Scope and Content of Collection
Title: Nancy Wey Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1850-1994 (bulk 1973-1983
Collection number: AAS ARC 2000/50
46 cartons, 15 boxes, and 1 oversize folder
University of California, Berkeley.
The Ethnic Studies Library.
Berkeley, California 94720-2360
Abstract: Contains personal correspondence, writings, research files, college materials, resumes, employment information, newsclippings
featuring Nancy Wey. Her writings include her dissertation on Mu-ch'i and Zen painting, book reviews, East West articles and
other papers relating to Asian art, Chinese American history, historical sites and Asian American issues. The bulk of the
collection, dating from 1973-1983 consists of project papers and research materials including taped interviews, data sheets,
photographs, negatives, microfilms, slides, maps, newsclippings, and printed materials from various projects relating to Chinese
Americans and historical sites mainly in California. Also contains college teaching files and related professional activity
materials including conferences, organization minutes and miscellaneous printed materials.
Collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Ethnic Studies Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts
must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Ethnic Studies
Library as owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.
[Identification of item], Nancy Wey Papers, AAS ARC 2000/50,
The Ethnic Studies Library, University of California, Berkeley.
The Nancy Wey papers were given to the Ethnic Studies Library by Nancy Wey via Mark Jenkins on February 28, 1995.
Nancy Wey was born in Boston , Massachusetts in 1931. She developed a deep interest in her mixed ancestry, particularly her
Chinese heritage through her grandfather, who arrived in California in 1885. She earned a Ph.D. in Oriental Art History, focusing
on Chinese and Japanese art, language and culture, from the University of Chicago. Wey was fluent in both Japanese and Mandarin
Chinese and received a Fulbright scholarship to study in Japan.
Her teaching experience included classes in art history, specifically Asian art, calligraphy, Asian American Studies, while
at San Jose State University, California State University at Long Beach, and San Francisco State University (1972-1982). At
San Jose, she formed an organization called Eastern Streams that consisted of artists who presented exhibitions with Asian
art and culture themes.
As Director of the Fiddletown Museum from 1977 to 1980, she researched the art and artifacts in the local Chinese buildings
from the 1850s and, between 1979 to 1981, she documented the artifacts in the Chew Kee Store in Fiddletown, Calif., the Bok
Kai Temple in Marysville, Calif., the Taoist Temple in Hanford, Calif., and the Lovelock, Nevada site.
She worked on several research projects spanning the years from 1979 to 1982 relating to Chinese American history in the United
States and California, specifically the Chinese American Historical Museum feasibility study, sponsored by the California
State Parks Foundation for the purpose of locating a site for a museum in California, with a focus on the China Camp Park;
the Chinese American Historical Biographical Dictionary Project, funded by the Ethnic Heritages Studies Program, Office of
Education in Washington, D.C., to compile a reference book of biographical data on 19th and early 20th century Chinese Americans
nationwide; and the Ethnic Minority Cultural Resources Project/Chinese American Survey, funded by the State of California,
Office of Historic Preservation, in which Wey participated on the Chinese American focus to identify approximately 50 Chinese
historical sites from among 58 counties and create a survey with supporting narrative history, photographs and oral histories
of long- time Chinese American residents.
From 1978 to 1979 Wey was a writer for East West, a bilingual Chinese American newspaper featuring articles on Chinese American
history, culture, politics, and Asian American issues.
Due to Wey's interests in the fields of art, art history, preservation, Chinese American history and experience, and Asian
American Studies, she participated in many professional and community conferences and organizations, including Asian Americans
for Community Involvement, Chinese Culture Foundation of San Francisco, Chinese Historical Society of America, and Women's
Caucus for Art.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Nancy Wey Papers contain personal correspondence, writings, research files, college materials, resumes, employment information,
and newsclippings featuring Nancy Wey. Her writings include her dissertation on Mu-ch'i and Zen painting, book reviews, East
West articles and other papers relating to Asian art, Chinese American history, historical sites and Asian American issues.
The bulk of the collection, dating from 1973-1983, consists of project papers and research materials including taped interviews,
data sheets, photographs, negatives, microfilms, slides, maps, newsclippings, and printed materials from various projects
relating to Chinese Americans and historical sites mainly in California. It also contains college teaching files and related
professional activity materials including conferences, organization minutes and miscellaneous printed materials.
Wey's deep interest in Chinese American history grew out of respect for her own grandfather's life experiences. Wey's grandfather
came from China to California in 1885 at the age of sixteen to work in his uncle's lumber mill and make his fortune. Upon
arrival, he learned his uncle had died and he was left without money or relatives in a strange land. He struggled as a laborer
in the harsh California frontier and faced growing anti-Chinese sentiment and violence. He met fellow Chinese laborers who
toiled in building the railroads or worked as cooks and laundrymen in the camps. These tales of survival from her grandfather
had a great impact on Wey. Through her writings for
East West and research projects from 1977 to 1982, she sought to uncover the "true" history of Chinese Americans and their contributions
to the State of California. In the Chinese American Survey and the Biographical Dictionary Project, Wey compiled biographical
data, interviews, and oral histories from Chinese Americans to document their own memories of their family histories. She
also gathered volumes of census data and notes on occupations of the Chinese population throughout California from 1860 to
1900. As a result of her research on Chinese American historical sites, Wey files contain correspondence, documents, copies
of photographs, slides and printed materials from historical societies and archival resources throughout the California counties.
The research files also include Wey's own cassette tapes of interviews, photographs and slides of Chinese American historical
sites and artifacts.
Wey's knowledge of Chinese art and language is reflected in her inventories, descriptions and translations of Chinese ceramics
and artifacts for projects in California relating to Fiddletown's Chew Kee Store (Amador County), Hanford's Taoist Temple
(Kings County), and Lovelock (Butte County).
Wey was an active participant in professional activities associated with her interest in the arts, art history, Asian American
studies, Chinese American historical sites, Asian American concerns, women's issues, and education. This is evident in the
collection through her many conference presentations and numerous organization materials.
The collection also contains Wey's teaching files from the California State Universities in San Jose, Long Beach, and San
Francisco (1972-1982) that show Wey's participation in the academic and art communities. While teaching at San Jose she formed
Eastern Streams, an artists' collaborative that organized exhibits focusing on Asian art and culture themes. The files include
correspondence, information related to classes in art history, art, and Asian American studies, and materials of various campus
organizations. There are also correspondence and documents relating to several grievance cases concerning her teaching appointments.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Bok Kai Mui (Marysville, Calif.).
Chinese Americans--California--Societies, etc.
Historic sites--United States.
Chinese Americans--History--Pictorial works.
China Camp State Park (Calif.).