Fall Lecture Series Begins at Marble House October 12

During the time Alva Vanderbilt Belmont was hosting massive “Votes for Women” rallies at Marble House, a charismatic 16-year-old woman from China played an unlikely role in the crusade for women’s suffrage.

Portrait of Mabel Ping-Hua Lee (1896–1966). New-York Endowment Tribune, April 13, 1912. Chronicling America, National for the Humanities and the Library of Congress

Hear the captivating story of Mabel Ping-Hua Lee, who inspired U.S. leaders of a movement that resulted in American women earning the right to vote, when Dr. Cathleen Cahill and The Reverend Bayer Lee present “‘Our Sisters in China are Free’: Chinese Women’s Contributions to US Suffrage,” on October 12 at 6 p.m. EDT at Marble House.

This is the first presentation in the Preservation Society of Newport County’s Fall Lecture Series. In conjunction with the exhibition “The Celestial City: Newport and China” (at Rosecliff through February 11), the series explores different aspects of the Chinese-American experience and the many ways life in Newport and America was influenced and enriched by people of Chinese heritage. To learn more about the exhibition go to https://www.newportmansions.org/events/the-celestial-city-newport-and-china/

The series moves to Rosecliff on Thursday, October 26, at 6 p.m. for “The Celestial City: A Closer Look at Treasures Illuminating China’s Contributions to Newport.” Exhibition curator Dr. Nicole Williams and collaborator Dr. Bing Huang will share insights into dazzling artworks in the show, revealing the unsung contributions of Chinese and Chinese-American individuals to life in Newport. Attendees will hear inspiring stories about the Chinese artists, merchants, immigrant entrepreneurs and women suffragists who shaped the city’s culture, economy and politics.

The series concludes Thursday, November 9, at Rosecliff with “Exclusion, Rhode Island, Kinship: Making Your Own Chinese Family.” Presented by Rhode Island Chinese history scholar Dr. John Eng-Wong, this lecture explores how laws such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, combined with social practices of the era, impacted the formation and reunification of Chinese families during the Gilded Age and beyond. Drawing from adoption archives, Chinese Exclusion-era documents, memoirs, articles and interviews with descendants, Eng-Wong will describe how exclusion unfolded in Rhode Island and illustrate how several Chinese-descent families from Providence and Newport negotiated these impacts.

These lectures can be attended in person or via Zoom, but registration is required. In-person attendance is $15 for Preservation Society members, $20 for non-members. Zoom is free for members, $10 for non-members. Go to www.newportmansions.org/events/fall-lecture-series-the-celestial-city for more information and to register.




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