book, China, 1967

During the Cultural Revolution, Chinese citizens studied Mao's "Little Red Book" and translated editions appeared worldwide. In the U.S., college students and members of groups such as the Black Panthers and Students for a Democratic Society received and distributed copies at the height of turmoil over the Vietnam War and civil rights.

Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of Mao and Mao quotation on cover, China, 1967
Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of Mao and Mao quotation on cover, China, 1967
Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of
Mao and Mao quotation on cover, China, 1967
Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of Mao and Mao poem on cover, China, 1968
Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of Mao and Mao poem on cover, China, 1968
Beijing to Students for a Democratic Society with stamps of
Mao and Mao poem on cover, China, 1968
Albert Einstein first day cover, China, 1979
Albert Einstein first day cover, China, 1979
Albert Einstein first day cover, China, 1979

Chinese students studying in the U.S. increased appreciation within China for physicist Albert Einstein (1879–1955) and his theory of relativity. China issued this stamp on Einstein’s birthday, March 14—also called Pi Day, since 3/14 includes the first digits of the value of pi.

8f American journalist Agnes Smedley single, China, 1985
8f American journalist Agnes Smedley single, China, 1985
8f American journalist Agnes Smedley
single, China, 1985
20f American journalist Anna Louise Strong single, China, 1985
20f American journalist Anna Louise Strong single, China, 1985
20f American journalist Anna Louise Strong
single, China, 1985
80f American journalist Edgar Snow cover, China, 1985
80f American journalist Edgar Snow cover, China, 1985
80f American journalist Edgar Snow cover, China, 1985

These stamps depict earlier American journalists known for their sympathetic, on-site coverage of Communists in China: Edgar Snow (1905–1972), author of Red Star over China (1938); Agnes Smedley (1892–1950), who lived and reported in China in the 1930s; and Anna Louise Strong (1885–1970), who spent her final years there as well.

St. Louis World’s Fair promotional slogan cancellation on cover, 1902
St. Louis World’s Fair promotional slogan cancellation on cover, 1902
St. Louis World’s Fair promotional slogan cancellation on cover, 1902
Empress Dowager Cixi’s 70th birthday celebration invitation, 190
Empress Dowager Cixi’s 70th birthday celebration invitation, 1904
Loan courtesy Elizabeth Nettles
Empress Dowager Cixi’s 70th birthday celebration invitation, 1904
Loan courtesy Elizabeth Nettles

Between 1851 and 1914, China took part in 30 world’s fairs, exchanging ideas on culture, technology, and trade. Sir Robert Hart, head of Chinese customs and the postal system, chose the exhibits. Prince Pu Lun attended the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where China first officially participated.

Chicago World's Fair Temple of Chengde (Jehol) postcard, 1933
Chicago World's Fair Temple of Chengde (Jehol) postcard, 1933
Loan courtesy anonymous
Chicago World's Fair Temple of Chengde (Jehol) postcard, 1933
Loan courtesy anonymous
Chicago World’s Fair first day cover, 1933
Chicago World’s Fair first day cover, 1933
Loan courtesy anonymous
Chicago World’s Fair first day cover, 1933

Workers in Beijing created a replica Chinese temple for display at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. Explorer Sven Hedin studied the original temple just before the Japanese occupied the region.

San Francisco World's Fair macerated stamp card, 1900s–1940s
San Francisco World's Fair macerated stamp card, 1900s–1940s
San Francisco World's Fair macerated
stamp card, 1900s–1940s
San Francisco World's Fair macerated stamp card, 1900s–1940s
San Francisco World's Fair macerated stamp card, 1900s–1940s
San Francisco World's Fair macerated stamp card, 1900s–1940s

At the 1939–40 San Francisco World's Fair, postcards portrayed an idyllic China through cut-up postage stamps. China, already in a years-long war with Japan, did not participate in the fair.

Knoxville World's Fair China pavilion postcard, 1982
Knoxville World's Fair China pavilion postcard, 1982
Knoxville World's Fair China pavilion postcard, 1982

China exhibited bricks from the Great Wall and ancient terracotta warriors at the Knoxville International Energy Exposition in 1982.

A century after China’s first world’s fair in 1910, Shanghai Expo 2010 set size and attendance records. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Expo and USA pavilion that May.

Shanghai Expo with Hillary Clinton signature on postal card, 2010
Shanghai Expo with Hillary Clinton signature on postal card, 2010
Shanghai Expo with Hillary Clinton signature on postal card, 2010
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010. reverse
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010, reverse
Shanghai Expo USA Pavilion postal card ticket, 2010, reverse

Competition in a range of sports strengthened modern Chinese-American relations, starting with table tennis and "ping-pong diplomacy" around the time of President Nixon's visit in 1972.

Table Tennis first day cover, China, 1959
Table Tennis first day cover, China, 1959
Table Tennis first day cover, China, 1959
Cycling first day cover, 1996
Cycling first day cover, 1996
Cycling first day cover, 1996

Chinese athletes made history at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics when pistol shooter Xu Haifeng won China’s first gold medal. Chinese gymnast Li Ning won an extraordinary six medals, including three gold medals, in the same Olympics. Both athletes participated in the 2008 torch ceremony in Beijing.

Olympic Diving in Los Angeles proof, 1984
Olympic Diving in Los Angeles proof, 1984
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
Olympic Diving in Los Angeles proof, 1984
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster
General’s Collection
Men’s Floor Exercises in Gymnastics at 23rd Olympic Games postal card, China, 1984
Men’s Floor Exercises in Gymnastics at 23rd Olympic Games postal card, China, 1984
Men’s Floor Exercises in Gymnastics at 23rd Olympic Games postal
card, China, 1984

The United States and China led the counts in the most medals awarded at the Beijing Olympics. The Beijing games also set a U.S. record as the most watched television event up to that time.

42c Summer Olympics in Beijing overlay model, 2008
42c Summer Olympics in Beijing overlay model, 2008
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s Collection
42c Summer Olympics in Beijing overlay model, 2008
Loan courtesy United States Postal Service, Postmaster General’s
Collection
$6 National Stadium at Beijing Olympic Games souvenir sheet, China, 2008
$6 National Stadium at Beijing Olympic Games souvenir sheet, China, 2008
$6 National Stadium at Beijing Olympic Games souvenir sheet,
China, 2008