Portrait of Yung Wing
From 1872-1881 the Chinese Educational Mission, a program sponsored by the Chinese government to help students obtain training in Western science, technology, and military affairs, had its headquarters in Hartford. Its Director, Yung Wing, graduated from Yale University in 1850, the first Chinese student to graduate from an American university.
The Connecticut Historical Society collection includes letters from Yung Wing and Chinese students, photographs and prints, papers, and documents related to the program and student activities.
Although the Chinese Educational Mission was dissolved following the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, some Chinese students came later. The CHS preserves clothing once owned by Liang Chi Chang, who was sent to study in Hartford in 1910 and whose father, Liang Tun Yen, had studied in Connecticut as part of the Chinese Educational Mission. In a 1913 letter to the Welles family, with whom his son lived, Liang Tun Yen wrote “Hartford is like a home to me, I know the place and people—when my son is there, I know he is among real good people.”