#TBT: In 1929, John D. Rockefeller 3rd Stands Atop the Great Wall


John D. Rockefeller 3rd (far left), Professor Joseph Perkins Chamberlain of Columbia University (center), Hobart Young (second from right), and an unidentified man and woman on the Great Wall of China in 1929. (The Rockefeller Archive Center)

In 1929, just after graduating from Princeton at age 23, John D. Rockefeller 3rd embarked on an international journey that took him to North Africa, Europe, the Soviet Union, and finally — via Siberia — to Japan, Korea, and China. Rockefeller was accompanied on his trip by James G. McDonald, chairman of the Foreign Policy Association, who was gathering material for newspaper articles and radio talk show appearences. According to A Passion For Asia: The Rockefeller Legacy, Rockefeller filled three books with notes and "made important personal contacts with heads of state, royalty, diplomats, and American businesspeople; he met peasants, soldiers, and even warlords." The trip reportedly left a huge impresson on Rockefeller, who was "captivated" by the respective Asian cultures. It was the first spark that would lead to him to establish Asia Society more than two decades later with the mission of promoting greater knowledge of Asia in the U.S. In the above photo, Rockefeller poses on The Great Wall of China with some acquaitances during the 1929 trip.

Each week for "Throwback Thursday" (#TBT), we'll reach into our archives to find a photo from the organization's nearly 60-year history. Some photos will feature important moments, some will feature important people, and others still will just be photos we love. Do you have an Asia Society photo you'd like us to consider including in this series? Please email the photo and any related details to photos@theasiablog.org (we regret that we won't be able to respond directly to each inquiry).

About the Author

Profile picture for user Eric Fish

Eric Fish was a Content Producer at Asia Society New York and is author of the book China's Millennials: The Want Generation.