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Norman Gan-chao and Anne Lee Yao Papers
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Scope and Contents of the Collection
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Norman Gan-chao and Anne Lee Yao Papers
    Dates: 1943-1989 and undated
    Collection number: H.Mss.1106
    Creator: Yao, Norman Gan-chao (1913-1980)
    Extent: 11.4 linear feet (8 records boxes, 1 document box, 1 flat box)
    Repository: Claremont Colleges. Library. Special Collections, Honnold/Mudd Library, Claremont, CA 91711.
    Abstract: Norman Gan-chao 姚淦潮 (1913-1980) and Anne Lee Yao 姚李勤芳, both from China, immigrated from Hong Kong to Claremont, Califorinia in 1956 under the Refugee Relief Program with their two children, Peter Yao and Margaret. Norman Yao, a lifelong enthusiast of photography, later worked as a contract photographer with The Claremont Colleges. The collection consists primarily of Norman Yao's photographic work in Hong Kong, Claremont, and other locations and spans from the 1930s to the 1980s, including photographs, photo albums, negatives, contact sheets, and 35 mm slides. Other collection materials include postcards, official immigration and work documents, correspondence, and ephemera. The collection consists mainly of photographic work of Norman Yao in Hong Kong, Claremont, and across the world from the 1930s to 1980s.
    Physical Location: Please consult repository.
    Language of Material: Languages represented in the collection: Chinese and English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection open for research.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to reproduce or to publish must be submitted in writing to Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Norman Gan-chao and Anne Lee Yao Papers (H.Mss.1106). Special Collections, The Claremont Colleges Library, The Claremont Colleges Services, Claremont, California.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Peter Yao and Margaret Crusey, May 2017.


    No additions to the collection are anticipated.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Marcus Liu in Spring 2018 in the Claremont Center for Engagement with Primary Sources (CCEPS), with assistance from Lisa Crane and by Sean Buchanan, Special Collections student assistant in 2019. Special Collections would like to thank Peter Yao and Margaret Crusey for their generous donation to CCEPS to fund the processing of this collection.
    All photographic materials were sleeved in protective acid-free enclosures. Scrapbooks and photo albums with tight and/or damaging bindings were disbound; pages were numbered and placed into file folders by page range. Rolled and/or curved items were flattened.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Norman Gan-chao Yao 姚淦潮 (1913-1980) was born and grew up in Zengcheng County 增城縣, Canton, China. Anne Lee Yao 姚李勤芳 (1915-1971) was born in Shanghai, China. Both of them attended the University of Shanghai 滬江大學 and graduated in 1938, Norman majoring in business administration, and Anne in education. After graduation, Anne worked as a primary school teacher in Shanghai while Norman returned to Canton working as an accountant and cashier at the Eurasia Aviation Corporation, first in Kunming, then in Hong Kong. In 1943, Norman and Anne met again in Shanghai. In the same year they got married at the Shanghai YMCA where Anne was employed. The next year their son, Peter Yao, was born in Shanghai. The couple stayed in Shanghai until 1946 when they returned to Canton where Anne gave birth to their daughter, Margaret. In 1947, Anne began to work as a librarian for United States Information Service, Canton Office, while Norman was employed as the chief clerk, accountant and later manager of the Canton Office of the Hsin Dah Trading Corporation. In 1949, they moved to Hong Kong. Anne continued working as librarian for the United States Information Service, Hong Kong Office, in charge of the Library in Kowloon, while Norman worked as the Photographer and Dark Room Technician in the Investigative Section of the American Consulate General in Hong Kong.
    In 1956, sponsored by the Claremont Church, and the World Service Committee of the National Council of Churches, the Yaos immigrated to Claremont, California, under the Refugee Relief Program. Edward Lockwood 駱愛華, former YMCA World Service Executive who met the Yaos in Canton in 1947, played a major role in the Yao family's move to the United States, and subsequent settling into their new home. Soon after they arrived, Anne Lee Yao began working at the Honnold Library at The Claremont Colleges, a post she retained until her passing in 1971. Norman Yao was first employed at Grisworld's Candied Fruit Co., and later with The Claremont Colleges as a contracted photographer. Norman Yao was a lifelong enthusiast of photography, and the photographs he took in Hong Kong and in Claremont constitute the majority of the collections in the Yao Papers.

    Norman Yao's Life Events with Historical Events

    1912 Republic of China Founded
    1913 Norman Yao was born in Canton
    1934-1938 Yao attends University of Shanghai
      1937 Battle of Shanghai
    1939 World War II begins
      Yao's first wife dies
    1941 Battle of Hong Kong (Pearl Harbor)
      Yao moves back to Canton
    1943 Norman Yao marries Anne
    1944 Son, Petter Yao is born
    1945 World War II ends
    1946 Daughter, Margaret is born
    1949 Chinese Communists capture Canton
      The Yao family flees to Hong Kong
    1953 Refugee Relief Act
    1956 The Yao family moves to America
    1980 Ronald Reagan elected President of United States
      Norman Yao dies

    Scope and Contents of the Collection

    The collection consists mainly of photographic work of Norman Yao while in Hong Kong, Claremont, and other locations from the 1930s to 1980s and contains photographs, photo albums, negatives, 35 mm slides, postcards, official documents, correspondence, and ephemera.

    Organization and Arrangement

    The collection is organized into the following three series:
    • Series 1: Biographical materials, 1943-1985 and undated
    • Series 2: Photographs, 1949-1979 and undated
    • Series 3: Other photographic materials, 1967-1989 and undated
    Folders are arranged alphabetically by file name within each series.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library’s online public access catalog.

    Subject Terms

    Claremont (Calif.)
    Hong Kong (China)
    Commercial photography
    Emigration and immigration
    Yao, Norman Gan-chao

    Genre and Form of Materials

    Legal documents
    Photograph albums
    Slides (Photography)