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Lee Ya-Ching Papers

Creator:
Ya-Ching, Lee  Search this
Extent:
11.9 Cubic feet (22 boxes)
Type:
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Scripts (documents)
Photographs
Maps
Scrapbooks
Date:
1938-1970
Summary:
This collection consists of 11.9 cubic feet of material chronicling Lee Ya-Ching's role as a pilot trying to raise funds for China during World War II. The collection contains the following types of material: correspondence, both official and personal; maps; publications; newspapers; invitation; programs from events; lecture notes; scripts from radio shows; photographs, both official and snapshots; trip schedules and agendas; address books; scrapbooks; and official paperwork and licenses.
Scope and Content note:
This collection consists of 11.9 cubic feet of material chronicling Lee Ya-Ching's role as a pilot trying to raise funds for China during World War II. The collection contains the following types of material: correspondence, both official and personal; maps; publications; newspapers; invitations; programs from events; lecture notes; scripts from radio shows; photographs, both official and snapshots; trip schedules and agendas; address books; scrapbooks; and official paperwork and licenses.
Arrangement:
This collection of materials listed in the finding aid is arranged into two series, Ms Lee's personal papers and her professional papers. Within each series, items are arranged by material type then chronologically. No attempt was made to translate foreign language material in the collection.
Biographical/Historical note:
Lee Ya-Ching was born in Canton, China in 1912. As an only child who lost her mother at a young age, Ya-Ching was raised by her father and grandmother. Under her father's guidance she learned many skills, including martial arts, some previously restricted to male children. Ya-Ching attended English schools in Hong Kong and Shanghai and at the age of 16 was sent to London to attend finishing school.

In 1929 at the age of 17, Ya-Ching went to Geneva, Switzerland. It is there that she took her first ride in an airplane and vowed to learn how to fly. She enrolled in Ecole Aero Club de Suisse and, in 1934, became the first woman to receive a pilot's license from the school. Determined to continue her education, Ya-Ching went to the United States and attended the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California in 1935. In November of that year she became the first woman licensed through the Boeing School. Upon completion of her training at the Boeing school Ya-Ching returned to China and began campaigning for a Chinese pilot's license, eventually obtaining the license in 1936. Seeing a need to train new pilots, Ya-Ching and some fellow pilots opened a civilian flying school in Shanghai in 1936.

When Japan invaded China in 1937, Ya-Ching volunteered to fly for her country, but was refused. Undeterred, she served her country by establishing hospitals. Leaving Shanghai for Hong Kong just before the city fell, she was finally given the opportunity to fly for China by piloting Red Cross planes ferrying supplies from Hong Kong to Canton. Realizing that China needed aid and supplies, Ya-Ching embarked on a Goodwill Tour of the United States and Canada in 1938. When the war prevented her return to China, Ya-Ching continued the tour expanding her appearances into South America.

Not much is known of Ya-Ching's life after the war. She returned to Hong Kong for a number of years. In the 1960's she returned to California, where she died in 1998 at the age of 86.

Time Line of Lee Ya-Ching

xxxx -- The following timeline covers key events in Ya-Ching's life, as well world events. Events involving Ya-Ching are shown in normal type world events are shown in italics.

1909 -- M. Vallon flies first plane in China

1911 -- China ousts the 2000 year old Imperial System for a Republic

April 16, 1912 -- Lee Ya-Ching is born in Canton, China

1916 -- Ya-Ching's mother dies of tuberculosis

1917 -- China enters World War 1 on the side of the Allies

1926 -- Begins career as a movie actress

1928 -- Leaves the film industry and goes to school in England

1929 -- The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is ousted from China Goes to Switzerland

September 1931 -- Japan seizes control of Manchuria

November 1931 -- CCP resurfaces in China and forms the Chinese Soviet Republic in Jiangxi Province

May 1932 -- Amelia Earhart becomes first woman to solo across the Atlantic

1933 -- Begins flying lessons at Geneva's Cointrin-Ecole d'Aviation

1934 -- Receives her pilot's license from Ecole AĆ©ro Club de Suisse

1935 -- Attends and receives license from the Boeing School of Aeronautics in Oakland, California

1935 -- Falls out of an aerobatic plane, earning her membership in the Caterpillar Club

1936 -- Receives her pilot's license from the Chinese Government First domestic airline established in China Opens a civilian flying school in Shanghai

1937 -- Flies for the Red Cross ferrying supplies from Hong Kong to Canton Japan invades China Earns Hong Kong commercial pilot's license Helps establish hospitals in Shanghai

1938 -- Begins goodwill tour of United States and Canada

1939 -- Appears in US film Disputed Passage with Dorothy Lamour

1940 -- Flies "Estrella China" to Caribbean, Central and South America Aids Ruth Nichols in raising money for Relief Wings

1941 -- Begins working for United China Relief

December 7, 1941 -- Bombing of Pearl Harbor forces American entry into World War II

1944 -- Begins Goodwill and Fund Raising tour of South America and Caribbean

August 1945 -- Atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, followed by Japanese surrender and end of World War II

1946 -- Returns to China and retires

1946 -- Fighting between CCP and KMT (Nationalist party) resumes

October 1949 -- KMT retreats to Taiwan Mao Zedong establishes the People's Republic of China

1950 -- Receives Hong Kong private pilot's license

1963 -- Receives Hong Kong Special Purpose Pilot's license

1971 -- Permanently moves to the United States

1997 -- British rule ends in Hong Kong

January 28, 1998 -- Dies at the age of 86
Provenance:
Pax Cheng and Mary Wolfson, Gift, 2007, NASM.2008.0009.
Restrictions:
No restrictions on access.
Rights:
Material is subject to Smithsonian Terms of Use. Should you wish to use NASM material in any medium, please submit an Application for Permission to Reproduce NASM Material, available at Permissions Requests.
Topic:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Civilian relief  Search this
Aeronautics  Search this
World War, 1939-1945 -- China  Search this
Aeronautics -- Exhibitions  Search this
Women air pilots  Search this
World War, 1939-1945  Search this
Genre/Form:
Scripts (documents)
Photographs
Maps
Scrapbooks
Citation:
Lee Ya-Ching Papers, NASM.2008.0009, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
Identifier:
NASM.2008.0009
See more items in:
Lee Ya-Ching Papers
Archival Repository:
National Air and Space Museum Archives
EDAN-URL:
ead_collection:sova-nasm-2008-0009
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Creator:
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Type:
Youtube videos
Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Youtube Category:
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Type:
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Topic:
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Youtube Category:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Youtube Category:
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Type:
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Type:
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Topic:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Youtube Category:
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Creator:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
American History  Search this
Youtube Category:
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YouTube Channel:
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Data Source:
National Museum of American History
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Creator:
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Type:
Youtube videos
Uploaded:
2010-02-23T20:14:55.000Z
Youtube Category:
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Type:
Youtube videos
Uploaded:
2015-03-25T18:04:23.000Z
Topic:
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YouTube Channel:
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Data Source:
National Museum of American History
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Creator:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Data Source:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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YouTube Channel:
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Data Source:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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Topic:
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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
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Type:
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Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
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Type:
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Type:
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Type:
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Uploaded:
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