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Press Release - Exhibition of Y.C. Hong Archive Materials to Go on View at The Huntington This Fall

August 11, 2015

 

“Y.C. Hong: Advocate for Chinese-American Inclusion” will tell the story of the prominent Los Angeles immigration attorney and civic leader during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act

On view Nov. 21, 2015 - March 21, 2016
Library, West Hall

 

Press Preview Friday, Nov. 20, 10 a.m. - noon

 

Y.C. Hong’s business card/business flyer, ca. 1928. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Y.C. Hong’s business card/business flyer, ca. 1928. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 

SAN MARINO, Calif.— A new exhibition at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens examining Chinese-American immigration in early 20th-century Los Angeles goes on view this fall in the Library, West Hall. The name You Chung (“Y.C.”) Hong (1898–1977) still elicits respect and pride among longtime residents of Los Angeles’ Chinatown. As one of the first Chinese Americans to pass the California Bar, Y.C. Hong was a major figure in the Los Angeles Chinese community during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act and beyond. He was one of the founding members of the “new” Chinatown in Los Angeles, a prominent immigration lawyer, an authority on U.S. immigration laws, and an active proponent of equal rights for Chinese Americans, lobbying and befriending U.S. senators and California governors to fight for Chinese inclusion. The exhibition “Y.C. Hong: Advocate for Chinese-American Inclusion” will be on view Nov. 21, 2015 to March 21, 2016.

 

Drawn from The Huntington’s You Chung Hong Family Papers, acquired in 2006, this exhibition is the first opportunity for the public to get a deeper sense of the life of this extraordinary figure in Chinese-American history through some 75 items, including historical documents, correspondence, photographs, maps, and ledgers.

 

The Chinese Exclusion Act, a federal law in effect from 1882 to 1943, prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States. Regarded as one of the leading authorities on Chinese immigration, Y.C Hong gave testimony in Washington, D. C., on several occasions at congressional and presidential commission hearings. “During his lifetime, he facilitated and worked on at least 7,000 immigration cases,” said Li Wei Yang, curator of Western American History at The Huntington and curator of the exhibition. “This exhibition will give visitors a rare and comprehensive view of the life and career of a legendary lawyer who advocated relentlessly on behalf of Chinese Americans striving to achieve the American dream.”

 

Divided into six sections, the exhibition will provide visitors with insight into the early history of the Chinese experience in California, in part through photographs of Chinese gold miners and railroad laborers; it will cover Hong’s early years in San Francisco, where he was born and educated up though high school; it then segues into his career as an immigration attorney, through examples of a coaching scroll and village map that some of his clients had to memorize in order to pass the questioning of U.S. immigration officials.

 

Hong’s extensive civic and political engagement, which includes his tenure as president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, is illustrated by photographs of him with Ronald Reagan, when Reagan was governor of California, and with Soong May-ling, the wife of Chiang Kai-Shek, president of the Republic of China between 1928 and 1975. The exhibition also provides an intimate portrait of Hong’s family life, including a love letter to his wife, Mabel, and photographs of them with their sons. The final section focuses on New Chinatown in Los Angeles, which Hong, as a founding member, helped build after Old Chinatown was razed to make way for Union Station. A poster and photograph of the opening ceremonies for the colorful and family-friendly New Chinatown, contrasted with photographs taken of Old Chinatown with its run-down infrastructure, help bring home the impact of Hong’s influence.

 

About the Collection
The You Chung Hong Family Collection was donated to The Huntington by Hong’s son Roger and contains items from several distinct archival collections that were created by Y.C. Hong and his family. It features a wide selection of materials, including photographs, motion picture films, manuscripts, correspondence, architectural drawings, immigration case files, artifacts, and printed ephemera.

 

Credit Line
The Los Angeles-based law firm Paul Hastings, LLP, is the corporate sponsor of this exhibition. Additional support is provided by the Robert F. Erburu Exhibition Endowment Fund.

 

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Contacts
Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, tpage@huntington.org
Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140, lblackburn@huntington.org

 

About The Huntington
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.

 

Visitor Information
The Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major holidays. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org

 


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Chinese Miners at the head of the Auburn Ravine, ca. 1852. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Chinese Miners at the head of the Auburn Ravine, ca. 1852. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Improved Shu Zhendong-style Chinese typewriter 改良舒式華文打字機, ca. 1935. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Improved Shu Zhendong-style Chinese typewriter 改良舒式華文打字機, ca. 1935. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Zheng Wenqi’s 鄭文其 coaching paper, ca. 1936. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Zheng Wenqi’s 鄭文其 coaching paper, ca. 1936. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Y.C. Hong and Governor Ronald Reagan, photograph, late 1960s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Y.C. Hong and Governor Ronald Reagan, photograph, late 1960s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Christmas portrait of the Hong Family, photograph, ca. 1960s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Christmas portrait of the Hong Family, photograph, ca. 1960s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 


Y.C. Hong in New Chinatown, photograph, 1950s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Y.C. Hong in New Chinatown, photograph, 1950s. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

 

About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution established in 1919 by Henry E. and Arabella Huntington. Henry Huntington, a key figure in the...

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