Tag Archives: Soong May Ling

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act on 13 December 1943.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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