The Story of the Yao Family

Hi Everyone, 

I am very excited to be on board to work as a CCEPS fellow. This semester, I will be working on Claremont’s former mayor Mr. Peter Yao’s donation of photos and other family documents to The Claremont Colleges Library. First week on the job, I encountered many fascinating documents, including numerous personal letters and dozens of official documents issued by the Kuomintang, British Hong Kong and American government. From these documents I was able to reconstruct the story of the Yao family. Graduates of University of Shanghai, Peter Yao’s parents hailed from elite families in mainland China. But when the Communists won the civil war and confiscated their business, they fled to British Hong Kong where they worked for the US Information Service. Under the Refugee Relief Act of 1953, they came to the United States. Peter Yao’s father Norman Yao was a lifelong enthusiast of photography, and the photographs he had taken constitutes the majority of the documents I will be processing. 

Hope you have a good week! 



Norman Yao and his beloved Rolleiflex camera