American Philosophical Society
Member History

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4. Humanities[X]
405. History and Philology, East and West, through the 17th Century[X]
1Name:  Dr. Wm. Theodore de Bary
 Institution:  Columbia University
 Year Elected:  1999
 Class:  4. Humanities
 Subdivision:  405. History and Philology, East and West, through the 17th Century
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Deceased
 Birth Date:  1919
 Death Date:  July 14, 2017
Wm. Theodore de Bary began his career as a teacher at Columbia in 1949 when he undertook to develop the undergraduate general education program in Asian Studies. For this he developed basic source readings in Asian Civilizations for India, China, Japan and now Korea. These volumes dealing with the major traditions of Asia, published in 1958-60, have seen wide use in colleges and universities throughout the United States and abroad. They have now been supplemented by over 140 other texts and translations for use in general educations on Asia. As chair of the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures from 1960-66 and as first director of the National Defense Languages and Area Center he led a major expansion of the language programs in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. From 1969-70 he was President of the Association for Asian Studies. From 1969-71 he served as the first chair of the Executive Committee of the University Senate. From 1971-78 as Provost of the University, among other duties, Dr. de Bary assisted in the renovation and expansion of the East Asian Library and established the Heyman Center for the Humanities, which includes among other programs, offices and a reading room for the Human Rights Program. In 1974, Dr. de Bary was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and in 1999 to the American Philosophical Society. He had received honorary degrees from St. Lawrence University, Loyola University in Chicago, and Columbia. Professor de Bary's scholarly work focused on the major religious and intellectual traditions of East Asia, especially Confucianism in China, Japan and Korea. Among the more than twenty-five works authored by him, he has dealt principally with the issues of civil society and human rights in China. They include Asian Values and Human Rights (1998) and Nobility and Civility: Asian Ideals of Leadership and the Common Good (2004). In 2014 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Wm. Theodore de Bary died July 14, 2017, at age 97, in Tappan, New York.
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