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Guide to the Genny Lim Papers CEMA 34
CEMA 34  
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  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Processing Information note
  • Scope Note
  • Biographical Sketch

  • Title: Genny Lim Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: CEMA 34
    Contributing Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library, Department of Special Collections, California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 1.0 linear feet 2 document boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1982-1997

    Conditions Governing Access note

    Service copies of audiovisual items may need to be made before viewing or listening. Please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.

    Custodial History note

    Donated by Genny Lim, March 20, 1995

    Preferred Citation note

    Genny Lim Papers, CEMA 34, Department of Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Processing Information note

    Alexander Hauschild, 2007.

    Scope Note

    The Genny Lim Papers are primarily arranged according to subject matter and date. SERIES I: Personal and Biographical, contains published interviews that have been arranged chronologically, press reviews for Paper Angels that have been removed from their original binding but left according to their primary arrangement, and a photograph of the artist. SERIES II: Artist's Work has been divided into two sub-series: Literary Work and Audio Visual Work. The first sub-series contain two manuscripts that have been removed from their original bindings and a contact list for the 1982 cast of Paper Angels. The second sub-series includes a photograph and program from Paper Angels, a poster announcing La China Poblana (a multimedia performance written and performed by Lim), video of Paper Angels, five audiocassettes of the artist's music, and one compact disc of music.

    Biographical Sketch

    Born into a Chinese-American family in 1946, Genny Lim has lived most of her life in San Francisco, with the exception of four years in New York City. Her diverse education began in 1974 with a certificate in broadcast journalism from Columbia University. In 1977 she received her B.A. in creative writing (and minor in theater arts) from San Francisco State University, and in 1988, her M.A. in English.
    Lim has worked extensively in broadcast journalism, as a writer, reporter, producer and commentator. While in New York, she worked for CBS News as a broadcast associate (1972-73). Since then, Lim’s work has expanded to include playwriting, poetry, music and teaching.
    Growing up in the multicultural environment of San Francisco exposed Lim to many diverse issues and artistic styles. In addition, her family (in which she is the last of seven children) influenced her multifaceted interests. Living in Chinatown kept her rooted in Chinese culture, although her brothers and sisters introduced her to everything from Beatnik poetry to country and jazz music.
    In the 1970's Lim's work began to focus on portraying Asian-American history and experience in the United States. Sparked by the discovery of historic calligraphic poems written by Chinese immigrants awaiting processing at the Angel Island immigrant detention center in San Francisco Bay, Lim and her fellow scholars published Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940. The publication was an inspiration for Lim to venture into playwriting and her most famous play, Paper Angels premiered in 1980 at the Asian American Theater Company. In 1982, the New Federal Theatre in New York produced the play. That same year, Lim founded her own production company, Paper Angels Productions, and brought the play to the Chinese Cultural Center in San Francisco. Paper Angels was later filmed and appeared on PBS's AMERICAN PLAYHOUSE in July of 1985.
    Lim is known for her two streams of theatre work, which have followed two extreme modes of production. Various theatrical institutions have produced her traditional scripts, however, her experimental work has been developed and produced mostly by Lim herself. Paper Angels Productions has since evolved into Theatre XX (the female chromosome), a small production-oriented company devoted to new concepts and seeking alternative ways to approach theatre. Lim's additional works include plays, multimedia and interdisciplinary performances, poetry, prose and music.