Monthly Archives: March 2016

Kwong Wen-Yin – Business woman travelling to U.S.

Photo of Kwong Wen-Yin
“Photo of Kwong Wen-Yin,” 1929, Section Six Precis for Traveler Class, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Kwong Wen-Yin file, Seattle, Box 1145, Case 11348/5-1.

Kwong Wen-Yin was born in Canton, Kwangtung, China. She attended Iowa State University, Iowa city, Iowa form 1920 to 1927 and returned to China. By 1929 Fwong was an Assistant Manager of the Foot Ease Hosiery Mill in Shanghai. The firm was capitalized at $1,000,000 Mexican.
In July 1929 Kwong travelled to the United States to purchase hosiery machinery and investigate the hosiery industry on behalf of her employers. Mr. C. Raiford of Iowa State University and Mr. M. C. Chan, the managing director of her firm vouched for her. Her applicant was approved allowing her to stay in the U.S. for one year. She arrived in Seattle on 13 July 1929 in the s.s. President Jackson.
There is no other information on her in the file.
Other information not included in Kwong’s file:
The Foot Ease Hosiery Manufacturing Company, Ltd. was established in 1917 and registered in 1918. It had 35 knitting machines, 10 sewing machines, 12 reeling machines, 20 machines for adorning hose, one machine for polishing, one machine for cleaning and one for ironing hose, all driven by electric motor of 25 h.p. The company employed 250 workers with an annual output of 120,000 dozen pairs of hosiery. Trademarks for the company were “Five Stars,” “Earth,” “Windmill” and “Double Cross.” The company maintained a club and an evening school for the workers. 1

1. “Foot Ease Hosiery Mfg. Co., Ltd.” Rea’s Far Eastern Manual, China Section-Knitting Mille, Etc. (1922, p. 129); University of Arizona, (, posted 2 May 2004 : accessed 28 March 2016.)

Donaldina Cameron – “The Angel of Chinatown” in San Francisco

Photo of Donaldina Cameron
Donaldina Cameron

[Correspondence from Donaldina Cameron is included in many Chinese Exclusion files but she is not the subject of a file.]
Donaldina Cameron (1869-1968), the superintendent of the Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco from 1899-1934, rescued more than 3,000 Chinese woman and girls from the sex slave trade. Because the Chinese Exclusion Act made it very difficult for Chinese women to enter the United States, young woman were recruited and brought here thinking they would be working as domestic servants. Instead they were sold as prostitutes by the Chinese Tongs. The girls were held captive and Cameron would find them, smuggle them out and give them a safe place to live at the Mission Home.
At the Home the girls had lessons on Christian religion, English language and American housekeeping skills but they were taught very little about their Chinese culture.
To raise money for the Home, Cameron published articles in various religious and women’s journals and a pamphlet, “The Yellow Slave Traffic.” Donaldina founded the Chung Mei Home for orphans boys and Ming Quong Home for orphan girls.
Donaldina retired in 1934 and in 1942 the Presbyterian Home became known as the Donaldina Cameron House. It is located at 920 Sacramento Street in San Francisco, CA.
Miss Cameron died at age 98 on 4 January 1968. 1
1. “Donaldina Cameron,” Wikipedia, ( : accessed 16 March 2016.)
More information can be found at:,,,

Dr. Ying Tak Chan – Granted Permanent Residence by Private Law

Chan Ying Tak H 1689
“Dr. Ying Tak Chan,” Committed to the Committee of the Whole House…, 82 Congress, 2d Session, Serial Set Vol. No. 11576, House of Representatives Report No. 1689 ( : accessed 9 Mar 2016).

[This information is not included in Dr. Ying Tak Chan’s Chinese Exclusion Act case file (Case 7031/503) but it highlights the extremely low immigration quota for the Chinese until 1965.]

Although the Chinese Exclusion Act was repealed by President Roosevelt in December 1943, there was still a severely restrictive quota which only allowed about 105 Chinese to immigrate to the U.S. each year. (Remember, China was our ally during WW II.) This was an ethnicity quota—not just for Chinese from China but Chinese from anywhere in the world. Congress finally did away with the National Origins quota system in 1965.1

Dr. Chan went to China in 1933 to visit family but stayed to practice and teach at the Kwong Wah Medical College in Canton. She moved to Hong Kong when the Sino-Japanese War started in 1937. During World War II she was a contract surgeon with the U.S. Army Air Force in China. She returned to the United States when the Chinese Communists took over mainland China.2

According to Private Law 638, Chapter 307, on 17 May 1952, enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, Dr. Ying Tak Chan was lawfully admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence and upon payment of the required visa fee and head tax. The Secretary of State notified the quota-control officer to deduct one number from the appropriate available quota.3

Dr. Chan, age 62, died on 26 November 1968, after cardiovascular surgery at Georgetown University Hospital.4

1. “Repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act, 1943,” U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, ( : accessed 11 Mar 2016).
2. “Dr. Ying Tak Chan, 62, Ex-School Physician in D. C.,” Evening Star, Washington, District of Columbia, 27 Nov 1958, p. 24 ( : accessed 9 Mar 2016).
3. “An Act for the relief of Doctor Ying Tak Chan,” Private Law 638, Chapter 307, S. 853, Superintendent of Documents, United States Printing Office, ( : 9 Mar 2016).
4. “Dr. Ying Tak Chan,” Evening Star.

Miss Chan Ying Tak (Dr.) – Chicago

“Photos of Chan Ying Tak,” 1923 & 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chan Ying Tak file, Seattle, Box 854, Case 7031/503.
“Photos of Chan Ying Tak,” 1923 & 1933, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chan Ying Tak file, Seattle, Box 854, Case 7031/503.

Chan Ying Tak photo 854 7031 503
Chan Ying Tak was born 8 January 1906 in Hong King, China. She was a student in Oi Hoi Village, Sun Whai District from 1912 to 1919 and Pui Ching School in Canton from 1919 to 1923. She came to the United States in 1923 as a student under the provisions of the Section 6 exemption of the Chinese Exclusion Act. She received her B.A. degree from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio and obtained her medical degree at Rush Medical College at the University of Chicago. She interned for one year at the Women’s College Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1933 she was a medical researcher at the University of Chicago.
In 1933 Miss Chan was applying for a re-entry permit so she could visit her family in China. Her father provided her with $2,000 a year while she was attending school. She described him as retired but a stock owner in various department stores and railroads in China. The interviewer asked if she would describe him as a retired Capitalist. She replied, “Yes, I think I would.”
Dr. Ying Tak Chan received an excellent letter of recommendation from B. C. H. Harvey, Dean of Medical Students, the University of Chicago and Edward H. Parson, Immigrant Inspector approved her application.
Information not in the file:
She returned to the U.S. and was very successful. Details to come…