Excerpt from “The Story of My Life” by Sara A. Clapp

The following excerpt is from a manuscript at Historic Northampton and is used with their kind permission.

“After the year at home, I went back to school in the sophomore class, in the same class with my cousin Jennie, Minnie Barrett, Annie Carter, and three others of the little club we had, called “The Jolly Seven.” We met at different houses and had jolly times. At this time a number of Chinese boys had been sent over to the U.S. to study. A lady was in charge of those in Northampton. After they had learned some English, they came to our school. They were good students and mixed in well with the young people. One of our teachers took us for a sleigh ride to see the museum at Amherst College. I happened to sit next to Kwing Yung Kwong [Kuang Rongguang; 鄺榮光; Kwong Yung Kwang] and he told me of his home and his family. He said they all had to spend six weeks in the summer studying Chinese. The members of our English class had a literary society that met at various houses to read books. Kwong used to come home with me sometimes, and he and Poo Sho and Wang used to come over to call. These boys were all beautiful writers. I have their names in my autograph album. Of course we seniors had to have autograph albums and at the end we had all the class pictures. I still have the photos of the Chinese boys in our class. Miss Matthews, who had charge of the boys, gave them a party for a few of the class members and I was included. We were shown many interesting things and had Chinese refreshments, ending with Chinese nuts. I was to stay with Minnie Barrett that night and Kwong went home with us. He and the son of our principal, Robert Gorham, were great chums. Some of the boys finished college, but not the boys of our class. A reactionary government came into power and they were all called home for fear that they were becoming too Americanized. Some of them had joined our churches and become Christians. Rob Gorham and Kwong kept in touch for years by writing. Once Rob’s sister told me that Kwong had written that he was sending his two sons and a daughter over here to be educated. Rob, then chairman of the school committee in Newton, said he could manage the boys, but a little Chinese girl fazed him. While the children were on the way over, Rob died suddenly. His partner took charge of them. Some years afterwards, I heard that the girl was graduating from Mount Holyoke College. Some years ago Kwong wrote to one of our teachers and inquired about the members of our class. I wrote to him then and had a card back in reply. He was then living in Tientsin. I hoped when in China, to see him but there was war at that time and just then no tourists could go either there or to Pekin. We were greatly disappointed.”


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