Friday, August 13, 2010

Details- Jue Shee, College Years

Jue Joe paid for his younger brother Jue Shee to emigrate to America as a student in the 1890's. Jue Shee attended Pomona college and later obtained his PHD from UC Berkeley. Recently Auntie Soo-Yin has been able to locate a college photo of Jue Shee at UC Berkeley taken in 1898 . More on this remarkable photograph here.

The story of Chinese students in American Universities in the 19th century is fascinating.Yung Wing pictured below was the very first Chinese student to graduate from an American university

".Yung Wing enrolled at the Monson Academy in Monson, Massachusetts. Upon his graduation in the summer of 1850, he entered Yale University. In the summer of 1854, Yung received his Bachelor of Arts degree and became the first Chinese student to graduate from an American university. He returned to China in 1855."
In China ,Yung Wing became instrumental in bringing other young students to America to study. Between 1871 and 1881 the Chinese government embarked on a unique experiment to send Chinese students abroad , first to attend high school prep schools and then to enter prestigious American universities.

"A few years earlier, in 1868, Yung Wing proposed to the Qing Dynasty to send promising 12- to 15-year-old students to study abroad. His proposal included the creation of an office and a monitoring officer in the United States to assist and manage the students’ education and living arrangements. Funding for the students’ expenses would come from customs revenue. The Qing government approved the plan in 1870, and in 1871 Yung Wing selected students who would go to preparatory school in Shanghai to study English.

A memorandum was submitted to the Chinese court dated August 18, 1871:
"A detachment of thirty students should be sent every year for a
consecutive four year period. The total number will be 120.
Each student shall study for fifteen years and then come back to
China. Their age upon return should be no more than thirty
years old, the best time to serve their homeland."

The students were assigned to 54 households (34 in Connecticut, 20 in Massachusetts) while in the United States. In a short time, they overcame the language barrier and even became some of the best students in their schools. According to available statistics, by 1880, more than 50 students were enrolled in U.S. colleges—22 entered Yale University, eight into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, three in Columbia University, and one to Harvard."

"From 1872 to 1881, the Chinese students' academic achievements were
matched by their victories on the baseball diamond and in the ballroom.
Their great "south-paw" pitcher, Liang Tun-Yen, led the "Orientals" to
many victories (he later served as the last Minister of Foreign Affairs in the
Qing Dynasty). When Zhong Monyu (Chung Mun-yew) called the strokes
as coxswain for the Yale crew, they defeated Harvard in the boat races in
1880 and 1881.
The Chinese students earned popularity in social circles and seemed to
adjust to American mores very quickly. The Chinese Educational
Commission's stay in America coincided with a great period of scientific and
technological innovation. The students witnessed Alexander G. Bell's first
telephone (1876) and Thomas Edison's phonograph (1878) and
incandescent lamp (1879). They attended the Centennial Exhibition in
Philadelphia where samples of their homework, on display in the
Educational Pavilion, won merit awards from the Board of Jury. Their
accomplishments even drew the attention of then-President Ulysses S.
Grant who hosted a special reception for the Chinese students during
which he shook hands with each of them."

"A growing hostility toward Chinese in America resulted from the
importation of "coolie" labor for the mines and railroads of the
western states. Although then-President Hayes resisted the mood
when he vetoed the Chinese Exclusion Act of February 1879, it
eventually passed in 1882. These developments offered a pretext
for the conservative Confucians in the Chinese government who sought to terminate the American educational experiment. On May 12, 1881, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the CEC in a memorandum:

"Customs and etiquette in the foreign country are vicious and improper.
Confucian creed is lacking in all the young
students. The best way to solve the problem is to dissolve
the Chinese Educational Commission in America immediately."

The Chinese Education Mission was disbanded in 1881 with a total of 120 students brought to the United States. Many of the students returned home and made significant contributions to China’s civil services, engineering, and sciences. These students provided China with her first generation of railroad builders,engineers, medical doctors, diplomats, college presidents and naval admirals. "

More information here.

After the Chinese Education Mission was disbanded, other bright Chinese students began to apply for and be accepted at American Universities on their own and without the sponsorship of the Chinese government . These students were allowed to emigrate to the United States even after the passage of the Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1892 because students were one of the exempt classes.
Jue Joe, with the success of his farming operations, was able to pay for his bright and talented younger brother to emigrate to the America as a college student and support his college expenses. Jue Shee, 15 years younger then Jue Joe , emigrated sometime in the 1890's and enrolled in Pomona College in Southern California for his undergraduate training .
"Pomona College was incorporated on October 14, 1887, by a group of Congregationalists who wanted to recreate on the West Coast “a college of the New England type,” one that would represent the very best of what they had experienced as students in the finest colleges of the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Instruction began on September 12, 1888. Right from the start, Pomona was coeducational and -- reflecting the 19th-century commitment of its Congregationalist founders to equity -- open to students of all races. Pomona awarded its first diplomas -- seven Bachelor of Arts degrees, two Bachelor of Letters degrees, and one Bachelor of Science degree -- to the Class of 1894."

Here is a picture of Pomona College during Jue Shee's time there.After completing his undergraduate degree at Pomona College. Jue Shee went to UC Berkeley where he obtained his PH.D in mining engineering . Here is a picture of UC Berkeley looking out toward the San Francisco Bay. The campus had only a few buildings in those days. By the turn of the century under the leadership of Dean Samuel Benedict Christy, the mining college at Berkeley was one of the finest technical colleges in the world . The major was one of the most popular majors at that time with one in five male students in the entire university enrolled in a mining engineering major.

Jue Shee was a social activist during his college years.

Auntie Soo- Yin writes :
"JEW SHEE/ORPHEUM THEATER: The Orpheum was located at 110 S. Main St. It had been the Grand Opera House, then became the Orpheum Circuit vaudville theater from 1894 to 1903. In 1896 the Orpheum premiered its first film festival (called, "exhibition") in Los Angeles, featuring films from the Edison Studios (Thomas Edison). This was a very big event for "Angelinos." It marked the transition from vaudville to silent films. And everyone wanted to see this new technology, including Jew Shee. San Tong said, "Jew Shee and two Chinese students from Pomona College dressed up in suit and tie. They walked passed a sign in the Theater's opulent lobby that read, 'No Chinese allowed,' they walked passed the manager, Charles Schimpf, who yelled and ran after them, they parted the red velvet curtains and entered to take their seats. At once a fight broke out. Jew Shee and his two friends were arrested. At the jailhouse Jew Shee's attorney had been waiting to post bail for them, the attorney had been paid in advance by Jew Shee. A discrimination suit was filed against the Orpheum and Jew Shee won his case. Thereafter, the Orpheum had to allow all people regardless of race to attend the theater." The dates that I saw on Jew Shee's textbooks from Pomona College correspond to the date of the festival's premier at the Orpheum. They ranged from around 1896 to 1898. Recently I found photos of the old Orpheum Circuit in which theater seats cost 10 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents at the time that Jew Shee desegregated the Orpheum. The date of the Orpheum's film exhibition was July 6, 1896. The Theater's seating capacity was 1500. By this time Jew Joe was making good money from farming and he could afford to send his younger brother, Jew Shee, to Pomona College, a private school. "

"In 1902 Jew Joe left his L.A. farm operation to his younger brother Jew Shee (15 yrs younger) whom he'd sent for years earlier and whom he'd educated at Pomona College. His intent was to settle in Sum Gong Village (Three Rivers Village), and raise a family, while Jew Shee ran the L.A. business and sent him money every month. Unknown to Jew Joe, his brother sold the business to a Jewish wholesaler at the L.A. Produce Mart, who was a friend of Joe and who had a warehouse next to Joe's at the Mart. With the profit Jew Shee sailed for Paris, France, then onward to Manchuria.
Jue Shee got a Ph.D in Mining Engineering, but a U.S law prevented Chinese from mining or holding mining claims. He heard that Manchuria was rich in metals and there would be opportunity. However, he could only find work with the Ford Motor Co. in Harbin that was manufacturing tanks for the Sino-Soviet War. When hostilities worsened he left his Manchurian wife and took their son back to Sum Gong Village and to Leong Shee's doorstep. Sum Gong Village is rich in nickel, platinum, and ore. Using his tools Jue Shee began tearing up Leong Shee's garden and fields for those metals. He also built himself a 2-story library adjacent to Jew Joe's house and, after holding many parties there, turned Leong Shee's life upside down .
He was an eccentric. Very smart. Out of scrap metal he'd fashioned himself a machine gun, and in a heated argument with Leong Shee, he threatened to "blow her up." After that event , Leong Shee sent a frantic letter begging Jew Joe to send for her, San You, and San Tong ." .... Auntie Soo-Yin

EDITED 5/18/2012  Further research reveals that while Jue Shee attended Pomona College briefly and then dropped out , he never did attend UC Berkeley.  He made up that story. More here. Also the picture we thought was Jue Shee is not him but another student named Yoneshiro Shibata.


  1. Jue Shee at UC Berkeley was filled with excitement. The College of Mining was the center of action for much of the country. America was speeding into the Industrial Revolution and, as Jack London wrote in the Examiner, "The language of life today is the language of cogs and wheels and pistons, of steam and electricity, of scientific research and practical application of scientific discovery." So Jue Shee did not want to leave his ideas at the Campus doorstep and run a family farm for Jue Joe. Bernard Maybeck (famed Berkeley architect) encouraged Phoebe Hearst (mother of William Randolph Hearst) to spearhead a plan for the Cal campus. And the new building that would house the current College of Mining would give students the feel of working in a mine shaft and would inspire in them new ideas. Research would be conducted in state-of-the-art labs. The building would be designed like the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, France. Most likely, Jue Shee wanted to see that building in Paris and wanted to keep abreast of new mining technology there, before heading for Manchuria. (In America the Foreign Miners' Tax Laws, starting in 1852, posed serious obstacles for Chinese and employers who hired Chinese.) On the Jue Joe Ranch I recall seeing one textbook that was highly technical. It had equations and lines drawn like air shafts, running vertical or slanted, etc. He'd dated the book, "1898" or "1899." Auntie Soo-Yin.

  2. Jew Shee (Jue Shee) had a slender face and build, according to San Tong. And so was Jew Yao, youngest brother who remained in China; Jew Yao's son Ah Fook and grandson Ah Moe also have the same features. But Jew Joe and his older brother Jew Nui were built a little more stocky. Auntie Soo-Yin.

  3. Correction: The new Hearst Memorial Mining Building was modeled after the "Ecole de Beaux Arts" in Paris, not the Bibliotheque Nationale. The Ecole de Beaux Arts means "School of Fine Arts" in French. It is located on the Left Bank across the Seine River from the Louvre Museum. The "Ecole" is what Jew Shee traveled to Paris to see. (More about this in the section, "Jew Shee's UC Berkeley Photo.") Auntie Soo-Yin.

  4. CORRECTION: O.k., I made a mistake. The Hearst Memorial Mining Building WAS modeled after the "Bibliotheque Nationale," in Paris (National Library), NOT the Ecole de Beaux-Arts. Julia Morgan (architect) was at the Ecole in the time period that Jew Shee was in Paris to see, no doubt, the Bibliotheque and the Ecole, both had studied under Bernard Maybeck in the Engineering Department at UC Berkeley. (More in section "Jew Shee's Berkeley Photo.") Auntie Soo-Yin.