Friday, September 12, 2014

Mai-mai Sze

born December 2, 1909, Tientsin, China
died July 16, 1992, New York, New York
(Dates are from the Social Security Death Index.
Birthplace was recorded on passenger lists and
published in newspapers.)

Maimai Sze, 12; Dedie Sze, 10
Sailed aboard S. S. Mauretania
Departed Southampton England, August 5, 1922
Arrived New York City, August 11, 1922
Destination, Washington, D.C.
The family had diplomatic status so the 
Chinese Exclusion Act did not apply to them.

August 12, 1922 

The Evening Star
(Washington, DC)
August 12, 1922

Yonkers Statesman and News
(New York)
August 12, 1922 

Buffalo Evening News
(New York)
August 14, 1922

(District of Columbia)
August 14, 1922

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
August 14, 1922

Duluth Herald
August 18, 1922 

The Springfield Republican
August 20, 1922

Sze Ming Sze, 15; Maimai Sze, 13; Dedie Sze, 11
Sailed aboard S. S. President Harding
Departed Southampton England, August 2, 1923
Arrived New York City, August 10, 1923
Destination, Washington, D.C.

Maimai Sze, 20
Sailed aboard S. S. Rotterdam
Departed Southampton England, September 6, 1930
Arrived New York City, September 14, 1930
Destination, New York City

Maimai Sze, 24
Sailed aboard S. S. Washington
Departed Southampton England, December 30, 1933
Arrived New York City, January 7, 1934
Destination, Washington, D.C.

Maimie [sic] Sze, 26
Sailed aboard S. S. Manhattan
Departed Southampton England, December 15, 1935
Arrived New York City, December 22, 1935
Destination, Washington, D.C.

Portrait by Carl Van Vechten
December 29, 1935

The Playbill
“Lady Precious Stream”
February 3, 1936
Booth Theater, New York City
Mai-mai Sze / Honorable Reader

The Daily Sentinel
(Rome, New York)
January 29, 1936

Tampa Tribune
February 7, 1936

November 1936
“Modern Chinese Girl” photograph by Edward Jacobsen
This month’s cover is an actual color photograph of Miss Mai-mai Sze, who graciously consented to pose for Asia in modern Chinese costume. Miss Sze was born in Tientsin. Her early school years were spent in England. Further schooling in the United States followed, then three years of painting in London and France, and some writing. Since her return to the United States two years ago Miss Sze has continued to paint. She appeared on the New York stage this year in the American production of Lady Precious Stream. Miss Sze is the daughter of the Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

Buffalo Courier-Express
(New York)
November 8, 1936
Many are the forces in this mighty municipal crazy house which drive one loopy with distaste, boredom or even disgust. But in one respect at least it stands quite alone and that is in its bewildering variety of delightful victual. Today New York is unquestionably the capital of the world’s gourmets, and it is also a swell place for those who just like good grub.

Our international eating houses stretch from the Battery to beyond the Bronx, and there isn’t a national dish on earth that you can’t get if you know the address. The Armenian haunts of spitted lamb line a few blocks of Lexington Avenue, and Prance, England, Italy, China, Japan, Russia and Mexico are to be found all over town. By their specialties ye shall know them.

I’ve found that the finest way to meet up with national delicacies is to hook up with citizens of these countries and be led to the trough. In this way you are sure of getting the authentic best. For instance, lugubrious Bela Lugosi, the morose Dracula of stage and screen, introduced me to veritable chicken paprika and other toothsome Hungarian tricks. And though I don’t know a Hindu personally, I know the spot in the Forties which dispenses the finest curries this side Calcutta—with the usual chutney, please.

So it is with the viands of China. Down in Doyer and Pell and Mott streets, the tortuous alleys of Chinatown, you can hardly miss feeding well, but a few nights ago I was led thither by lovely little Mai-Mai Sze, with her British speech and her agile and humorous mind. Her real name is Sze Yuen Tsung, and she was the narrator in the Broadway production of Lady Precious Stream. She chattered Cantonese to the waiter in a Doyer street cellar, and he produced magic things stuffed with shrimp and chicken, topped off with a mountain of “Chlnee vegetable all mix up.” Ask for it, next time.

Little Mai-Mai is tee current first-night girl friend of Critic George Jean Nathan, and many local citizens are somewhat confused. Some take her for Anna May Wong, though the only resemblance is racial. There was a spot of drama at the opening of John Gielgud's Hamlet not Jong ago. George Jean brought Mai-Mai, and the Ophelia was Lillian Gish, who attended premieres with him, in her mousey little way, for years.

The delightful little Sze has a costume that is thrilling in its very simplicity—a long black dress, with long sleeves, over which she wears a tight-fitting, sleeveless vest of veritable leopard skin. And does she look cute! George Jean’s no fool!

New York Sun
November 6, 1937
Three Symposia Planned by Club
Chinese Art, Theater and Architecture Covered.
Miss Waller Freeman of New York and Richmond, Va., chairman of the lecture committee for the Decorators Club of New York, has arranged a series of symposia to be held at the Cosmopolitan Club on November 8, November 22 and December 6. The first of the series is to be on Chinese art, with Chih Meng, director of the China Institute in America, speaking on Chinese architecture; C. F. Yau, eminent Oriental collector and authority, speaking on Chinese art, and Miss Sophia Han, associate professor of music at the University of Peiping, lecturing on Chinese music. His Excellency, Ambassador C. T. Wang, is a sponsor of this program. Other sponsors are Mrs. Francis N. Brownell, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Polk Buell, Paul D. Cravath, Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Hilles, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Hobby, Mrs. Leonebel Jacobs, Miss Fania Marinoff, Mrs. R. Burnham Moffat, Mrs. William H. Moore, Mr. and Mrs. M. Parish-Watson, Alan Priest, Miss Pauline Simmons, Miss Mai-mai Sze, Carl Van Vechten, Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Wadsworth, Tsune-Chi Yu, Consul General, and Mr. and Mrs. Lin Yutang. Miss Ethel Lewis is chairman of the evening.

Cleveland Plain Dealer
November 9, 1937
A most interesting guest here over the week-end was Miss Mai-Mai Sze, daughter of the former Ambassador from China to the United States. Miss Sze came to visit Mr. and Mrs. William A. McAfee who met her last summer in Maine. A Wellesley graduate, she is now on a lecture tour of the country. Being also a talented artist, she expects to return to Cleveland sometime soon to fill some portrait commissions. The McAfees gave a cocktail party Sunday for Miss Sze and for Miss Kay Strozzi, an actress, who accompanied here here. They left yesterday for New York.

Schenectady Gazette
(New York)
November 12, 1937
Says China Has Even Chance to Quell Japanese
Indianapolis, Nov. 11 (INS).—Chances of China to defeat Japan in the undeclared war in the Orient are better than 50-50, according to Miss Mai-mai Sze, daughter of Dr. Alfred Sze, retired ambassador to the United States from China.

Miss Sze, who visited in Indianapolis said

“China has surprised herself and the rest of the world by holding out for so long already and large sections of my country can be laid waste without its affecting the nation as a whole. In Japan, such a condition would likely prove fatal.”

Miss Sze. who is familiar with American slang, termed as “bunk” Japanese statements that their best troops have not vet been sent to China.

“I think they have already sent over the flower of their army, and apparently it hasn’t done much good.” she asserted.

Sanctions invoked by other nations would help China materially but there is question as to the advisability of a Chinese boycott of Japanese goods as a weapon of war, according to Miss Sze.

“However, I do believe we are witnessing a marshaling of all the world against the Fascist states, but what it will come to I don’t pretend to know,” she said.

New York Sun
November 17, 1937

Well-known Chinese Women organize to Help War Sufferers of Their Homeland

All Money Raised Will Go to Victims at There Will Be No Overhead Expenses—Mme. Chiang Kai Shek Is the Honorary President.

By Jean Lyon.

Four of New York's best-known Chinese women have organized a new relief association, to raise money for the war sufferers in China. The four women are Mrs. C. H. Wang, wife of the manager of the Bank of China, and the sister-in-law of the Ambassador to Washington; Mrs. K. C. Li, wife of the head of the Wah Chang Trading Corporation; Mrs. Lin Yu Tang, wife of the author of “My Country and My People,” and Miss Mai-mai Sze, known to New Yorkers for her part in the Broadway play “Lady Precious Stream,” daughter of the former Chinese Ambassador to Washington, Dr. Alfred Sze.

This Chinese Women’s Relief Association is a model one because not one cent donated by any one outside the organization goes into overhead. Every penny raised is sent directly to Madame Chiang Kai-shek, the honorary president, who distributes it through her women's relief organization in China. The tiny desk space used for headquarters at 5 East Fifty-seventh street was donated. The work is done entirely by volunteers. And the few expenses are carried by the officers of the association. Just to show how well it works, they have, in one month, sent back $8,000 to China. “And we have just started.” Mrs. Wang, the president, explained.

Efficient and Charming.

Mrs. Wang is a dynamic person. She has all the charm of an accomplished hostess, combined with the quick decisiveness of a trained business woman. Borne of that crisp efficiency was probably developed when she was student secretary for the Y. W. C. A. in China and later when she was chairman of the Chinese Women’s Club of Shanghai, one of the largest and most influential clubs of its kind in China.

She is slim and handsome and always dressed in a long straight Chinese robe, she is a Wellesley graduate. One of her friends in college was Mei-ling Soong, who is now Madame Chiang Kai-shek. Wellesley women, class of 1919, will remember her as E-ling Tong.

Planning Benefits.

When The Sun representative called at the Fifty-seventh street headquarters Mrs. Wang was planning the two benefits which the association is holding soon. One is to ha a symposium at the Colony Club on November 23, to which guests must be invited. The other is to be a benefit dance and fashion show at the Park Lane on December 5, open to all. New York designers are preparing dresses with a Chinese influence especially for the occasion.

The first vice-president, Mrs. K. C. Li, has two stenographers working full time in her Glen Cove, L. I., home preparing the invitations for the symposium. Mrs. Li is an American-born Chinese who feels so much a part of both countries that she says she never can tell whether it’s her American point of view or her Chinese point of view which she is expressing at any given moment.

Many Interests.

Besides being the mistress of a large home. Mrs. Li paints flower pictures, wins prizes in flower arrangements, has raised a family of five, one of whom is already in college, and takes courses at Columbia University. “1 was married when I was 16,” she said, "and didn’t have time to finish my education until the children were all in school.”

Mrs. Li was presented at the Court of St. James’s two years ago and found the question of costume much more difficult than most women. She wanted to be presented in Chinese clothes, which she always wears on formal occasions. But the train was compulsory, and she felt that a train on a Chinese dress was inappropriate. “So I compromised,” she explained, “but putting a Chinese collar on a Western dress.”

To Fight for China.

She has surrounded her five American-born children with as much Chinese culture as she could. Her fifteen-year-old son, who has just spent a year in China, writes that he wants to fight for his country.

Mrs. Lin Yu Tang, the second vice-president of the organization, was quietly folding letters and slipping them into envelopes when this writer dug her out of her corner. The wife of a scholar, she is a scholar herself. But she has a very domestic side to her nature, too. She has three daughters, and some very definite ideas about how to bring them up. For one thing, she’s not going to let them be too modern about marriage. Her own marriage was partly arranged for by her parents. On the whole, she doesn’t think it was such a bad idea. She thinks the only difference between Chinese marriage and American marriage is that “In China we make love after we are married and here you make love before you are married.”

Artist and Actress.

The youngest of the four women is Miss Mai Mai Sze. Wellesley 1931. Miss Sze insists that she is an artist by profession, although New York thinks of her as an actress. Her art has reached the point where she is painting portraits on commission—with one scheduled in Cleveland for January. She says her Chinese background shows up more in her water colors on silk than it does in her portraits.

Miss Sze is a real beauty. She wears thick straight bangs across her forehead. She dresses with equal chic in Chinese or American clothes. Her English is so perfect that she won a prize during her stage career for English diction. She has just returned from a lecture tour of the Middle West, where she talked to luncheon clubs and women’s clubs on China. “I was moved,” she said, “by the depth of sympathy I found throughout the Middle West for my people.”

For the Refugees.

The only thing she didn’t like on the trip was the food. When she cooks for herself in her studio she always cooks Chinese food. She still likes it best.

These four women are working at top speed right now, because of their fear that the suffering which winter will bring to the war victims will be almost unbearable. “This money which we are sending,” Mrs. Wang said, “will provide food and clothing for the refugees, who need it so desperately. Many of them to keep them warm. Everything they had has been destroyed.”

Another Chinese group working for the war sufferers is the Chinese Women’s Association, at 313 Fifth avenue, which has been organized ever since the 1932 Shanghai battle. This organization works particularly among the Chinese of the city, “helps to make the Chinese do their duty” in giving to relief funds and has held several dragon parades in Chinatown for money raising. Another job this organization has taken over is to urge the boycott of Japanese goods and to persuade its members to stop wearing silk stockings or any other silk article made of Japanese raw silk. The association has just sent out 22,000 cards asking people to boycott Japanese goods.

Mrs. Theodore Chan Wang, the active president of this group, spoke last night to the Business and Professional Women’s Club on the present undeclared war in China, which, she believes, may last for another two years.

Dansville Breeze
(New York)
December 4, 1937

Cleveland Plain Dealer
May 21, 1938

Canton Repository
October 20, 1938

The Daily Argus
(Rome, New York)
March 9, 1939
Dr. S.I. Hsiung, distinguished Chinese author, translator and playwright, and Miss Mai-mai Sze, daughter of Dr. Sao-ke Alfred Sze, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, will be interviewed by John B. Kennedy on the subject of “The Chinese Theater and Literature,” at 6:35 P.M. over WEAF and WJZ.

New York Post
April 20, 1939
Free—But Not for Nothing!
Originally the official exhibition of Chinese art treasures was to be housed in a Chinese Pavilion at the World’s Fair. Although the actual space was said to foe free as air, the committee soon discovered that “incidental expenses” would amount to $60,000!

So the idea of space at the Fair was abandoned and it was decided to hold the exhibition at the Arden Gallery. Yesterday, when word of the end of the French Liner Paris reached New York there was an emergency meeting held at the Gallery—What to do? Was there even an art collection to discuss?

Fears All Calmed

The director of the entire exhibition here is Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who was not in town yesterday. But Mrs. Paul Cravath, Mrs. Calvin Bullock, Mrs. Truman Talley, Mrs. James A. (Clara Fargo) Thomas, Mrs. Richard Derby, Mai- Mai Sze and others met at the Gallery to consider the bad news.

Transatlantic calls and cables relieved the minds of the committee, who finally learned:

Little was lost. But six packing cases of eighteenth century scale models of buildings of the Forbidden City were dampened. Only one man has mastered the art of repairing these treasures, and it was considered necessary to delay transportation until after the damage was mended.

The committee decided to suggest that the “patients” and the “doctor” come right over here for the convalescent period.

Proceeds from the Arden Gallery exhibit, which opens on May 6, will be given to the Chinese War Orphan Fund.

 Richmond Times Dispatch
January 11, 1940

1940 U.S. Federal Census
Enumerated April 2, 1940
Mai-mai Sze, 30
17 East 59th Street, New York, New York
Occupation, Artist

Rockford Morning Star
February 12, 1941

New York Sun
March 22, 1941
Chinese Exhibit Decorative Art
Relief work to Profit by Ritz Tower Show.
Decorative modern Chinese painting fills a gallery in the “Art for China” show at the Ritz-Tower until April 5. C. F. Tau and C. T. Loo, experts on Chinese art, and Prof. George F. Rowley of Princeton, constitute, with Mrs. Carleton S. Cooke, the chairman, the committee. There are approximately one hundred examples. Accordingly to Mr. Yau, this is the first time well-known Chinese artists in this country have exhibited together.

Miss Mai-Mai Sze, pretty daughter of the former Chinese Ambassador to Washington, who studied in Paris and London and is a graduate of Wellesley, shows an oil, “Eumenides,” a mystical conception of cloud forms resolving into two heads, and two bright-colored watercolors, illustrations for Balinese folktales. Kwan-ye-Chang of Canton, who has served as a war nurse in China, has a group of watercolors, some on silk, some on paper, with some watercolors by her father, a shaggy pony, peony and butterfly, fish, birds in flight, cicadas among grasses, and similar subjects. Miss Ching-chih Yee, who was a professor in the College of Art at Shanghai, has a series, representing the twelve months. Ann Yutseng His, daughter of the general director of the Central Bank of China, has two bright-colored modern watercolors of children at play, and two old-style hanging scroll paintings.

Trenton Times-Advertiser
(New Jersey)
March 23, 1941

(New York, New York)
November 11, 1942

Theatre Arts
May 1942

The Springfield Republican
January 3, 1943

The San Diego Union
March 6, 1943

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
March 23, 1943

Pelham Sun
(New York)
April 1, 1943

The Daily Argus
(Mount Vernon, New York)
June 14, 1943
Chinese Girl Calls Chop Suey Pet U.S. Dish
Chattanooga, Tenn., (AP)—Mai-Mai Sze, daughter of a former Chinese ambassador to the United States has a favorite American dish. “It’s chop suey,” she said on a recent visit here. Second choice is hamburger.

New York Post
July 31, 1943

New York Post
August 7, 1943

New York Post
August 25, 1943

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 beat-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!

New York Post
November 16, 1943

New York Post
January 24, 1944

The Oregonian
(Portland, Oregon)
March 23, 1944

The Museum of Modern Art Bulletin
April 1944, Vol. XI, No. 5
“Chinese Children’s War Pictures”
by Mai-mai Sze
It is perhaps true that “The greatness of a mountain and the smallness of an eyeball are incommensurable,” as a Chinese painter once remarked. The landscape of our world in ferment occasionally looms too close to be adequately translated at the moment on to canvas or paper. A painter today can mostly report, as many are doing on the battlefronts, or make a tentative comment from his fragment of the common experience. From time to time, we turn to look at drawings by children and often find in them a clearer, surer statement of the relationship between the individual and a situation, the one and the many.

These drawings and paintings by Chinese children, exhibited by the Museum of Modern Art, were done in some of the experimental schools in Chengtu, an old city west of Chungking, famous for its unusually wide streets; center of a cluster of temples and ancient tombs, and capital of the province of Szechwan. It is today the refuge of several colleges and the home of many of the new educational methods in Free China. 

The ages of these Chinese children range from seven to thirteen. Their pictures are small in size but big in feeling. The few paintings among them lean to tinting rather than bright hues — by choice, one would guess, as much as for lack of materials. While it is possible to detect the teacher-touch in one or two of the pictures, nothing, however, seems to have altered the children’s direct response to the circumstances which have so violently uprooted them and the atmosphere of war which has been the only air that they have breathed. 

Some of the children have chosen traditional Chinese subjects to illustrate their points, using the old formulas for brushwork. A few wild geese at the edge of a pond, drawn with dry nervous strokes, manage to convey the tenseness of “Alert for Emergency” with surprising concentration in the moment.

Others have not hesitated to caricature savagely in western style Hitler, Japanese soldiers, and, in fact, the whole adult world. The head of Hitler leans wearily on a hand. The firm outline is filled in with a flat wash of odious green and bears the title, “Hitler Says— I Have a Bitter Headache.” Inadvertently, this drawing seems to have fulfilled the first requirement of Chinese portraiture as expressed in the characters for “portrait painting”—“Hsien Chen”—meaning literally “To write truth.” It also shows the sharp impression made by posters which in turn have been influenced by Russian work.

Chinese cartoonists also have left their imprint on some of these pictures. The drawing of the tortoise nailed down at its neck and feet, labelled at each point with the names of the five battlefronts in Asia, and with the Japanese flag waving on the end of a helpless tail—this is typical of the political satirists whose drawings are widely admired in China.

Even the title fits the pattern. Any child in Russia, Europe, or England, might do the counterpart of the exultant drawing, “Fujiyama Next Year,” with Allied planes filling the skies and the enemy landscape trembling in apprehension. A war child of the West would also know, as instinctively as the Chinese child, that a black line drawn along the hollow of the cheek is enough to describe hunger, and that people with empty stomachs seldom stand.

[art: Going to Battle]
[art: Mu Lan Goes to the Army.]

The most striking differences between these drawings by Chinese children. and those by children in other parts of the world, are apparent in brushwork, in color, and in the use of space. Whether by some kind of instinct, or under the influence of pictures and paintings which they have seen at home or on the billboard, these Chinese children utilize the variations between the dry brush and the brush saturated with ink, between the kind of line which models and the one specifically for outlines. All colors are toned down to a soft key, their purpose being more to suggest than to display. The palette is in fact so sophisticated that one almost prays for a splash of vermilion.

Most outstanding trait of all in these pictures is the marvelous sense of the shape and weight of spaces. The single figure in “Going to Battle,” done in traditional decorative style with the modern touch included by adding a rifle on the shoulder of the volunteer swathed in flowing robe, has been unerringly placed on the paper. Admiration is demanded, too, by the scale in the drawings by a seven-year-old showing the movement of crowds.

The only awkwardness discernible in any of these pictures is, curiously enough, in the series illustrating the popular story of Mu Lan, the Chinese Joan of Arc. Did the remoteness of this legendary figure, a favorite of generations of Chinese painters, cause this child to falter and rather self-consciously copy a familiar version? Or was this only a way of avoiding the remembrance of scenes too painful to think about?

Apart from this series, the drawings seem unintentionally to carry out with amazing ease what painters in China have been taught for centuries—the principle of “rhythmic vitality”—which states that the painter should be attuned to the rhythm of the universe and be able to express the movement of life. These children seem to be turning around to say to the old masters: “See. We have managed to do so.” And one eleven-year-old, whose picture of Roosevelt handing a bundle to Stalin illustrates American aid to Russia, could point to his work and add: “See, too, I can give a title in the old style—‘Giving Charcoal in Snowy Weather’—without changing what I want to put in my picture.”

[art: Can You Move?]
[art: Giving Charcoal in Snowy Weather]

(“Chinese Children’s War Pictures” was exhibited from April 5 to May 4, 1944 at the Museum of Modern Art. There were forty-six works of art.)

“Giving Charcoal in Snowy Weather” by Peng Teh-chuan, age 13,
was printed in Time, April 17, 1944, which reviewed the exhibition.

Container Corporation of America
May 1944
The art is at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

 Westvaco Inspirations for Printers
#150, 1944, pages 2984 and 2985


The Saratogian
(Saratoga Springs, New York)
October 17, 1947

Buffalo Courier Express
(New York)
March 25, 1949

The New York Times
books reviewed by Mai-mai Sze:

July 1, 1951
The Secret of Serenity by Carl Glick

March 23, 1952
The Drum Singers by Lau Shaw

May 18, 1952
Famous Chinese Short Stories retold by Lin Yutang

November 2, 1952
Until the Phoenix by F.S. Chang

January 2, 1955
Forbidden City by Muriel Molland

November 1, 1959
The Chinese Way of Life by Lin Yutang

Cooking with the Chinese Flavor
Tsuifeng Lin, Hsiangju Lin
Drawings by Siu Lan Loh
Prentice-Hall, 1956
“A Chat About Chinese Food and a Chinese Cook”
by Carl Van Vechten
…The next big influence was Mai-Mai Sze, daughter of the then Chinese ambassador. She was an habitu√© of the Canton Village (she still goes there) and she taught me a new fact, that an intelligent Chinese (at least in many instances) was not satisfied with the existing menu of Chinese dishes, but made additions and subtractions and new combinations of the available food-stocks. In many cases, his innovations approached invention. By this time I was aware that the Chinese expected to find one of three qualities in each dish: it must either have a curious texture, an interesting color, or a delicious flavor.

…My favorites Cantonese restaurants are the afore-mentioned Canton Village, where I recommend a Chinese steak, invented by Mai-Mai Sze…

The New York Times
July 18, 1992
“Mai-Mai Sze, 82, A Writer
Known Also as a Painter”

Magazine clipping inside one of her books

Books by Mai-mai Sze

Western Reserve University Press, 1944

Echo of a Cry
Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1945
49 illustrations

Dust jacket spine (faded), front and flap

 Dust jacket spine (faded), back and flap

 Binding design


Title page

Echo of a Cry
Jonathan Cape, 1947
(British edition)
49 illustrations

Dust jacket spine, front (faded) and flap

Title page

Contents and chapter pages

Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1948

The Tao of Painting
A Study of the Ritual Disposition of Chinese Painting
With a translation of the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Painting
Princeton University Press, Second edition
Second printing, 1967
selected pages

Princeton University Press, 1977

Further Reading

Asian American Autobiographers:
A Bio-bibliographical Critical Sourcebook
Guiyou Huang, Editor
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2001
page 345: Mai-mai Sze

(Updated November 2, 2020; next post: Blossom Chan)

1 comment:

  1. Dear the writer of this article,

    I am co-curating an exhibition that will take place in Hong Kong this June 30 that I wish to include a work of Mai-Mai Sze's in. It is focussing on beauty pageantry as a curatorial method and working primarily with contemporary artists who are dealing with histories of performance, gender fluidity, political protest, and labour.

    I am looking to loan a painting and archival documents as well. If anyone can get in touch with me, I'm at heraschan[@]