COMMEMORATION Remembering 3 Significant Events

The Friends of the Chinatown Library and The Chinese American Museum are co-sponsoring two events.

On Wednesday, October 24, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, we will remember three significant events which impacted the Chinese American community:

Los Angeles Chinese Massacre of 1871

1882 Chinese Exclusion Act

Death of Vincent Chin in 1982

On Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, David H.T. Wong will give a talk on his new book entitled Escape to Gold Mountain. Mr. Wong will share his family history over the course of 100 years in which California features prominently. He will also lead a graphic history workshop to teach participants how to draw their own family's story in the graphic novel format of his book.

Both events will be held at the Chinese American Museum (CAM) located at 425 N. Los Angeles Street. Light Refreshments will be served. Please RSVP For more information call the museum at 213.485.8567 or go to the Chinese American Museum website at


The Friends of the Chinatown Library hosted a special Donor Appreciation Event to honor all donors of the Chinatown Library on Sunday 20 March 2011 from 1:00 - 3:00 PM. We honored the first branch manager of the Chinatown Branch Library, Juliana Cheng, who retired after 33 years of service in the Los Angeles Public Library System.

At our Donor Appreciation Event, we previewed a documentary film on the founding of the Chinatown Branch Library with interviews of several early leaders and donors. The video is a work-in-progress by film maker Vivian Wong, a doctoral candidate at UCLA. Vivian filmed more interviews with donors during this event. We encouraged multi-generation participation in this documentary film.

We invited all donors and their family members to come and to celebrate. If you are thinking of supporting the Chinatown Branch Library in any way, please also come and learn more about the Friends.


A Progress Report by Li Wei Yang, Project Archivist

at The Huntington Library

You Chung Hong, known as Y.C. Hong, is a Chinese American Hero. He was the first Chinese American attorney in California who practiced law in California. He attended the University of Southern California (USC) Law School and passed the California bar examination in 1923 before he graduated from USC in 1925. "He is considered the dean of lawyers of Chinese descent. Y.C. Hong achieved personal success and renown as a skillful professional in bringing about many landmark judicial decisions and legislative changes which removed many prejudicial barriers that had previously handicapped people of Chinese ancestry." (Courtesy of CHSSC.) "Y.C. Hong worked tirelessly to repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act and testified before the U.S. Senate against discriminatory immigration laws before the age of 30. In 1933, Y.C. Hong became the first Chinese American to be admitted to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court." (Courtesy of Asian Week.)

Yet Y.C. Hong came from very humble beginnings. His father entered the U.S. from China during California's railroad building era. Y.C. Hong was born on May 4, 1898 in San Francisco, California. He was only five years old when his father died. His mother became a "single mom suffering hardship and deprivation" to support two young children, Y.C. and his younger sister, Helen. Y.C. attended Lowell High School in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles. In the evenings, he taught English to Chinese immigrants. He became an official interpreter for the U.S. Immigration Service from 1918 to 1928. He was being trained in his lifelong ambition to help people solve legal immigration problems.

When Y.C. Hong and his family moved to Los Angeles, he became a community leader when construction of Union Station in L.A. destroyed the old Chinatown. Y.C. played a prominent role in the development of the New Chinatown in the 1930's. In 1938, Y.C. Hong erected a gateway on North Broadway in L.A. Chinatown and dedicated the gateway in memory of his mother. After many years of legal practice and active community service, Y.C. Hong "died suddenly in his beloved L.A. Chinatown in November 1977 at the age of 79." (Courtesy of Jason Jem.)

A few years ago, the family of Y.C. Hong donated his legal files, personal papers, and photographs to The Huntington Library. Please join us to learn more about this Chinese American Hero. The Huntington's archivist, Li Wei Yang, will discuss the Y.C. Hong collection in a PowerPoint Presentation. The presentation will be held at Castelar Elementary School's Multi-Purpose Room on Wednesday 7 October 2009 starting at 7:00 PM. Enter on College Avenue between Yale and Hill Streets in L.A. Chinatown. Light refreshments will be served.

This event is sponsored by the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (CHSSC), the Friends of the Chinatown Library, the Chinese American Museum, the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, the Chinatown Business Improvement District and the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association (SCCLA). "To honor Y.C. Hong, the SCCLA sponsors two fellowships of $1,500 each at the Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California in Los Angeles." (Courtesy of Asian Week)

Holiday Book Sale


Due to the popularity of the annual books sale, the Chinatown Library will hold a book sale on the first and third Saturdays of each month during the 2009-10 school year. For more details on the dates and hours of books sales, call the Library staff or click FriendsOCL Library & Staff.

The Adventures of Eddie Fung:

Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, Prisoner of War

by Judy Yung

The Friends of the Chinatown Library and The Chinese Historical Society of Southern California are pleased to invite the public to a book and slide show by Judy Yung on Saturday, November 1, 2008. The presentation will be held at the Chinatown Branch Library from 2:00 - 4:00 in the afternoon. Judy Yung just completed her husband's biography, The Adventures of Eddie Fung: Chinatown Kid, Texas Cowboy, and Prisoner of War.

Eddie Fung 2

Eddie Fung is a Chinatown kid who became a Texas cowboy and then became a Prisoner of War (POW) survivor in World War II (WWII). He has the distinction of being the only Chinese American soldier to be captured by the Japanese during WWII and put to work on the Burma-Siam railroad, made famous by the film "The Bridge on the River Kwai". In this unforgettable memoir, Eddie recalls how his childhood in San Francisco's Chinatown and experiences as a Texas cowboy helped him endure forty-two months of captivity and shaped his later life. Come and learn how POWs endure and survive hard times.

Judy Yung is a second-generation Chinese American born and raised in San Francisco Chinatown. She received her B.A. in English Literature and Chinese Language from San Francisco State University, her Master's in Library Science, and her Ph.D in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Judy Yung has served as a head librarian, newspaper associate editor, director of book projects, and a professor of American Studies. She has published books on the history of Chinese immigrants on Angel Island and Chinese women in San Francisco, including the critically acclaimed Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco.

Light refreshments will be served. A book signing will follow the presentation. Please come and join us.

Business Feng Shui by Angi Ma Wong

The Friends will sponsor a program on Business Feng Shui with the internationally known Feng Shui Lady, Angi Ma Wong, on Monday, April 21, 2008 at 6:30 PM in the Community Room of the Chinatown Branch Library located at 639 N. Hill Street, (at the corner of Hill and Ord Streets), Los Angeles, Ca. Angi will show us how to use feng shui to forget the disappointments and troubles from last year (the Year of the Boar) and to focus instead on the possibilities in store for us in the new year (the Year of the Rat).

Angi has written 27 books including 15 on feng shui and 3 children's books (see article below). She has been featured on many television shows and magazine articles on the topic of feng shui. She is an award winning entrepreneur who started her own publishing company. Her books on feng shui include the following: Feng Shui Dos and Taboos, The US-Asian Market, A Practical Guide to Doing Business, Been There, Done That: 16 Secrets of Success for Entrepreneurs. Find out how to become a successful entrepreneur using Angi's experience and writings. Angi's books will be available for purchase and signing.

The Friends invite you to join us for what promises to be a lively discussion with Angi Ma Wong.

New Children's Book Celebration

The Friends will celebrate the publication of Mei Ling in China City on Monday, January 28, 2008 in the Community Room of the Chinatown Library at 6:30 PM. The author, Icy Smith, the illustrator, Gayle Garner Roski, and the real-life Mei Ling, Marian Leng, will discuss their new book. Marian Leng is a volunteer at the Chinatown Library who teaches English to new immigrants on Saturday mornings. After her experiences as a young girl in China City, she became a wife, mother, nurse, and a Friends board member. To learn more about Marian's interesting life, come to our meeting. To learn more details about this book, click on New Books.

Mei Ling Front Cover

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month May 2006


A Novel About the Secret Writings of Friends


On Monday, May 15, 2006, the Friends of the Chinatown Library, the Chinese American Museum, and the Chinese Historical Society hosted a book discussion on Lisa See's latest novel, entitled SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN to celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The novel traces the friendship of two Chinese women from childhood to marriage, motherhood, and later life as the matriarch of her family. The two main characters, Lily and Snow Flower, communicate secretly, using the Nu Shu language, written on the back of a fan. Historically, Nu Shu was a "secret-code writing developed a thousand years ago and used by women in an area of southern Hunan province. It appears to be the only written language in the world to have been created by and for women." A page from a genuine Nu Shu writing is displayed on the inside cover of the hardbound edition and shown below.


In the novel, the author explores the many facets of friendship between these two women, including the joys, victories, mistakes, tragedies, and finally the triumph of forgiveness. Historically, the author takes a realistic snapshot of a woman's status in 19th century China during customs of footbinding and arranged marriages.

In the second half of the evening, there was a screening of the video tape "Nu Shu-A Hidden Language of Women in China" filmed in 1999 in the remote rural villages of Hunan Province. This book discussion and film took place at the Chinatown Branch Library Community Room located at 639 North Hill Street in Los Angeles, California, 90012. For more information, call the Library at 213-620-0925.

Author Presentation with Angi Ma Wong


On Friday, November 18, 2005, the Friends hosted Angi Ma Wong speaking on her new children's book entitled WHO ATE MY SOCKS? Angi Ma Wong is an award-winning and best selling author of more than twenty books including several on the topic of feng shui and stress relief. Her first children's book entitled Night of the Red Moon, was nominated for a John and Patricia Beatty Award because it is a story based on historical facts. In 1871, a racial riot in Los Angeles caused a Chinese family to separate and then to reunite. Her second children's book is a rhyming tale trying to solve the mystery of missing socks.

Before reading her book, Angi Ma Wong passed out socks to members of the audience. Each person had one sock from a pair. After she read all the verses, each person tried to find the mate to his/her sock. This is a fun way to engage children in learning about colors, patterns, and materials. The author shared how the book evolved, including how she picked the title and drew her own illustrations. Not only is Angi Ma Wong a successful author, she is also a successful publisher. Every book published by her company, Pacific Heritage Books, has sold enough copies to cover the costs of publication.

Her Golden Rule for Family Harmony: Do not co-mingle your family's laundry; teach your children to do their own.

To see the cover of WHO ATE MY SOCKS? click on New Books.



by Connie Wong

How valuable is the Chinese Heritage Collection at the Chinatown Branch Library? A while back, the Los Angeles Zoo called to request information for their exhibit on the Golden Monkeys of China. Library staff found the needed information in the Collection. Disney's Epcot Center in Florida sought out an English translation of a poem by Li Bai for permanent enshrinement at one of their attractions. Library staff located the translated poem in the Collection. A Burbank woman, whose son would marry a Chinese girl, wanted to learn about tea ceremony etiquette before the wedding. Once again, library staff found the formal rules for a tea ceremony from a book in the Collection. These anecdotes demonstrate the Collection's importance as a resource not just for local residents but for people miles away from the Chinatown community.

The library's current success in filling varied and unusual requests about both Chinese and Chinese American culture stands in stark contrast to the challenges of the library's formative years, when a "collection" really did not exist. In her speech to the Friends of the Chinatown Library and the Chinese Historical Society this past May 2005, former Senior Librarian, Juliana Cheng spoke of the difficulties she and her staff had at the start in 1977. Back then, patrons would call with questions or come into the library expecting to find shelves and shelves of easily accessible English language books about anything Chinese. Juliana recounted how "those were really frustrating and embarrassing times for us when we had to face people who wanted to know where that collection was located, and we had to tell them they made the trip for nothing." Slowly, with the persistent encouragement of supporters from the Chinese Historical Society; and help from the Friends of the Chinatown Library, the staff built up the Chinese American Collection (CAC) and eventually the CAC became the more inclusive Chinese Heritage Collection (CHC).

Today the CHC boasts approximately 5000 titles, occupying a distinctly named location within the library, courtesy of the Intex Corporation. According to current librarian, Carol Duan, the collection space could accommodate double the current number of books and still have room for periodicals and audiovisual materials. Browsers of the collection can immerse themselves in books about Chinese dog breeds, Hong Kong comics, Yao Ming, Cantonese Opera and the Mississippi Chinese. Kids can read the Runway Rice Cake or Tales of a Chinese Grandmother. Carol states while the collection continues to grow, its purpose remains multifold; to be a centralized resource on Chinese and Chinese American culture for all library system patrons, including educators, researchers, and the movie industry, and to be a cross-generational teaching tool for deeper understanding and awareness of the unique aspects of Chinese life.

Anyone can donate funds so the library staff can order the newest books and materials pertinent to the collection. Another great way to fill those shelves is for people to donate their personal copies of CHC books when they downsize their home libraries and dens. Bookstores and publishers could contribute a copy or two of a needed title. And the staff would appreciate donations of current magazine subscriptions as well as published journals or anthologies from universities. Reaching the point of having to expand the Chinese Heritage Collection space is a dream for the Chinatown Library Staff. For now this special collection will continue to keep its title as the best and most unique of its kind in this corner of the worldwide.