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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 Foundation will continue, and accept new applications after a short hiatus for reorganization.

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 16 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.


30 January 2017

Princeton — Geiss Foundation will accept through April 2017 applications for Subvention Awards.  Award guidelines and application forms are available online

Geiss Foundation granted four Subvention Awards in 2016:

Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China: Ming Soldiers and Their Families by Michael Songyi (Princeton University Press)

Idle Tales from the Bean Arbor, Robert Hegel, et al, editor (University of Washington Press)

Monks in Glaze: Patronage, Kiln, Origin, and Iconography of the Yixian Luohans by Eileen Hsu (Brill)

Symptoms of an Unruly Age by Rivi Handler-Spitz (University of Washington Press)

Read more about the Geiss Foundation and its other activities.