The Huntington has acquired correspondence, photos, certificates, and licenses belonging to [Hong Yen] Chang, who is considered the first Chinese lawyer in the United States. Chang was denied a law license but went on to enjoy an illustrious career in banking and diplomacy, holding positions as accountant general to the Shanghai Bank treasury and as Chinese consul in Vancouver, Canada.
“The Chang papers are an important addition to our collection of materials on Chinese American history,” says Li Wei Yang, The Huntington’s curator of Pacific Rim collections. “Hong Yen Chang was a significant figure during the infamous Chinese Exclusion era, along with other important leaders of the Chinese American community, including Y.C. Hong, Jack Wong Sing, and Jack Chow—all of whose papers reside at The Huntington.”
Deborah Buck was the proprietor of Madison Avenue Buck House antique gallery and store for 10 years. Then the financial slump sent sales plummeting, and she had to closer her once-successful venture. But while she shuttered the business, she didn’t shutter its windows, spending six months using the retail frontage for an art project documented in the new The Windows of Buck House: Fabulous Fictional Females.
The book’s photos, taken by Jaka Vinšek, show how Buck kept her windows filled with a changing array of accouterments for 22 imaginary women. She wanted to create a pantheon of swashbuckling heroines seen from behind the curtain—a collection of commemorative portraits that evoke life, like dioramas at the Museum of Natural History. She’d been inspired by a visit to the home of Georgia O'Keeffe in the New Mexican dessert. “Everything was as she had left it, and it had such a strong voice,” Buck said. “It was a sense of connection with someone I truly admired: a woman who raised the bar on what was possible, someone who took risks with her life and her mind.”
So she came up with characters like Ink Lee, a Shanghai artist; Goldy Banks a Geneva investment banker; Berty Cardinal, a Brazilian ornithologist; and Eureka Miner, a Utah prospector. Often, the displays began with a “keystone piece” in the form of one item of furniture. “From there I created a personality collage,” she said. She began to ask questions about the woman she’d created: Who is she? Where is she? What’s she doing? What is her challenge?