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May-ling Soong Chiang papers

Identifier: MSS-001

Scope and Content

Contains materials created and/or presented by Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1897-2003) and members of the Wellesley College community; dating from 1916 through 2004; consisting of articles, essays, clippings, and photographs providing general biographical information; materials (printed, manuscript, and artifacts) related to her academic years and subsequent relationship with Wellesley College, including correspondence, speeches, addresses, visits, publicity, class letters, photographs, scrapbooks, and gifts to the College; and materials representing her political career, including publications (books, articles, addresses, and speeches) by her and scrapbooks and clippings about her and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek.


  • 1916-2003


Language of Materials

Also contains some material in Chinese.

Conditions on Access


Conditions on Use

Copyright in some papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright publishing quotations from any material in the collection.

Biographical/Historical Note

Madame Chiang Kai-shek (1897-2003) was born in Shanghai in a prominent Chinese family of six children under the name of May-ling Soong. As a child, Mayling lived in the United States between 1908 and 1917. All her siblings graduated from US colleges and universities and some obtained high political and social status through marriage and/or career advancements. May-ling Soong herself graduated from Wellesley College in 1917. She majored in English Literature and minored in Philosophy, became a member of Tau Zeta Epsilon (T.Z.E.) student society, and was named a Durant Scholar, the highest academic distinction conferred by the College. Her marriage in 1927 to Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) placed her in the spotlight, and her subsequent active involvement in the decades-long struggle against communist forces and their political power in China contributed to her rise to prominence. Chiang Kai-shek, who became the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang, after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925, distinguished himself as Generalissimo, served as Chairman of the National Military Council of the nationalist government of the Republic of China and participated in several military campaigns. After losing the battle for Mainland China, he remained as the President of the Republic of China in Taiwan until the end of his life. Madame Chiang Kai-shek's excellent education, rich life experience and dedication to the cause of preserving Chinese democracy, as well as her intellectual capabilities and charismatic personality, explain her influential role in Chinese politics and culture and her international fame.


15.9 Linear Feet ( (8 file boxes, 11 oversize boxes))


The collection is divided into four series: I. General/Biographical; II. Wellesley College; III. Correspondence; IV. Writings. Each series is further subdivided into subseries based on format or content.

Acquisition Information

The papers were transferred to the archives from campus offices such as the President's Office, the Alumnae Office and the Publicity Office in the 1970s. Additional materials were donated by alumnae and Mme. Chiang herself. Some materials were originally part of the library's Historical Collection according to a list compiled in 1939.

Related Materials

Additional archival material may be found in the Papers of Emma DeLong Mills, the Records of the President's Office, Records Of the Mayling Soong Foundation Program Committee, Records of the Class of 1917, and Records of the Publicity Office. The class of 1917 Legenda (yearbook) is available online: A list of published materials by or about Chiang housed at the archives may be found here:

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mariana Oller, under the guidance of Jane A. Callahan, Spring 2011.
May-ling Soong Chiang papers, 1916-2003 : a guide.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Wellesley College Archives Repository