Edison Liu named president and CEO of The Jackson Laboratory

From the Jackson Laboratory

On August 26, The Jackson Laboratory named Edison Liu, M.D., as its new president and chief executive officer. Liu will officially begin his work at the Laboratory on Jan. 2, 2012.

Edison Liu

More

The China Trade at the Penobscot Marine Museum

Betty Schopmeyer

Betty Schopmeyer, Education Director, Penobscot Marine Museum

The beautiful Penobscot Bay town of Searsport boasts many old homes dating from the great seafaring era. Here one can find the Penobscot Marine Museum. Its principal exhibits illuminate the industry of Penobscot Bay in the 19th century and illustrate life on one of the great square-rigged ships, and what it was like to visit China when it truly was exotic.

The Asian artifacts in Penobscot Marine Museum’s collection were donated by ship captains who brought back souvenirs and items to furnish their own homes.  Betty Schopmeyer, Education Coordinator, has furnished the following information to provide a small sense of what this museum offers.

For hundreds of years, Maine has built fine ships and produced extraordinary mariners. During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Maine vessels and captains participated in the trade with China, peaking after the Civil War. Maine was involved in the China Trade predominantly through shipbuilding and supply of master mariners. Mainers sometimes bought shares in ships owned predominantly by Boston and other outside merchants. Only a few Mainers, such as Portland ship builders Preble and Jewett, and Theodore Lyman of York owned their own ships in the China Trade:. Few, if any, Maine products were exported to the Far East. One exception was ice from the Kennebec River, which was carried to Calcutta, Bombay, and Batavia. More

The Empire Dine and Dance

By Craig Dietrich

CAFAM members will recall that, among the materials collected by Gary Libby about Chinese in Maine, is the story of the Empire Dine and Dance restaurant on the corner of Congress and Forest. An effort has been underway to install markers on certain Portland buildings such as this one, to commemorate these Chinese connections.

On October 18, 2008, (thanks to the cooperation of the present owner, Bill Umbel) the first such plaque was dedicated at the location of the Empire Dine and Dance.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the brilliant autumn sunshine to witness the proceedings. Professor Ahkau Ng, past president of CAFAM opened the ceremonies. Gary sketched the Empire’s history. Also present was Kuo-Tung Yang, Director General of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, accompanied by his wife Ying-Chuan Chung. Refreshments were served. More

A Chinese-American Tragedy (1979-91)

By Gary Libby from the May 2008 CAFAM Newsletter

Portland area old timers will recall that, in 1979, a new kind of Chinese restaurant opened on Congress Street. It was called Hu Shang, and it offered a different menu from the familiar Cantonese-American fare, including Sichuan dishes that would set your mouth on fire. It quickly became one of Portland’s hottest restaurants, with customers lining up at the door.

The owners of that restaurant were two brothers, Ken and Henry Ng. While Henry worked the kitchen, handsome and personable Ken became the public face of “K & H Corp,” as their business was named. And a successful enterprise it was. By 1981, needing more space, they bought a building on Brown Street, with $75,000 cash down. They closed their Congress Street place and named the completely remodeled Brown Street restaurant “Hu Shang II.” The business continued to thrive. Two years later, in 1983, they opened Hu Shang III on Exchange Street, with a full bar and disco. The money poured in. More

The Pekin Restaurant, Bangor, and Raymond Huang

By Gary Libby

Wong Jack June opened the Pekin Restaurant in Bangor, Maine in the 1920s. He and his wife, Chin Ngan Kee, had one daughter and five sons. One of those sons, Raymond Li Min Huang, is the subject of this article.

Raymond’s parents gave all of their children Chinese names. Their “American” names were selected to sound like their Chinese names. “Li Min” became “Raymond.” His sister, “Fee,” became “Fay.” His brother, “Ang,” was called “Don” and his brother “Wey” was “Wade.”

All of the children began working at the restaurant when they reached about nine years of age. Their first job was peeling vegetables. In their spare time they played with the neighborhood children, skied and sledded in the winter, picked wild berries, played sandlot baseball and fished in the summer. More

Early Chinese Christians in Maine (1870-1918)

By Gary Libby from the March 2008 CAFAM Newsletter

The earliest known reference to a Chinese person’s membership in a Maine church appeared in the Portland Press on December 26, 1870. It reported that Ar Tee Lam had joined the Congress Square Sunday School on Christmas Day and promised “to become a learner and good exemplar of the Christian religion.” (Mr. Lam’s interest may have been prompted by his recent guilty plea to a charge of bootlegging which resulted in a $50 fine.)

First Baptist Church Sunday school picnic ca. 1920. Courtesy Maine Historical Society.

First Baptist Church Sunday school picnic ca. 1920. Courtesy Maine Historical Society.

Five years later at Calais, the East Maine Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church admitted Zing Neng Chick and five other Chinese men to full communion and elected them to Elders Orders. They were missionaries stationed in China.

About 1880 Mrs. H. F. Crocker, who was active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union as well as the Second Parish Church in Portland, gathered together a few local laundrymen into the church’s Sunday school. By 1885 the class had grown to nineteen.

More

Portland’s Chinese ‘Rocky’

By Gary Libby

In the late 1940s one Harry Wong battled his way into the boxing scene in southern Maine. Known variously as “little Chinese wildman” and “Bongo Bongo,” Harry fought thirty-seven bouts in the Portland and Lewiston areas between 1946 and 1948. He won seventeen (eleven by knockout) and came away with six draws. But he himself was knocked out five times and lost nine decisions. It seems that his great asset and also great weakness was an aggressive, lunging style, without much defense. This made it likely that he would knock out his opponent or be KO’d himself. It also made him popular among fans, who loved action.

Harry Wong, was born in Portland, Maine, in 1925, the son of restaurateur Charles Tuck Wong and his wife Mark Shee. Harry’s father opened the Oriental Restaurant in Portland’s Monument Square in 1917. That deluxe establishment closed in 1938. More

Illegal Immigration

By Gary Libby from the September 2007 CAFAM Newsletter

The following comes from the Portland Eastern Argus of April 24, 1895, and demonstrates to what lengths human traffickers would go to circumvent anti-Chinese immigration laws.

IN VENTILATED COFFINS
The Latest Scheme for Smuggling Chinamen into this Country

Montreal, Que., April 23 – A gang of Chinese smugglers has been unearthed here and some arrests are expected shortly. There are said to be 80 or more in different parts of the country acting in collusion. The modus operandi is: Chinamen come here from Vancouver and are shipped in batches of six to Quebec, where they are dressed as women and forwarded to St. John, N. B. There they are kept in hiding a day or two. Ventilated coffins are provided and in these “corpses” are shipped to Vanceboro, Maine, where they are claimed by another of the gang who arranges for their distribution through the States.

History of Portland’s Chinese Restaurants

By Gary Libby from the March 2006 CAFAM Newsletter

Gary Libby has published an article “Historical Notes on Chinese Restaurants in Portland, Maine” in Chinese America (2006). This is from the journal of the Chinese Historical Society of America.

Through meticulous research, Gary has recreated the story of these eating places starting with the first Chinese restaurant in Maine, established in 1880 at One Custom House Wharf. He brings the story up to the present 22 restaurants presently operating in Greater Portland. More

Early Chinese Students in Maine – Bowdoin College

By Gary Libby

In a previous article, Gary Libby described the first Chinese students to appear in Maine colleges. Although the first one (Tsu Sheng Linn, 1909) ended up in the Thomaston prison, those who followed had rather better success. In this second part, we meet the first students at Bowdoin.

The first Chinese student to attend Bowdoin College was Huan Shang Tang, of Canton, who matriculated in the fall of 1916. He was one of fifty students sent to study in the United States that year. He immediately joined the Bowdoin Club, and by 1918 had been so assimilated that he was required to register for the military draft. His yearbook inscription suggested that he had imbibed more than one American pastime: “[Huan] has been greatly captivated by our American young ladies, and in spite of his modest, bashful appearance has managed to get away with a whole lot during his brief sojourn with us.” More

Previous Older Entries

Who We Are

The Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine provides forums and outreach to promote awareness of and appreciation for Chinese culture. We promote friendship between non-Chinese Americans, Chinese-Americans, and Chinese people, whether from the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, or elsewhere.

CAFAM Website

Some rights reserved. Please share content responsibly. Banner image: Peonies, Yun Shouping (1633–1690), Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons. Produced by The Compass LLC.

Subscribe by email

Archives