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Shlakis (Zoya) Collection
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  • Biographical Information:
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Conditions Governing Access:
  • Conditions Governing Use:
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Preferred Citation:
  • Processing Information:

  • Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Zoya Shlakis Collection
    Creator: Shlakis, Zoya, 1927-2010
    Identifier/Call Number: OCH.ZSC
    Extent: 54.94 linear feet
    Date (inclusive): circa 1902-2009
    Date (bulk): 1930-1949
    Abstract: Zoya Shlakis was born in Mukden, China in 1927, to Stayses and Alexandra Shlakis. Her father was of Lithuanian descent and her mother a White Russian. The Shlakis family fled Russia for China, eventually settling in Shanghai in 1936. In 1948, as Communist forces advanced across China, the Shlakis family relocated to Taipei, Taiwan. In Taipei, Zoya acquired a visa under the 1948 Displaced Persons Act, which allowed her legal entry into the U.S. The collection consists of records documenting Zoya's life in Shanghai (ca. 1930s-1940s), correspondence with friends and family, numerous Old China Hands activities, and photographs documenting the Shlakis family from the early days in Mukden in the 1920s until 2008.
    Language of Material: English, Chinese, Russian

    Biographical Information:

    Zoya Shlakis was born in Mukden, China in 1927 to Stayses and Alexandra Shlakis. Her father was Lithuanian and her mother a White Russian. Due to the revolution and social unrest in Russia, the Shlakis family fled Russia for China. After Stayses managed to secure a position as a mechanic with the Chinese Postal Service, the Shlakis family moved from Mukden to Nanjing and eventually to Shanghai in 1936. Their lifestyle in Shanghai was by some standards unusual since, due to Stayses's job, they were given a residence inside the General Post Office of Shanghai with fully furnished quarters, servants, and access to the rooftop garden. During her time in Shanghai, Zoya was enrolled at Public and Thomas Hanbury School for Girls, participated in theater at the local British Lyceum, and joined the Army & Navy YMCA.
    Due to deteriorating conditions in Shanghai following the Second World War, the Shlakis family fled to Taipei, Taiwan in December of 1948. In Taipei, Zoya acquired a visa under the 1948 Displaced Persons Act, which allowed her legal entry into the U.S. After Zoya secured travel documents for her parents, they joined her in the United States and lived with her for the remainder of their lives in Los Angeles, California.
    Zoya remained very active in the Old China Hands community, keeping in touch with old friends, and helping organize and maintain records for the numerous Old China Hands reunions and activities over the years. Her many trips back to Shanghai document the rapid changes taking place in China's stride for modernity as well as the contrast between pre- and post-Nationalist rule. Her collection offers unique perspectives on significant events of the 20th century, including the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, living in pre-WWII Shanghai as immigrants, life under Japanese occupation, and post-war society until the rise of the Mao Zedong's communist state.

    Scope and Contents

    The Zoya Shlakis Collection consists mainly of original documents, photographs, correspondence, and ephemera relating to Zoya Shlakis's experiences growing up in China as a stateless foreigner as well as her involvement with numerous Old China Hands Reunions. The collection is divided into seven series: Mukden, Nanking, and Shanghai Memorabilia (1924-2004), Old China Hands (OCH) Reunions (1988-2009), Biographical Documents (1917-2007), Correspondence (1947-2009), Photographs (ca. 1902-2006), Ephemera (1906-2006), and Audio-Visual (ca. 1920-2006).
    Series I, Mukden, Nanking, and Shanghai Memorabilia, includes advertisements, school records, correspondence, documents, and scanned photographs with provenance relating to Zoya Shlakis's personal experience throughout China. This series mainly relates to Zoya's experience growing up in Shanghai.
    Series II, Old China Hands (OCH) Reunions, includes correspondence, pamphlets, newsletters, contact lists, and organizational records of numerous OCH Reunions. Shlakis helped organize a number of reunions as well as serving as an administrator for the 1996 Reunion in Las Vegas, Nevada. This series is arranged chronologically by reunion.
    Series III, Biographical Documents, consists of articles, scanned photographs with descriptions, correspondence, newspaper clippings, publications, and personal stories of living in Shanghai.
    Series IV, Correspondence, includes correspondence between Zoya Shlakis and friends. This series is arranged alphabetically and chronologically within.
    Series V, Photographs, contains black and white photographs of the Shlakis family living in Mukden, Nanking, and Shanghai. Many of the photographs outside of China capture the numerous OCH gatherings as well as her personal life.
    Series VI, Ephemera, consists mainly of clothing, handmade linens, handmade woodcarvings, trinkets, jewelry, silver and kitchen utensils. Some of these items were brought over from Shanghai and others purchased in the U.S.
    Series VII: Audio-visual, includes VHS and DVDs, some with commentary, from a number of OCH Reunions and the opening of the OCH Archive at CSU Northridge. This series also contains a video cassette of Shanghai stock footage (ca. 1920s-1930s), and a DVD of Zoya's media coverage at the Grand Opening of the Shanghai Post Office Museum in China.

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Mukden, Nanking, Shanghai Memorabilia, 1924-2004
    Series II: Old China Hands (OCH) Reunions, 1988-2009
    Series III: Biographical Documents, 1917-2007
    Series IV: Correspondence, 1947-2009
    Series V: Photographs, ca. 1902-2006
    Series VI: Ephemera, 1906-2006
    Series VII: Audio-Visual, ca. 1920-2006

    Related Material

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Ruth Jackson-Gosenson, 2010

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Processing Information:

    Tim Kaufler and Vicki Schmidtberger, 2012

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Audiovisual materials