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The Chinese Lady – Afong Moy in Early America - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The Chinese Lady: Afong Moy in Early America

Nancy E. Davis


This book encompasses the life of Afong Moy, the first known Chinese female sojourner in America. Brought to this country by American merchants in 1834, she traveled the country on bound feet as an advertisement and attraction for their Chinese imported wares. Cast by the national press as an exotic curiosity, she also provided insight on Chinese life and material culture to the general public as well as to American presidents and politicians. The everyday goods Afong Moy promoted were widely adopted by the middle class, but acceptance of these goods did not extend to her acceptance as a Chine ... More

Keywords: Afong Moy, Chinese woman, 1834, American president, material culture, P. T. Barnum, Chinese goods, slavery, nativism, Cuba

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2019 Print ISBN-13: 9780190645236
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190645236.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Nancy E. Davis, author
curator emeritus, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution