Our next Soo-Hoo child is Lily Amabelle Yet Oi Soo-Hoo (Chinese name 司徒月愛, pinyin Sītú Yuèài, Jyutping Cantonese Si1tou4 Jyut6oi3), born on 16 April 1899 in San Francisco (Oberlin Alumni Record Card). She was the sixth-oldest child and fourth-oldest daughter of Nam Art Soo-Hoo and his wife Quan, and the second to be born in California, after her older brother Andrew. We have the most information about her for two reasons – she went to Oberlin, and they keep very good records, and she also wrote the memoirs which I have been using as a source for my other posts on members of the Soo-Hoo family.
Author: The Academic
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.
I’ve made an executive decision on the next Soo-hoo child and decided to treat Clara as the oldest daughter. This is because Clara’s younger sister does so in her memoirs, calling her “1st daughter” (Sung, 291, cited in Chinese Historical Society). However, Western records suggest her sister Paulina may have been older than her, and there are even references to her sister Nettie being born only three months after her. The explanation for this discrepancy is most likely incomplete records – Paulina’s birth year has been guessed at from her school records – as well as variations in translation from Asian systems of measuring age to Western ones. Since I don’t know the original Asian-system birth dates for anyone, I’ll take a family memoir as being the truth on birth order: first Clara, then Paulina, then Nettie, and so will post about Clara first, followed by Nettie (Paulina I will save for later).
Back to our regularly-scheduled birth order for the Soo Hoo family. So, Nam Art Soo Hoo had 11 children, and the oldest child and son was Peter Soo Hoo. Annoyingly, there is another Peter Soo Hoo who was roughly a contemporary to our current subject, and they both even had the same career! This made the research for this post even harder than it really needed to be.
Happy fall semester, everyone! Back to school and back to studying. And that means back to my profiles of the Soo Hoo family! I last left you with the father, Nam Art Soo Hoo, who was not a student himself, but the father of several students in the American university system. Usually when I profile several family members, I start with the parents and then proceed with the children in birth order. It is usually easiest and also gives the sense of progressing in linear order when you put the posts together. But for the Soo Hoo family, instead of proceeding on to oldest son Peter Soo Hoo from his father Nam Art Soo Hoo, I’m going to jump to the fifth child and second son of Nam Art, Andrew Soo Hoo, because he is an integral part of the end of his father’s story.
It’s been a bit since the Chan family, so I thought I’d tackle another large family of Chinese Christians. Again, like in my post about the Chan family, I’ll start with the patriarch, who had no university schooling in the United States. However, unlike Rev. S. K. Chan, he did feel very strongly the importance of education for both himself and his children.
There are lots ways to categorize the various Indemnity scholars I’ve been profiling here in this blog. I’ve talked about previous students that I’ve profiled in regards to several broad categories; for example, E. J. Chu and W. K. Lam were both students at Albany Law School, the Chan family were not only related but also all Chinese Christians, and so on. But another interesting classification is by what these students did after leaving their US university. Virtually all of them returned to China, and many of them held important jobs in the Republic of China, but after the 40s and 50s, some students came back to the United States while others just . . . stop. Some of them stop because they died, like H. T. Wong and W. K. Lam, but some stop because information from China during wartime and under the Communists is near impossible to get. G. T. Chao is one of the latter cases.
Building off of my post on his wife, Elizabeth Cornish, today I’ll write a little more in depth about Hsing Jen Fei (費興仁, pinyin Fèi Xìngrén). He was born on 15 November 1886 to father Chi Feng and his wife, surnamed Hsü. He was born in North Tung Chow (today Tongzhou, a district of Beijing) and attended North Tung Chow Union College, which was also known as the North China Union College of Tungchow, a missionary school in Peking (Beijing). When H. J. Fei was at N. C. U. College, it had about 50 students in the university department (American Board of Commissioners, 122), so it was not a large school as compared to the mission universities in Shanghai and Canton.
So, a few months ago, I had the opportunity to poke around in the Oberlin College Archives. They keep extensive records of their alumni, and there are a whole bunch of Boxer Indemnity Scholars who once attended Oberlin. And if the Oberlin College Boxer Indemnity Scholars community can be said to have a “power couple”, Elizabeth Cornish and H. J. Fei would be it. Normally I would address a couple in the same post, as I did with Bertie Chan and G. G. Leong, but each of these students have so much information and documents to get through, I have to break them up.
Holy lag between updates, Batman. The spring semester picked up and I haven’t touched my research in weeks. Fortunately, Spring Break is almost upon us, so I have a few posts swimming around in my head that I hope to soon be able to share with you, my loyal readers (and those who have stumbled upon me via Google Search. Hi there!).
Today I will be posting about Edith Bien, the final child of Z. S. Bien who studied in the United States. Her full name was Edith Chu-Nian Bien (卞菊年, pinyin Biàn Júnián) and she was the youngest child of Z. S. Bien and Guojin Li, being born in 1915. She was born after her parents returned from studying in America and was 5 years younger than her next oldest sibling, Edward. According to Chinese sources she, like her brother Edward, attended Yenching University in Peking (Beijing) (from this blog post about the Bien family, original text: 卞寿孙女儿卞菊年（1915—1959）肄业北平燕京大学).