This week’s profiled student is P. C. Chan, or Chan Pak Chue (陳伯賜, pinyin Chén Bócì, Jyutping Cantonese Can4 Baak3ci3). Born in 1895, P. C. Chan became an influential doctor and Christian both in the United States and China.
I obviously have not started this project from the very beginning, but it’s never too late to go back to the start, is it? So this week I will be writing about Harry Hak-Min Au (區克明, pinyin Ōu KèMíng, Cantonese Jyutping Au1 Haak1Ming4), the first person listed in most of my CSA Directories. Just a brief content warning: this blog post will briefly contain some historical racist language.
Sometimes I choose a student to profile simply because I run across some really interesting information about them while I am elbow-deep in a box of old records. This is the case for C. H. Chu, whose alumni card I found a few weeks ago in the Columbia University Archives. He’s not connected to any other student I’ve profiled to this date, but he sure has a heck of a story.
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.
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.