Tag Archives: Raphael P. Bonham

Soong May Ling – the future Madame Chiang Kai Shek

photo of Soong May Ling 1907
“Photo of Soong May Ling, Chinese Certificate for Section 6 Student Exemption,” 1907, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Soong May Ling case file, Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1483.

Soong May Ling (sometimes spelled Soong Mai-ling) age 9, and her sister, Soong Ching Ling, age 14, (Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1479) arrived in Port Townsend, Washington on the S.S. Minnesota. They came from their home in Shanghai, China as Section 6 students and were admitted.
The 1907 Section 6 Certificate is the only document in the file. The file contains correspondence from 1943 between Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raphael P. Bonham, District Director of Immigration and Naturalization in Seattle, Washington. Harrison asked Bonham to confirm that Soong May Ling was admitted into Seattle as a student in 1907. Bonham replied that “a charming little Chinese maid” had arrived with her sister “now also a lady of renown.” Bonham asked a local Chinese Consul to examine the document for its authenticity. It passed his scrutiny. Bonham concluded that Soong May Ling “was the now world-famous and accomplished Madame Chiang Kai Shek.” Bonham had the photo from the 1907 certificate copied and sent three prints and the negatives to Harrison hoping that he would forward one to Madame Chiang Kai Shek.
Bonham received this letter dated 5 May 1943 from Harrison:

Letter from Harrison to Bonham
“Correspondence between Harrison and Bonham,” 1943, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Soong May Ling case file, Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1483.

Information not in the file:
Soong May Ling1 and her sister graduated from Wesleyan College. Soong Ching Ling became the second wife of Sun Yat-sen, one of the leaders of the 1911 revolution that established the Republic of China.2
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai Shek “became the first Chinese person, and only the second woman, to address a joint session of the United States Congress as she sought to have the United States repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had been in effect since 1882 and prohibited new Chinese immigration.”3

President Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act on 13 December 1943.
Madame Chiang Kai Shek lived to be 105 years old and had a fascinating life. Read more about her!
1.“Soong Mei-ling,” Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soong_Mei-ling : accessed 2 September 2017.)
2. “Soong Ching-ling,” Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soong_Ching-ling : accessed 2 September 2017.)
3. “Madame Chiang Kai-shek Biography,” Encyclopedia of World Biography, (http://www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2005-La-Pr/Madame-Chiang-Kai-shek.html : accessed 2 September 2017.)

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Dong Suey Heong (Rose Dong) of Sacramento

Photo of Miss Rose Dong (Dong Suey Heong)
“Dong Suey Heong (Rose Dong) statement photo,” 1936, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Dong Suey Heong file, Seattle, Box 700, Case 7030/8867.

Miss Rose Dong (Dong Suey Heong) left Sacramento, California for Canton, China in June 1936 with her American teacher, Miss Hartley. She left before her application for her Form 430, Native’s Return Certificate, was completed and approved. Her mother, Quan Shee, died in Sacramento on 15 November 1934 and her father, Dong Haw, was unable to help her with her paper work before she left. Donaldina Cameron, Special Director Chinese Case Work at Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco, a friend of Miss Dong’s late mother helped with the necessary forms, certificates and affidavits so Miss Dong could get back into the United States. Miss Cameron was well known on the West Coast for her work with the Chinese. She wrote letters to Mr. Raphael P. Bonham of the Seattle Immigration office and Mr. Philipps Jones of Angel Island Immigration Service. Rose Dong was only gone one month and needed to get back on time to start the autumn semester for the Junior College at Sacramento. Miss Cameron testified that Rose had three younger sisters: Ella, Laura and Evelyn, and a younger brother, Richard; that she had been friends with Rose’s mother for many years and first met Rose about five years previously.
Rose Wong’s father Dong Hoo (Dong Haw), a merchant and manager of Yick Chong Company in Sacramento swore in an affidavit that Rose Wong was his lawful blood daughter, born 24 March 1916 in Sacramento. Immigration authorities requested affidavits of supporting witnesses willing to give testimony in Rose’s behalf and a copy of her mother’s death certificate. A copy of Rose’s birth certificate is also in the file.
Rose returned through San Francisco on 19 August 1936 and was admitted six days later. She was paroled to Miss Cameron. Rose’s paper work was completed and approved with the assistance of Donaldina Cameron.