Tamiment Library at New York University will celebrate the donation of the personal papers, photographs and unpublished writings of Wing Fong Chin and the late Tung Pok Chin with a book talk by their daughter, Winifred C. Chin, co-author of Paper Son: One Man’s Story (Temple University Press). Paper Son is Tung Pok Chin’s memoir of the largely invisible experience of the Chinese who immigrated to this country with false documents during the Exclusion era (1882-1943).
The event takes place on Monday, April 14, 5 p.m. at the NYU Tamiment Library (10th floor of the NYU Bobst Library), 70 Washington Square South. This book talk is free and open to the public and is being co-hosted by the Asian/Pacific/ American Studies Program at NYU. A small exhibit of material from this donation will be on display. For further information, call (212) 992-9653. According to Michael Nash, head of the Tamiment Library, this donation marks one of the first Asian/Pacific American collections to be housed and made available at Tamiment for scholarly and research purposes and is part of a new library initiative to survey, collect and preserve the experience of working-class Asian Americans, particularly those in New York City.
The donated papers describe the life and work experiences of Winifred Chin’s father, a Chinese poet and laundryman, and of her mother, a garment worker and union organizer who rose from laboring in a sweat shop to an executive position in the ILGWU. It includes correspondence between Chin’s father and the late Dean Ralph Pickett of NYU’s Steinhardt School of Education, showcasing the relationship between a scholar and a young man becoming Americanized. The papers also document Chin’s political commitment and world-view for which he was persecuted during the McCarthy period.
The Tamiment Library at NYU is an internationally known center for scholarly research on the history and culture of American activism and labor. Tamiment’s many collections document the history of the anarchist, communist, labor, radical, feminist and socialist movements in the U.S. from the Civil War to the present. In addition to housing over 25,000 books, 6,000 periodical titles, 300 manuscript collections, and 3,500 hours of audio tape, the Library has more than one million pamphlets, leaflets, clippings, and related collections of posters, graphics, videos, and artifacts.