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.
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).
徐振 (pinyin Xú Zhèn) was born on 27 February 1891 in Macau, although his parents, Wing Pao and Soo Pan, were originally from Guangdong Province. At that time in Chinese history, many port cities were under significant or even total foreign control. The Chinese treaty port system ceded control of specific zones in coastal cities to foreign powers – as in the American/British and French concessions of Shanghai – or in the cases of Hong Kong and Macau, complete colonial administration. These areas functioned somewhere on the spectrum from Vatican City to the former Panama Canal Zone in their laws and regulations on movement to and from the area. Since Macau was under Portuguese colonial administration, 徐振 was born a Portuguese citizen, although he was ethnically Chinese.