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About this collection

The You Chung Hong Family Collection contains a selection of digitized items from several distinct archival collections that were created by Y. C. Hong and his family. As an ongoing digitization project curated by staff members of the Manuscripts and Rare Books Departments, the You Chung Hong Family Collection seeks to make available online a wide selection of archival materials that are of high evidential value, including photographs, motion picture films, manuscripts, correspondence, architectural drawings, immigration case files, artifacts, and printed ephemera. This collection offers a rare and multifaceted insight into one of the most prominent Chinese American families in Los Angeles during the Chinese Exclusion era.


Known as the first Chinese person to pass the California Bar Exam in 1923, You Chung (Y. C.) Hong (1898 – 1977) was a successful immigration lawyer, tireless champion of Chinese American rights, founding member of the Los Angeles New Chinatown, and served as grand president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and chairman of the Chinese Times Publishing Company. Regarded as one of the leading authorities on Chinese immigration, he was invited to give testimony on several occasions in Washington D. C. in congressional and presidential commission hearings. During Y. C.’s lifetime, he has facilitated and worked on at least 7,000 immigration cases. He was married to Mabel Hong, and together they had two sons, Nowland and Roger.


Mabel Hong (1907 – 1998) was an active community leader in the Los Angeles area and homemaker to a large extended family. As one of the earliest Chinese American women to receive a college education from Oregon State Agricultural College, Mabel married Y. C. in 1931. In addition to her duties as a homemaker, Mabel served in leadership roles in the Chinatown chapter of the American Women’s Volunteer Services during World War II, the Chinese Women’s Club of Los Angeles, and the Kuun Ying Club. She was a major influence in the design of the three new Chinatown buildings that were commissioned by Y. C. Hong.


Nowland C. Hong (1934 - ) is the eldest son of Y. C. and Mabel. He is a graduate of Pomona College and the University of Southern California School of Law. After passing the California State Bar exam in 1961, Nowland was appointed Deputy City Attorney of Los Angeles by then City Attorney Roger Arnebergh. He has also served as the Chief General Counsel for the Board of Harbor Commissions of the City of Los Angeles. Nowland is currently in private practice. In addition to his professional duties, Nowland was president for the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association and grand president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.


Roger S. Hong (1941 – 2006) was the youngest son of Y. C. and Mabel. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Architecture and a M.S. in City and Regional Planning. Certified in many states as a licensed architect, some of Roger’s notable architectural projects include the expansion of the California Exposition and State Fair (Sacramento, CA), Thomas and Mack Center (Las Vegas, NV), the United Bank headquarter (Los Angeles, CA), Kunlun Hotel (Beijing, China), Chieh Shou Sports Park (Taipei, Taiwan), and various buildings and facilities in and around the Los Angeles area. After he co-founded the architectural firm Arechaederra Hong Treiman Architects in the late 1970s, Roger retired from architecture in early 1990s and devoted himself to preserving the Hong family history, the restoration and preservation of Los Angeles Chinatown, and various charitable causes.

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