filmed in boston

Anna May Wong, one of the first well known  Chinese American actresses, starred in movies such as  Piccadilly, Daughter of the Dragon, and Daughter of Shanghai. She was born in 1905 and began acting when she was only a teenager, quickly achieving international fame. Her film The Toll of the Sea, which came out in 1922, was one of the first movies made in color. In the late 1920s, Anna, frustrated by stereotypical roles she was being given in Hollywood, left for Europe. In Europe, she received more opportunities, starring in both plays and films.

Anna returned to the United States in 1930s when Paramount Studios  offered her a contract. Although she was often asked to play stereotyped characters, Anna worked to portray Chinese Americans more authentically and in a positive light. During World War II, she took a break from acting, and spent time and money advocating against the Japanese invasion of China. Anna’s TV show The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong made US television history as the first show starring an Asian American lead in 1951. Anna planned a return to film, but passed away in 1961.

The picture above shows Anna May Wong near the end of her life. She bought two tickets to a Charity Field Day and stands in the photograph with then Deputy Mayor John McMorrow.

Actress Anna May Wong is sold two tickets to the Mayor’s Charity Field Day by Deputy Mayor John McMorrow, circa 1960-1961, Mayor John F. Collins records, Collection #0244.001, City of Boston Archives, Boston

Blog post by Monica Haberny, City Archives Outreach Intern


Paterson (2016)

Directed by Jim Jarmusch

Cinematography by Frederick Elmes