Biography of Yamei Kin M.D. (1864-1934), (Also Known as Jin Yunmei), the First Chinese Woman to Take a Medical Degree in the United States (1864-2016), 2nd Ed., With McCartee Family Genealogy and Knight Family Genealogy

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-92891485-3

Publication Date: 2016 March 25

Number of References in Bibliography: 591

Earliest Reference: 1864

Click here to download the full text to open and read book Biography of Yamei Kin M.D. (1864-1934), (Also Known as Jin Yunmei), the First Chinese Woman to Take a Medical Degree in the United States (1864-2016), 2nd Ed., With McCartee Family Genealogy and Knight Family Genealogy

 The idea for this book originated when Matthew Roth kindly sent Soyinfo Center a copy (in digital PDF format) of his excellent PhD thesis, Magic Bean: The Quests That Brought Soy into American Farming, Diet and Culture. In this thesis is a wealth of new biographical information about and references to Yamei Kin, a remarkable but little-known woman who was important in helping to bring soyfoods to the United States.
      At the time the thesis arrived, our Center was in the middle of compiling a history of the soybean and soyfoods in China. We stopped, and decided to do a book on Dr. Yamei Kin first, in part because her story was part of the history of how soyfoods came from China to the USA.
      Matthew then kindly sent us a PDF of every one of the documents he cited that mention Dr. Yamei Kin or her son (Alexander) or her husband (Mr. Eca Da Silva). Of the 176 references in the 1st edition of this book about Dr. Kin, Matthew Roth's research contributed 108, or about 61%. Our deepest thanks to Matt Roth for making this book possible.
Preface to the Second Edition
     The first edition of this book was published in May 2014. Then on June 3, Yang Chenglin of Jiujiang, southeast China began to send Shurtleff lots of new and very interesting information about Yamei Kin. His surname is Yang. Fortunately he speaks excellent English, so that we were easily able to carry on a correspondence by e-mail. Like a professional researcher, he began making one important discovery after another, some of them in archives located in the United States, some in Chinese archives. He translated these Chinese documents for this book. In fact, during the next year his research was responsible for adding at least 113 records (most very important) about Yamei Kin. This 2nd edition would never have appeared but for his ongoing research and interest in this remarkable Chinese woman.
      Shurtleff invited Mr. Yang to be listed as a co-author of this book, but he declined.
Genealogy: A basic genealogy of each of the main characters in this story will be found in the latter part if this book.
Brief chronology/timeline of Dr. Yamei Kin.
1864 – Yamei Kin is born at Ningpo, a treaty port, in Chekiang Province, China – about 100 miles south of Shanghai (Speer 1920, p. 210. Wong and Wu. 1936. History of Chinese Medicine, p. 488).
      Note: In 1913, in a formal interrogation, she gives her birthplace as Nam Hoy, Che King Province, China.
      Her father, “a Chinaman of prominence, became a [devout] Christian, and established at Nin-po [sic] a church which was       unique then because it was self-supporting” (New York Times, 1904 Oct. 16, p. 9).
      Her parents “dared think their own thoughts in China a half century ago. Her father was one of the early converts to Christianity [in China], though Yamei Kin herself has gone back to the teachings of Confucius. Her mother, a little-foot woman, had the unusual advantage of a seminary education, and flew in the face of Chinese tradition by choosing her own husband. They went to the same mission church, these two, – a church where boys and girls were divided by the centre aisle, Quaker fashion.” They were attracted to one another and before long they married. “Such were Yamei Kin's parents, people of the mandarin class, the division of brain-workers, which constitutes the aristocracy of China” (MacGregor 1905, p. 242-43).
1866 – “At the age of two the child was left an orphan. An epidemic of fever swept over Ning-po, her birthplace, and she was bereft in a few short weeks of parents, relatives, friends” (MacGregor 1905, p. 243). Her father, Rev. Kying Ling-yiu (a Christian convert and pastor of the church at Yü-yiao, beloved by all who knew him) died on 5 Aug. 1866; her mother had died a few days before her father (Home and Foreign Record of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Jan. 1867, p. 12).
      “The little Yamei and her brother were adopted by American missionaries, the late Dr. D.B. McCartee and his wife, who had aided her parents in their marriage, and who afterward served a long term in the diplomatic service of this country in Japan. Her foster parents took the greatest care with the child's education, and were wise not to Americanize her too much” (MacGregor 1905, p. 243-244).
      The inspiring story of the life of Divie Bethune McCartee and his wife, Juana, a very loving, selfless, and generous Protestant medical missionary couple that adopted May King, is told from the viewpoint of three men who knew them plus the man as he regarded himself, by Robert E. Speer (1922, p. 23, 210).
      Dr. McCartee (p. 210) had great sympathy, "especially toward fatherless children. Dr. McCartee took their children, a boy of seven and a girl of two [Yamei Kin], and brought them up as his own children."
      Note 1. From the above we learn that Yamei Kin's surname can also be romanized as "Kying." This may explain why, as a young lady, she often used the name "Y. May King."
      Note 2. We know almost nothing of what happened to the little girl’s elder brother, or even what his full name was.
      The young girl learned English in China from the family of Dr. McCartee [especially from Mrs. McCartee]. She also took a fancy to the study of medicine [and science in general] and Dr. McCartee taught her well (New York Times, 1904 Oct. 16, p. 9).
1869 March 2 – Yamei Kin leaves China en route to the United States with Dr. and Mrs. McCartee. Their ship goes from Japan through the Panama Canal then lands in New York harbor in May. The three stay for about 18 months then return to China on 1 Nov. 1870 (“Record of Furloughs since Appointment” in “Biographical .Record” filled out in pen by Dr. D.B. McCartee, 19 April 1892).
1869 Oct. 29 – We first hear of Yamei Kin by name: Mrs. D.B. McCartee (now in Yonkers, New York), in a handwritten letter to Henry William Rankin (her nephew) states: "Little Yüô-me [a nickname variant of Yamei in the Ningpo dialect] has come with me. Ah-be [probably her elder brother] thought he would rather see the ‘Airs’ [?] (McCartee Family Papers, Record Group 177. Roll 1, Folder 9). Note: Letters mentioned from now on refer to letters from this collection.
      The McCartees “treated Dr. Kin as their own child, giving her every opportunity and instruction in their power. At the age of five years they brought her with them to the United States on one of their furloughs, and during that visit of a year she learned to speak English, which, when she returned to China, Mrs. McCartee kept up regularly, teaching her every day. Not long after returning from the furlough, Dr. McCartee resigned from the Presbyterian Mission, and after an interval in Shanghai, where he was in the American Consulate, went to Japan, where his great knowledge of written Chinese secured for him the profound respect of the Japanese, who were then just beginning learn Western ways. Five years in this early stage of Japanese awakening ever remains a vivid picture in Dr. Kin's mind” (Oriental Review. 1913. Feb. p. 239).
      “Dr. McCartee, besides his literary and diplomatic learning, was also an ardent scientist, and as he prepared his lectures on Comparative Anatomy, Physiology, Botany, Zoology, etc., or took his pupils on excursions through the parks, he also taught Dr. Kin; so that with Mrs. McCartee's careful instruction in general literature, the free run of Dr. McCartee's large library, and, though but a child, being in the society of that large faculty which the Japanese gathered – they had a full French, German, and English faculty at one time – together with the other social life of the Capital, Dr. Kin came to have an extremely wide and varied knowledge and experience which it would be hard to duplicate    (Oriental Review. 1913. Feb. p. 239).
1872-1880 – The McCartees are living in Japan, probably in Tokyo. Dr. McCartee is working for the Ministry of Education (Speer 1922, p. 158). Yamei Kin is probably with them for about 5 years at this time.
      “'I did not exactly choose my profession,' says Dr. Kin. 'It was the result of my study of natural sciences, in which I became interested through my foster father's researches'” (MacGregor 1905, p. 244).
1876 Nov. 25 – You Mei King [Yamei Kin] first appears in Clara’s Diary. Clara and You Mei are close friends. You Mei liked to dress in the Chinese style, with long loose trousers and a blouse (that descends to below her knees) over the top, fastened at each shoulder by buttons. Clara found You Mei to be very independent; she said she intended to become a teacher and to go to Europe to finish her education so she could take care of herself by age 18.
1877 Jan. 31 – Clara and her friends (You Mei and five other American girls, including Emma Verbeck) form the Asiatic Society. They decide to meet once every two weeks at the home of one of the girls. At the first meeting they enjoy games, laughter and fun. At the next week they read compositions they have written. You Mei’s was “Whispers from the Bamboo.”
1877 May 1 was You Mei’s farewell party. When Clara had to leave, she impulsively kissed You Mei good-bye. “I am so sorry to have her go away,” wrote Clara (Clara’s Diary. 1979, p. 128).
1880 May – Yamei Kin returns by ship to the United States at age 16 with Dr. and Mrs. McCartee. They probably land in New York Harbor. She is allowed to enter the United States without a passport as the McCartees’ adopted daughter. She is sent by them for one year to Rye Seminary, Rye, New York (McCartee letters folder 9; New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Yamei Kin and Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913).
1880 Dec. – "Yüôme [Yamei] expects to make profession of her faith in Christ, next Sunday at Rye – Your aunt & I will probably go & spend the Sabbath there…” All are living at No. 282, 20th St. New York City (Letter of 29 Nov. 1880). By 30 Nov. 1882 all were living at No. 230 Second Ave., New York City.
1882? – After a year at the Rye Seminary, Yamei Kin goes with the McCartees to the Sandwich Islands [Hawaiian Islands]. They probably landed on 14 June 1882 (see Hawaiian Gazette). After they return to the USA, she enters Woman’s Medical College on 8th Street and Third Avenue in New York City for a three-year course (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Yamei Kin and Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913).
1885 May – “Miss May King (Kin Yamei) graduated at the Woman's Medical College of New York Infirmary Friday. She is the first Chinese woman ever granted a degree of M.D. in this country” (Sumner Gazette, June 11, p. 1). The distinguished guests included the Chinese Consul (Edinburgh Evening News. 1885 June 12, p. 4). She graduated in May at the head of her class “and has since pursued special post-graduate courses in Philadelphia, Washington and New York, and has served as resident physician for some months in N.Y. Infirmary, and in the Children's Asylum at Mt. Vernon near New York” (Sei-i-Kwai Medical Journal, Aug. 1887, p. 167-68; reproduced from the China Mail).
      In New York “under Dr. Robert Abbe, Dr. J. West Roosevelt, and Dr. Janeway she studied at the old Woman's Medical College at Second Avenue and Eighth Street, and won her title of doctor in 1888 [sic, 1885]. After graduate studies in Philadelphia and Washington she went back to China (New York Times, 1904 Oct. 16, p. 9).
      She wrote her thesis on “Medical Science among the Chinese” (Letter of 20 Jan. 1885).
      “After a three years' course, she graduated with honors – barely of legal age to take a diploma, and had two years of post-graduate work before returning to China to practice medicine” (Oriental Review. 1913. Feb. p. 239).
      During much of the time she was studying for her medical degree, she was living at the home of Dr. & Mrs. McCartee. The McCartee Family Papers contain many details of this period. In letters to their nephew, Henry W. Rankin (in Northfield, Massachusetts) they usually refer to her by her nickname, Yüô-me, but sometimes they call her “May.”
      However, during part of this time she lived in a cheap boarding house, sharing rooms with an impoverished girl from India who was forbidden to eat meat by her religion. Eventually the poor girl “actually starved herself to death for the sake of her faith” (Prusek 1902. p. 182).
1885 Oct. – Starting in early October, shortly after graduation, she became junior resident physician in the New York Infant Asylum at Mt. Vernon, Westchester Co., New York. She kept this position until about Christmas, 1885 (Letter of 4 Nov. 1885). By 5 Oct. 1885 the family is living at 1007 13th St. N.W., Washington, DC.
1886 spring – May takes a 3-months post-graduate course in Philadelphia. She studies German with a German professor so that she can read German medical works (Letter of 29 Jan. 1886). She later says: “I was in the United States and Hawaii until 1887” (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Yamei Kin, 1913).
1887 April 1 – The family leaves their home at 1007 13th St. N.W. in Washington, D.C. travels via the Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver, then by steamer to Yokohama.
1887 July 2 – Dr. Y. May King Kin has become an expert on photo-micrography, She publishes an article titled “The Photo-Micography of Histological Subjects” in the New York Medical Journal (47:7-11. July 2). Not bad for a young woman of age 23.
1887 July – “Miss Y. May King, M.D., sailed last month for China as medical missionary at Amoy under appointment of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in America.” She is age 23 (Gospel in All Lands, July, p. 332).
1887 Aug. 20 – Miss Y. May King, M.D., is in Shirakawa, Japan, assisting in photographing an eclipse (Todd 1887, Sept. 22, p. 229-30).
1887 Aug. –“We learn that a passenger by the steamer Abyssinia, due next week, is a Chinese lady, Miss. Y. May King. M.D.,…” (Sei-i-Kwai Medical Journal, Aug. 1887, p. 167-68; reproduced from the China Mail). Note: She is probably due to arrive in China next week.
1887 Oct. 13 – The Iowa State Reporter writes on its front page: "Among the recent graduates of the Woman's Medical College in New York city, is Kin Yamei, a Chinese girl, who had taken the highest position in the class. She is an accomplished scholar, able to converse and write accurately in five languages."
1888 July 16 – Dr. Y. May King at Amoy, China, is reported to have a serious illness; cholera is present in the area (Mission Field, Oct. p. 21-22).
      Also: “In 1888 she went to Amoy under the auspices of the Women's Board of the Dutch Reformed Church and stayed there until 1889 when – contracting malaria – she took residence in Japan and worked in connection with the Southern Methodists at Kobe” (Wong and Wu. 1936. History of Chinese Medicine, p. 488).
      In Amoy they found “a very strong anti-Chinese feeling on the part of several of the Amoy Missions,… [and the] Medical missionary who was the med. adviser and attended the mission did not approve of 'women doctors.'” The mission “would not offer Y.M. [Yamei] a house in any of their houses or give her the least aid or support in her hospital.” Bitter medicine for her. By March 1889 she is back in Japan (Letter of 16 March 1889).
1888 Nov. – “It is with great regret that the Board announces that Miss Y. May King, M.D., has resigned her position at Amoy, and severed her connection with the mission” (Mission Field, Nov. p. 19).
      Another version: After graduate studies in the United States, she returned to China. “Surgeon in China ten years: For ten years she practiced surgery in South China, Japan, and Hawaii, and had so much to do that her health broke down. Then she came to Southern California” (New York Times, 1904 Oct. 16, p. 9).
      Another version: In late 1889, after contracting malaria, “she went to Japan and worked in connection with the Southern Methodists (Chinese Medical Journal. April 1934, p. 414).
1889 Jan. – “But Yamei Kin never forgot her motherland and felt it her duty to help improve China's backward medical technology and conditions. This vocation compelled Kin to give up her well-paid, prestigious work and comfortable living conditions in the US and return at the end of 1888 to China. She first of all worked with the churches of Xiamen practicing medicine, but a year after arriving fell ill with malaria. As she was alone and in the worst possible climate, Kin left for Japan where she could receive better treatment. When she recovered, Kin worked and practiced medicine at the Christian missionary [college?] in Kobe, Japan.
      “In January 1889, Yamei Kin was invited to take charge of medical treatment of women and children in the Kobe area. She arrived in Kobe on 4 Dec. 1889. To this end she first set up a women and children's clinic in a Japanese barracks and later at her home in Kobe. Running the clinic was demanding work as she had to take on the roles of doctor, nurse and clerical assistant at a time when epidemics were rife in Kobe. Kin treated patients and did much to curb the spread of diseases. She also gave lectures to local doctors, helped midwives in the village where she lived build classrooms and taught them more modern medical skills. All her efforts helped local hospitals to progress. During the five years Kin practiced medicine in Kobe, she won high esteem and honor from the public” (All-China Women's Federation. 2010. “First woman overseas student of modern China and legend in her own time”; Letters of 30 March 1890 and of 13 June 1893).
      Dr. Kin’s work on behalf of women in the Kobe area of Japan lasted from 1890 to 1894, “when she resigned to be married, leaving Japan immediately” (Bonnell 1917).
1894 – Yamei Kin, M.D. and Hippolytus Laesola Amador Eca da Silva are married in Yokohama, Japan (San Francisco Call, 1904 Aug. 13. p. 14).
      In Yokohama, they are married in the English Consulate, by the English Consul. Dr. Kin has a marriage certificate. From there they go directly to Hololulu, Hawaii, where they stay for a little less than two years (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913).
      Some background from an Eca da Silva family genealogy: “Hippolyttus Laesola Amador Eça da Silva. Born in the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, Aug. 13, 1870. Father was Portuguese, mother, Emma, of Spanish extraction. Married: (1) Ya Mae Kim [sic, Kin], M.D.” “Only hear-say information is available on H.A. Eça da Silva's early background. His parents during his early years were presumed to be reasonably well off, since there were servants in the home. As a young man, he went to Milan, Italy for musical training. His own records state that he studied under J.M. Pinetti. Eça da Silva was an accomplished musician on the piano and violin. Before coming to the United States, he had been an accompanist for an Italian tenor on a world tour; and, as he told, the director of the Emperor's band in Japan. He taught the bandsmen 'western musical notation.' What brought him to California in 1894 is not known” (McGaw 1977).
      Also: “In 1894 she married the Spanish-Portuguese musician and linguist da Silva, a son being born to her in 1896” (Wong and Wu. 1936. History of Chinese Medicine, p. 488).
      Also: Hipolite Eca da Silva, a Portuguese from Macao, had lived in China (Ngai 2010, p. 81).
      Note: We have been unable to determine how Yamei Kin met Mr. Eca da Silva and on what exact date they were married in Japan.
1895 Feb. 15 – Yamei Kin, M.D. has recently arrived in Hawaii. She has applied to the Board of Health for a license to practice medicine, and has presented her diploma for inspection. She would like “to be registered under the name of Yamei Kin Eca da Silva.” She also presents a fine letter of recommendation to the president of the Board, from Rev. Frank W. Damon, which states (in part) that she is “a lady of true Christian character, of unusual culture and refinement and superior attainments in her profession. Her foster-parents, Dr. and Mrs. McCartee, are also esteemed friends of ours.” (Hawaiian Gazette, p. 7, col. 1).
      The Medical Record (24 Aug. 1895, p. 271) reports that Dr. Y. May King had “been in practice in Kobe, Japan. Recently Dr. King married Mr. H. Eça da Silva, and went with her husband to Honolulu, where she now resides. ”
1895 – Alexander Amador Eca da Silver is born in Honolulu, Hawaii, the first (and only) child of Dr. Yamei Kin and Mr. H.L. Eca da Silva (New York Chinese Exclusion Index).
      Note: We have been unable to determine the exact date of his birth in 1895 (it was probably in about November), or to find a birth certificate – although Alexander’s mother says in 1913 she has one.
1896 May 9 – Mrs. Eca Da Silva [Yamei Kin] and her child depart from Hawaii for San Francisco on the Oceanic Steamship Australia (Hawaiian Gazette, May 12, p. 8, col. 2). Her husband departs for San Francisco on July 7, alone – about 2 months after his wife and child. Dr. Kin and her son soon move to the Los Angeles area.
1896 Oct. 18 – “Dr. Kin Eca da Silva, a Chinese medical missionary,” gives her earliest known public lecture. It is in Tustin, Orange County, California, at the Presbyterian Church, on Sunday evening (Los Angeles Times, Oct. 15, p. 11).
1897 April 4 – “Mrs. Kin Eca da Silva, M.D, a graduate with highest honors of the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, will speak in the Presbyterian Church on Sunday evening concerning missionary work in China and Japan” (Los Angeles Times, April 4 (Sunday), p. 22).
Background: In the 1640s Manchu Tribes, from in and around Manchuria, invaded, conquered and occupied China. In 1644 they established the Manchu/Qing dynasty, which ruled with an oppressive hand. Then came the European colonial powers which wanted to “open” China to trade with the West. The British exported so much tea from China that its cost threatened to bankrupt England. So the British started to grow opium in India and sell it (illegally) in China at high prices to pay for their tea. The Chinese tried valiantly to keep out the opium, but the British insisted on their right to sell it. This led to the first (1839-1842) and second (1856-60) Opium Wars in China; the British won both and demanded huge indemnities (payments of money). The Taiping Rebellion (1851-1864) and the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1900) made matters worse, so that by the 1900, with the Dowager Empress on her Dragon Throne, the Manchu dynasty was bankrupt, in turmoil, and in its death throes. Chinese patriots (such as Sun Yat-sen), hoping to take back their country, began to organize rebellions.
1897 July 14 – “Dr. Kin Eca da Silva stirred the hearts of all his [sic, her] hearers by his story of the degradation of oriental women, so often told by missionaries, and always of such painful interest to the happy and respected women of the western world.
      “The great difficulty in reaching the hearts of the oriental women lies in the fact that they are sunk in stolidity and sensuality, the abject slaves of their lords and masters… It was an old story to most of the women who heard it, for it touched the hearts of the difficulties encountered by missionaries in oriental countries, but the interest with which they listened was as keen as though the problem had never before been considered, and the approval was unqualified for the speaker's earnest plea for the prayers of all Christian women for the emancipation of their sisters in bondage” (Los Angeles Times, July 14, p. 6).
1899 mid-Nov. – Dr. McCartee is feeling sick and overloaded in Japan; he leaves for San Francisco.
1900 July 17 – Dr. Divie Bethune McCartee, foster-father of Yamei Kin, dies in San Francisco, California, at age 81, after 56 “years of faithful service to the Far East” (Speer 1922, p. 22).
      His faithful wife, who with him to the last, takes the body of her husband (presumably by train) across the United States and has it buried in the family burying plot in Newburgh, New York (The Christian Intelligencer. 1900. Aug. 29, p. 560). He is buried on 31 July 1900 in the family plot (Lot NW 226) at St. George’s Cemetery, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, in Newburgh, New York. His father (after reburial on 23 May 1903) and mother (1921) were later buried in the same plot (Heather Georghiou. 2016, Jan 12, pers. comm.; St. George’s Burial Book 1. 1900. July 31).
1902 Feb. – Yamei Kin writes her earliest known article, “The Pride of His House: A Story of Honolulu’s Chinatown,” which is published in the Overland Monthly (Vol. 39, p. 655-659). A woman has been married for many years to a man named Ah Sing, who is the last of his branch of the clan; but they have no children. She finds a “handmaid” for her husband who can bear him a child to carry on the family name and duties to the ancestors. The story ends: "She looked down with such maternal pride and tenderness at the little one, who had at last gone to sleep in her arms! Her child – truly the child of love and sacrifice, who should care for and honor her old age, who redeemed her husband, Ah Sing, from being the mock and reproach of his family – Ah Sing, who had been so good and kind to her all these years, and of whom she was so fond and proud."
      An illustration (on the last page) shows Ah Sing walking hand-in-hand with his young son.
      Note that Dr. Kin has stopped using the surname “Eca da Silva.” Accompanying this article is the first photograph we have of Dr. Kin – a very attractive one.
      Note: This article may have signaled her transition from Christianity to Confucianism – although (she believes) the latter is not a religion, but “a system of ethics or philosophy.”
1902 March 28 – Dr. Yamei Kin leaves San Francisco on the steamer America Maru on a trip to chaperone three fashionable San Francisco young ladies on a six-month trip to Japan via Hawaii. The three fashionables are Miss Yattie Dubois, Miss Laura Voorman and Miss Kate Atkinson (Pacific Commercial Advertiser {Honolulu}, 1902. March 28; San Francisco Chronicle. 1902. Sept. 3, p. 9).
      Weary of her husband, she leaves their eight-year-old boy in charge of persons in Berkeley, California (San Francisco Call. 1904 Aug. 13. p. 14, col. 4).
      Dr. Kin left her young son, Alexander, with Walter Afong’s family in Berkeley (San Francisco Chronicle. 1904. Aug. 13, p. 10).
1902 Sept. 1 – Dr. Yamei Kin [called “Dr. Yamai Kim” in the article] returns to San Francisco alone after her trip to Japan on the steamer Hongkong Maru. She has trouble landing because [she has no passport and] on the passenger list her name appears as “Miss Dr. Yamai Kim,” whereas she is still married to Mr. Eca da Silva, although divorce proceedings are now in progress (San Francisco Chronicle. 1902. Sept. 3, p. 9). A large photo shows Dr. Kin wearing a Chinese robe.
      At About this time, her son, Alexander, starts to attend school – a public school in San Francisco (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913). Yet if he lived in Berkeley, how did he get to school and back each day, unless he boarded at the school? Or is “in San Francisco” shorthand for “in the San Francisco Bay Area”?
1903 Jan. 10 – The Ebell Club (a woman's club in Los Angeles) announces a series of Four Lectures of Things Oriental by the noted Chinese woman Dr. Yamei Kin. The cost of the four lectures is $1.00. (Los Angeles Times, p. 1).
      These lectures must be an important source of income for Dr. Kin and her son, Alexander. It is unclear whether or not her son, born in 1895, accompanied her on this lecture tour.
1903 March 6 – Dr. Yamei Kin gives a talk to the Los Angeles Medical Association about the practice of medicine in China and the vigor and vitality of most Chinese. The Los Angeles Times (March 7, p. 12) comments: “It was a remarkable thing to see Dr. Yamei Kin stand before the Los Angeles County Medical Association last night,… Her language is of the purest Anglo Saxon, rich and beautiful in modulation, and her rhetoric is near perfection. She possesses a keen sense of humor, and never permits an opportunity to escape unimproved. Her face lights up with pleasure and often develops into a broad laugh.
      “Her audience laughed many times and applauded her sallies, which were always delivered with faultless taste and refinement. The face and dress of the speaker were the only evidence of her nationality.”
      "She said she had been very kindly received in her medical practice in Peking, and told of her successful treatment of the wife of the Governor. She said:
      “'So pleased was the Governor that he sent me home in his official Sedan chair, accompanied by his full retinue of officials, conferring on me the honor of being the only woman ever known to ride in the official conveyance of China. As some of the people expressed it – he took me home just like a man.'”
1903 May 3 – Dr. Yamei Kin gives her first lectures east of the Mississippi River – in Chicago – and her first lectures to women’s clubs. A photo shows her dressed “in Royal manchu costume.” She “is almost literally a woman with two native countries – two countries to which she owes tender allegiance and that lie close to her heart.”
      “'I love both America and China dearly,' says the little, slender woman, sweet voiced and charming, who has earned unusual distinction in two lands and in two fields of learned and studious endeavor.”
      “'I have spent almost as much time in America as in China, and I am sure I am thoroughly American in many things, although I am proud of the fact that I am a pure bred Chinese woman – a member of the literary class'” She says: “I have never passed five consecutive years in a single place, or lived three years in a single house,…” (Chicago Tribune, p. 47).
      In November 1903, she is still lecturing – to large audiences in and around Chicago.
1904 Jan. – Dr. Kin is now in Boston, lecturing to women’s clubs. She has begun to move among the highest levels of American society. The Boston Sunday Globe writes (Jan. 10, p. 37): “She is so many-sided and yet so simple, so serious and yet so full of vivacity when she speaks to one, that it is no wonder that those who meet her are charmed with Dr. Yamei Kin.” She “has succeeded so admirably in impressing Boston club women with the piquancy and cleverness of the women of her race, that were her visit here to be long enough extended, she would become quite the fad of the hour among them.”
      “How did it happen that Dr Yamei Kin came to Boston?
      “She came at the bidding of a rich and popular woman who delights in surprising the public with new things.
      “At her Fenway palace, about a month ago, Mrs. John L. Gardner first introduced this young Celestial woman to Boston society.”
      “Her home is in Ning Po, where she was born. She had received an English education before coming to this country, so that she was fully equipped to take the entrance examinations required by her alma mater. After receiving her degree, she returned to China, where she practiced medicine. She has recently arrived in America from Japan, where she has resided seven years.
      “On her return to China she intends to instruct her people by means of lectures in the ways and manners of American life.”
1904 March 24 – She is in Washington, DC, where she “delivered a lecture at the residence of Senator Kean before an audience representative of all that is best in Washington society... She is now making a tour of the United States trying to create a wider interest and sympathy between the women of these distant lands” (Washington Post, March 25, p. 7).
1904 April 10 – Dr. Kin first mentions soyfoods or soybeans. In an article titled “Chinese Food Products: Beans a Leading Article of Food in China” the New-York Tribune reports that she discussed soy sauce and bean cake [tofu].
1904 April 23 – After returning to lecture in Boston (to glowing praise in the Boston Evening Transcript), she headed west to visit St. Louis, Missouri, and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition [“1904 World’s Fair”] and lecture to a women’s club (Waterloo Daily Reporter{Iowa}, June 4, p. 10).
1904 Aug. 12 – Yamei Kin and her husband are officially divorced in San Francisco by Superior Judge Hunt “in a case that has probably never found its equal in this city…” The husband is the plaintiff; he initiated the divorce on the grounds of desertion. Yamei Kin is given custody of their one child, Alexander, and is allowed to change her name back to Dr. Yamei Kin.
      “The plaintiff in the case is Hippolytus Laesola Amador Eca da Silva and the defendant Yamei Kin Eca da Silva. He was a Chinese interpreter employed by the Government… Her husband was not 'up to date,' according to his testimony yesterday, and she, declaring herself a 'new woman,' left him.
      “The plaintiff was a son of Portuguese and Chinese parents, and married his wife in Yokohama, Japan, in Nov. 1894. They came to San Francisco, where she wearied of him in 1902. She went back to Japan and left their eight-year-old boy in charge of persons [Walter Afong’s family] in Berkeley. When she returned to San Francisco Da Silva met her and asked her to live with him again, but she declined on the ground that she had lecture engagements to fill in the East” (San Francisco Call, Feb. 21, p. 33; San Francisco Call, Aug. 13. p. 14, col. 4; San Francisco Chronicle, Aug. 13, p. 10).
1904 Sept. 21 – The Associated Press breaks a scandalous story about H.L. Eca Da Silva titled “Arrested in St. Louis. Interpreter’s Trouble.” He is ordered to be removed to San Francisco where he will be arraigned “on a charge of importing women into the United States for immoral purposes.” “Da Silva and Tee Toy [his work partner] arrived from China on the Dorie a few weeks ago, with 207 Chinese acrobats and twelve Chinese [women] for the exposition at St. Louis. Four of the women confessed that they and their companions were slaves and were being brought to the United States for immoral purposes. The four were not permitted to land, but the eight other women were allowed to proceed” (Los Angeles Times, p. 3).
1904 Sept. 21 – Dr. Yamei Kin and her 9-year-old son, Alexander, travel from the San Francisco Bay Area to upstate New York, where she places him today in St. John’s Military School at Manlius (east of Syracuse). The Yates family, whom Dr. Kin knows and visits, lives near the school and will presumably keep an eye on him (Post-Standard {Syracuse, New York}, Sept. 21, p. 8, col. 4).
      “When Dr. Kin was last in China, about two years ago, she brought back her little son, who is now a student at Manlius School, near Syracuse. Its President is Col. William Verbeck, who, Dr. Kin says, did so much for Japan, and who himself speaks excellent Japanese. Dr. Kin herself speaks Japanese and French, besides English and Chinese” (New York Times 1904 Oct. 16, p. 9). There are 140 students at the school, which is all it will accommodate.
1904 Sept. 26 – Dr. Yamei Kin will speak at an international peace congress in Boston. The Boston Globe writes that after receiving her medical diploma in New York about 10 years ago, “she returned to China, where she practiced medicine for eight years… She speaks English with great fluency, and this, combined with her natural charm of manner, makes her a favorite with all who come in touch with her” (p. 5). She actually spoke, with many others, on about Oct. 5 in the Park Street Church in Boston (Oct. 6, p. 8, col. 2).
1904 Sept. 28 – The Associated Press runs a second story about the arrest of H.L.A. Eca Da Silva in St. Louis (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 28, p. 3).
1904 Sept. 30 – More bad press for Mr. Eca da Silva.
"Coincident with the arrest of H.L. Eca da Silva and Lee Toy, charged with importing women into this country for immoral purposes, comes the revelation that Da Silva was engaged to be married to two young women. To one of these, Miss Agnita Burbank, a stenographer employed in the Chinese Bureau, he confided some of his plans. In turn Miss Burbank kept him posted regarding developments on this end. The correspondence is in the hands of the Federal officials. Da Silva was released yesterday afternoon on $5000 bonds, furnished by a surety company," The other girl was pretty 17-year-old Carmen Averreto, to whom he had given a ring. A photo shows Miss Agnita Burbank. An illustration, as part of the same collage, shows two Chinese girls (San Francisco Call, Sept. 30. p. 1).
1904 Oct. 16 – The New York Times (p. 9) publishes a superb feature story about Dr. Yamei Kin, the secrets to her charm, and missing pieces in the story of her early life. Dr. Yamei Kin is now visiting Mrs. McCartee in Madison, New Jersey.
1905 Feb. 4 – The Oakland Tribune (California, p. 7) reports that Lee Toy and H. Eca da Silva “were acquitted last week in the charge of having brought Chinese women into this country for illegal purposes.”
1905 Feb. 18 – Dr. Kin’s skill and versatility as a speaker is described in a humorous article in the New York Times (p. 7) titled “Little Dr. Yamei Kin Answers Socialists: Chinese Woman Tickles Cooper Union Crowd with Replies. Tells Anecdotes Too.”
1905 Feb. 23 –Dr. Yamei Kin “stopped in Syracuse to spend Washington's Birthday with her son, who is a student at St. John’s School. Dr. Kin leaves for China in a few weeks” (Post-Standard) (Syracuse, New York).
      “In 1905 she returned to China and traveled extensively to the far borders of Thibet, than finally settled down to government work in north China,…” (Oriental Review. 1913. Feb. p. 239).
1905 Aug. 16 – Hippolyttus Laesola Amador Eça da Silva marries again to Agnese Josephine Burbank, in San Francisco, California. He met her in about 1905 at the Chinese Bureau in San Francisco (McGaw 1977).
1905 – “Dr. Y. May King (Yamei Kin), who after an unhappy marriage had obtained a divorce in 1904, proceeded in 1905 to Chengtu in Szechwan and stayed there until 1907, and then, with the aid of a grant amounting to Tls. 20,000 [Haikwan Taels] from Viceroy Yuan Shi-K'ai, she opened a school for nurses at Tientsin City (East Gate). Here she continued until 1915 when she went as publicity agent to the United States” (Wong and Wu. 1936. History of Chinese Medicine, p. 557-558).
      “Mentor of Nursing Education: Yamei Kin returned to China in 1905 and opened clinics in Chengdu, among other places. During the next 20 years she practiced medicine across the country, Kin relieved the suffering of many patients, and her scrupulous medical ethics, skillful practice and amiable nature made her a popular and admired doctor of high reputation in China's medical circles.
      “Owing to the policy that the Qing Dynasty central government adopted in February 1906 of advocating schools for women, in 1907 Yamei Kin was appointed head of the Government Women's Hospital in Tianjin. One year later, Kin founded a nursing school named the Northern Medical School for Women which primarily enrolled girls from poor families in Zhili, (a northern province dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) which was dissolved in 1928 during the Republic of China period). Yamei Kin was headmistress of the school and also taught in person. It produced the earliest well-trained nurses in Tianjin. Kin thus introduced and became a pioneer of nursing education in China.
      “The Northern Medical School for Women taught two two-year courses in obstetrics and nursing which included general pharmacology, public health and vaccinations. Students learned theory in the classroom and also practical primary nursing.
      “Yamei Kin typified the progressive women in China of that time in being open to anything foreign as long as it could make the lives of Chinese people better. During the time she ran the Northern Medical School for Women, Yamei Kin introduced advanced western nursing techniques and concepts into the school's courses, promoted women's emancipation and involved herself in social services. Just as she had envisioned years before, graduates of her school began working in Tianjin's hospitals. From that time onwards women residents could entrust themselves to advanced western techniques of delivery rather than basically-equipped midwives” (All-China Women's Federation. 2010.
1905 Sept. – Isabel Cunningham, in her 1984 book Frank N. Meyer: Plant Hunter in Asia, wrote (p. 32): “En route by sea to Tientsin, at Chefoo (Yantai) Meyer called on Dr. Yamei Kin and Mrs. John L. Nevius, the widow of a medical missionary who had introduced Western fruit trees there. These ladies, friends of David Fairchild, shared their considerable knowledge of the flora of northern China and showed Meyer several fine gardens. They also invited him 'to take many a cup of tea' and to eat a typical Chinese Dinner.”
1906 – Yamei Kin appoints Beach Thompson to be guardian of her son, Alexander, while Dr. Kin is away in China. Thompson is a long-time friend and successful businessman who lives in Menlo Park, California. His wife has been a friend of Dr. Kin even longer than he has – since they were children together in Japan (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913).
1908 May – In the first of about 24 Chinese-language letters between Yamei Kin and Zhang Zhenfang, Salt Distribution Commissioner of Changlu, Tientsin, China, Dr. Kin sends her report of a survey for the site of a nurses’ training school and a hospital. Here we first learn that Dr. Yamei Kin was also known by another name – Jin Yunmei. This name is valuable in electronic searching.
1909 Aug. 29 – We next hear of Dr. Yamei Kin when she is visited in Tientsin by Frank G. Carpenter of the Chicago Daily Tribune. He writes (p. A1): “Medical College for women: The only medical college for women in China is in Tientsin. It was established by Yuan Shih Kai, and it is supported out of the salt revenue. Salt is a government monopoly and one of the chief sources from which the government funds come. This medical school is an academy rather than a college. It is to train women to act as teachers in medical schools which are to be established, to fit girls as matrons for the new hospitals and as aids in the new sanitary work which is to be carried on throughout the empire.
      “The head of the college is Dr. Yamei Kin, a Chinese woman of 25 or 30 years [actually 45], who was educated in the United States.”
      “'As it is now, we do not claim to be a college. We are rather a medical academy, and we give such an education as is common in England and America for district visiting nurses. The institution is supported by the government and the tuition is entirely free. Our students will enter the government service as soon as they graduate, and they will work for the government for a fixed number of years. For this they will receive salaries and afterward, if they wish to practice as physicians they will always have more than they can do.'”
      “She spent a part of her life in Washington, and came here with a strong endorsement from President Roosevelt” (Carpenter 1909).
      Dr. Kin later tells the other side of the story when she is in the USA: “A hospital, dispensary and medical school are in existence. How they came into being is characteristically Chinese. Land, on which were some very ancient buildings, was allotted to Dr. Kin for her new organization, with no assured revenue. That was the government's part: she was to do all the rest. 'You must make your own plans and carry your scheme to success.'
      “This meant that she had to be her own architect and engineer and carry out the work with the aid of a few ordinary workmen. There were the water supply to be planned and sanitary work to be done, as well as demolishing some of the old buildings, replacing them with new ones and adapting others to her purpose. The transformation was worked.”
      “Her students enter for a two or three years’ course: their method of life is Chinese, also their food, which Dr. Kin shares with them in order that she may be the first to complain if anything should be wrong” (Atoona Mirror {Pennsylvania}. 1911. Aug. 29, p. 7).
      In 1911: “A class of 23 pupils was pursuing a two-year course of study” (King 1911, p. 89-90).
1909 June – Alexander Kin first appears in the Haversack, the school yearbook at St. John’s Military School in Manlius, New York. He is a private in ‘C’ Company.
1911 Jan. 22 – Frank N. Meyer, USDA Plant Explorer, now in China, comments on a note by Dr. Yamei Kin sent to him from the USDA in Washington, DC. "And soap from the soy bean! Very interesting. There probably will come a time that soy beans are also given a nobler use in the United States than mere forage or green manure." (Letters of Frank N. Meyer. See p. 1190).
1911 Jan. 22 – Dr. Yamei Kin is back in the United States. Her ship arrived at Ellis Island (New York) from Liverpool. She is escorting her protégé, who recently graduated from the nursing school, Miss Pai Hsiu Lan, to continue her medical studies in the USA at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. Soon they arrive in Maryland. “Dr. Kin, who is head of the Woman's Medical Department of North China and head of a nurse's training school, a women's dispensary and hospital for infants, obtained her professional degree in this city in 1885, when she was graduated from the Women's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, which now is a part of the Cornell Medical College.
      “With Dr. Kin is her protégé, Miss Hsui Lan Pai [sic], a Manchu young woman, who recently was graduated from the nurses' college, of which Dr. Kin is the head. Miss Pai will study English and when sufficiently acquainted with the language will enter the Johns Hopkins Medical College.
      “Dr. Kin will pass about three months in this country, her purpose being to study the latest methods in hospital administration and improvements in hospital equipment. She has accepted invitations to lecture.”
      Dr. Kin has been invited to stay at the home of Mrs. Franklin MacVeigh, wife of the Secretary of the Treasury [on Sixteenth street in Washington, DC] (The Evening Post {Frederick, Maryland}, p. 1).
1911 Feb/March – Dr. Yamei Kin speaks to groups of Chinese students studying in American Universities. Summaries of her talks are published in the Chinese Students’ Monthly. The April 10 issue says that she is now lecturing in England.
1911 April 15 – An article in the Free Press, Winnipeg (Manitoba, Canada) is the first to mention that Dr. Kin is “head of the Imperial Peiyang Women's Medical School and Hospital. Dr. Kin directs within that hospital a training school for nurses;…”
1911 April 24 – Dr. Kin speaks in Westminster, England, at the annual meeting of the Society for the Suppression of the Opium Trade (London & China Telegraph, May 1, p. 421).
1912 June – Alexander graduates from St. John’s Military School at Manlius. He is featured prominently in the 1912 yearbook, with a nice photograph next to a list of all his many accomplishments.
      He stays on for one more year to take a post-graduate course at the school (New York Chinese Exclusion Index for Alexander Eca Da Silva, 1913).
1912 Jan. 1. Background – The Manchu/Qing dynasty is overthrown. The Republic of China is proclaimed by Sun Yat-sen. But a battle for control of the Republic immediately begins. The period of warlords and the military soon follows and lasts until 1949. This is a time of turmoil in China.
1912 May 10Chicago Commerce (p. 28) announces: “Forty young Chinese women are qualifying for the medical profession in American universities through the influence of Dr. Yamei Kin.”
1912 Sept. 7 – Dr. Yamei Kin is engaged in government work. She is “head of the Imperial Pei-Yang Woman's Medical school and hospital.” She is also visiting physician to the Widows' Home, the Girls' Refuge and the Imperial Infant asylum [in Tientsin], all government institutions” (Manitoba Free Press, Women’s section, p. 2. Oriental Review. 1913 Feb., p. 239-242).
1912-1913 – During most of 1912 and until about Feb.1913 Dr. Kin is in the United States lecturing, often about the position of women in the new republic.
1913 May 9 – Yamei Kin goes to court “to have to have the name of her son, Alexander Amador Eca Da Silva, changed to Alexander Amador Kin. Mrs. Kin explained that she expected her son to aid her in the advancement of the Chinese people when he finished his education here, and that it would be an advantage in his work for the boy to bear the Chinese name. Also, she did not want him to retain the name of his father, a Portuguese, from whom she was divorced in San Francisco in 1905” [1904]. Alexander was 6 months old when he came to this country. He is now in school in New York (New-York Tribune. May 10, p. 13).
1914 Feb. 6 – Dr. Yamei Kin, of Peiyang Woman's Medical School and Hospital, presents fifteen Chinese seeds and plants to the USDA Bureau of Plant Industry. They are given SPI numbers 37069 to 37083. These include four soybeans, each with a different Chinese name: Cha tou is “Specially used for making bean curd and bean sprouts.” Huang tou is “Used for making starch and vermicelli.”
1915 Jan. Background – Japan, acting like a Western imperial power, during World War I, presented a weak China with her “Twenty-One Demands.” “The demands would greatly extend Japanese control of Manchuria and of the Chinese economy, and were opposed by Britain and the United States. In the final settlement Japan gained a little but lost a great deal of prestige and trust in Britain and the US.
      “The Chinese people responded with a spontaneous nation-wide boycott of Japanese goods; Japan's exports to China fell 40%.”
1915 July 21 – Dr. Yamei Kin arrives back in the United States, entering at New York harbor on the liner Manchuria. She is on leave for a year (New York Times, July 21, p. 20).
      On December 3 she speaks to the Chinese Students Club at Columbia University (Chinese Students’ Monthly. 1916 Jan. p. 217-18).
      A letter dated 26 March 1917 from Frank N. Meyer in China gives the address of Dr. Mrs. Yamei Kin as 500 W. 111th St., New York City.
1917 April 6 – The United States enters World War I by declaring war on Germany. Woodrow Wilson is President.
1917 May 4 – Alexander Kin enlists in the U.S. military. He is age 21 years and 7 months. He soon becomes a corporal in Company I, 107th Infantry. After graduating from college, he had worked as a clerk in a brokerage office in New York (Enlistment papers; London and China Telegraph. 1918, Dec. 30. p. 884).
1917 June 10 – A major article in the New York Times Magazine (Sunday, p. 9) titled “Woman off to China as Government Agent to Study Soy Bean: Dr. Kin Will Make Report for United States on the Most Useful Food of Her Native Land,” is the earliest document seen that describes Dr. Kin’s new line of work. “She left New York a few days ago for the orient to gather data on that humble but nutritious food [the soy bean] for the Department of Agriculture at Washington… The appointment of Dr. Kin marks the first time the United States Government has given so much authority to a Chinese. That it is a woman in whom such extraordinary confidence is now reposed detracts nothing from the interest of the story.”
      “And now Dr. Kin is going to see if her native land can teach the United States how to develop a taste for the soy bean in its numerous disguises...
      “'The world is in need of tissue-building foods,' said Dr. Kin, 'and cannot very well afford to wait to grow animals in order to obtain the necessary percentage of protein. Waiting for an animal to become big enough to eat is a long proposition. First you feed grain to a cow, and, finally, you get a return in protein from milk and meat. A terribly high percentage of the energy is lost in transit from grain to cow to a human being.”
      “We do not eat the plain bean in China at all. It is never [sic] eaten there as a vegetable, but in the complex food products – natto, tofu, miso, yuba, shoyu, and similar dishes.”
      In this article she focuses on tofu, but also mentions bean sprouts and cheese [fermented tofu] – “a cross between Camembert and Roquefort.” “A black soy bean sauce we use as a foundation for sweetmeats in China.”
      “She is the head of the Imperial Peiyang Woman's Medical School and Hospital, near Peking, which sends out district nurses to Chinese slums to teach the people right living and ways of keeping well. The Imperial Infant Asylum in Tien-tsin, the Widows' Home, and the Girls' Refuge all come under her supervision as head of the woman's hospital work of Northern China. She will return to this country in October, bringing to our Government the detailed results of her study of the uses of the soy bean as a foodstuff…”
1917 Aug. 1 – Frank N. Meyer, after sending “Chinese soybean cheese” [fermented tofu] to the USDA in Washington, DC (on 21 Nov. 1916) and getting a favorable response, writes from Hankow: "I am certainly very much interested to hear that Mrs. [Yamei] Kin has obtained a commission from the Bureau of Chemistry to investigate the bean cheese industry... a subject like this is too fascinating to leave it alone. I do not think Mrs. Kin will find that bacteria play much of a role in this bean cheese affair; it seems a mould does the work... It pleases me that you and almost everybody to whom you served the bean cheese, liked it... Did Mrs. Kin put you in touch with a New York firm of Chinese products where this bean cheese can be obtained?" (Letters of Frank N. Meyer).
1917 Sept. 27 – Dr. Yamei Kin sails to the United States from Hong Kong on the ship Princess Charlotte. The manifest states that she is age 53 and widowed. Her last permanent residence was New York. Her destination is 56 West 11th Street, New York City, New York.
      She arrives in the USA in October. In her first published interview about her 6-month trip to China she says: “Americans do not know how to get the best results from soy beans as human food. The popular method in China is to assemble or collect the protein in a white curd [tofu], which forms the basis of many palatable dishes. Fried in oil, this curd tastes like particularly delicate sweetbreads; and it contains more strength-giving qualities than even Merrie England’s prime roast beef” (Cotton Oil Press, Oct. p. 25).
      Among the things she has collected in China and sent back to USDA is “Chinese red rice, or ang-kak” for making red fermented tofu (Church 1920, p. 45-46).
1917-1918 – In the book chapter Our Agricultural Debt to Asia, Walter T. Swingle writes (1945): “As long ago as 1917-1918 Dr. Yamei Kin set up under my general supervision for the U.S. Department of Agriculture a soy bean mill in New York City in the hope of supplying tofu to increase the bulk and food value of meat dishes served to soldiers in training at near-by camps. Dr. Kin succeeded in making excellent tofu. She even served to a group of army officers a meal composed entirely of soy bean dishes! However, it proved impossible to test tofu on a large scale at that time, since we could not get priority for transportation of soy beans from North Carolina, then the nearest region where they were grown on any considerable scale.”
1918 Sept. 29 – During World War I in France, Corporal Alexander A. Kin is in Company I of the 107th Infantry Regiment. “With inspiring courage and leadership he commanded his men and was killed at their head” as he attacked a German machine gunner in the Hindenburg Line (Jacobson 1920. p. 80, 208).
      He died on 29 Sept. 1918 in Department de l’Aisne, Picardie, France. He was buried in France. She, his mother, was notified shortly after his death while she was living at 56 West 11th St., New York. (Enlistment, death and first burial records).
      Note: The Hindenburg Line was finally breached, but this was a very dark, sad day in Dr. Yamei Kin’s life.
      As she said later: “He fell at the Somme, in September, less than two months before the war’s end. I had his body moved to America. What did he die for? What did we have to do with that sickening war?” (Prusek 2002. p. 183).
1918 Oct. – In an article titled “The soy bean’s many aliases,” Sarah MacDougal writes the best, most comprehensive story about Dr. Yamei Kin’s work, after returning from China, developing foods from soybeans that are suited to American tastes. Wearing a blue silk kimono, Dr. Kin is working at the USDA Laboratory on the top floor at 641 Washington St. in New York City. She discusses soymilk, tofu, and fermented tofu. Her home is an apartment at 56 Eleventh St., New York City.
      “Dr. Kin has been trying any number of experiments with a view to boosting the bean to a bigger place commercially. In due time the results of all these experiments will be catalogued at Washington [DC]. Because she is working for the Government, Dr. Kin doesn't disclose many details about the things she is doing. All that is worth while will be public information in due time, she says.”
      “She was married in 1894 and retired to private life. Her husband died [sic] a few years later, and in order to support herself and her son, Dr. Kin embarked on a lecture tour.”
      “'My boy [Alexander] is at the front doing his bit,' she told me simply, and added: 'I want to do mine, too'” (p. 44).
      Randall E. Stross, in his 1986 book The Stubborn Earth: American Agriculturalists on Chinese soil, 1898-1937, has a section about Dr. Yamei Kin (p. 32-33): “When Kin left for China in the summer of 1917, she was supposed to study the soybean exclusively and to return to the United States in the fall to present her report. But things did not go as planned. The USDA apparently did not receive any report on soybeans.”
1918 Nov. 11 – World War I ends as Germany signs the armistice. The Allies or Triple Entente win; Germany or the Central Powers lose. There were over 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded ranking it among the deadliest conflicts in human history.
1919 April 5Millard’s Review of the Far East writes (p. 208): “Dr. Yamei Kin gave a lecture at the American Legation Guard on March 26 on 'China as a Factor in International Politics.' Dr. Kin, who is well known as a physician in this country, has had a good deal to do with the political affairs of China and was at one time Dr. Sun Yat-sen's representative in the United States.”
1919 July 6 – Yamei Kin returns to the United States, landing in San Francisco. On July 6 she sailed from Yokohama, Japan, on the s.s. China. She had been in China accompanied by Miss Lily Crane, niece of the Hon. Charles R. Crane, when he was sent on a tour of investigation in China by the U.S. government (Millard’s Review, 1919 July 7. p. 281).
1920 Jan. 7 – In the 1920 U.S. census, Yamei Kin and her foster-mother, Mrs. Joanna M. McCartee, are living together on West 11th St. in New York City. Joanna McCartee, a widow age 93, was born in Maine and both her parents were also born in Maine.
      Also in the 1920 U.S. census Hippolytus Eca Da Silva is living with his wife, Agnese, and two daughters in Fresno, California.
1920 March 5 – Dr. Kin speaks to the Chinese student club at Columbia University (Chinese Students’ Monthly, April, p. 61-62). She speaks to them again on April 2.
1920 Dec. 31 – Mrs. Joanna M. McCartee, foster-mother of Yamei Kin, dies at Englewood, New Jersey (Speer 1922, p. 23).
1920 – “After her return to China Dr. Yamei Kin made her home in Peiping, taking great interest in sociological activities like the Municipal Orphanage and the Chingho Village Experimental Centre” (Wong and Wu. 1936. History of Chinese Medicine, p. 557-558).
1921 April 21 – Alexander Kin is reinterred/reburied at Arlington National Cemetery (Arlington, Virginia; Final burial record).
1927 Aug. – Helen Wells Seymour, in A Japanese Diary, writes of her time in Peking (p. 138-139): “Afterwards we all went to Dr. Yamei Kin's house where she had invited many friends to see a Chinese shadow show given in her courtyard. It was fascinating. There were about fifty guests seated in the court with only Chinese lanterns for illumination. The shadow pictures represented historical events and were most clever.”
      “Tonight I’m giving a dinner party with” six people, including Dr, Yamei Kin.
      Dr. Kin must have lived in a large house in Peking.
1927 – Dr. Kin contributed recipes to a Chinese Cook Book, published by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) in Peking.
1930 Sept. 9 – P.H. Dorsett (in Peiping, China) writes to his co-worker W.J. Morse (in Dairen, Manchuria; both are USDA agricultural explorers): "One evening last week [in early Sept. 1930 in Peiping] we took dinner with Dr. Yamei Kin, and during the course of the conversation, which drifted, among other things, to soybeans and soybean products, the Doctor challenged my statement to the effect that I thought the Japanese utilized soybeans as human food more extensively than do the Chinese. She said the Chinese have a large number of soybean jams [jiang] and other products which are used extensively. Well, when you get to Peking, you will have to look these matters up. The Doctor may be right about this matter but I have my doubts" (Dorsett and Morse. 1928-1932. Agricultural Explorations…, p. 5776).
1930 Nov. 26 – Dr. Yamei King, with her friends Miss Randall and Dr. Sohtsu Kin, visit P.H. Dorsett and his daughter, Ruth, in Peiping to look at the photographs he and W.J. Morse have taken on their agricultural expedition to East Asia. Later, they have tea together (p. 6554).
1930 Dec. 10 – Dr. Yamei King visits P.H. Dorsett and his daughter, Ruth, in Peiping. She “brought with her, for us to try, a small jar of native peaches which she canned the past season” (p. 6746).
1930 Dec. 23 – With Christmas is only a couple of days away, Dr. Yamei Kin sends to P.H. Dorsett and his daughter (in Peiping) “a pan of sacred lilies and a plant of flowering almonds” (p. 6824).
1932-1934 – Jaroslav Prusek (of Czechoslovakia) visits China, staying mostly in Beijing. Much of the time he was a lodger in the home of Yamei Kin, and he later wrote a book, My Sister China, in which Yamei Kin is the main subject of four chapters. In these chapters we find one of the best biographies of Dr. Yamei Kin during her later years, of her thoughts and character during these years, and of her death.
      When Mr. Prusek (age 26) first met Yamei Kin she had retired from active practice and had a cook. When he was taken in as a lodger she did not fail to emphasize that she did so only to have company, not for the money. In her house he found a true home. She was like a mother to him. She liked to be with young people, so the author was free to invite whomever he chose to her dinners “which were famous.” She loved Japanese art. She had travelled widely in Europe and she held European art in no great esteem. “She considered it coarse and barbaric.”
      She regarded all Chinese revolutionaries, reformers and modern scholars with contempt. She felt they were incompetent and had sold out to Japan. Yuan Shikai was one man for whom she had the highest regard; he was a man of true integrity and fine character. Yuan had appointed her head of a big new hospital in Tianjin, and she had also been his family's personal physician. She had married a Spaniard from Macao; their marriage was not a happy one.
      After her son was killed at the Somme, in France, less than two months before the end of World War I, she had lived the life of a recluse in Beijing – even though she had traveled around China. She was now age 68. She could not read Chinese, although she could speak it, so she employed a lady who would read Chinese novels out loud to her. She would then translate them into English using a typewriter.
      She was a perfect example of the lao taitai, the matriarch of Chinese society. "No one would ever have dared to argue with her; her orders were sacrosanct.”
      Her home in Beijing was in a “maze of winding alleys.” In the summer, her courtyard was “half overgrown with vines and wisterias.” She invited in itinerant actors and a blind singer for entertainment inside the home.
      She was a member of the board of governors of the Rockefeller Institute.
      Dr. Kin had purchased a farm in Haidan, northwest of central Beijing, solely to be her final resting place. She wanted her grave to be uncrowded, surrounded by fields.
      When she was age 50 she had come down with a serious case of breast cancer, plus pneumonia. But she survived both.
      Then one day, after being out in the freezing cold in Beijing, she developed an acute case of pneumonia. As she lay dying, her room was full of visitors, members of Beijing society. They sent for her adopted daughter who now lived in Shanghai – of whom she had often spoken.
      At her home, there was an exhaustive search for her will, but it was never found. This surprised the author, for Dr. Kin had repeatedly made clear to him how she wanted her property to be handled. He made a sworn testimony to that effect to the court, since he was the only person with which Dr. Kin had discussed such matters before her death. The court largely followed his testimony. Her home was eventually taken over by Yanjing University (Prusek 2002).
1934 March 4 – “One of the most remarkable women that modern China has produced has passed away in the person of Dr. Yamei Kin who died in the P.U.M.C. [Peiping Union Medical College] Hospital on Sunday, March 4, 1934 [at age 70].
      “Dr. Kin was admitted to the hospital about two weeks ago suffering from a serious attack of pneumonia… The end came very peacefully… She retained her consciousness until the last moment.
      "A simple but impressive funeral service… was held in the P.U.M.C. Auditorium at ten o'clock yesterday morning, when many mourners were present. Flower tokens and scrolls surrounded the life-portrait which was placed on the stage above a cross of white flowers…”
      "Y. May King, known afterwards as Yamei Kin, was born in Ningpo, Chekiang, in 1864 the daughter of Pastor Chin Ding-yu” (Chinese Medical Journal, April 1934, p. 413-14).
      Shortly afterwards, a gravestone was erected above her grave. On the front are inscribed her name (Dr. Jin Yunmei), and the dates of her birth and death. On the rear is a commendation issued by the Education Minister of China for her various generous contributions books, money, and land.
1948 Nov. – David Fairchild, founder in 1897 and first head of the USDA Section (later Office) of Foreign Seed and Plant Introduction, wrote in Soybean Digest (p. 14-15): “Dr. Yamei Kin, an extraordinary Chinese woman whose acquaintance I had made on the boat returning from Japan [in Aug. 1902], made a visit to Washington and captivated us all by her enthusiasm over soybeans. She introduced us to 'tofu,' a delicate cheese which has not even yet attracted the attention it deserves from the American public.”
1975 – A 3-page Chinese-language biography of Jin Yunmei (Yamei-Kin) is published in: Li Youning and Zhang Yufa, eds. 1975. Jindai Zhongguo nüquan yundong shiliao, 1842-1911 [Source Materials on the Women's Rights Movement in Modern China, 1842-1911]. Taipei, Taiwan: Chuanji Wenxueshe. 2 vols.
See vol. 2, p. 1386-1388.
1979Clara's Diary: an American Girl in Meiji Japan, by Clara A.N. Whitney (edited by M. William Steele and Tamiko Ichimata) is published by Kodansha International Ltd. (353 pp.)
1983 – We first learn in an English-language document that Dr. Yamei Kin also went by another name – Jin Yunmei (Hillier & Jewell 1983, p. 20).
1998 Dec. 20 – Narita Shizuka writes an outstanding article, in Japanese, titled Aru chûgokujin josei no Kôbe ni okeru iryô dendô: Y. May Kin no zenhansei [Y. May Kin, M.D., young Chinese medical missionary in Kobe: A sketch of the former half of her life], published in Jinbun Ronkyu (Humanities Review) 3(48):174-188. Dec. 20. The bibliography contains many new and valuable references and insights into Yamei Kin’s medical work in Kobe.
2002My Sister China, by Jaroslav Prusek (translated from Czech by Ivan Vomacka) is published in English by The Karolinum Press (474 pp). The author boarded with Yamei Kin in Pekin during the last years of her life, and offers many insights into her life and character, and into the period up to and after her death.
Genealogy of Yamei Kin
Birth: 1864 at Ningpo, in Chekiang Province, China. Father: Rev. Kying Ling-yiu. He died on 4th or 5th Aug. 1866; her mother (whose name we do not know) had died a few days before her father. Thus Yamei Kin was left an orphan at age two, as was her elder brother, Ah-be, at age 5.
Adoption: In 1866 she was adopted by Dr. and Mrs. Divie B. McCartee.
Childhood names: "Yüô-me," Y. May King and You Mei King.
Marriage: Nov. 1894 Yamei Kin, M.D. and Hippolytus Laesola Amador Eca da Silva were married in Yokohama, Japan.
Divorce: 1904 Aug. 12 in San Francisco. The husband was the plaintiff; he initiated the divorce on the grounds of desertion. Yamei Kin was given custody of their one child and was allowed to change her name back to Dr. Yamei Kin.
Children: Alexander Amador Eca Da Silva, born in 1895 (probably in about November) in Honolulu, Hawaii. On 9 May 1913 his mother got his name changed back to Alexander Kin. He was killed in heroic action on 29 Sept. 1918 (during World War I) in Department de l’Aisne, Picardie, France. He was initially buried in France. On 21 April 1921 his mother had his body re-buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia, USA.
Death: 4 March 1934 (at age 70 in Peiping, China, at Peiping Union Medical College.
Burial: Haidan, northwest of central Beijing.

Click here to download the full text to open and read book Biography of Yamei Kin M.D. (1864-1934), (Also Known as Jin Yunmei), the First Chinese Woman to Take a Medical Degree in the United States (1864-2016), 2nd Ed., With McCartee Family Genealogy and Knight Family Genealogy