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CT Historical Society Exhibit

Journeys: Boys of the Educational Mission

This exhibit honors the 150th anniversary of the Chinese Educational Mission (CEM), a program that enabled 120 Chinese boys to study in New England. It is a story of hopes, dreams, sacrifice and the life-changing experience of international exchange. This event is followed by an optional lunch at Sweet Chilli (Thai Cuisine), 312 Park Road in West Hartford. If you can’t make the exhibit, please join us for lunch!

Register here: https://www.ahcc.org/civicrm/event/info/?reset=1&id=160

AHCC has a special connection with the Chinese Educational Mission. In 1871, the Chinese Mandarin, Yung Wing, was responsible for bringing several boys from leading families in China to Hartford to attend Hartford Public High School and live in the homes of many members of AHCC. Bringing Chinese students to America had been the dream of Yung Wing after his graduation from Yale. The students received an education in Chinese as well as English and many attended services at AHCC. They were known for their fine manners and their elegance, which seemed to make the girls prefer them to the American boys.

In 1875, Yung Wing married Miss Mary Kellogg of Avon, sister of Dr. Edward W. Kellogg, member of AHCC. Kellogg’s mother had taken several Chinese students into her home and Yung Wing named his two sons for his two benefactors, Morrison and Bartlett. Mr. and Mrs. Yung Wing became great friends with Rev. Twichell and joined the church in 1887. When Yung Wing was sent by the Chinese government in 1874 to investigate the treatment of the Chinese laborers in Peru, Twichell accompanied him. Twichell gave several talks on the relations between the United States and China during a period of growing hostility toward the Chinese. Eventually, the hostility led to the Chinese Exclusion Acts. Twichell spoke of the unfairness of the Acts and warned his parishioners that “to estrange from us the heart of one-fifth of the human race were a long step toward putting away our crown from us and to constraining Divine Providence to raise up another head on which to set it.” Due to the combination of strained relations with the United States, and the fear that the Chinese youth might forget their own language and customs, the mission was discontinued in 1881 when sixty students were in college. Some, however, stayed to complete their studies.

After Yung Wing joined the Reform Movement in China in 1898, the Empress Dowager set a price on his head, so he fled from China and, in 1902, returned to Hartford where he died in 1912 at his home on Sargeant Street. Two Chinese vases, a present from Yung Wing to Twichell, were given to the church in 1964 by Mrs. Joseph Hooker Twichell, and is in the church archives.


Nov 11 2022


10:30 am - 1:00 pm


CT Historical Society


Diane Nattrass

Other Organizers

Carol Pinkston

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