Home > "Thirty Years of My Life", An Autobiography by Bingham Dai and Selected Items from the Dai Papers, 1899 - 2006

"Thirty Years of My Life", An Autobiography by Bingham Dai and Selected Items from the Dai Papers, 1899 - 2006

 

"Thirty Years of My Life", an autobiography, was written by Bingham Dai as a requirement for attending the Seminar on the Impact of Culture Upon Personality held at Yale University in 1932-1933. Bingham Dai was born August 26, 1899 in a farming community located in Gutian, Fukian Province, China. When he was three years old, his family converted to the Christian faith, resulting in his attending Christian schools that offered courses in Christian concepts, English, Confucian Classics and basic education. He then enrolled in college and transferred to St. John's University in Shanghai with the intention of pursuing theological studies leading to a B.A. degree. During this time, he independently studied Hinduism and Buddhism, along with his lifelong association with Confucianism.

After his graduation from St. John's University in 1923, he accepted a teaching position at a high school in Tientsin where he organized student self-study groups. He then worked with renowned Confucian philosopher, Liang Shuming, at a high school in Shantung Province to help students develop their personalities according to Confucian principles. His initiation into the social sciences began with his work at the National Anti-Opium Association in Shanghai as a research secretary from 1927-1929. His job was to investigate the extent of opium smoking in China and to edit an English Bulletin entitled: Opium: An International Problem. He devised a questionnaire on socio-psychological factors related to opium addiction. He also conducted field studies of opium cultivation in  Anhui Province and morphine addiction in Manchuria. In 1929, Dai took a competitive examination sponsored by the Fukian Provincial Government for college graduates with 3 years' work experience and won a fellowship for graduate study at the University of Chicago where he studied sociology in order to pursue his strong interest in personality. He hoped to introduce science to China, particularly the socio-psychological conditions under which science developed in the West, in a more natural and effective way than previously attempted.

For information about the Bingham Dai collection, please see the Guide to the Bingham Dai Papers, 1899 - 2006, undated (bulk 1950 - 1996).

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