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The James P. Geiss Foundation reports with great sorrow that Margaret Hsu , its founder and Chair, unexpectedly passed away on July 14, 2017.

After receiving her M.A. in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, Margaret single-handedly built up Pro Re Nata Inc., a successful pharmaceutical consulting firm in Beijing, from which she retired in 2008, returning to Princeton.

She established the James P. Geiss Foundation in honor of her husband, James Geiss, after his premature death in 2000, funding conferences, and assisting with the publication of an array of books on China’s Ming dynasty (1368-1644). 


The James P. Geiss Foundation was started in 2001 to remember Jim Geiss, a life-long Ming scholar.  Geiss Foundation strives to continue his interests in developing new directions in studying the Ming dynasty (1365 – 1644).

In the past 17 years Geiss Foundation has both held and sponsored conferences as well as funded the publication of more than 20 books exploring different aspects of Ming civilization, history and art.


Among the conferences and concerts that Geiss Foundation has helped sponsor in the US, Hong Kong, Canada, and the UK are the following:

Ming Court Culture Conference in 2003 (David Robinson)
Ming Taizu and His Times in 2006 (Chu Hong-lam)
Ming Provincial Courts Conference in 2011 (David Robinson)
The Map and Music of Matteo Ricci in 2010 and again in 2015 (Ann Waltner)
History with Chinese Characteristics: From Ming to Globalization in 2011 (Edward [Ted] Farmer)
Conference on Biography in East Asia, 1400-1900 (Ihor Pidhainy, Leo K. Shin, and Adam Bohnet)
British Museum Conference: Ming: courts and contacts 1400-1450 in 2014


Since its establishment Geiss Foundation has supported new publications about the Ming dynasty.   In 2010 the Foundation established the Geiss Publication Subvention Award to strengthen efforts to fund publishers and individuals involved in publishing original Ming research.


27 April 2018

Princeton — Geiss Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2019 Subvention Awards.  The application deadline is September 1, 2018, and award guidelines and application forms are available online.  If you have any inquiries regarding the program, which is now offered once a year, please contact us at applications@geissfoundation.us.

The Foundation granted the following Subvention Awards in 2017:

Approaches to Teaching The Plum in the Golden Vase (The Golden Lotus) by Andrew Schonebaum (Modern Language Association of America).

The Book of Swindles: Selections from a Late Ming Collection, Christopher Rea and Bruce Rusk, trans. (Columbia University Press).

Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection, Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang, trans. (University of Washington Press).

Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China by Rostislav Berezkin (University of Washington Press).   

Read more about the Geiss Foundation and its other activities.