elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Margaret Chung (October 2, 1889 – January 5, 1959)

Margaret Jessie Chung (October 2, 1889, Santa Barbara, California – January 5, 1959) was the first known American-born Chinese female physician. After graduating from the University of Southern California in 1916 and completing her internship and residency in Illinois, she established one of the first Western medical clinics in San Francisco's Chinatown in the early 1920s.

She achieved recognition during the 1930s and 1940s for her patriotic activities on behalf of China and the United States. As part of her efforts to support the allied forces, she "adopted" over one thousand "sons," most of whom were white American military men. Known as "Mom Chung," she entertained, corresponded with, and inspired her sons to fight against the Japanese invasion of China.

Newspaper articles consistently noted two seemingly contradictory aspects of her character: First, Chung, then in her forties and fifties, was a successful doctor who never married or bore children. Second, she was a devoted mother to her adopted sons, who called themselves "Fair-Haired Bastards," because of their racial background and her status as an unmarried woman.

A pioneer in both professional and political realms, Chung led an unconventional personal life. As a female medical student in an otherwise all-male school, she adopted masculine dress and called herself "Mike," but after having established a professional practice she reverted to conventional dress and her female name. She had close and apparently intense relationships with at least two other women, the writer Elsa Gidlow and entertainer Sophie Tucker, that some writers have speculated were romantic. Although she was briefly engaged, she never did marry. An advocate of strong Sino-American relations, Chung was a friend, and confidante, of travel writer Richard Halliburton (1900-1939), who attempted (and died in the attempt) to sail a junk the Sea Dragon, as a symbol of the bond of East and West, from Hong Kong to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Chung

Further Readings:

A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America by Leila J. Rupp
Paperback: 241 pages
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0226731561
ISBN-13: 978-0226731568
Amazon: A Desired Past: A Short History of Same-Sex Love in America

With this book, Leila J. Rupp accomplishes what few scholars have even attempted: she combines a vast array of scholarship on supposedly discrete episodes in American history into an entertaining and entirely readable story of same-sex desire across the country and the centuries.

"Most extraordinary about Leila J. Rupp's indeed short, two-hundred-page history of 'same-sex love and sexuality' is not that it manages to account for such a variety of individuals, races, and classes or take in such a broad chronological and thematic range, but rather that it does all this with such verve, lucidity, and analytical rigor. . . . [A]n elegant, inspiring survey." —John Howard, Journal of American History

More LGBT History at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics

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Tags: eccentric: margaret chung, gay classics

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