Eileen Chang Papers Featured in China Daily

East Asian Studies

China Daily recently featured the USC Libraries' Ailing Zhang (Eileen Chang) papers in a story about the Chinese-American writer and her final, reclusive years in Los Angeles.

As the Daily's Mariella Radaelli notes, Chang often wrote about the resilience and self-reliance of "lonely, abandoned women"—a theme that echoed through her latter years:

Chang's own life, especially in her later years, seemed to imitate those of the characters she had written. Her papers in the USC's collection are a testament to her integrity and courage as demonstrated in her ability to go it alone, until the very end.

Chang's papers consist of six boxes donated in 1997, as well as a recently added seventh box whose materials shed light on Chang's final years in Los Angeles:

The latest haul of acquisitions comprises 15 folders containing documents on Chang's move to the US in 1955 and her subsequent marriage to American screenwriter Ferdinand Reyher the following year. They also include photos of her Rochester-Avenue residence and even grocery receipts. Her medical records and correspondences from 1991-1995 can be found in Folder 4.

Highlights of the USC's new acquisitions include several among the 118 letters Chang had written to historian and literary critic CT Hsia, who played a major role in reviving interest in the writer's works in the '60s. In these letters, Chang went beyond sharing her thoughts on the essays and books she was reading at the time, discussing personal matters. In many of them, she made repeated requests to Hsia to make sure that her address was kept a closely guarded secret.

For more information about Chang's papers and the recent acquisition, contact Tang Li, Chinese studies librarian and head of USC's East Asian Library.