Chinese Actors Admitted into the U. S.

Posted November 18, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Ah King, Chinese Village, Tin Yung Qui Troupe

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SS Monteagle Passenger List, 11 May 1909

On June 6, 1909, two Chinese professional actors were admitted into the United States to participate in the A.Y. P. Fair in Seattle. Wong Yuk Sun, age 26, and Hing Wing Kee, age 40, from Shanghai, were employed to work in the Chinese Village. They each would receive $250 for the season and were to return to China at the close of the Exposition.

Ah King NARA RG85 Case RS2231

Ah King testified for them. He paid their salary, a $500 bond, and their round-trip passage.

Sources: NARA RG 85, File RS 2207 and RS 2208; NARA RG85, M1464, Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956, accessed 8 May 2009 from; NARA RG85, RS2231.

Lim Sing, Concessionaire at AYPE

Posted September 13, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Ah King, Chinese Village, Uncategorized

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Lim Sing (Lum See Guey) was 28 years old, born in Leung Poy Village, Sun Woey district.

He traveled with Ah King in China in 1909. Lim Sing had forty cases of goods shipped to Seattle early in the year and brought thirty more with him when he returned to Seattle in May. The goods were to exhibit and sell at the Fair. He rented a space from Ah King and agreed to give him a percentage of his profits.

On September 17, 1909 Lim Sing made an inquiry to the Immigration Commissioner, as to whether he could remain in this country to dispose of any goods not yet sold. He was told that according to Department circular No. 183 issued January 7, 1909 he was required to return to China by thirty days following the close of the Exposition. If he could comply with the requirements of Section 6 of the Act of July 5, 1884, he could be readmitted upon return to this country. It is not known if he stayed on.

Source: Lim Sing, 1909, NARA, RG85, Case RS2163.

Wong Yuk San, Youngest member of Tin Yung Qui Troupe

Posted September 13, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Tin Yung Qui Troupe

Wong Guk San

Wong Guk San

Wong Yuk San, age 26, was born in Shanghai. He is listed as an actor and his compensation for the tour was $500. He was the youngest member of the troupe. His act of spinning small saucers on the ends of two sticks had never been done by any other juggler and required many years of practice. Wong Guk San came from a family of performers famous in China. Tin Yung Qui was his instructor. His acts were the result of the tireless efforts of his teacher and the fact that he practiced almost constantly. He was obedient to his master in all things. He had many enthusiastic admirers because of his skill and grace.

Sources: Wong Yuk San, 1909, NARA, RG 85, Case RS2208; Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, Aug 15, 1909, p. 20.

Ah King Entertains

Posted September 12, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Ah King, Tin Yung Qui Troupe

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In July on the invitation of Ah King, the Tin Yung Qui troupe of Imperial Chinese performers entertained twenty-six representatives of local newspapers and their friends with an evening of acrobatic, juggling and sleight-of hand acts.

The performers “tossed monster blocks of stone about and toyed with 150-pound spears as if they were feathers. Spinning diminutive plates on the ends of two bamboo canes, a performer at the same time went through an amazing series of contortions. The hit of the evening, however, was furnished by two magicians who performed with huge bowls of water containing gold fish. “The performance was followed by a dinner served by ‘winsome little Chinese maidens clad in silken garments’ at the Chinese Village and a ride on the Ferris wheel as the guests of Manager Pearson.”

Source: Seattle Times, Seattle, WA, July 14, 1909, p.11.

Tin Yung Qui – Tour after AYPE

Posted September 12, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Tin Yung Qui Troupe

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W. J. Manion, Former Senate Clerk to Tour with Oriental Magician

William J. Manion, one of the senate clerks in the last regular session of the legislature, and quite well known in Olympia, who a few days ago resigned as assistant clerk in Justice Fred C. Brown’s court, at Seattle, will start today a new career as manager of Tin Yung Kui [sic], a magician, and Wong Guk Sun, a juggler, both of whom are at least locally famous as having performed at the AYP exposition.

Mr. Manion will play the two performers in all of the principal cities in the Canadian provinces. Tin Yung Kui and Wong Guk Sun are now in Vancouver. Mr. Manion will leave today for that city and start on a tour which he expects will circle the globe.

“I have been in China and Japan,” said Mr. Manion, who was formerly secretary of the Young Men’s Republican club of Seattle. “I know Tin Yung Kui and Wong Guk Sun by reputation. Tin Yung Kui was presented with $30,000 in gold for producing from his person 12 bowls of water each bowl containing gold fish. I have seen a great many magicians in this country and abroad, but I have never seen his equal. It is necessary for us to go back to China and pay a certain sum before he can legally come into this country. That is what we propose to do. The regulations of the immigration department will be observed, but we will be back here playing to American audiences.”

Mr. Manion will act as manager for the two Chinese performers throughout their tour of the world.

Source: Olympia Daily Recorder, Olympia, Washington, Dec 31, 1909, p. 4; accessed from

Gwong Louie working at Chinese Theatre

Posted September 1, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: Chinese Workers, Pay Streak, Tin Yung Qui Troupe

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Gwong Louie, of Boise, Idaho, was in charge of the Chinese Theatre at the Exposition. He was known by his American name, Frank G. Louis. Louis invited all of his Boise friends to visit the Tin Yun Kul [Tin Yung Qui] Troupe.

Louis attended school in Boise and Moscow. He visited the Idaho building every morning to look for old friends. He “gave complimentary invitations to all Idahoans to visit the village entertainments, and every Chinese parade had instructions to pay special deference in the way of saluting the Idaho building.”

About 200 to 250 people stopped by the building each day to ask questions abut Idaho’s fruit and grain lands.

Sources: Idaho Stateman, Boise, Idaho, Aug 4, 1908, p 8; Idaho Stateman, Boise, Idaho, Apr 24, 1914;accessed from

Harry Ding and William Lai

Posted September 1, 2009 by Trish Hackett Nicola
Categories: China Day

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Harry Ding and William Lai and several other musicians from Portland, Oregon, performed on China Day. (See an earlier post.)

Ding and Lai were both offer jobs with high salaries with the Sullivan & Considine vaudeville circuit but chose to continue with their schooling. Harry Ding possessed a rare second bass voice. He performed in native costume and toured with the University of Oregon Glee Club.

William Lai, Oregonian Feb 7 1909

William Lai, Oregonian Feb 7 1909

William Lai was known for his remarkable sweet tenor voice. He performed with the University of Washington Glee Club. Ding and Lai both majored in Engineering and planned to go to China after graduating.

Sources: Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Nov 12, 1911, p.8; Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Feb 7 1909; Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Dec 17, 1910; Olympia Record, Olympia, Washington, Mar 30, 1912; all accessed from