Friday, March 29, 2019

Li Ling Ai, 1940–1949

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
July 1940

The New York Times
July 20, 1940
Program for Today at the World’s Fair
3 P.M.—Miss Li Ling-ai in program of Chinese Dances. Medical Aid to China Pavilion (E-2).

The New York Times
July 27, 1940
Fair’s Hottest Day Keeps Down Crowd
Chinese Art Demonstrated
A demonstration of Chinese painting by Miss Ann Hsi was given yesterday afternoon at the exhibit of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China, and will be repeated tomorrow. Miss Hsi, a pupil of Feng Chao-jan, outstanding Chinese painter of the classical school, held an exhibition last October under the sponsorship of Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt for the benefit of Chinese war refugees. Miss Li Ling-ai, a student of the noted Chinese actor, Mei Lan-fang, will present traditional Chinese dances at the exhibit today.

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
August 1940
p4: Following the Court of Peace exercises, Mr. Schwartz invited the audience to the pavilion to inspect the exhibits. Just outside the pavilion, after the Court of Peace ceremonies, Miss Li Ling-Ai, a pupil of Mei Lan-Fang, presented a program of Chinese dances, and Chin Wan, one of the best known Chinese jugglers in the United States, did his spectacular tricks for a delighted audience.

Special Programs Offered at Pavilion
Miss Li Ling-Ai, who planned the entertainment of special programs every Saturday afternoon in the afternoon. During the August “dog days” these hours may be shifted, for the comfort of actors and spectators alike, so watch the Official World’s Fair Program in the newspapers if you plan to attend any performance. On July 13, Miss Fung-Oye, who sang for us at the dedication day ceremonies, was the featured player, with Chin Wan, the juggler, to close the program. On July 20, Miss Li presented her own interpretations of traditional dances and sang Chinese folk songs, and Miss Jean McNally, an  American student of the Chinese theater, gave a dramatic excerpt from the old Chinese play, “Circle of Chalk”. Mr. Donald Somers, announcer for the Fountain Spectacle at the Lagoon of Nations, on July 27th contributed a very spirited “one man” version of the playlet, “The Goose-berry Mandarin”, which we hope he can be persuaded to repeat another afternoon. Prof. Chin, whose spectacular tricks are so popular with visitors that they have become a daily feature, repeated hourly, gave his show on all of these afternoons.

The Bureau in the News
Miss Li Ling-Ai

The New York Times
August 2, 1940
Program for Today at the World’s Fair
3 P.M.—Miss Li Ling-ai will give a program of Chinese songs and dances at the pavilion of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China (E-2). Repeated at 4 and 5 P.M.

The New York Times
August 9, 1940
Program for Today at the World’s Fair
3 P.M.—Lecture on the technique of the Chinese theatre by Miss Li Ling-ai, illustrated by Chinese dances and songs. Repeated at 4 and 5 P.M. A.B.M.A.C. Pavilion (E-2).

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
October 1940
National Bowl of Rice Party Launched

Life in Chungking: Excerpts from, a letter by Rey Scott

Miss Li Ling Ai, who first interested Rey Scott, internationally known cameraman, in the plight of her people, permits us to print the following excerpts from his recent letter to her.

What air raids mean in personal terms has been brought home sharply to the Bureau. The Bulletin expresses for staff members at Headquarters their sympathy and sorrow for Chi Pao-shan of our Publicity Dept. , who has just received word that four members of his family were killed in a single raid at Chungking.

“…Speaking of air raids, the correspondents and newsmen here formerly didn’t go into dugouts during raids. They used to stand outside and watch the ‘show’ from vantage points—but not any more! By Joel every man Jack dives for cover now when Jap planes come. That’s because whereas they used to come in waves of 15 or 20, now if there aren’t at least 150 at a time, then it isn’t a number one air raid. On a bright afternoon a week or so ago, the Japs dropped an estimated 60 tons of explosives into the city. Possibly one-half of all the buildings and houses have been destroyed and the raids are still continued. The Japs apparently are trying to wipe Chungking clean off the map. But day to day life goes on much as usual—not unlike the way it did when I was here last fall. I think that most of the Chinese in Chungking have come to feel that life here—with half the day passed underground—and sometimes no roof, lights or water—is the normal mode of things. I know they feel it is more normal than life would be—under the Japs!

“It is difficult to describe Chungking in words. (Pictures are better!) A city of nearly a million people—with hundreds of dugouts tunneled into the hills on which the city is built. Lookouts all around Chungking, in concentric circles as far as 300 miles away, warn of the approach of Jap raiders. A siren shrieks—the ‘urgent’ signal±when the bombers are 20 minutes flying time distant—and the entire population takes to dugouts, like rabbits popping into warrens at the approach of hunters. Many of the dugouts have more than 100 feet of solid rock above them, and within are floors, benches, lights, radio and a ventilation system. At least it’s usually cool underground, but water sometimes trickles down from above and falls on your neck. If this inconveniences you and you prefer to stay outside—well, no one will stop you!

“Life in Chungking means enduring almost daily air raids, in some instances of an intensity and ferocity probably surpassing anything endured in Warsaw or Madrid and certainly (as of today) in England. (Editor’s Note: This was written in August.) Chungking gets a ‘blitzkrieg’ nearly every day. And the way ordinary people are carrying on, despite daily threat of death, is a thrilling and inspiring story. Imagine a newspaper printing plant in the heart of a hill; machine shops, government offices, carrying on underground!

“I hope all of you in America will sometime have the whole story…”

Bowl of Rice Party Launched

…In New York, on November 1, there will be a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in honor of the Chinese Ambassador, Dr. Hu Shih, which will be followed by the Bowl of Rice Ball. This New York party is being given under the joint auspices of the Bureau and the China Aid Council. At the dinner. Dr. Hu Shih, Lin Yutang (just returned from China) and Henry Bernstein, famous French playwright, will speak. Mrs. Clark Minor has accepted the chairmanship of the Ball and she will be assisted by a distinguished committee, which already has ambitious plans under way. Balanchine has agreed to direct the entertainment, which will be an intimate Chinese Revue, featuring Ruth St. Denis in her Dance of the White Jade, Paul Draper, Larry Adler, Carol Bruce, and several numbers by Chinese talent, under the direction of Miss Li Ling-Ai. In the Carnival Room there will be games of skill which will afford an opportunity to win valuable prizes. Conde Nast heads the jury which will choose the Most Beautiful Girl at the Ball, who will win as a reward for her good looks a portrait of herself done by John Lavalle. Some of New York’s most beautiful women will don Chinese dress to act as ladies in waiting to the Queen of the Ball, who will be—I’m sure you’ve guessed it—Miss Anna May Wong.

At the Fair
As the Fair draws to a close—only 27 days before it “ends forever”—pour staff at the AMBAC Pavilion is busy making sales and answering inquiries about the work of the bureau.

…A series of 4 Bureau broadcasts from the World’s Fair studio of WMCA will culminate with a 15-minute program on October 5, at 12:45, featuring songs by Miss Li Ling-Ai, our director of special programs at the Fair, and two members of a Chinese theatrical group currently playing in New York. Radio commentators at the Fair have continued to be generous with mentions of our pavilion and our special programs there, which were continued during September.

The New York Times
October 27, 1940
Chinese to Gain by Friday’s Ball
Pageant and Revue Planned as Feature of Bowl of Rice Event at Waldorf
Prominent women in Oriental costumes designed for the occasion will take part in the pageant which will be a feature of the Bowl of Rice Ball to be held on Friday night in the main ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, under the joint auspices of the American Bureau for Medical aid to china and the china Aid Council. In a Chinese garden setting, the group will look down upon the stage of the ballroom, where a revue will be presented under the direction of Georg Balanchine, with Anna May Wong and Ruth Denis as the featured players.

Women who will take part in the pageant include Mrs. John Cabot Lodge, Mrs. Frederick Payne, Miss Mei Li Tong, Mrs. Mario Braggiotti, Mrs. Sherman Jenny, Miss Nei Ao Ho, Mrs. Archibald Douglas Jr., Miss Wong, Mrs. Richard Lee, Miss Tsu Tsung Chong, Miss Wendy Iglehart, Mrs. George Hopper Fitch Valentina, and Mrs. Joseph Chen.

Appearing in the revue will be Miss Li Ling Ai and her group of Chinese dancers, Paul Draper, Larry Adler and Miss Carol Bruce. Music for the revue, composed for the occasion by Vernon Duke, is based on authentic Chinese melodies.

Before the ball and entertainment, a dinner will be held in the Basildon Room of the hotel. The guest of honor will be the Chinese Ambassador, Dr. Hu Shih, who will also be one of the speakers. Other speakers will include Dr. Lin Yutang, the author, and Henri Bernstein, French playwright. The dinner is the first in a series to be held throughout the country in a national campaign to raise funds for medical supplies and gasoline to distribute among field unit trucks in China….

The New York Times
October 27, 1940
The Dance: Americana
Ruth St. Denis, Li Ling-Ai and Paul Draper will dance at the Bowl of Rice Ball at the Waldorf-Astoria on Friday night under the joint auspices of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China and the China Aid Council. George Balanchine will stage a Chinese revue.

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
November 1940
Ballroom Throng Enjoys Gay Entertainment and Impressive Fashion Show
Anna May Wong, looking very lovely in a gown of gold lame, especially created for the occasion by Tsing-Ying Tsang, was mistress of ceremonies at the Ball and delighted her audience with the sparkling commentary on the various parts of the program as they were presented. The revue, staged and directed by George Balanchine, with music by Vernon Duke and a setting by Nicholas de Molas, opened with the beautiful White Jade Dance by Ruth St. Denis. Larry Adler followed in a series of his delightful amazing renditions of classical themes on the harmonica, and then Carol Bruce, popular “starlet” of Louisiana Purchase, sang two songs of Vernon Duke’s, an old favorite, and his newest one, “April in Paris” from “Cabin in the Sky.” The Pageant of Beautiful Women was the presented, opening with a parade of beautiful ancient Chinese robes, worn by eight lovely Chinese girls; this was followed by fourteen American women, chosen from the ranks of society’s loveliest, who modelled modern evening gowns created especially for the Ball by leading New York designers, all inspired by traditional Chinese dress, but skilfully [sic] adapting Chinese color combinations, motifs and patterns to suit the American face and figure. Miss Tsing-Ying Tsang, New York’s only Chinese dress designer, in addition to creaing Miss Wong’s gown, also designed the striking gown worn by Mrs. Fron Underhill. Others who took part were (designers of the gowns noted in parenthesis): Mrs. Frederick Payne (Frank Brady of Lord and Taylor), Mrs. Valentina Schlee (Valentina); Mrs. Mario Braggiotti (Helen Cookman), Mrs. Fairfax Potter (Charles James); Mrs. Sherman Jenney (Lentheric), Miss Wendy Iglehart (Tappe), Mrs. John Cabot Lodge (Zoe De Salle), Mrs. Pierpont Morgan Hamilton (Jane Derby), Mrs. Ernest Boissevain (Helene Pons), Mrs. Natalie Clark (Anonymous), Mrs. George Hopper Fitch (loaned by Mrs. Clark Minor), Mrs. William T. Wetmore (Jenkins), and Miss Mei Ai Ho, Miss Mei Li Tong, Miss Tsu Tsung Cheng, Mrs. Joseph K. Chen, Miss Ruth Wang, Miss Irene Yuam, Miss Lee Ya-ching, Miss Mei Mei Wang in traditional Chinese dress. After each model had shown her gown she retired to the back of the stage, so that the rest of the revue took place against a living backdrop of loveliness

Next on the program was Chin Wan, the juggler, whose performance was so popular he had to give several encores. Equally applauded was “The Dance of the Heavenly Maidens” by a group of Chinese dancers under the direction of Miss Li Ling Ai, whose graceful Sword Dance closed the stage show on an authentic Chinese note. A little later, Rosario and Antonio, New York’s most popular dancing team at the moment, graciously came from the Sert Room and danced on the ballroom floor.

As Dixie Tighe remarked about our Pageant of Beautiful Women “That’s one beauty pageant which is not going to be a dud,” and the judges appointed to choose “the most paintable girl” at the Ball had a hard decision to make. Eventually six contestants were selected, and the final decision was left for the audience to make by means of applause. Anna May Wong carried off the honors. A carnation lei flown by clipper from Hawaii as the gift of Honolulu’s Bowl of Rice Party Committee, was bestowed upon her as her immediate award, and later she will have her portrait done by the distinguished painter, John Lavalle, who will paint the portrait as his contribution to the Bowl of Rice campaign. Other features which added to the gaiety of the evening (and swelled the proceeds) were the Chinese wishing well, the Chinese fortune-teller, ably impersonated  by Mr. Stanley Chin, and numerous games of skill, for which prizes had been donated by some of New York’s most exclusive shops.

The list of famous persons who attended the dinner and ball is too long to give here; nor is there space enough to name all those whose work and interest contributed to the Ball’s success. Mrs. Clark Minor as chairman and Mrs. Sturges Finan as director, must, of course, get the lion’s share of the credit for what has been characterized in many places as the most unusual and delightful charity affair ever given in New York.

1. Miriam Hopkins at the wishing well. 2. Roy Howard and Dr. Hu. 3. Dr. and Mrs. Lin Yutang, Calvin Bullock, Lady Beale. 4. Li Ling-Ai and dancers. 5. & 6. Mrs. Wm. Wetmore Anna May Wong, in gowns by Jenkins and Tsing-Ying Tsang, 7. Miss Wong jokes with Jerome Zerbe, Conde Nast, Pierpont Hamilton, David Selznick and John Lavalle

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
December 1940
Boston, Mass. Boston will hold its Bowl of Rice dinner and Ball at the Copley- Plaza on Dec. 9, and Dr. Hu Shih, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, will be guest of honor. Boston papers have been gossiping about the event for weeks, calling it “the highlight of the pre-Christmas season,” and under the chairmanship of Mrs. Harold J. Coolidge of Brookline, plans for a gala party are well under way.

Miss Anna May Wong, who was the star of the Bowl of Rice Ball in New York, is working with the Boston committee, and was honored guest at a dinner given by Mrs. Coolidge and again at a cocktail party given by Mrs. William T. Aldrich. Between whiles, she has posed for the portrait which John Lavalle is making of her because she was chosen “the most paintable girl” at New York’s Ball. The portrait will be completed in time for the Boston Ball, and Dr. Hu Shih will draw the first ticket in the nation-wide contest to win the picture, valued at $5000. Following the Boston party, copies of the picture will be sent around the country to other Bowl of Rice parties, so that everyone attending the parties will have a chance to snare the lucky ticket that will make him permanent possessor of the portrait. In the portrait Miss Wong wears the golden gown designed for her by Tsing Ying Tsang, and those who have seen the still unfinished picture say it is a lovely thing. At the Ball, Miss Wong and Walter O’Keefe will share honors as master and mistress of ceremonies, Ruth St. Denis will present her White Jade Dance, Miss Li Ling Ai will do a series of traditional Chinese dances, and under Miss Li’s direction, tableaux depicting stirring moments from Chinese history will be shown.

The New York Times
January 18, 1941
British Conductor Makes His Bow Here
With an international song festival, “Let’s Sing for China,” attended by children from the city’s schools, the Junior Division of the China Emergency Relief Committee launched its campaign for aid to the children of China yesterday afternoon in Town Hall. The festival was directed by Stanley Chapple, British conductor. Mr. Chapple made his first New York appearance at this event, replacing Dorothy Gordon, singer, who was indisposed.

After a group of Chinese children in native garb from Public School 23 had sung the Chinese national anthem, Mr. Chapple, who came from Boston for the festival, led the youthful audience in singing folk songs of various nations.

…During an intermission Li Ling Ai, hCinese [sic] dramatic artist and designer, spoke about child life in her native country and initiated the Junior China Relief Legion drive. Bobby Schenk, Ronald Reis and Buddy Buehler, child actors in the cast of “Life with Father,” were guests of honor, and Bobby Schenk presented a dollar to Miss Ai, thus becoming the legion’s first member. Mrs. Henry Seidel Canby, Junior Division chairman, read a message from Pearl S. Buck, the novelist, who is the national chairman of the China Emergency Relief Committee.

The festival will be repeated next Friday afternoon, when it is expected that Miss gordon will be able to direct. As at yesterday’s festival, the audience will consist entirely of school children, and the admission again will be a dime, or a gift of vitamin tablets, cod liver oil or powdered milk.

The New York Times
January 25, 1941
Song Festival at Town Hall for Aid to China
Dorothy Gordon, fold singer, and Jean Hersholt, actor, with the chorus of Chinese children who took  part in the program sponsored by the Junior Division of the China Emergency Relief Committee.

Surrounded by uniformed honor guards from national youth organizations represented in the junior division of the China Emergency Relief Committee—the Girl Scouts, the Boy Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls and the Girl Reserves—Chinese children from Public School 23, Manhattan, sang the “San Min Chu I.” the Chinese national anthem, at the international children’s song festival under the auspices of the division at Town Hall yesterday.

A children’s chorus sang the folk songs of China, England, France, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Czecho-Slovakia, Rumania, Greece and the United States, under the direction of Miss Dorothy Gordon. Miss Li Ling Ai spoke for the boys and girls of China. Jean Hersholt, film star, talked about his movie-making experiences with the Dionne quintuplets.

Pearl S. Buck, the novelist, national chairman of the committee, in a message read for her by Mrs. Henry Seidel Canby, chairman of the division, appealed for aid for China’s children. Admission was ten pennies or a gift to China’s children of cod liver oil, vitamin tablets to powdered milk.

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
February 1941

The New York Times
March 16, 1941
Set Plum Blossom Tea for China Relief Fund
American-Born Chinese Girls Plan Novel Entertainment
A group of American-born Chinese girls, who are organized as the Ging Hawk Club, will help in the Chinese relief campaign by staging a plum blossom tea and entertainment to be given on Saturday at 2 P.M. at the women’s National Republican Club, 3 West Fifty-first Street.

Twenty of the members will model costumes representative of fashions during the Manchu and Ching dynasties, the revolutionary period and modern styles. The commentator will be Mrs. I. C. Sung.

Another group will perform traditional Chinese dances under direction of Miss Li Ling Ai. Boys from the Chinese Youth Association will give an exhibition of shadow boxing to the accompaniment of music from the moon harp.

Proceeds will benefit the American Bureau of Medical Aid to China and the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives. The group, which is organized for social and cultural purposes, meets at the International Institute of the Y. M. C. A.

Rice Bowl Party to Aid China
White Plains, N.Y., March 15—The Contemporary Club here will be the setting Wednesday night for a Bowl of Rice party to be given by committees jointly representing White Plains and Scarsdale. It will be for the benefit of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China. After a Chinese dinner James R. Young, foreign correspondent, will speak and Miss Li Ling -Ai and her troupe will present a program of songs and dances. Kenneth Hogg Jr. is chairman of the Bowl of Rice committee sponsoring the party.

New York Sun
March 20, 1941
Bridge Party Aids Chinese Cause
A bridge party is being held this afternoon at the home of Mrs. L. Butler Shepherd, 1143 Fifth avenue for the benefit of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China.

Assisting Mrs. Shepherd are Miss Ann Ottarson, Mrs. Francis S. Howard, Mrs. Benjamin Paskus, Mrs. George Rounds, Mrs. Alfred Kohlberg, Mrs. Frederick F. Hayden, Mrs. Elizabeth Andrews, Mrs. P. F. Hsia, Mrs. Dwight Maitland and Mrs. Co Tui.

Miss Adet Lin has presented as a special prize to the winner of the afternoon an autographed copy of her latest book, “Dawn Over Chungking.” Miss Li Ling Ai, a Chinese dramatist, is to speak briefly on “The Modern Chinese Women.”

The New York Times
March 20, 1941
Card Party Today Aids China
A card party for the benefit of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China will be held this afternoon at the home of Mrs. Louise Butler Shepherd, 1143 Fifth Avenue. Miss Li Ling-ai, Chinese dramatist, will speak on “The Modern Chinese Women.”

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
March 1941
White Plains and Scarsdale, N.Y.

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
April 1941
Plum Blossom Tea Held by Ging Hawk Club

Daily Argus
(Mount Vernon, New York)
April 17, 1941
Dinner Dance Friday, April 25 Will Aid China
More Than 300 Reservations Are Made for Function at Hotel Gramatan

With more than 300 advance reservations already made, the coming Bronxville “China Life Line Party” dinner dance in the Empire Room of the Gramatan Hotel Friday, April 25, is expected to be one of the outstanding social affairs of the season in Southern Westchester.

In addition to an authentic Cantonese supper—called “tiffen,” solo songs and dances, group dances, dramatic skits by Chinese entertainers and juggling acts will feature the dinner entertainment.

Proceeds will be used to send a Bronxville ambulance to China, to assist Chinese Christian colleges and war relief funds.

The menu is to feature only genuine Chinese dishes.

The program has been arranged by Li Aling Ai [sic], director of exhibits of the American Bureau for Medical Aid to China at the New York World’s Fair, who arranged the recent Bowl of Rice parties at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City and the Copley-Plaza in Boston.

Miss Li Ling-Ai, dramatic director of the Pekin Institute of Fine Arts, and known as one of the foremost exponents of Chinese drama in this country today, will appear in a group of solo dances and songs.

There also will be group dancing by the Ging Hawk Girls, American-born Chinese, who specialize in classic dances. They will appear in exquisite Chinese costumes of the Ming Dynasty, the Manchu Dynasty, and the “Emperor and Empress,” with headdress of kingfisher feathers, jade and pearls, lent by a Chinese art collector. The costumes are all from old family chests, many from the collection of Mme. Sun Yat-Sen.

Chin Wan, the Juggler, will appear in acrobatics of his native North China. He will be remembered for similar programs at the World’s Fair. Following his performance here he is to appear in an all-star program in Philadelphia with Paul Robeson. San Somers is to give a “one man show of five Chinese stage characters” with dialogue in English.

New York Sun
May 7, 1941
Chinese Gown Shown
Rare Costumes Displayed at Metropolitan Museum.
Designers and members of the fashion press were the guests late yesterday at a tea and fashion show given by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in connection with the current exhibition devoted to the China Trade and Its Influences. Rare Chinese costumes from the museum’s collection were shown, modeled by Mrs. P. N. Cheng and Misses Li Ling-ai, Lee Ya-Ching, Sophia Chu, Ruth Yates Jr., Marie Louise Aigeltinger, Patricia Weil and Hope Carroll.

Alan Priest, curator of Far Eastern art for the museum, served as commentator for some thirty customes [sic] of the seventeenth to the twentieth century, selected for their appeal to present-day designers, who look more and more to our museums for source material and inspiration in their creative work. Mrs. Emily Lee Shek and Mrs. I. C. Soong acted as hostesses with members of the museum staff.

Three groups of costumes were presented, including imperial court dresses, late Ch’ing dynasty civilian clothes and eighteenth century imperial theatrical robes. Distinctive among the civilian garments were the summer gauzes worn by the Manchus, featuring butterfly, lotus leaf, fantail fish and garden motifs. The theatrical robes, entirely different in design and cut from the usual Chinese garments, included a white satin costume with purple grapes, an echo of the grape and squirrel pattern imported to China from imperial Rome during the Han dynasty, and a green satin with the jewel chain theme inspired by beaded temple hangings.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
May 11, 1941
Photos of Chinese Girls to Be Shown at Academy
A series of photographs posed by Chinese girls who are members of the Ging Hawk Club will be placed on exhibition in the Art Room at the Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Ave., next Sunday.

The exhibition will be opened with a tea at which several of the Chinese girls will appear in costume and for which a charge of 25 cents will be made for the benefit of the United China Relief.

The Ging Hawk Club, which translates “strive to learn,” is an activity of the International Institute of the Y. W.C. A. and is composed of Chinese-American girls. Formed originally for social purposes all its activities are now devoted to the various phases of Chinese Relief, including the American—Bureau for Medical Aid to China, the formation of Chinese Cooperatives and United China Relief.

Several members of the club have been posing for photographs for the portrait working groups of members of the Department of Photography of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.

According to Walter E. Owen, president of the department, the photographs are interesting for the variety of Chinese costumes which they will show. In addition to the modern simple version of the pencil silhouette, several ancient and historical cosutmes [sic] were loaned by Miss Li Ling Ai, who directs the girls in their costume show and dance performances. A group of Chinese theatrical costumes, gorgeous in embroidery and sequins, were borrowed from local collections. Miss LILing Ai, an aviatrix, who is noted as an actress, dancer, writer and designer of both costumes and jewelry, appears in several of the photographs.

Also portrayed in the photographic display will be the Misses Eugenia Chen, president of the club: Shirley Chine, vice president; Gladys Lee, Victoria Tom, Meimei Chen, Ruth Wong, Gloria Chen, Gertrude Ng, Lillian Dong and Helen Wong.

Members of the Department of Photography whose work will be exhibited will include Harold G. Swahn, Alex C.Vogt, E. H. Rodick, Ludwig A. Staib Jr., John Bumiller, R. C. Darrow, Joseph Seckendorf, Frank J. O’Brien, John F. Degan Jr., Wight N. Streeter, Mr. Owen and Herman de Wetter.

Abmac Bulletin
American Bureau for Medical Aid to China
May 15, 1941
Ging Hawk Club, NY

Rye Chronicle
(New York)
June 6, 1941
Campaign Starts to Raise $5,000 In Rye For War Relief in China
Prominent Speakers Will Address Dinner Meeting Wednesday at Methodist Church—Drive Being Held Throughout County
First on the program of events in Rye’s campaign to raise $5,000 towards China Relief will be a dinner meeting featuring prominent speakers and entertainment in the Methodist Church, Post Road, at 7:00 p. m. on Wednesday, June 11. The women of the church are in charge of the event, open to the general public.

Dr. Chin Meng, director of the China Institute in America, New York City, as principal speaker, will talk on “China and the Present World War.” Miss Li Ling Ai, formerly dramatic director of the Chinese Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, prominent singer and dancer, will provide entertainment, rendering versions of Chinese folk and classical music….

Rye Chronicle
(New York)
June 13, 1941
China and America Must Work Together, Rye Audience Told
Two Hundred Attend “Chinese Night” at Methodist Church as Drive Starts to Bring Financial Aid to War-Torn Country
“China and America must work together in order to win against the aggressive powers that are trying to gain control of the world to-day,” Dr. Paul Chih Meng forcefully stated to an audience of more than 200 attending Chinese Night at the Rye Methodist Church on Wednesday night. The Chinese dinner program was the first event in the Rye drive for the raising of its share of the United China Relief. An all China program has been slated as part or Westchester’s active support of United China Relief’s $5,000,000 drive to ease the suffering of Chinese war victims.

Dr. Meng, director of the China Institute, New York, the principal speaker, spoke fluently in explanation of the problems in China. Miss Li Ling-ai and her famous dancing troupe which has made frequent New York appearances, including a performance at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, provided a program of authentic Chinese dances and songs, in exotic costumes….

…Dr. Meng, in behalf of his organization, showed two very interesting movies called “Glimpses of Modern China” and “Chungking Rises Again.” Other entertainment of the evening featured Miss Li Ling-ai, one of the most talented Chinese dancers and singers. Miss Li Ling-ai has just completed the first and most extensive movie ever made in China. It is called “Kukan,” meaning “bitter action” and will be shown at the World Theatre in New York City on June 23rd.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
June 20, 1941
Gotham Grapevine
They are calling “Kukan,” the new all-Chinese film that opens at the World Theater Monday, China’s counterpart of our “The Ramparts We Watch.” “Kukan” means courage in Chinese.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
June 24, 1941
‘Kukan,’ at the World Shows China Spirit
Rey Scott, Reporter-Photographer, Makes a Dramatic Documentary

By what miracle does China hang on through the onslaught of Japan's shiny, modern military machine? Why does China still exist now that the Japanese have completed seven years of painstaking bombing and burning? Rey Scott, a newpaperman [sic] who is handy with a camera, rambled around China for two years looking at its people, watching them fight, filming them as they lived and worked and had their children through the hellishness of modern war. And he came out with the takings of a motion picture which Lin Yutang, the Chinese philosopher, christened “Kukan”—the Chinese equivalent of “We’ve got courage, let’s keep going”—and which the World Theater gave its premiere last night in W. 49th St.

Rey Scott’s film is a dramatlo answer to those questions about China and the miracle that keeps her alive. Scott says several times that it is a miracle. It isn’t a miracle at all. It ls the determination of a people to remain free as they have always been free, a will to live in their own culture, to give their children a chance to follow them.

“Kukan” doesn’t give the answer to China’s fearless resistance in Words illustrated with pictures; it gives the answer in stirringly dramatic pictures annotated by a sound track. And those answers, spoken by the faces of Chinese men and women, young and old, Southern and Northern, Mohammedan and Christian, have a conviction that words could hardly express. If Hirohito and his consuls could see “Kukan,” they’d abandon China as a hopeless job. "Kukan" speaks from the soul of its people. And it speaks magnificently.

Rey Scott knew what to look for and where to find the answer. That much of his job he did with an expert hand. He was not quite so expert with his camera. His shots are frequently hastily focused and imperfectly exposed. His composition is too often mediocre and his color merely detracts from the clarity of his scenes without contributing, to, them the depth and vividness that is the best reason for colored pictures. The drama in his film comes from the simple people who are his actors, from the heartbreaking things that are happening to them and from the remarkable way they set about cleaning out the debris of war before, the embers are cold and rebuilding their homes and their villages again, undaunted.

The beauty of “Kukan” isn’t in the colorful scenery or the smooth panorama. It is in the discovery of what keeps the country alive and in the evidence that it still has few of the symptoms of death. Its beauty Is in the realization that there is hope for freedom so long as there are guerilla [sic] warriors to throw down their hoes and pick up their rifles and their broad-swords like modern yellow-skinned “minute men”; so long as there is a trained Chinese army that has the courage to exist on a bowl of rice twice a day; so long as there are Chinese who, in 14 months, can build a Burma Road for which American engineers said they needed seven years; so long as there are Chinese who can transport 130,000 tons of manufacturing machinery from the coastal cities to the new industrial co-operatives hastily set up 1,000 or 1,500 miles in the interior.

“Kukan,” without politicalizing, without even mentioning the unpleasant facts that we and other nations who should know better are helping the enemies of the Chinese with our steel and our oil, is the record of the creed of a people. It is an inspiring film.

New York Post
June 24, 1941
“Kukan” Has Premiere at the world Theatre
If there were nothing worth seeing in “Kukan,” the new picture about China which opened last night at the World Theatre, save only the bombing of Chungking, it would still be an awe-inspiring spectacle.

This bombing is the sort of climax for which special effects men work years on intricate small models to achieve the high point of a three-million-dollar epic. The sight of the neatly aligned Japanese bombers coming over, thirty-six at a time in triangles of three and nine, pale as transparent moths against the blue sky, is beautiful. The camera catches the actual flash of the sticks of bombs as they are laid across the heart of Chungking. The smokes of the explosions flower into a veritable garden of evil, placid and monstrous. The camera still watches as the city burns. It continues the record the next day as the Chinese return to their homes to begin again, to pick over the ruins and ashes for anything that may be left.

These pictures of the bombing are so extraordinary that “miraculous” is a mild adjective of description for them. The picture had previously been wildly uneven in technique, under- and overexposures following each other in what was almost rhythmic succession. Indeed, “Kukan” frequently gives you the impression that it has been photographed by an amateur who has not yet mastered the exposures on color film. No, and not always the focus, either.

But Rev Scott is an amateur in the best sense of the word. He loves the faces, the sights, the fields and the mountains of infinitely varied China. And that is enough for him to have made a fascinating record of these things. His “amateur” enthusiasm has gone far beyond the efforts of the professionals. The distances covered, whether measured in miles or changing types of faces and costumes, prove the extent of his affection.

In view of the accomplishment it is easy to forgive a sound track that doesn’t always sound right and commentary which occasionally strives too hard to arouse sympathy for the Chinese. The pictures speak very well for themselves.

Much of “Kukan” resembles a travelogue not photographed nearly as well as Fitzpatrick does it. But the vital difference is that Rey Scott went to China, he went all over it, he felt that he had to say something about
it, and he photographed everything he could as well as he could. His uneven luck, sometimes surprisingly good, sometimes pretty bad, happened to reach the proportions of a
major photographic triumph with the bombing of Chungking.

“Kukan” demands your attention.

New York Sun
June 24, 1941
The New Movie
A Documentary Film, in Color, of China in Wartime, ‘Kukan.’

It was Lin Yutang who gave the title “Kukan” to the film now playing at the World Theater, This is a Chinese word freely translated as bitter struggle, as endurance, as fortitude, as heroic action. Rey Scott’s color film, which took him four times to China during the space of three and a half years, tries to show this spirit in war-time China. In this effort the picture succeeds.

“Kukan” was photographed under difficulties, thousands of miles from Hollywood or indeed from any movie studio. Some of the scenes were shot outside a Tibetan monastery. Many others were made on the Burma Road, on the Red Route to Russia, on a balcony from which he could record the bombing of Chungking.

Because of these difficulties, “Kukan” is technically far under standard. The color is pale and uncertain, the photography often poor. But the substance is dramatic. Mr. Scott had vast material in which to draw. His topic is all of China, and all of China’s reaction to Japan’s undeclared war. All of China, it seems has just one reaction. The country, at last united, is stubbornly, desperately resisting. Even after the destruction of the wartime capital, Chungking, there is no surrender in the faces of the homeless and the bereaved; nor is there any bitterness.

Mr. Scott and his camera traveled far. They found the China where food is scarce, the China where farms supply an overabundance of food, the China where transportation is the great problem. They visited the ancient cities. They made friends with the Miaos, mountain tribe known to the Chinese as the “shy people.” They photographed Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, and watched Mme. Chiang in her work of gathering together and sheltering the newly orphaned of her country. There are many orphans in China now. The picture shows them, smiling, silent, eager. The faces of these Chinese children are bright and intelligent. They, like their elders, are quick to smile, even in the midst of tragedy and terror.

“Kukan” shows the women and children building and rebuilding the  Burma Road with their bare hands. It visits the, marketplaces and the training fields. Finally, in a terrific finale, it witnesses the bombing of Chungking. This is a horrible and an unforgettable sight, as presented by Mr. Scott’s color camera. In perfect formation, waves of planes pass over the city. Down by the river, out in the, fields, the city’s people had fled, walking slowly at first, running at last. There is no sign of panic, even when the thousands swarm back to fight, with buckets of water and pitiful hand-pumps, the flames that destroy their city.

Lin Yutang supplies a foreword to “Kukan.” Mr. Scott speaks the narrative. The musical score effectively uses Chinese melodies. The picture, in spite of poor photography, is an interesting and vivid picture of a great land united against aggression.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
June 29, 1941
The Sound Track
…the World Theater has been caught up in the turmoil and has switched its allegiance from the baker’s frisky wife to the embattled Chinese in a searching and compassionate testament of their courage fittingly christened “Kukan,” by Lin Yutang.

New York Sun
July 11, 1941
Picture Plays and Players
Rey Scott Tells of Hit Adventures in Filming ‘Ku Kan’ in China.
“China is a land of paradoxes,” said Rey Scott. “Whatever you hear about it is probably true. I might tell you one thing today. Tomorrow you might meet some one who would tell you just the opposite. Both might be the truth. It is a land so vast that you can find anything there.”

Mr. Scott spent two years in making a picture there. He has journeyed four times to China, twice with still cameras, twice with movie equipment. He wanted to go back a fifth time. Had he succeeded, he would have gone back a sixth.

“You can never get too much stuff on China,” he explained yesterday at the Restaurant Louis XIV. “There is always more you need. There is so much material there, so vital, so dramatic, you keep wanting to get more of it.”

The results of his last two years’ expeditions are now on view at the World Theater. “Ku Kan,” photographed in color, took Rey Scott into the remotest corners of China. He traveled by plane, in ships, on trains, on horseback and muleback. Sometimes he just walked.

Once he covered 136 miles in* five days, after the burning of Canton, in an effort to catch the clipper with uncensored pictures of the city’s evacuation and destruction. He succeeded both in boarding the plane, and in getting the film out of China. Japanese officials searched his baggage and clothes. They never thought of looking inside the bamboo poles on which swung his luggage, carried by a coolie.

At that time Rey Scott unfortunately had not a movie camera. He had used only a still camera in photographing Canton’s three millions as in two days they evacuated the city. Less than three thousand people remained in Canton which was then set ablaze. His regret at not having a movie camera then prompted Rey Scott to buy one on his next trip to the United States.

‘Ku Kan’

“But when I went back to make ‘Ku Kan’ in color I had taken only a hundred feet of film,” Mr. Scott remembered, laughing. “Some of the reviews call it crudeely photographed. They should have seen the circumstances under which it was photographed. I couldn’t tell how the photography was going, whether it was underexposed or overexposed, not until I left the country. I could develop none of it there.”

Some of the film he shot during the bombing of Chungking and the subsequent fire. He was standing on the lawn of the American embassy then, intent on his work.

“It wasn’t until afterward that I learned every one else, the Ambassador and all the other Americans, were lying on the ground during the bombing,” Mr. Scott declared. “They were letting their bombs loose right above the embassy. None of them landed there. They may have gone in the river. But every one else had sense enough to lie flat. It never occurred to me. I was too busy to turn around and look at them. If I’d once seen that, I’d have been lying flat, too.”

All kinds of unexpected difficulties arose during his trips. He had expected many of these obstacles, censorship, political problems, hardships of the journey. He found, too, that Chinese officials were apt to object to his photographing peasants instead of a town’s more prominent citizens. They could not understand why he made scenes of ragged coolies pulling a shabby rickshaw. If only he would wait a few minutes, Mr. Scott was assured, they would put fresh coats on the coolies and equip them with a shiny new rickshaw. Mr. Scott’s attitude surprised and distressed them. Mr. Scott wanted to photo- graph China as he found it.

“Remember that scene, after the bombing of Chungking, of an almond-eyed little boy in rags?” Mr. Scott asked. “Well, that shot became a cause relebre. They even took It to the Mayor and his Council. They couldn’t see why I photographed a little boy who was in rags. Finally I had to pretend to photograph, for an hour and a half, every important personage in town. There was no film in the camera, but they didn’t ask about that.”

Mr. Scott la a sturdily built young man, with a ruddy complexion and a clipped beard. He started his career as a newspaper man in St Louis, later worked on papers in many other cities. He was night editor of the Honolulu Advertiser when he became interested In photography. He was taking pictures of surf riders when he met Li Ling Ai, whose family name, Li, means plum, and whose first name, Ling Ai, means spiritual love. Miss Li asked why Scott wasted his time on such scenes. Why was not a newspaper man in China where history was being made? Mr. Scott saw her point He went to China, along with his camera, as correspondent for the Honolulu Advertiser and the Daily Telegraph of London. Fascinated by China, he kept returning.

As for China’s future, he has no doubt that it will win its war with Japan. In fact he says China has already won. By bring ing the war to a stalemate, it has won. With United States aid, it can soon rout the Japanese. Mr. Scott, who had planned to return to China soon, now hopes to get a look-in at the European war Meanwhile “Ku Kan” continues to do well at the World Theater. Among those who telephoned for reservations for last night were Henry Luce and his wife, Clare Boothe, both recently returned from China.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
July 13, 1941
The Sound Track

New York Post
July 15, 1941
Kukan advertisement

New York Sun
July 31, 1941
Modern Beauty Is Old Story

Harper’s Bazaar
? 1931
March 15, 1941
Nine Months in a Chinese Jacket

Harper’s Bazaar
August 1941
Portrait of a Chinese Family

Vogue Magazine
August 1, 1941
Miss Li Ling-Ai works for China wearing a gown by Hattie Carnegie
Getty Images: Li Ling Ai by Horst

The Leader-Republican
(Gloversville, New York)
August 18, 1941
Chinese Blamed? for Strip-Tease
Hollywood—(UP)—The Chinese have invented just about everything. Including the strip-tease, says the Pekinese film star, Li Ling Ai.

Li Ling, a visitor here, said in an interview that just as the Chinese invented gunpowder, but used it for firecrackers instead of weapons, they invented the strip-tease—“but as an art instead of vulgar entertainment.”

Since her arrival, the Chinese actress has struck up a friendship with Valerie Parks, an Occidental who disrobes nightly before audiences at a burlesque house. Miss Ai Said Miss Parks exhibited almost as much fines as some of her sloe-eyed rivals.

“The essence of Chinese art is illusion,” said Li Ling, who speaks English volubly but dresses in native garb.

“The Chinese strip-dancer combines suggestion with extreme delicacy. She removes her clothing  layer by layer, intriguingly, but never reaches the final shock of complete nudity. She ends her dance—artistically—in black lace underwear.”

Miss Ai made it plain she was not herself a strip-dancer. A film Writer, producer and director as well as actress, she was program director of the Chinese pavilion at the New York world’s fair.

Union Sun and Journal
(Lockport, New York)
August 18, 1941
Chinese Invented Strip-Tease, Li Ling Ai Says
Hollywood—(UP)—The Chinese have invented just about everything. Including the strip-tease, says the Pekinese film star, Li Ling Ai.

Li Ling, a visitor here, said in an interview that just as the Chinese invented gunpowder, but used it for firecrackers instead of weapons, they invented the strip-tease—“but as an art instead of vulgar entertainment.”

Since her arrival, the Chinese actress has struck up a friendship with Valerie Parks, an Occidental who disrobes nightly before audiences at a burlesque house. Miss Ai Said Miss Parks exhibited almost as much fines as some of her sloe-eyed rivals.

“The essence of Chinese art is illusion,” said Li Ling, who speaks English volubly but dresses in native garb.

“The Chinese strip-dancer combines suggestion with extreme delicacy. She removes her clothing  layer by layer, intriguingly, but never reaches the final shock of complete nudity. She ends her dance—artistically—in black lace underwear.”

Miss Ai made it plain she was not herself a strip-dancer. A film Writer, producer and director as well as actress, she was program director of the Chinese pavilion at the New York World’s fair.

New York Sun
September 17, 1941
WNBT 2:30—Radio City Matinee: Li Ling Ai, Perry Martin, Christopher Rule, Richard Kent

New York Post
September 29, 1941
Who: Beautiful and Ageless, Manages to Pack Several Careers into Life
How old is the beautiful Li Ling Ai?

“Twenty” was the guess of the men at a Tuxedo houseparty, where this daughter of one of Honolulu’s oldest Chinese families is a guest.

“Nearing 40,” murmur the ladies.

Li Ling Al is much sought after as dinner guest, dancer and aviatrix.

She was technical adviser for the motion picture, “Kukan,” now in its fourth month on Broadway.

Li Ling Ai laughs gleefully at the town’s desire to know her age.

“I am as young as you wish to imagine me, as old as you wish to think me,” is her answer.

Miss Li, slim and exquisite, has learned from her parents to dismiss time, rather to think of time in terms of achievement.

“My mother h a s folded centuries into the days of her own years,” says Li Ling Ai. “She was a basket baby in China. Her family left her in a basket outside a Lutheran Mission.

“The mission took her in and educated her. She studied medicine and married a doctor. They went to Honolulu on their honeymoon and settled there.

“Today my mother is a doctor of great renown in Honolulu. She has delivered 6,000 babies. So, how old is my mother? From basket baby in the old China to famous physician. Centuries old and as young as tomorrow.”

Whatever her own years, Li Ling Ai has started and finished many things.

Her jewelry is sold in Fifth Av. stores; she was program director of the Chinese Pavilion at the World’s Fair; her dancing and acting have won recognition here and abroad; she is a constant worker for United China Relief.

But she is happiest over her part in filming “Kukan.” It was Li Ling AI who urged Rey Scott, American correspondent, to go to China and film the picture.

“I was sick of movies of China showing sing-song clubs and the rhinestone circle," said Li Ling Ai.

“I said to Rey, you go to China. Take pictures of the real people, fighting for China’s freedom. And so, in his crazy-nice American way, he did. ‘Kukan’ was filmed on a shoestring. But here it is on Broadway.”

Li Ling Ai told Scott of a successful way to smuggle the films past the Japanese in China.

“He put them in the bamboo poles on which the coolie was carrying his luggage,” she said. “Luggage and poles were then shipped to my family in Honolulu.

“Lovely—yes?” laughed Li Ling Ai.

New York Sun
October 11, 1941
Ding Kwa Kwa Ball at Darien to Increase China Relief Fund
The Greater New York Committee of United China Relief will sponsor a “Ding Kwa Kwa Ball” this evening at the Wee Burn Club in Darien, Conn. Ding Kwa Kwa is an old Chinese expression meaning “Thumbs Up.”

…A floor show during the evening will provide entertainment by Clifton Fadiman, Clarence Stroud, the Chinese dance team, Toy and Wing; Joan Edwards,Li Ling Ai, Chinese singer and dancer, and Galente and Leonarda. Walter O’Keefe will be master of ceremonies and will auction a flag captured by the Chinese in the battle for Chang-sha.

The debutante committee, headed by Miss Barbara Van Ness, will sell Chinese jewelry and various other items designed by Walt Disney for the benefit of United China Relief. Assisting Miss Van Ness on her committee are the Misses Sunshine Allen, Judith Schweppe, Betsey Brewer, Phyllis Greenleaf, Eileen Preston, Susan and Hester Huntington, Mary Woolsey and Virginia Edwards.

Binghamton Press
(New York)
November 12, 1941
Valerie Parks with L Ling Ai, noted Chinese actress, model the latest coiffure called “Ku-Kan,” which means “Courage.” It is adapted from the Chinese.

Ku-Kan means ‘Courage’; It’s a New Hair-Do, Too

A modified Chinese hairdress, suitable for both day and evening, is the Ku-Kan—which means Courage, in Chinese. This attractive hair-do was introduced here by Li Ling Ai, renowned Chinese actress and producer. During her travels in China for the filming of a picture she was inspired by the peasant women who wore their hair this fashion.

The modification—or rather Americanization—of the coiffure was done by Fred Fredericks of the Max Factor Studios in Hollywood, who adapted it for a dancer named Miss Valerie Parks. So here is where the East meets West—in the field of fashion!

How It Is Done

The hair-do is simplicity itself. The hair is parted in a triangle—from the center of the crown down toward the end of each eyebrow. The back hair is brushed into a soft roll at the back of the head, and the front is set in a heavy but soft bang. The hair may be cut in front if you choose, or it may be rolled under and fastened if it is shoulder-length.

For daytime it is worn plain, but for evening one pins sparkling ornaments or fresh flowers on top of the crown just in back of the heavy bang. The Chinese also wear with the hair ornament, long, bejeweled earrings, which you may do if you wish.

According to Li Ling Ai, the Chinese women stress extreme simplicity in their hair arrangements during the war period—“Simplicity and dignity should be practiced by American women in their dress,” claims Li Ling Ai, “for they too are called to be courageous for the duration!”

The New York Times
December 7, 1941
Ray Club Will Mark Its 25th Anniversary
Current Events Group to Discuss China at Luncheon
Marking its twenty-fifth year under the continuous direction of its founder and president the Ray Current Events Club will hold an anniversary luncheon on Saturday at the Hotel Astor. China, its struggle for freedom and its arts will provide the theme for the program, and a scroll will be offered on which members may inscribe their names for the benefit of United China Relief.

Mrs. Jack W. Loeb, who organized the club during the World War to afford to its members an opportunity to discuss world and national events, will preside. Among the speakers will be Dr. Tehyi Hsieh, director of the Chinese Service Bureau, on “Crisis in the Orient and Its Effects on the West”; Dr. Tusne-Chi Yu, Chinese Consul General in New York; Mts. Farn B. Chu, who heads the Chinese women’s division for the relief fund; Chingyu Wang, economist; Miss Li Ling-Ai, Chinese aviatrix, and Miss Grace Reavy, president of the State Civil Service Commission.

Mrs. Guy Percy Trulock, president of the New York City Federation of Women’s Clubs, will offer a group of songs.

Brooklyn Eagle
(New York)
December 14, 1941
The Sound Track

New York Post
November 6, 1942
How We Set Kiska Aflame
…May See It In the Movies

Soon the American public may get a look at what this correspondent saw today, In Technicolor. Lieut. Rey Scott, who now serves the U. S. Army Air Corps in the role of official picture taker, was with us.

He not only took pictures but delivered a message. Readers will recall “Kukan,” Scott’s picture record of Burma Road and the bombings of Chungking. The inspiration for that picture, he tells me, was a young Chinese girl named Li Ling-ai, who suggested the theme and helped finance the project. Today he wrote on a 500-pound demolition: bomb: “This one is from Li Ling-ai, you ______s!” and personally pushed the bomb release over the main camp.

East Hampton Star
(New York)
December 10, 1942
Looking Them Over
Mr. and Mrs. Valentine Williams, who spent the summer in East Hampton, were at the luncheon; he sat at the speakers’ table. A very pretty woman in black turned out to be Bella Fromm, author of the new “Blood and Banquets” about pre-war Berlin. Mrs. Wellington Koo looked like a picture out of Vogue; she should have sat in a frame. Li Ling Ai, a pretty young Chinese actress and producer; Elizabeth Finley Thomas, author of “The Paris We Remember”; Dr. H. Emile Enthoven, Dutch composer who gave a concert in Southampton last summer; Liu Liang-Mo, young Chinese organizer of mass singing; and Nadine Bandler, creator of the radio program “Women Can Take It,” were others introduced.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
February 4, 1943
Actress to Address Monday Club
Princess Li Ling At, attractive young actress, will be the guest speaker at the meeting of the Monday Afternoon Club Feb. 8, replacing the scheduled speaker, Mai-Mai Sze, who will be unable to appear. Miss Li Ling Ai, co-producer and technical adviser for the film, “Kukan,” is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Li-Kai Fey, the latter one of China’s first women medical graduates. The niece of Samuel S. Yung, a Chinese ambassador to Brazil, she was born in Honolulu, was educated in China, Hawaii University and later attended Columbia. On her return to China, she founded the Chinese Academy of Arts in Peking, taught dancing, and became much sought after as a stage director and a lecturer on Chinese art.

Since her work on “Kukan,” Li Ling Ai has worked with Chinese relief societies and was program director of the Chinese Pavilion at the World’s Fair. Her appearance here is sponsored by the Department of Travel and Nature Study, of which Mrs. Henry D. Watson is chairman, assisted by Mrs. Raymond L. Grant, Mrs. Lee Brodie and Mrs. John Wilde.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
February 9, 1943
Chinese Actress Sees New Culture in U. S. and China After War
“China is entering a new phase—a great phase—of Chinese life due to the impact of western institutions,” said Li Ling Ai, attractive young actress, who spoke to members of the Monday Afternoon Club yesterday on “Chinese Family Life.” “After this war there will arise a new culture both in America and in China,” continued Miss Li, who prefers to be known as a producer, having been co-producer and technical adviser of the film “Kukan.”

The speaker, in native costume, explained why she is known as Miss Li, although her full name is Li Ling Ai. In China one is known by the family name, which in her case, is Li, she said.

Common Bond

“If for no other reason, there is a bond between Chinese women and American women because of our shoes,“ said the speaker. Miss Li interspersed her talk with many Chinese stories, “because,” she said, “the Chinese love stories. We are very odd, we Chinese.” This last remark was made several times throughout the talk, always to the great delight of her audience.

The speaker, who is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Li-Kai Fey, the latter one of China’s first women medical graduates, went on to say that in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization 5,000 years ago, there have been four great phases. In the phases, known as the strong phases, arts and culture flourished and the families were strong, but when the family grew weak, then came a period of decadence. “The last 30 years have been years of transition in Chinese family life. The basis of all family life in China is spiritualism and spiritualism has been taught by our great philosophers, the strongest and greatest of these being Lao-tzu, the founder of all family life.

Chinese Philosophy

“The Chinese philosophy has been called a lazy philosophy,” Miss Li continued, “because our philosophers, Lao-tzu in particular, have taught man to reach truth by himself. Lao-tzu, who tried to seek the knowledge of truth found that each individual will arrive at truth by himself and by the degree to which he is capable. Man, who may create wars and fears, is only an atom and fates are decreed by the heavens, earth and waters.”

Confucius, who greatly influenced Chinese family life, taught the people the need of a new morality after years of family decadence, the speaker said. Family relations, that of the child to the parent, the parent to the child, the husband to the wife and the wife to the husband and finally, the friend to a friend, “are all based on the human heart.” This is brought out in the fact that, as the speaker said, “a child’s duty to his parents is one of filial piety, showing respect, dignity and even sacrifice. A patent guides the mind and spirit of a child even if it means great sacrifice also. Confucius has shown a practical side to his nature in his role on the deference shown by husband to wife. A husband should always drop his eyes on entering Ws wife’s room. And the role of wife toward husband is one of extreme virtue.” Miss Li illustrated each of these points with a beautifully told Chinese story.

Sense of Delicacy

“The Chinese have a sense of delicacy and will not offend that sense in any way. Family and friends are treated with the faith and loyalty that is the basis of family life. Consideration is at all times due.”

Miss Li concluded with the statement, “beneath the symbolism and conventions of Chinese life lay the same ideals and principals no more unreal than your Ibsen and no more quaint than your Shakespeare.”

Miss Li, at the end of her talk, sang the “Song of the Tartar Princess and Her Husband” in her native tongue. The song, which summed up the whole attitude of the people regarding their understanding love which comes in sorrow, reminiscence and sacrifice, was sung without accompaniment and with only the graceful arm movement of the Chinese dancer.

Nassau Daily Review
(Freeport, New York)
February 18, 1943
Features on the Air
9:45–WMCA—Voice of Freedom: Miss Li Ling-ai, Guest

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
April 1, 1943
A Woman’s New York
By Alice Hughes
New York, March 31—The other night it came up time to hurl my sister Francie a small birthday party, and as usual the guest list behaved like the traditional snowball. So at last fifteen of us sat down to egg rolls, sweet and sour spareribs and Cantonese chow mein at Lum Fong’s old eating house down on Canal Street, and it was a real, all-wool international party to delight the hearts of Roosevelt and Churchill.

Russia, old style, was represented by Capt. Serge Tscherbin, Ordnance Department, U. S. A., who some years back was chosen the handsomest man on the local Columbia campus. One of my first newspaper assignments was to interview this big blond critter. Whenever he comes back from an engineering job in far places, Ecuador or China, he always phones me to say hello. Belle of the ball undoubtedly was a pretty Chinese woman named Li Ling Ai, in a lovely black velvet Chinese dress, split at the hem, and wearing flowers in her black hair. She lectures, she designs Chinese jewelry, and has one of those rare laughs that are literally musical. She speaks beautifully and well, and ofter took command of the table. Chinese girls, these days, are pretty much the queens of our town. Li Ling Ai rates.

At her left was a handsome, silent Chinese named Mr. Yuan, Serge’s guest. He looked about 30. Later Li told me he was at least 45, which I didn’t believe. She insisted that she knew, and offered to bet a large gob on it. The truth is that it is almost impossible to guess an Oriental’s age until they get the face lines of senility. I have no notion of Li Ling Ai’s age. She could be 28 or 40. I wouldn’t know. Later, at the apartment of Joe and Mary Cookman, we had a mad international musicale—Bill Hayward, music teacher at the Juillard [sic] School, making with Russian songs, and everybody going at Gilbert and Sullivan in League of Nations accents. A good tip for these days—try to give your parties a United Nations slant, and if you can dig up a pretty, smart Chinese girl, you will have a wow on your hands. Especially with the men, if you can take it.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
April 8, 1943
A Woman’s New York
By Alice Hughes
…When the impromptu entertainment began, our Chinese doll, Li Ling Ai, sang an excerpt from a Chinese operetta and then a love song—through which she wove bitt of the popular oldie, Embraceable You, in English…

The New York Times
April 13, 1943
Music Notes
Miss Li Ling Ai, Chinese singer and diseuse, and the Chinese People’s Chorus will give a concert at the merchant seaman’s Music Box Canteen this evening.

May 1943
Charles S. Pearson
Li Ling Ai

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
June 30, 1943
A Woman’s New York
By Alice Hughes
New York, June 29—We have always been very conscious of the beauty and charm of the Chinese girls we have known around town, but since we became China’s war ally, and have been host to the greatest international glamor girl, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the interest to and rage for the Oriental beauties has practically busted the top out of the thermometer.

Before the war I used to meet the actress, Anna May Wong, when she was in town, and once in awhile I was happy to be in the company of the lovely Mai-Mai Tze [sic] daughter of the former Chinese Ambassador. Recently we have seen a good deal of the pretty and talented Li Ling Ai, who will lecture for you on China, or do you some Chinese singing and acting, or design you some Chinese jewelry. One of the most noted New York bachelors gravitated for years between only two types of girls—wispy Nordic blondes and lithe dark Orientals. Variety was the sugar and spice of the old boy’s life. And still is, in fact.

It was Madame Chiang’s first public appearance at Madison Square Garden that really shot up the Chinese temperature. I'll never forget the emotion of that night, as the frail and beautifully dressed woman made her entrance—the beat of that ever made by a stage star, for buildup. From that night to this moment we have been China-mad, and a good idea, too. During the past week Mme. Chiang has reappeared around town, reviewing 2,500 Waves, Spars and Lady Marines on the Hunter College campus, visiting war plants and greeting Camp Fire girls. Again the Missimo is outscoring in photographs all the Hollywood sweater girls combined, including Betty Grable’s legs.

Several of my best newspaper girl friends were assigned to Mme. Chiang during her recent western tour, so I have heard plenty of closeup backstage stories. In any event, no more colorful woman ever fronted for a nation fighting for its life. China is lucky—and so are we, as her mission has allowed us to meet and like many more Chinese women.

Syracuse Herald-American
(New York)
September 5, 1943
Bob Ripley Stops in Syracuse on Way to Give Programs at Seneca Depot and Sampson

“Believe It or Not,” here is Robert L. “Bob” Ripley in Syracuse on his way to give entertainments at the Seneca Ordnance Depot in Romulus and at the Sampson Naval Training Base. He is second from the right. Others in the picture are: left to right, Capt. Eugene B. Sanger, adjutant at the Seneca Depot; Miss Sally Rowe, blues singer; Miss Li Ling Ai, Chinese actress, producer and lecturer, and Lt. (jg) William T. Harter, of New Orleans, public relations officer at Sampson.

Cartoonist Passes Spare Time Entertaining Men in Service
Robert L. Ripley, creator of the “Believe It or Not” feature which appears daily in the Herald-Journal, arrived in Syracuse at 11 A.M. yesterday to pass the weekend as “guest of the Army and Navy.”

With him came Miss Li Ling Ai, Chinese patriot, lecturer, actress and motion picture producer, and Miss Sally Rowe, blues singer. Last night they gave an entertainment at the Seneca Ordnance Depot in Romulus. Today they are to give a similar entertainment at Sampson.

…Miss Li is an internationally known authority on the ancient Chinese drama, as well as Chinese life and ideals. She was born in in Honolulu, where both her parents were practicing physicians, and was educated at the University of Hawaii, in old Peking and in Vienna.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
September 9, 1943
A Woman’s New York
By Alice Hughes
New York, Sept. 8—Our town’s little group of outstanding Chinese girls are a remarkable lot, both for their charm and good looks and their really amazing versatility. The oriental dolls who have made their marks in our midst haven’t just learned a trade and stuck to it—most of them can do several things better than just well. And of course when they merely sit quietly, they are delightful ornaments, a good trick, too.

Our friend Li Ling Ai is a case in point. When she isn’t roaming the country lecturing, she keeps busy creating Chinese jewelry and working hard for the cause of Free China. When with a group of friends in the evening, she will, if properly approached, do a knock-out of a hula—an art which she learned in her native Hawaii. Oddly enough, another of our best-known Chinese girls, Mai Mai Sze is gifted in almost exactly a parallel line. This lovely little bit with the black bangs is chiefly devoted to painting, but she also lectures, and seven years ago she fascinated us all when she appeared on Broadway in Lady Precious Stream.

Mai Mai is really citizen of the world, as her father, Dr. Sze, has been ambassador both to Washington and London. It was while in school in England that she adopted the name Mai Mai, a pet handle meaning “little sister,” because her classmates had trouble with her real name, Yuen Tsung. After they came to this country the girl was graduated from Wellesley and has since adorned our town. Just now she’s chiefly interested in the promotion of genuine understanding between our two peoples.

“Each wants to understand the other,” she says, “but have had little real chance. Too many Americans seem to think that the farmers in The Good Earth are typical—just as Chinese may think that William Faulkner’s farmers are typical of all agriculturalists in the American South.”

I know no more charming company than girls like Mai Mai and Li. As for our menfolks—well, you can imagine the way they arch their necks and flare their nostrils!

The New York Times
September 27, 1943
Eisenhower Lauds War Bond Support

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
December 31, 1943
A Woman’s New York
By Alice Hughes
New York, Dec. 30—…We have lots of pretty girls. There’s the beautiful Stella Adler of the stage, for instance. The lovely Chinese designer, Li Ling Ai, is totally surrounded by gents, as
usual, and so is her younger sister, a social worker recently arrived from their native Hawaii….

Henderson Daily Dispatch
(North Carolina)
January 22, 1944
News of the Churches
Institute of Religion Opens in Raleigh on Monday
…Speakers this year include: …Li Ling Ai…

The Rotunda
(Farmville, Virginia)
April 5, 1944
BET, PGM invite Chinese Dramatist
Li Ling-Ai Speaks Friday, April 21

The Rotunda
(Farmville, Virginia)
April 19, 1944 
Chinese Dramatist to Speak Under BET, PGM Auspices

The Northern Light
(Plattsburgh, New York)
May 15, 1944
Li Ling Ai Will Speak May 18
Li Ling-Ai (Lee Ling Eye, meaning Spiritual Love), appearing in assembly on May 18 at 10:00 a.m., is young and dynamic, the exact opposite of the impression most Americans have of Chinese womanhood. “The road to the compound may be safe and secure,” says she, “but that belongs to the old order. Give me the new, with the open wind in my face, the chance to play the long shot!”


One of the few Chinese students who have made a thorough study of the arts of China and America, Miss Li can modify Chinese musical and dramatic art to make it pleasing to western ears without its entirely losing its Chinese quality. This versatile daughter of China is an unusually effective speaker, and her diction is notably fine. She is personable, magnetic and photogenic, gifted with a fascinating sense of humor. It has been said that her English is better than that of nineteen out of twenty doctors of science.

Active in Theatre

Miss Li is active in the theatre as director-producer, and writes many articles for newspapers and magazines. She has been featured in Vogue and in Harper’s Bazaar, and is a designer of costume jewelry. She has learned to fly a plane and was the only Oriental passenger on the first flight of the China Clipper to Honolulu. “Flying takes one above the humdrum things of life.” she explains; “one gets to think with the sweep and scope of flying.” She speaks half a dozen languages and is still proud of being a native of Honolulu. The last baby panda to reach America was placed in the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and was named Princess Li Ling Ai.


Li Ling-Ai has made over 100 radio broadcasts in aid of China and the Allied cause and has contributed to the USO on Believe-It-Or-Not Rc»bert Ripley’s programs; has directed many Bowl of Rice parties and is a constant worker for China Relief. She formed what was really the first Chinese chorus in America, composed entirely of Chinese girls doing authentic Chinese dances, when she assisted with a Bowl of Rice reviews in New York and Boston. Their costumes were the real thing, borrowed from private collections, including that sent to America by Mme. Sun Yat-sen, with heavy embroidery of gold and silver threads, jewels and gorgeous headdresses. Vernon Duke orchestrated real Chinese music, the first this was ever done.

Plattsburgh Press Republican
(New York)
May 17, 1944
p5 c4: Li Ling Ai at PSTC on May 18
Noted Chinese Feminist Will Present Program; Public Is Invited
Li Ling Ai, noted Chinese feminist, will appear in the P.S.T.C. auditorium on Thursday. May 18, at 10 a. m. She will present a program entitled “Behind the Embroidered Fan” which includes much color, songs and an understanding of the heartbeats of the Chinese people. The public is cordially Invited to attend.

Miss Li is a young dramatist who combines a modern sense of the theater with a profound knowledge of the Chinese classics. She is a ntaive [sic] of Honolulu, and was educated 1n American schools there.

Li Ling Ai is the only Chinese woman producer in the theatrical world, an actress, dancer, lecturer, writer, designer and aviatrix. She helped plan, produce, and finance the Chinese natural-color documentary, “Kukan,” which received the Hollywood Academy Award of 1941. She has given more than one hundred broadcast* for China and the Allied cause; has been featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar; was program director of the Chinese Pavillion [sic] at the New York World’s Fair; contributed to the U. S. O. on “Believe It Or Not,” Robert Ripley’s program and is a member of the Chinese Participation Committee of United China Relief.

Plattsburgh Press Republican
(New York)
May 18, 1944
p3 c3: Entertains Here
Li Ling Ai. noted Chinese actress, who appeared this morning at Pittsburgh State Teachers College in her delightful program, “Behind the Embroidereded [sic] Pan.”

Plattsburgh Press Republican
(New York)
May 18, 1944
China, an Heroic Nation
The city of Plattsburgh and our State Teachers’ College in particular have been hosts today to the internationally famous Honolulu-born Chinese woman of the theatre, Li Ling Ai, at a time when the land of her ancestors is occupying a vital role in the chain of military events that have shaken the world. For more than seven years China has been overrun by Japanese armies, her cities bombed from the air, her ports shelled from the sea and hundreds of thousands of her people have been killed. Many more thousands have died from exposure, starvation, and disease.

For the most part the land of Li Ling Ai’s ancestors has fought alone. It has stood up against awful odds despite the fact that we are told that there are limits to the agony men and women can endure. The closing of the Burma Road has seriously depleted Chinese medical supplies and major operations are still being performed on the wounded without anesthetics.

Recently China sent an SOS to her occidental allies. Both decency and common sense dictate that the United Nations and the United States in particular give China what she asks—bombers and pursuit planes. She isn’t asking for men—she has millions of brave, hardy, experienced, moderately well-equipped at long last, eager to push the hated Japs into the China Sea. In sheer good fellowship, based upon gratitude for what China has done and is doing for us, we never can hold up our heads in International society if we will not or can not get bombers and fighters to China now, when her very life depends upon them.

China has one very big claim to help specifically from America —in resisting Japan, she is resisting and helping to exhaust a warmaking totalitarian state that forced the United States actively into the war.

The Chinese have been beaten, steadily and repeatedly they have been beaten, yet they have not been conquered. In one of the most heroic migrations in all history, they simply withdrew westward, to lay the foundations of a new China. Building from the bottom, a new nation HAS been created almost literally which to this day fights on—unconquered.

LI Ling Ai is, we know, proud of the land of her birth. She is proud of the part it has taken in the war against a cruel, ruthless aggressor. It was, we believe, an excellent gesture on her part to include Plattsburgh State Teachers College in the list of places she visits carrying with her the art that is China.

The Northern Light
(Plattsburgh, New York)
June 2, 1944
Noted Writer, Chinese Authoress Assembly Speakers
Li Ling Ai Speaks

Li Ling Ai, noted Chinese [illegible] was the guest at our assembly on May [illegible].

She presented a program entitled “Behind the Embroidered Fan” which included color, songs and understanding of the Chinese people.

Miss Li is a native of Honolulu and was educated in American schools there. She is the only Chinese woman producer in the theatrical world, an actress, dancer, lecturer, writer, designer and aviatrix.

Li Ling Ai held the interest of the audience with her charming personality and with the amusing way she compared the American and the Chinese.

Philadelphia Inquirer
Everybody’s Weekly
August 27, 1944
Remedy for an Atmosphere of Awe
Metropolitan Museum of Art
And Marilyn holds firmly with The Little Flower to the theory that what art needs for greater popularity is more living beauty. “Why, the Metropolitan Museum would be as crowded as the Stork Club if they’d follow my improvement on His Honor’s hunch,” she says. “That would be not only girl guards and guides in snappy uniforms all over the place, but girls native to various countries in costume in the, nationality exhibit.

“It would mean so much in an educational way. Just think of putting a vivid beauty like Maya Grecia in the Greek Room or Li Ling Ai, herself a jewelry designer, in charge of the Chinese jewelry, and dress designer Helen Chang demonstrating Chinese costumes.

Manhasset Mail
(New York)
October 5, 1944
p9 c2: Plandome Club Has Anniversary
Programs for the year: …Dec. 6—The Chinese Theatre and Literature, Li Ling Ai…

Manhasset Mail
(New York)
November 23, 1944
The Plandome Woman’s Club will have the distinguished Chinese, Madame Li Ling Ai speak on “The Chinese Theatre and Literature,” at their meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 6….

Manhasset Mail
(New York)
November 30, 1944
Chinese Lecturer Due in Plandome
Li Ling Ai, celebrated authority on the Chinese Theatre, will speak at the Plandome Woman’s Club on Dec. 6 on the Chinese Theatre and Literature.

Miss Li is active as a director-producer and has translated and produced many ancient plays. She is also an accomplished dancer, lecturer. writer, designer, aviatrix.

She has broadcast for China and the Allied cause; has been featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, was program, director at the New York World’s Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, contributed to USO on Robert Ripley’s program, and is a member of the Chinese Participation Committee on United China Relief.

Her subject will be “The Chinese Theatre and Literature.”

Manhasset Mail
(New York)
December 7, 1944
The Plandomes
The Plandome Woman’s Club held its President’s Day on Wednesday at the Village Hall, with the presiding. Li Ling Ai,celebrated Chinese feminist spoke.

St. Lawrence Plaindealer
(New York)
December 12, 1944
Interesting Entertainments Are Coming to University
Li Ling Ai, noted Chinese actress and co-producer of the documentary film, “Kukan”, w:ll lecture on “China Tomorrow” in the Gunnison Memorial Chapel at 7:30 pm, on April 27.

Endicott Daily Bulletin
(New York)
March 12, 1945
Enters New Field
Only Chinese woman theatrical producer in the world, Honolulu-born Li Ling-ai has demonstrated her versatility again. Despite a regular routine that includes broadcasts, lectures, and the direction of affairs connected with China Relief and the Allied cause, she found time to write and have published a book for youngsters, “Children of the sun in Hawaii.” She is known for her work as co-producer of “Kukan,” a documentary film of China which received a Hollywood Academy award.

Rye Chronicle
(New York)
April 20, 1945
Monologues Feature Rye Club Meeting
…The guest artist at the final meeting of the season will be Li Ling Ai, Chinese actress and writer.

Hill News
(Canton, New York)
April 24, 1945
Chinese Feminist to Speak Friday

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
April 28, 1945
Snappy Dress Looks Best on Trim Figure
Not all the health or physical efficiency advice in the world will bring on the will to reduce as will a too-tight dress….

…Too bad we haven’t that will to discipline which a famous Chinese woman tells us is the secret of country women’s usual slender figures.

Li Ling-Ai, writer and lecturer, tells us that it is sheer pride of dress line that furnishes them the will to resist. Perhaps that might be a tip-off for designers who heretofore may have been encouraging obesity with out-sized garments, for the Chinese costume line is a lovely thing.

As we have many, many more overweight women here than in China, there must be a reason, and, as hinted above, a dress can do it where other arguments fail.

Hill News
(Canton, New York)
May 2, 1945
Li Ling Ai, Woman of Many Talents, Is One of SLU’s Most Charming Visitors

Miss Li Relates Plan, Culture, Life of China

Radio Roundup
Last Saturday, the Radio Workshop had the privilege of interviewing Miss Li Ling Ai, the only Chinese woman producer in the theatre world. Miss Li visited the campus Friday and Saturday of last week, lecturing to the students on the philosophy of the Chinese people. In a fifteen minute interview by Pat McLoughlin, Miss Li told how the helped plan, produce, and finance the making of the Chinese documentary “Kukan,” the film which received the Hollywood Academy Award of 1941. She stressed the importance of working for something you believe in, no matter how long it takes, because in the end you will receive the satisfaction of having contributed something to human ideals in life. It was a pleasure to have her at the Workshop and her visit was enjoyed by all of us.

Rye Chronicle
(New York)
May 11, 1945
Installing Officers at Final Meeting of Woman’s Club
The installation of officers of the Woman’s Club of Rye will take place at the annual Spring tea on Wednesday, May 16, in Christ’s Church Parish House at 3 p. m. This will be the final club meeting of the season.

Li Ling-Ai, Chinese actress, writer and movie producer will speak on “Behind the Embroidered Fan.” She is a
native of Honolulu, the daughter of prominent Chinese physicians and scholars of distinction.

Li Ling-Ai is the only Chinese woman producer in the theatre world, an actress, dancer, lecturer, writer, designer and aviatrix. She has given over one hundred broadcasts for China and the Allied cause, and is highly-
rated by New York audiences.

Rye Chronicle
(New York)
May 18, 1945
Rye Woman’s Club Concludes Season
A full program concluded the season for the Woman’s Club of Rye at its final meeting on Wednesday afternoon at Christ’s Church Parish House. Summing up the business and activities of the club during the past season, reports were heard at the opening of the meeting, followed by a charming representative of China as the speaker of the afternoon, and closing with a tea and reception.

Li Ling-Ai, Chinese actress, writer and speaker, gave an interesting talk on the subject, “Behind the Embroidered Fan.” She discussed the simple way of life in China, explaining some of the old Chinese legends and philosophies.

Binghamton Press
(New York)
September 17, 1946
Monday Afternoon Club Outlines Its 1946–47 Calendar

Christmas Reception Is Planned
A Christmas reception will be the December feature. The new year opens with Virginia Drew, newspaper columnist and handwriting analyst, who will speak on “As You Write, So You Are.” Miss Li Ling Ai will compare Chinese and Western theatres in her talk “Behind the Embroidered Fan.”…

Geneva Daily Times
(New York)
October 31, 1946
Getting Material—Miss Li Ling-ai, Chinese woman lecturer, writer and film producer in America, poses with a bronze Bhudda at the entrance of the Mandarin Club in Shanghai. Miss Li Ling-ai will lecture throughout the U. S. this winter.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
November 24, 1946
Noted Actress to Give Talk Before AAUW
Woman Producer, Writer, Guest of Group
Li Ling-Ai, noted Chinese actress and patriot, will talk on Reflections in a Chinese Mirror at the annual Christmas party for the general, evening and recent graduates’ groups of the American Association of University Women, Buffalo Branch, Inc., on Tuesday evening, December 3d, in West-Chester Hall of the Buffalo Seminary.

Miss Ling-Ai is a dramatist who combines a modern sense of the theater with a profound knowledge of the Chinese classics. A native of Honolulu, she was educated in American schools there. Her parents are prominent Chinese physicians and scholars and there are 31 physicians in her family. In 1929, she was assigned to teach in the Fine Arts Institute of Peking.

Miss Ling-Ai is the only Chinese woman producer in the theater world, an actress, lecturer, writer, designer and aviatrix. In collaboration with Rey Scott, she helped plan and produce the Chinese natural-color documentary, Kukan, which received the Hollywood Academy Award in 1941. She was program director of the Chinese pavilion at the New York World’s Fair and is a member of the Chinese Participation Committee of United China Relief.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
December 2, 1946
Miss Li Ling Ai, recently returned from China, will address the Kiwanis Club of Buffalo at noon Wednesday at Hotel Statler.

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
December 4, 1946
China Is Compared to U.S. in Early Days
China is undergoing a transitional period similar to that in the United States during the American revolution, Miss Li Ling Ai, writer and actress who returned from Shanghai two days ago, told members of the Kiwanis Club at a luncheon in Hotel Statler today.

“So far there has been no major Civil War, only armed skirmishes,” Miss Li said.

There is an air of expectation which leads in turn to speculation in China, Miss Li told her audience. She said that inflation has reached terrific proportions.

“It costs three times as much to live in Shanghai as it does in New York,” the speaker declared. “The average salary of an educated worker in Shanghai is 300,000 to 500,000 Chinese dollars a month. But an overcoat costs a million dollars and a pair of shows costs between 100,000 and 150,000 Chinese dollars.”

Binghamton Press
(New York)
January 10, 1947
Chinese Actress to Entertain Monday Club
Miss Li Ling Ai, Chinese actress, dancer, lecturer, writers, designer and aviatrix, will be brought to the Monday Afternoon Club for its meeting Monday at 2:30 p.m.

She will appear under the sponsorship of the club’s Department of Literature and Drama, which is headed by Mrs. Frederick V. Branch. Other members of the department are Miss Grace Shapley, Mrs. Roland B. Andrews and Mrs. Raymond J. Meaker.

Title of the program will be “Behind the Embroidered Fan.” Miss Li, who was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, of Chinese parents, will compare the Chinese and Western theatre, and demonstrate with songs and dances.

The only Chinese woman producer in the world of the theatre. Miss Li was educated at Punahoe Academy, a school founded by New England missionaries, and at the University of Hawaii.

In 1929, she went to Peking, where she did research work in ancient Chinese drama, and taught in the Fine Arts Institute of Peking.

Later, while visiting her home in Honolulu, Miss Li met Rey Scott, newspaperman, whom she sold the idea of producing a color film that would portray the real China. The result was the motion picture, “Kunan [sic],” of which she was co-producer and technical adviser. The picture) received the Hollywood Academy Award of 1941 as the best documentary of the year.

Miss Li has given more than 100 broadcasts for China and the Allied cause. A member of the Chinese Participation Committee of United China Relief, she was program director of the Chinese Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair.

A tea will follow the meeting. Mrs. Joseph LaDuska will be in charge of serving, assisted by Mrs. G. Elwood-Tiffany, Mrs. Walter P. Thomson, Mrs. Herbert H. Ray, Mrs. James E. Minehan, Mrs. William R. Stempies, Mrs. Benjamin F. Caton and Mrs. Frank E. Thomas.

Binghamton Press
(New York)
January 14, 1947
China Wants Trade Not Pity From U. S.,
Monday Club Told
Recently returned from a trip to China, Miss Li Ling Ai, Hawaiian-born Chinese actress, dancer and writer, presented glimpses of China today to members of the Monday Afternoon Club at their meeting yesterday, afternoon.

Although the title of her program was to have been “Behind the Embroidered Fan,” in which she compares the Chinese and Western theatres, the speaker asked the indulgence of her audience to speak on the subject in which she has a vital interest.

The speaker stressed that “China does not want to be pitied,” but asks cooperation in trade lines.

Miss Li also described her experiences during the trip from Hawaii to China on a tanker.

At the conclusion of her program, Miss Li sang two songs in Chinese, along with a demonstration of a Chinese dance.

Oriental Tea Party

The speaker appeared under the sponsorship of the Department of Literature and Drama, headed by Mrs. Frederick V. Branch. Included in the department are Mrs. Roland B. Andrews, Miss Grace Shapley and Mrs. Raymond J. Meaker.

An Oriental theme was used in the table decorations for the tea held after the program.

Centering the table was a large brass bowl filled with iris and held by a teakwood stand. Dark green lighted tapers were used to match the green foliage.

Times Union
(Albany Times, New York)
August 12, 1947
And quite a kidder is Miss Li Ling Ai. What a line she has! Donning her sumptuous Mandarin coat and the Chinese equivalent to a Lily Dache chapeau, she turned to the free riders on the tiny vessel, as it approached the sea wall and cautioned: “No cracks now. Don’t smile, but act dignified. Remember, I don’t speak a word of English!” And then went into some Chinese mumbo-jumbo in the way of greetings to the thousands standing on the quay.

Greene County Examiner-Recorder
(Catskill, New York)
August 14, 1947
Civill avenue.
Robert L. “Believe It or Not” Ripley’s Chinese junk, the Mon Lei, which was enroute up the Hudson River to Albany, docked here on Thursday afternoon of last week and remained overnight until Friday morning. As soon as the news spread about regarding the arrival of the junk, which is the only one sailing anywhere outside of the Far East, large crowds assembled to view the strange craft. The “Mon Lei” is a “Foochow Fisher” type of Junk—such as used on the Foochow River. It is flat-bottomed and has no keel. Its bow does not split the water—it slides over it. The Mon Lei is 50 feet long with a 17 foot beam and draws 4 1/2 feet of water. It is built of teakwood throughout. It is painted in the original colors of all Foochow Fishing boats. A number received Mr. Ripley’s autograph during the afternoon. In the evening the Coeymans Fire Department drum and bugle corps serenaded him. Mr. Ripley greeted them from the deck of the junk, and later presented to the drum corps a water color picture of the “Mon Lei,” suitable for framing. Upon it was written “To the Coeymans Fire Dept. Band. Smooth Sailing Always. Ripley Believe It or Not.” Underneath the picture of the boat was written “Ho Sai Kai from the Mon Lei Aug. 8, 1947.” Mr. Ripley, his Secretary and two Chinese ladies, Miss Fung Chang and Miss Li Ling Ai, went to Frangella’s Hotel for supper. The junk presented a pretty sight in the evening with its many Chinese lanterns, lighted by electric bulbs.

Philadelphia Inquirer
February 29, 1948
Notes of Women’s Club Activities
An explanation of the symbolism and conventions of the Chinese theater will form the theme of a talk to be given by Li Ling Ai, lecturer, writer and actress, who will appear at the reciprocity luncheon of the Hathaway Shakespeare Club, on Friday. March 12, at the Bellevue-Stratford. Mrs. Bernard L. Herman, president, will preside at a program which is always a gay and festive affair. A number of presidents of other clubs, as well as additional distinguished clubwomen, will be invited.

Schenectady Gazette
(New York)
September 29, 1948
Monday Meeting at Clubhouse to Open Fall and Winter Schedule
Woman’s club of Schenectady
The year’s program for additional general club meetings follows:
Feb. 7, 1949, 1:30 p.m. at the clubhouse, speaker, Li Ling Ai, on “China Tomorrow”

Times Union
(Albany Times, New York)
October 9, 1948
Schenectady Club Planning Program
The Woman’s club of Schenectady will enter its 49th year with the opening of fall meeting tomorrow at the clubhouse, 96 Washington avenue. Mrs. Guy M. Jones, president, will direct the session.

The year’s program for additional general club meetings follows: …Feb. 7, 1949. 1:80 p. m. at the clubhouse, speaker, Li Ling Ai, on “China Tomorrow”…

Cazenovia Republican
(New York)
November 11, 1948
52 New Books Added to Public Library
…Children of the Sun in Hawaii, Li Ling-Ai…

Schenectady Gazette
(New York)
February 7, 1949
p c1: Li Ling Ai Is Guest Artist for Monday’s Woman’s Club
Li Ling Ai, lecturer, writer end actress, will be on the program of the Woman’s club of Schenectady for the meeting Monday at 1:30 p.m. at the clubhouse.

Miss Li, who spent five months in China in 1945 and was also there during the spring and summer of 1948, will speak on “China of Tomorrow,” depicting a new country arising from bombed cities and destroyed homes.

Miss Li was born in Honolulu and was educated at Punahoe Academy, a school founded by New England missionaries, and at the University of Hawaii. She later taught in the Fine Arts Institute of Peking.

Mrs. Guy M. Jones, president, will conduct Monday’s, meeting. The soloist will be Mrs. F. A. Hamilton, soprano.

Schenectady Gazette
(New York)
February 8, 1949Members of Woman’s Club Hear Li-Ling Ai on ’China Tomorrow’
“The Chinese always have a touch of humor, or the human touch, in the midst of chaos and tragedy, said Miss Li Ling Ai, well known Chinese lecturer, writer and actress who spoke yesterday afternoon to members of the Schenectady Woman’s club.

In discussing her topic, “China of Tomorrow,” Miss Li presented much of the philosophy of the people and their work in the past years.

Word Pictures Given

Miss Li spoke about the discoveries of the Chinese people such as gun powder and paper which are still in use today. She also spoke of the Chinese people’s admiration of the American form of democracy.

“The right of a man to eat his rice when he wishes, where he wishes and how he wishes” is the Chinese equivalent of the American idea of democracy, she said.

Vivid word pictures of the starvation and suffering of the Chinese people were presented by Miss Li. She also spoke of traveling through the Philippines and seeing 300 and 400 year old structures in shambles.

Miss Li, who wore a colorful Chinese silk costume, spent five months in China during 1945 and the spring and summer season of 1948.

She was born in Hololulu [sic] and was educated at Punahoe Academy, a school founded by New England missionaries, and at the University of Hawaii. She also taught at the Fine Arts Institute of Peking.

Times Record
(Troy, New York)
May 5, 1949
Chinese Feminist To Speak At Club Luncheon
The noted Chinese feminist, Miss Li Ling-Ai will be the guest speaker at the annual luncheon meeting of the Troy Woman’s Club, inc., to be held Wednesday at 1 p. m. at the Troy Country Club. She will take as her subject, “Behind the Embroidered Fan.”

Born in Honolulu, the daughter of Chinese physicians and scholars of distinction, she was educated at Punahoe Academy, and the University of Hawaii. Li Ling-Ai became an amateur actress and producer while in school and did research work in ancient Chinese drama, She also taught in the Fine Arts Institute in Peking.

The speaker is considered one of the most versatile daughters of China and is the only Chinese woman producer in the world of the theater, an actress, dancer, lecturer, writer, designer and aviatrix. She is a human dynamo of energy and the possessor of that rare personality which results from a balanced combination of the Oriental and the Occidental, Eastern and Western, civilizations and backgrounds. Li Ling-Ai has been on an extensive trip to China, covering almost five months, where she has had unusual opportunities to visit several key cities and observe the political and social scene….

Related Posts
Li Ling Ai in Censuses, Passenger Lists, Immigration Files, and City Directories
Li Ling Ai’s Life Is for a Long Time
Li Ling-Ai’s Children of the Sun in Hawaii
Li Ling Ai, 1935–1939
Li Ling Ai, 1950s–1970s

(Next post: Li Ling Ai, 1950s–1970s)

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