Interviews of the Chinese American Women Oral History Project, 1991-2019 (inclusive), 1991-1999 (bulk)
Oral history interviews with women of Chinese lineage, including audio recordings and transcripts.
- Majority of material found within 1991-1999
Language of Materials
Materials in English and Chinese (Cantonese, Mandarin, and Toisanese).
Access. Most transcripts and audiotapes are unrestricted.
Folder #E.16 has been redacted and the original closed until 2032. Folders #2.8-2.9 and T-302.26 are closed until 2032.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the majority of the Interviews of the Chinese American Women Oral History Project is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library.
Copyright in the oral history interview of Jean Yu-Wen Wu is held by Jean Yu-Wen Wu during her lifetime. Upon her death, copyright transfers to the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent1.25 linear feet ((3 file boxes) plus 39 audiotapes, 24 videotapes, 2 CDs)
Collection includes audiotapes, videotapes, transcripts, indexes, and biographical material related to the oral history interviews of the Chinese American Women Oral History Project. Interview topics include life in China, emigration and settlement in the United States, family life, education, work, ethnic identity, assimilation and acculturation, and continuing ties to China. This oral history project of Chinese American women contributes to an understanding of adaptive roles and the emergence of new ones in the expanding socio-political environment. The equalization of immigration policies for all people, the loosening of homeland ties for Chinese living abroad, and the greater acceptance of women and racial and ethnic minorities have all contributed to the increasingly diversified roles of Chinese American women.
All aspects of this oral history project were not completed, consequently many interview transcripts are not fully edited and may contain annotations from the interviewee, interviewer, or transcriber. Some of the transcripts have been edited by the interviewer and interviewee for clarity and factual accuracy. Also, the paper version and the digital version are very often not the same. Some of the transcripts were digitized during the editing process, while others were digitized while they were being transcribed. Almost all of the interview transcripts have both a digital version and a paper version; one interview transcript does not have a paper copy, and one interview has only been partially transcribed, and is only available in its audio form. The digital versions of interview transcripts and biographies can be found in #E.1-E.26. Many digital transcripts include an introduction of the project and a short biography of the interviewee; some include a short biography of the interviewer at the end. #T-302.18 was removed from the collection as a duplicate.
This collection is arranged alphabetically by interviewee, followed by videotapes; some of which are only partially identified.
The administrative records, including legal agreements and correspondence, related to the Chinese American Women Oral History Project can be found in the Records of The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (RG XVIII), Series 2.5 Oral History Coordinator: Ruth Hill. These records may need screening by an archivist for sensitive material before research use. Appointment may be required. Contact Research Services at https://asklib.schlesinger.radcliffe.edu/.
In 1987, Caroline Chang and Patricia King (former director of the Schlesinger Library) began to discuss the possibility of an oral history project that focused on Chinese American Women who lived in New England prior to 1965. In 1991, the Chinese American Women Oral History Project was officially launched, and 25 women were interviewed between the start of the project and 2010. The Oral History Project's stated purpose was to provide a glimpse into the hardships and the joys of the Chinese experience in America, capturing a history to be shared not only within the Chinese community, but also with society in general. The project scope included interviewees' life in China, as well as their family life and work history while settling in America. The interviews also touch upon subjects such as ethnic identity, attitude towards assimilation and acculturation, and continuing ties to China.
For more information on the project's history, see Records of The Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America (RG XVIII), Series 2.5 Oral History Coordinator: Ruth Hill.
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: 2001-M98, 2003-M152, 2003-M122, 2004-M36, 2004-M48, 2004-M73, 2008-M71, 2008-M89, 2008-M136, 2008-M137, 2008-M156, 2008-M157, 2008-M171, 2008-M172, 2009-M123, 2009-M124, 2013-M149, 2022-M192.
The interviews of the Chinese American Women Oral History Project were transferred from the project between 2001-2022.
Processed: March 2023
By: Cat Lea Holbrook, with assistance from Joanne Donovan and Janin I. Escobedo-Garcia.
The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit. Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Asian American families
- Asian American women
- Chinatown (Boston, Mass.)
- Chinese American business enterprises
- Chinese American businesspeople
- Chinese American children
- Chinese American families
- Chinese American women
- Chinese Americans--Economic conditions
- Chinese Americans--Employment
- Chinese Americans--Social conditions
- Immigrants--United States
- Radcliffe College. Class of 1943
- Radcliffe College. Class of 1949
- Radcliffe College. Class of 1957
- Women immigrants
- Chinese American Women Oral History Project. Interviews of the Chinese American Women Oral History Project, 1991-2019 (inclusive), 1991-1999 (bulk): A Finding Aid
- Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- Processing of this collection was made possible by the Zetlin Sisters Fund, Jane Rainie Opel ’50 Fund, and the Gerard Schlesinger Library Fund.
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.
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