Letters of Flora Belle Jan
The inner life of a sensitive and ambitious woman--an exceptional Chinese American flapper, writer, and journalist
This volume collects the letters written over a thirty-year period by a second generation Chinese American woman, Flora Belle Jan (1906–50). Her writings illuminate the inner life of a sensitive, unconventional, and ambitious woman--an exceptional Chinese American flapper, writer, and journalist.
Born in California to immigrant parents, Jan grew up resisting her parents’ conservative Chinese values as she internalized American culture. Throughout her relatively short life, she studied literature at Berkeley and the University of Chicago, raised three children with her husband Charles Wang, and worked as a journalist in both the United States and China. Her closest friend, Ludmelia Holstein, a daughter of German immigrants from Russia, was the recipient of the letters collected in this volume.
While living in China, Jan wrote about how her gender and nationality complicated her uneasy adjustment to China’s foreign yet familiar culture, and she reflected on her roles as a wife, mother, and career woman. Describing encounters with in-laws and servants, marital problems, and competition for newspaper jobs, her letters record her personal struggles in an environment of political turmoil in the 1930s and 40s.
Written during the years 1918–48, these letters offer unique insight into the situation of educated, middle-class, professional Chinese American women in the early twentieth century. Literate, candid, and charming, they convey the intellectual curiosity and perspicacity of a vivacious and ambitious woman while tracing her engagement with two different worlds.
"This is a story of a woman living between the two cultures of China and the United States, told in a moving and often heartrending manner. Flora Belle Jan is an exceptional woman who portrays many of the problems of her generation."--Sue Fawn Chung, author of Chinese American Death Rituals: Respecting the Ancestors
To order online:
To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)
Filipino and Puerto Rican Laborers in Hawaii
Multiracial Asian Americans in Visual Culture
Chinese American Miners and Merchants in the American West
Sue Fawn Chung
A Chinese Immigrant in the Midwest
Wayne Hung Wong
Joseph Kurihara and the Japanese American Struggle for Equality
Eileen H. Tamura
The Story of Winnifred Eaton
Logging and Lumbering in the American West
Sue Fawn Chung
Asian Publics in North America
Filipino American and U.S. Puerto Rican Cultural Critique
Roderick N. Labrador
The Autobiography of a Korean Immigrant, 1895-1960
Easurk Emsen Charr
Narratives of Disenchantment and the Model Minority
Nancy Yunhwa Rao
Identity, Belonging, and South Asian American Community
A Literary Biography