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Chung Mun Yew


1. On arrival in USA  2. In High School (Yale photo)  3. Coxswain, Yale crew, c. 1880 (Yale photo)  4. In official robes, c. 1906 5. At Washington, 1921


Pinyin & Chinese characters Zhong Wen Yao 钟文耀
Variant Spellings & Other Names Chung Mon Yew
C. Mun Yew
Chung Wen Yao
Chung Won Yau
Men Yun Chung
M.Y. Chung

Other Chinese Names 钟紫垣
Detachment 1
LaFargue No. 2
Date of Birth 12th month, 4th day of Gengshen 庚申 (Lunar Calendar); January 14, 1861 (Western) [family records]

Place of Birth Xiangshan, Guangdong Province
Age at Departure for U.S. 13 (Lunar Calendar); 11 (Western Calendar, by birth date)
Date of Death March 12, 1945
Place of Death Shanghai
Place(s) of residence in U.S. (1) 38 Bliss St., Springfield, MA
(2) 67 Bliss St., Springfield, MA
(3) 11 Imlay St., Hartford, CT
(4) 1879-80: 74 High St., New Haven, CT [The Yale Banner, v. 36 (1879), p. 31]
(5) 1880-81: 458 Chapel St., New Haven, CT [The Yale Banner, v. 37 (1880), p. 31]
American Host Family/ies (1) 1872-late 1874 Dr. A.S. McClean1;
(2) late 1874-76 Rev. M.C. Stebbins2;
(3) late 1876-79 William B. and Virginia (Thrall) Smith3

School(s), with dates prob. Springfield High School2;

Springfield Collegiate Institute;
1876  Hartford Public High School (g. 1879)

Notable activities/ awards in school Gave recitation of a selection from Xenophon in classical Greek at year-end ceremonies of Springfield C.I., June 1876;
Second place winner of annual Declamation Prize at Class of 1879 graduation exercises, Hartford Public High School, with prize money of $5.00.4

College/University, with dates Yale College (1879-1881); did not graduate due to Government recall of CEM

Notable activities/ awards in College Coxswain, Yale Varsity Crew, 1880 & 1881, leading them to win in both years against Harvard in the annual boat races (Yale Banner, v.37, 1880-81, pp. 77-79, v. 40, 1881-82, pp. 75f.);
Freshman Declamation Prize;
Prize for Excellence in Declamation in Sophomore Class (Yale Banner, v. 40, 1881, p. 55) on topic: "A Plea for the Christian Religion" (Reno Evening Gazette, "Religious" column, 1881.08.1);
May 1881: elected to Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity (Yale News, 25 May, 1881, p. 2).

Degree/Diploma Obtained, with date In June 1904 granted B.A. with enrollment, Yale Class of 1883

First Assignment in China Translator in the Water Conservancy Bureau, Shanghai.
Later Positions

Translator/interpreter for Shanghai Customs Daotai 海关道台;

1883 Dec. loaned to U.S. Consulate in Shanghai as interpreter for 23 months;

1885? comprador in American firm Russell & Co., Tianjin;

1887 Chinese Engineering and Mining Co., Tianjin: in charge of government contract dept;

1890 Chief Translator and Secretary, Directorate-General of Imperial Railways, Tianjin;

1893-1905: Consular and Diplomatic Service abroad:5

Mar. 1893 selected by Yang Ru (杨儒) Minister to U.S. as Translator at Chinese Legation, arr. Sept. in Washington;

1896: 2nd class Interpreter; obtained as a "student by purchase" 監生6 the title of 直隶知卅加四品衔 (Magistrate, 4th rank); later that year, purchased higher rank of 州同.

Jan. 1903: promoted to 知府 (Prefect) with rank of 三等参赞 (Counselor, 3rd rank);

Apr. 1903: appointed Counselor, 2nd rank to Legation in Spain;

1903: promoted to Chargé d'Affaires in Madrid;

Dec. 1903 appointed Consul General to Philippines, served May 1904-Aug. 1905 in Manila;

Aug. 1905 returned to China: Advisor on foreign affairs to Yuan Shikai 袁世凯 at Tianjin;

1906-1927: Senior Administrator:

1906-1916 Managing Director, Shanghai-Nanking Railway;

1907-1910 Managing Director, China Merchants Steam Navigation Co. 招商局轮船公司;

1914-16 Managing Director, Shanghai-Hangchow-Ningpo Railway; retired 1916;

1917-1927 recalled and appointed Chairman, Shanghai-Nanking Railway Board of Commissioners.

Sundry appointments:

1908-09: First Secretary of the Special Embassy led by Tong Shao Yi (Tang Shaoyi 唐绍仪 III, 61), to Japan, USA, and Europe;

1919 Feb: In Peace Talks between the Peking regime and northern warlords (North) and the Military Government in Canton and southern warlords (South), he served as Secretary for the South, which was led by Tang Shaoyi as chief representative;

1920: Chairman, National Mint Organization Committee to propose a scheme for establishing a mint;

1920 March: Director of Shanghai Mint, served for several months; later remained as a Councillor, Ministry of Finance;

1921: Counselor of the Chinese delegation to the World Disarmament Conference, Washington, 1921. This was probably his last return visit to the US;

1922-25: appointed a government representative to various conventions in Beijing: the Weihaiwei (威海卫) Rendition Conference, 1923; the Tariff Conference, 1924-5, etc.

1923 Dec: Chairman of The Shanghai Telegraph Co.;

1931 Apr.: Reappointed to Board of Shanghai-Nanking & Shanghai-Hangchow-Ningpo Railways.

Employment sector(s) Government; Diplomatic Service and Dept. of Communications

Final rank, if in gov't service 2nd Rank Mandarin (red button) under Qing dynasty, uncertain ranking under Republican government

Father's name Zhong Qunxian 钟群贤, his eldest uncle, who had no son, adopted him as his heir; his biological father was named Qunlan 群瀾

Mother's name Birth mother surnamed Zheng 鄭氏

Wife/wives 1) Tan Zhaoyun 谭肇云, m. 1886, d. April 1, 1894;
2) Mak Fung Kum 麦凤琴, m. July, 1906

Family relations w/ other CEM students

First wife was the sister of Tan Yew Fun ( Tan Yaoxun 谭耀勋 I, 21).

Chung and Jeme Tien Yau (Zhan Tianyou 詹天佑 I, 15) were brothers-in-law: their wives were sisters.  In Chinese this kind of relationship is named 襟亲兄第; Chung married Mr. Tan's third daughter, while Jeme married the fourth. 7

Children's Names 1st marriage: 桂丹 Daniel McClean, Yale (Sheffield), 1912, 慧琼 Mamie;
2nd marriage: 慧廉 Mina Liang Yu, 慧菱 Waling Chung Wei, 慧椿 Susie Tang Fortunato,  慧娟 Lucille Chan, 桂芳 Alphonso Chung, 慧蒔 Lulu Bau, 桂海 Harry Chung, 璧如 Peggy Chan, 雪英 Ellen

Descendants 3rd Generation: 安东 Andong (Anton), 安民 Anmin (Edwin), 安道 Andu (Randall), 安国 Anguo, 安祺 Anqi (Eric); Sophie Liang, Betty Liang Gotuaco, Thomas Liang;  Jacqueline Wei Mintz, Madeleine Wei, Fong Wei, Robert Chung Wei; Irving Tang; 陳肇基 Bruce Chan, 陳素嫻 Barbara Chan, 陳穎嫻 Winifred Lamb, 陳肇雄 Daniel Chan; 鮑道鈞 Robert Bau; 仁国 Sunny Chung, 仁邦 Bobby Chung, 慕堃 Linda Chung, 仁麟 Alfred Chung, 慕琴 Mina Chung


1896 Admitted to Federal Lodge No. 1 in Washington, DC as master mason;
1915 Rose to rank of 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite of Free Masonry in Shanghai;

1906 November  Member, Shanghai Chinese Committee of the Tien Tsu Hui 天足會 ("Natural Feet Society"), an anti-footbinding association; 

Member, Executive Committee, International Institute of China 尚贤堂;
1913 President, China Yale Alumni Association;
1913-15 President, World Federation of Chinese Students 寰球中国学生会;
1915 President, Boys Scouts Association of China;
1920 President, Shanghai Yale Club; President, China Yale Alumni Association;
1922-24 Manager, Shanghai Branch, The Chinese Merchants Bank 華商銀行;
1923 December, Director of the Shanghai Chinese Telegraph Administration;
1925 March, Member, Organizing Committee for Shanghai funeral ceremony for Dr. Sun Yat-sen 治喪事務所辦事員.

Honours awarded in China:

1912? Highest Decoration from Shanghai Military Governor Chen Qimei 陳其美 for significant support to the Revolution in Shanghai;

Order of Luxuriant Grain (Jiahe Zhang 嘉禾章): 1912 Dec.  5th class, 1918  3rd Class, 1921 2nd  Class;

1913 April, Medal of High Merit, 1st Class, 2nd Grade (Min. of Communications) 交通部一等二級獎章;

1913 November, Order of the Striped Tiger (Wenhu Zhang 纹虎章), 4th grade;

1914 September, Army-Navy Medal, Class 2, for services to Chinese Red Cross Society "因在紅十字會出力" 獲頒 "陸海軍二等獎章" during civil war against Yuan Shi Kai.

Decorations Abroad, 1909: from Austria-Hungary, Italy, France, Prussia and Russia.

Notes and Sources Information mostly from Chung’s autobiographical sketch, 2-page typescript document kept in LaFargue (Pullman).
Also from Yale (1883 Record), pp. 23f. and Yale (1883 Book), p. 116-118.

1.  Moved elsewhere due to Mrs. McLean's poor health in late 1874; cf. Yung Shang Him (1939), 42.

2.  Rev. Milan Cyrus Stebbins was principal of Springfield High School, 1865-late 1874; he then left to establish a private school known as Springfield Collegiate Institute, which operated until 1881.  (Amherst College Class of 1851, in Amherst College Biographical Record, Centennial Edition (1821-1921). Information about Stebbins courtesy Edward J.M. Rhoads.

3.  Farkas (1998), 87. Virginia Thrall Smith (1838-1903), a noted children’s advocate, administered the Hartford City Mission for many years, and founded the Newington Home for Crippled Children - see Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame, http://www.cwhf.org/inductees/reformers/virginia-thrall-smith.

4. Hartford Catalogue (1941), 67.

5. Consular posts and rankings based on official Chinese Foreign Affairs Dept. archives (外务部档案/出使设领); annotated copy courtesy Jacqueline W. Mintz.

6.  A category of men admitted to the National University without having passed the civil service exams, in consideration of their contributions of grain or money to the State (See Hucker (1985), 150). Having been educated in the U.S., CEM returnees did not have the necessary degrees for advancement in government, hence the purchase of titles by Chung and other members of the CEM early in their careers.

7.  Zhan (2006), pp. 15; 57.
Jeme's letters to Chung confirm the Chung family tradition about this kinship.