Pauline Soo-Hoo (司徒月桂) and Lincoln Soo-Hoo

While most of Nam Art Soo-Hoo‘s 11 children were wildly successful and prosperous in their adult lives, there were a few exceptions. I’ve posted about Andrew Soo-Hoo, the son who accidentally killed his father during an argument/fight, and never seemed to recover from that horror. But two others of the Soo-hoo family never realized their full adult potential: second-oldest daughter Pauline Soo-Hoo and third-oldest son Lincoln Soo-Hoo, because they both died before their respective 30th birthdays.

Paulina Soo-Hoo in the 1918 Sargent School Yearbook. It was her senior year.
Pauline Soo-Hoo in the 1918 Sargent School Yearbook. It was her senior year.

Pauline Soo-Hoo (司徒月桂, pinyin  Yguì, Cantonese Jyutping Si1tou4 Jyut6gwai3) may have been born around 1892, but was probably born closer to 1895. She arrived to the United States with her family in 1897 and settled with them in San Francisco. She shows up in the 1900 Census with the rest of the family under her Cantonese name: Yet Quai, and was 7 years old, although according to the Census, she was not yet at school (link to copy). She was the oldest sibling not to be able to speak English – her older siblings Clara and Peter were both in school and English speakers, and could read and write as well.

In the 1910 Census, when the family was living in San Rafael, Pauline shows up under her English name, and is listed as 18 years old. She and the rest of the family, with the exception of her mother, spoke English fluently, and her father was working as the editor of a Chinese newspaper, something her sister Lily alludes to in her memoir (Sung, 327-8). She was listed as being a high school student in the 1914 Chinese Students’ Association Directory and as living at 2116 Channing Way in both 1914 and 1915 CSA Directories.


The 1915 entry may have been copied from the 1914 Directory entirely, because by that point, Pauline was most likely already at university. She attended Sargent School, today a college at Boston University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The school, then and now, focused on health and rehabilitation sciences, and Pauline majored in Physical Education. According to the 1918 CSA Directory, she lived at 110 Fayerweather Street in Cambridge. She was also active in the CSA, serving as an assistant manager of the Chinese Students’ Monthly in the 1917-18 academic year (v. 13, 1-6).

She graduated in 1918 – her senior yearbook picture is at the top of this biography – and returned to China to teach. Although her two older siblings were also in China at this time, she wasn’t physically close to either of them; Peter was working in Canton, and Clara was either teaching at Canton Christian College or at Nankai University in Tientsin, while Pauline went to Shanghai. However, despite my best efforts, the only information I have for the final 6 years of her life is that she was teaching PE in Shanghai. I don’t know at what school she taught, but she was a celebrated educator. “A generation ahead of her time in PE,” remarks Lily in her memoirs (Sung, 329). She died in Shanghai in 1925.


Lincoln Soo-Hoo, from the 1923 Blue & Gold UC Berkeley yearbook. It was his junior year.
Lincoln Soo-Hoo, from the 1923 Blue & Gold UC Berkeley yearbook. It was his junior year.

Lincoln Soo-Hoo (Chinese name unknown) was born on 1 Sept 1900 in California, the seventh child of Nam Art Soo-Hoo and the third to be born in the United States. He was born too late to make the 1900 Census, when the family lived in San Francisco, so he first shows up in the 1910 Census as a 10-year old in San Rafael. When he registered for the World War I draft, he was 18 years old and still a high school student – his draft card lists his occupation as a student at Berkeley High School (link to copy).

He entered the University of California, Berkeley not long after that, following in older brother Andrew’s and older sisters Clara’s and Nettie’s footsteps. He studied mining engineering (Register – University of California 1922, 233), and was tangentially involved in the Chinese students’ organizations. He doesn’t appear in either the 1918 Directory or the 1921 Who’s Who, but he does show up in the 1922 Handbook, the successor to the CSA Directories of the 1910s. He’s listed as living at 2114 Channing Way (1922 Handbook, 82). This is echoed by the 1920 Census ( copy).


His sister’s memoir claims that he graduated from UC Berkeley in 1925 with a Master’s in Mining Engineering (Sung, 328), although the UC Berkeley Register from 1924 lists him as graduating with a Bachelor’s on 23 Dec 1923, and he’s not listed in any future Registers as earning a Master’s after that (UC Berkeley Register 1923/4 v.2, 25). It’s probable, however, that he was taking graduate classes at UC Berkeley in 1924, because the newspaper reports of his death later that year call him a UC student. Probably as part of his studies or practice for his eventual field, Lincoln was doing summer work at the Sultana mine, a gold and silver mine in Nevada County, California. On 29 July 1924 Lincoln and another man named Miller were killed in a mining accident, according to a newspaper report from nearby Grass Valley (Healdsburg Tribune 31 July 1924, 2). A cable broke and threw the men down the shaft (Livermore Journal 8 Aug 1924, 6).

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