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   Wesleyan Women’s College where the three Song sisters studied in the United States

   in mid-July 2009, the author and colleagues Zhu Jiulin, Ms. Song Shijuan, and Fudan University Professor Wu Jingping from the Department of History and a group of 4 people, finished reading work in the archives of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University in the western United States, and flew to the southern United States in the hot summerAtlanta, Georgia, apart from going to the archives of Emory University in the city to check Lin Lezhi’s archives about Song Yaoru’s father, Song Yaoru’s data, it also specially extracted In one day, I went to a well-known school in Macon, 100 miles away from Atlanta—Song Ai Ling, Soong Ching Ling, Song MeilingWesleyan Women’s College where the three sisters are studying in the United States. On the one hand, they hope to find some archives about the three Soong sisters studying in the school. On the other hand, they also want to know that the three Soong sisters are in it. Learn more about the history and current situation of women’s colleges that are almost household names in China after studying abroad.

  The first school in the world to be allowed to grant degrees to women

   It’s midsummer, and the school has already closed , Almost no people can be seen on campus. We followed the guide signs all over the campus and found the Lucy Lester Willett Memorial Library, which is still open to the public. The curator Sabir McNeill heard that we were from Shanghai, the hometown of the three Song sisters from the far east, and welcomed us warmly. Before we left, we had heard that Wesleyan College set up a memorial room for the Three Sisters of the Song family, which we did not expect to be located in this library Inside. We were pleasantly surprised as soon as we started. It turned out that there are many cultural relics, documents and photos of the three Song sisters on display. After reading them one by one, we found that in addition to some copies from relevant domestic units, the three Sung sisters’ admission registration form at Wesleyan Women’s College, the”Wesley” school journal where Soong Ching Ling had published articles, etc., are all displayed. In the showcase. Although the memorial room is not as big as we imagined, it is only about ten square meters, but it is neatly arranged. While visiting the exhibition, we chatted with the curator Sabir about the history of Wesleyan Women’s College and the situation of the three Song sisters studying at the school.

   Wesleyan Women’s College was co-founded by some Macon citizens who cared about women’s education and the Georgia Supervisory Society (then still known as the American-Israeli American Society). It was founded on December 23, 1836. It was established with the approval of the Nikkei State Court. It was the world’s first college exclusively for women. It was called Georgia Women’s College when it was registered. After the establishment of the college, no students were recruited until January 7, 1839, when the college officially started teaching, when only 90 young women registered as the first class of students.

   In 1843, the Georgia Institute of Supervision’s Annual Assembly began to manage Georgia Women’s College and changed its name to Wesleyan Women’s College. In 1917, the word”women” was removed from the college’s name and the name was changed to Wesleyan College, but the tradition of only enrolling girls was maintained.

  Wesleyan College has always been proud of”We are the first school in the world to be allowed to grant degrees to women”. It has created many”world firsts” in its history, such as the establishment of the world’s first alumni association in 1859; the establishment of the world’s first female student associations Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu in 1851 and 1852; 1904 , The school appeared the first Chinese woman studying in the United States, Song Ailing… In 1919, Wesley officially became an important member of the Association of Universities and High Schools in the Southern States, and later the Association of Southern Colleges and Universities. To this day, Wesley is still a pioneer in women’s education, offering women majors in 30 fields.

  By the way, the Chinese translation of the name of Wesleyan Women’s College in China has always been very confusing. The mainland often uses its transliteration and is called”Wesleyan” . Taiwan also uses transliteration, called”Wesley Ann”, and the”Wellesley (Wellesley) Women’s College” that Song Meiling transferred to is called”Wesleyan Women’s College”. This translation method is very improper. The Wesleyan Women’s College was founded by the American Protestant Wesleyans (also known as Methodist Church, Wesleyans in English), and it is the most reasonable to translate it into”Wesley”. The Wellesley Women’s College in Wellesley, Boston, which Soong Meiling later transferred from Wesley, Macon, was founded by the Catholic Henry Durant and has nothing to do with the American Wesleyan denominations. Transliteration or paraphrase should not be translated into”Wesley”.

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   The three sisters of the Song family after graduating from university and returning to China group photo. Below the photo is Soong Ching Ling’s handwritten book

   In May 1904, 15-year-old Song Ailing was first recommended by Song Yaoru’s university classmate and pastor of the Supervisory Council, Bu Huilian, and personally accompanied him. Wanli came to Wesleyan Women’s College in Macon City in the southern United States and was lucky enough to be the first Chinese woman to study in the school.

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  Song Meiling’s identity photo, courtesy of the United StatesWashington State University School of Medicine Honorary Research Professor Chen Shihan

   Song Ailing at Wesleyan There are very few documents on the situation of studying abroad in the Women’s College. The grade and course column of the registration form in her last academic year are written”graduating class student” and”piano”, and her major should be”Literature”. It is said that when this oriental face first appeared at Wesleyan Women’s College, it often attracted surprised eyes from alumni and classmates. Song Ailing’s words and deeds revealed the reserved and solemn characteristics of Eastern women, and they were often mistaken for shyness by classmates, so they”treated her with a complex psychology that is not clear.” It didn’t take long for the students to discover that this dignified and serious Chinese girl was actually very frank and friendly, enthusiastic, cheerful, and very close. Her academic performance was outstanding, especially her math performance, which was beyond the reach of all students. , Also very talented in music and performance. As a result, Soong Ailing became a”hot spot” figure that students like to talk about. Since then, everyone is willing to gather around Song Ailing in their free time, or squeeze into her dormitory with great interest, and listen to her telling the distant and mysterious Eastern story in her sweet voice.

   The two stories passed down by Soong Ailing while at Wesleyan Women’s College are like this:One day, a professor at Wesleyan Women’s College looked at her and said that Soong Ailing was already She became a”beautiful American citizen.” Soong Ailing was very angry. She retorted in front of the class:”I am not an American citizen, but a Chinese citizen, and I think I am a Chinese citizen. I am proud of it.” In 1906 Soong Ailing went to Washington to visit her uncle Wen Bingzhong, who led a Chinese education delegation to visit the United States. The reception hosted by the US President Roosevelt At the meeting, Soong Ailing expressed her views to the President of the United States about the detention she encountered when she studied in the United States two years ago. He questioned and criticized the”democracy” of the United States. It is said that President Roosevelt apologized to Soong Ailing on the spot.

   In August 1907, 14-year-old Soong Ching Ling and 10-year-old Soong Mei Ling followed in the footsteps of their sisters and went to the United States to study together under the leadership of their uncle Wen Bingzhong. Soong Ching Ling went to the United States to study as an official of the Qing government. After she and Soong Mei Ling arrived in the United States, they were first arranged to study for one year in a co-educational elementary school hosted by Miss Portwin in Summert Town, New Jersey, mainly studying French. And Latin. According to Song Qingling’s memory:”These two foreign languages ​​must be taken for the university entrance examination.”

   In September 1908, Song Qingling was officially registered as a student of Wesleyan Women’s College. Song Meiling also registered at the same time, but because of insufficient age and education, she could only serve as an auditor. Soong Ching Ling studied literature at Wesleyan Women’s College and graduated in May 1913 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. According to her alumni, Soong Ching Ling studied very hard and never missed a homework assignment. The teacher once rated her as the best one in the English class. The deepest impression Soong Ching Ling left to the alumni is that he has a strong interest in philosophy and history, cares about politics, is good at thinking, and is keen on public activities on campus. Soong Ching Ling served as the literary editor of the school magazine”Wesley”, a member of the Dance Drama Club and the communications officer of the Harris Literature Club. In the school magazine, she has published political papers such as”The Impact of International Students on China”,”The Greatest Event of the Twentieth Century”,”Four Points”,”Modern Chinese Women” and”Ama” that made her famous in the school. Fiction. These school journals that published Soong Ching Ling’s works are now well preserved in the college library. According to her university roommate, after the victory of the Revolution of 1911, Soong Ching Ling received the five-color flag of the Republic sent to her by her father. Soong Ching Ling immediately jumped onto a chair, tore the Qing Dynasty dragon flag from the wall, stepped on and stepped on it with her foot, and shouted” Drag the dragon down! Hang up the five-color flag of the Republic!” The fierce emotions made this roommate still fresh in his memory.

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  Soong Ching Ling in the US passport

   In May 1909, Soong Ailing graduated and returned to China. After Soong Ching Ling and Soong Meiling spent their summer vacation in the mountainous town of De Morester in Georgia, Soong Ailing stayed there. His mother, Mrs. Moss, supervised and studied at Jesse S. Green College, a supervising society school in De Morest, which is affiliated with the University of Piedmont. In the 1909-1910 school year, Song Meiling took all courses except arithmetic. She later recalled that she had obtained English grammar and rhetoric training in Piedmont, and she honed her English speaking and writing skills very well. After the summer vacation of 1910, Soong Mei Ling and Soong Ching Ling returned to Wesleyan Women’s College together to start high school courses, under the independent tutoring by the college teacher, Miss Maggie Burke. At that time, Mei Ling just started to learn Latin. Miss Burke’s mother is also Wesley’s professor, and she plays the role of Xiao Meiling’s adoptive mother. Burke’s mother and daughter are responsible for Xiao Meiling’s education, coach her when necessary, accompany her shopping, and make her clothes. It is said that these days have had a profound impact on Soong Meiling, and many of Soong Meiling’s ideas in the future can be traced back to the education of Burke’s mother and daughter. In September 1912, Soong Meiling was officially registered as a student of Wesleyan Women’s College. But Song Meiling only studied in the college for one semester. Soong Ching Ling graduated and returned to China in May 1913. Soong Meiling then transferred to the private liberal arts school Wellesley Women’s College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, until she graduated and returned to China in the summer of 1917. . Wellesley is only 12 miles away from Harvard University in Boston where her brother Song Ziwen is studying, making it easy to take care of each other.

   The three Sisters of the Song family registered at Wesleyan Women’s College for a period of time from September 1908 to May 1909. Soong Ailing graduated and left school. In the enrollment registration form displayed in the memorial room, we saw the registration information left by the three Soong sisters at the same time during this academic year:Soong Ailing’s English name is Aling Soong, Soong Ching Ling’s English name is Chungling Soong, and Soong Mei Ling’s English name is Mayling Soong. The guardians of the three sisters are their father Song Yaoru.

   The three Song sisters did not only learn knowledge and obtain diplomas during the Wesleyan period. In this regard, Song Meiling’s own summary is more authoritative:”Here, I spent During the four consecutive years of happy time in my student days, the nurturing I received was a serene and noble temperament, consideration for others, integrity, research in knowledge, exchange of ideas and ideals necessary to develop and enrich life, etc.”From the perspectives of the awakening of political consciousness, the height of ideal aspirations, and the maturity of theoretical thinking among the three sisters in the Wesley era, Soong Ching Ling is the most outstanding one. Soong Ching Ling will follow a completely different life path from her sisters in the future, and will always maintain the integrity of”maverick”. Perhaps the”seed” was planted here.

   Soong Ching Ling did not revisit his alma mater after graduation

   Of the three Song sisters, only Song Ailing and Song Meiling revisited Past Wesley alma mater. According to the official website of Wesleyan College, Song Ailing revisited his alma mater in 1932, but did not leave details. From November 1942 to July 1943, Song Meiling went to the United States to carry out”Madam Diplomacy” and set off a”Song Meiling whirlwind”. Under the overwhelming hype in the American media, the names of the three Song sisters were flourishing all over the world. On June 26, 1943, at the end of her visit to the United States, Soong Meiling was accompanied by her nephew Kong Lingkan to revisit the Macon Wesleyan Women’s College . At the welcome meeting for the teachers and students of the school, Song Meiling gave a passionate speech. She said:”My Benevolent Mother, please wave your scepter and let Ain Ling and Qing Ling come back here together. I know how much they want to repay their old lives. You, I really hope that they will be with me right now… I seem to have returned to my long-awaited home. I saw the long-lost family members. The excitement in my heart is beyond description.” On this trip, Song Meiling presented exquisite gifts to her alma mater on behalf of the three sisters. Gifts, Wesley also awarded the three sisters”Honorary Doctor of Laws.” After Song Meiling and her husband Chiang Jieshi retreated to Taiwan, they revisited their alma mater for the second time on October 20, 1965. This time Song Meiling expressed some sadness The words:”I am full of infinite nostalgia for this hometown that once left beautiful memories in my childhood happy time. My mood is intricate and complicated. When I come back here, everything is so familiar and unfamiliar, vaguely like the place where I played yesterday. Now that the situation has changed, the situation has been touched and the feelings have been hurt, and the ruthless years have taken many of our old friends away from this world.”

Soong Ching Ling did not set foot on the land of the United States again in her life, so she did not have the opportunity to visit her alma mater again. But her gratitude to her alma mater is often eloquent, and she has talked about her alma mater many times in correspondence with friends. Soong Ching Ling has always cherished a set of albums of her alma mater, Wesleyan Women’s College. In addition, she has always cherished the”Honorary Doctor of Laws” certificate that Song Meiling brought back from Wesley’s alma mater, and displayed the commemorative silver plate that awarded her”Honorary Doctor of Laws”. In the dining room of her Shanghai apartment. Unlike Soong Meiling who still kept close correspondence with her teachers and classmates after leaving Wesley, so far, it has rarely been found that Soong Chingling has communicated with the teachers and classmates of her alma mater after returning to China. According to the official website of Wesleyan College, in August 1913, Soong Ching Ling sent a letter to the English professor, Mrs. Hazard, on his way back to China after graduation. The latter kept the letter. Later, a fire broke out in Hardzer’s home in Macon. At that time, Mrs. Hazard happened to put Soong Ching Ling’s letter in her handbag, so she survived. The letter was later kept in Wesley’s archives and has now been included in China. The first volume of”Selected Works of Soong Ching Ling” compiled by the Soong Ching Ling Foundation.

   The three Sisters of the Song family have also paid a great deal to their alma mater. According to the official website of Wesleyan College, the three Song sisters directly or indirectly participated in the establishment of several Wesleyan scholarships. Soong Ailing has personally funded the establishment of the DuPont Gerry Scholarship, which has been awarded to this day. In March 1944, the Southern Georgia Annual Council of the United Methodist Church established the Chiang Soong Meiling Scholarship for Chinese students in Wesley. The fund continues to this day, and the scholarships are still often awarded to Chinese students. When Soong Meiling visited Wesley in 1943, she established short-term scholarships named after Soong Ailing and Soong Chingling, but they did not last until today. In 1997, Wesley received an anonymous donation of 6 million U.S. dollars in honor of the three Song sisters. Most of the donation was also invested in scholarships. The school stated that these scholarships”are a permanent commemoration of the Song family and also laid a more solid future for the college.”

  Wesley sent away countless outstanding graduates, but when Wesley sent away the three Sisters of Song in 1909 and 1913, they might not have thought that in the future they The names of both parties will be so closely linked. In China, Wesleyan Women’s College can be equated with the three Song sisters. Today, as long as you open Wesley’s official website, in the first column of “College History”, the “Three Sisters of the Song Family” column page is impressive and unique.

   Soong Ching Ling collects a set of old photos of Wesleyan Women’s College. After working for many years, we are familiar with these photos. Strolling through the current Wesley campus, looking at the buildings one by one, they never found one similar to the old Wesley Institute for Women in the Soong Ching Ling Collection Album. When we raised the question, Director Sabir told us that the old Wesley campus was originally set up on College Street in Macon Town. On February 24, 1963, a sudden fire destroyed the old Wesley campus and its The nearby Pierce Church was all burned down together.

   Nowadays, Wesleyan College, located on the new campus of Rivoli, although no sense of ancient vicissitudes can be found, it is still peaceful, beautiful and exciting. Source:People’s Daily Online