Madame Chiang Kai-shek and Miss Emma Mills

China’s First Lady and Her American Friend

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About the Book

Mayling Soong came to America at the age of 10. Her father, Charlie Soong, a practicing Christian who had spent time in America, was convinced that China’s youth would need progressive, Western educations before returning to their homeland to take their places as leaders in the fields of government, education and engineering. The youngest of three daughters, Mayling followed her older siblings to the United States in search of a Western education, eventually entering Wellesley in 1913 at age 16. Here she made numerous friends including classmate Emma DeLong Mills. This lifelong friendship lasted through Mayling’s 1927 marriage to General Chiang Kai-shek and his subsequent rise to power. After the undeclared Sino-Japanese war broke out Emma began a series of letters detailing the political climate in the isolationist United States, providing Mayling with invaluable insight into American attitudes regarding China and her Asian neighbors.
Beginning with the early days of their friendship in America, the volume describes the identity struggle both women faced following their 1917 graduation from Wellesley. Following Emma’s visit to China (and somewhat unwilling return to New York), the friendship continued through their correspondence. Emma’s role in the newly organized American Bureau of Medical Aid to China is discussed as are Madame Chiang Kai-shek’s international fund-raising efforts on behalf of Chinese war relief. While military and political history is not the focus of the work, it is portrayed as it impacts the friendship, which is the subject of this book.

About the Author(s)

The late Thomas A. DeLong was an award winning author and biographer who wrote extensively on radio and television.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas A. DeLong
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2980-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

1. Shanghai      5

2. Nomads      16

3. Wellesley      23

4. Empathy      28

5. New Callings      36

6. West to East      40

7. Among Movers and Shakers      46

8. Sisterhood      55

9. In the Thick of Things      62

10. Sun’s Successor      68

11. First Lady      78

12. Trouble Spots      87

13. Pen and Sword      97

14. A Tightening Grip      116

15. Agitation and Angst      127

16. Committed to Victory      138

17. The Common Battle and High Ideals      148

18. Homecoming      157

19. Table Talk      177

20. Victory Without Peace      193

21. Frequent Flyers      207

22. Milestones      221

Epilogue      232

Chapter Notes      235

Bibliography      245

Index      249

Book Reviews & Awards

“it’s a revelation. What a story! On one level, an absorbing human-interest drama, on another, a fascinating look behind the scenes of 20th century history”—Alfred Balk, former magazine editor and Columbia and Syracuse University faculty member.