Lee-hsia Hsu Ting and Nai-tung Ting

Images from The University of Texas at Austin Development Office, Dr. Lee-hsia Hsu Ting Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Information Studies

Chinese American, Folklore, Narrative, Library Science

Nai-tung Ting


Lee-hsia Hsu Ting


Dr. Nai-tung Ting and Dr. Lee-hsia Hsu Ting, were born and raised in China and their professional careers were based in the U.S. Their scholarship significantly contributed to the development of international folkloristics.   

Dr. Nai-tung Ting born in 1915, graduated from Tsinghua University in China in 1936 and earned his PhD in English literature from Harvard University (1941). Afterwards he began teaching in China and Hong Kong. In 1948, he married Lee-hsia Hsu.

Lee-hsia Hsu was born in 1923 in Yangchow China and earned a BA in English Literature from North Central University in Chungking, an MA at Mount Holyoke College (1948). She returned to China as an Assistant Professor of English at Nanking University. In 1956, the couple immigrated to the US and she worked as a public-school librarian. She earned an MLS in library science at University of Texas-Austin (1964), while Dr. Nai-ting Ting was teaching in Texas.  In 1970, Lee-hsia Ting became the first Chinese woman to earn a PhD in library science from the University of Chicago. During her tenure as president of the Chinese American Librarians Association (1980-1981), enabled the Association to donate to and support university libraries in China, and for Chinese librarians to attend the association conference in the U.S. 

The representative works by Dr. Nai-tung Ting are the two monographs: The Cinderella Cycle in China and Indo-China (1974) and A Type Index of Chinese Folktales (1978). Dr. Lee-hsia Ting, together with Dr. Nai-tung Ting, compiled and annotated Chinese Folk Narratives: A Bibliographical Guide (1975; 1984). All three publications have been translated and published in Chinese. Dr. Nai-tung Ting’s works have enriched the Aarne-Thompson tale-type index system with more than 800 distinctive new tale types in Chinese literature, which pivotally influenced Chinese narratives studies. 

Dr. Nai-tung Ting helped translate into Chinese not only his own work, but also those of others, for example, The Studies of Folklore by Alan Dundes. In 1985, during Dr. Lee-hsia Ting’s tenure as a Fulbright Scholar in China, Dr. Nai-tung Ting was also invited to teach at Central China Normal University. He brought many books with him and established the library in the Folklore program there, which is still in use today. Even more than three decades later, Chinese folklorists still cherish Dr. Ting’s mentorship and respect his scholarship, frequently citing his work on Chinese narrative studies, and sharing memories of him as a mentor.

An English scholarship at Western Illinois University, where they worked for decades, is named in their honor. In 2006, The Dr. Lee-Hsia Hsu Ting Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Information Studies was established in The University of Texas System, where she earned her MLS. Among their published works:

The Cinderella Cycle in China and Indo-China (1974)

A Type Index of Chinese Folktales (1978)

Chinese Folk Narratives: A Bibliographical Guide (1975/1984)

Juwen Zhang

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