Item No: #362880 Portrait of Medical Student Hü King Eng [Cabinet Card]. Charles Hall BoDurtha, photographer.
Portrait of Medical Student Hü King Eng [Cabinet Card]

Portrait of One of the First American-Trained Chinese Doctors

Portrait of Medical Student Hü King Eng [Cabinet Card]

BoDurtha, Charles Hall (photographer)

Notes: A full standing portrait of the second Chinese woman to study medicine in the United States; she went on to be one of the first Western trained physicians in China. This albumen print on a thin photographer's mount dates from Hü King Eng's four years as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University (1884–1888), before she went to Women's Medical College in Philadelphia. In this picture, she wears heavily embroidered Chinese-style clothing and many pieces of jewelry.

Hü (1865–1929) was the daughter of a Chinese minister at a Methodist Episcopal Church in Fuzhou and attended a Christian boarding school there. She was a promising student and was sent to study in the US, where she obtained a medical degree in 1894. After an internship, she returned to China and worked at two Christian Methodist Episcopal hospitals in her hometown, Magaw Memorial (also called Liang Au) and Woolston Memorial. She worked at the hospitals for more than two decades.

In 1908 (August 21), the Los Angeles Times reported, "In China there are now many women doctors who got their education in the United States. The pioneer of these Chinese women doctors was Miss Hu King Eng of Foo Chow... She went back to her country to be resident physician of the Liang Au hospital in 1896. At that time, she was the only native physician who understood modern medicine. There are now many women doctors in China."

While this cabinet card is not identified, your cataloguer has handled two others of Hü from this same sitting, one with an identification on the back. Hü's living descendants in the Far East have also confirmed the identification.

The first Chinese woman to earn a medical degree in the US was Kin Yamei, who graduated from the Women's Medical College of New York in 1885.

Edition + Condition: The image is sepia toned and has only medium contrast. The albumen silver print is somewhat larger in both dimensions than the other example of this particular image that I have handled. The image measures 4-1/8 by 5-3/4 inches on a 4-3/16 by 6-7/16 inch brown mount. The photographer's imprint reads "BoDurtha" and "Delaware, Ohio" on the lower portion of the mount. There is a small crack at the bottom of the image and minor chipping to the mount edges. The back of the mount is blank.

Publication: Delaware, OH: BoDurtha, [1884–1888].

Item No: #362880

Price: $1,500