Inez Lung Lee Photograph Album
An Inventory of the Collection
Inez Lung Lee was resident of Austin, Texas who was known for her missionary work in China. She was born on April 18, 1900 to Joe and Dora Lung in Calvert Texas. Her sisters were Lula and Anne, and the sons in the family were Jesse, Jim, Arthur, John, Sam and Charlie. The family moved to Austin in 1906. Joe Lung ran the Lung Cafe originally located at 204 Congress Avenue. Inez was selected as the 'scholar' of the family attended school at St. Mary's Academy, while her siblings attended Palm School. As a child she attended services at the First Baptist Church with friends of the family. In 1909, Joe's brother and the children's uncle Fong, who had been living with the family in Austin, took Anne, Arthur and John back to China. There, Anne married and had children. In 1919 Inez graduated from St. Mary's and received a scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin. She earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Master's degree in History in 1927. While at UT she was a member of the Fidelis Sunday School Class of the First Baptist Church, taught by Mrs. J. E. Williamson. With the encouragement of Mrs. Williamson, she decided to become a missionary and studied at the Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Foreign Mission Board would not appoint Inez as a missionary to China, explaining that her Chinese heritage would make it too complicated, so Inez taught in Austin. Then, with the help of Mary Alexander, a missionary to China on leave in Austin, she became a teacher for Bible studies and English at the Pooi To Baptist Academy. This school, the largest school for girls in China, was located in Canton. Inez became known as Miss Inez Lung Chou, based on her father's name (Chou Lung) before it had been Americanized. She remained a missionary and teacher in China until 1958. While in China, Inez was able to reunite with her sister Anne and meet extended family members.
Inez returned to Austin on furlough in 1934. During World War II she had to leave Canton for Hong Kong, and by 1943 she was ordered by the U.S. Embassy to return to America because of Japanese encroachments in China. She was reunited with her family in Austin in December that year. During this time home she spoke at Austin area churches, at the University, and to Rotary and other clubs. She also spoke in other states, giving more than 600 talks in two and a half years. She returned to China in 1946. With the spread of Communism, the school had moved to Hong Kong; the last remaining missionary in Canton left in 1950. Inez returned to Austin for her third sabbatical in 1952 but was back in Hong Kong by 1953.
After some bouts with illness, she retired and returned to Austin permanently in 1958. Soon she was introduced to Wah Foon Lee, a widower from New Haven, Connecticut, and they married in 1959. They lived at 1603 Sylvan Drive in Austin. She continued to be active with the First Baptist Church. She died in 2004.
177 black-and-white photographs document Inez Lung Lee of Austin, Texas and acquaintances from 1928-1932. It is unclear exactly who created the album, but it is attributed to Inez Lung Lee as she appears in some of the photos. Most of the photos are portraits and snapshots of people. Most are unidentified but all of the people pictured are Chinese (or Asian American). Inez Lung Lee is identifiable in some photos, including group portraits with other teachers and possibly students. Some photos have captions in English and some have captions in Chinese. The people who are identified (in English) include Herman (Inez's boyfriend while she was at UT), C.Y. Wong, "Anna," Lawrence Tom, and Kenneth Lee. Some of the snapshots were taken aboard the S.S. President Lincoln, most likely of the Dollar Steamship Company, which sailed between San Francisco and Asia. One of the group portraits is labeled "After the Morning Sermon," and is likely a group Christian converts or students. There are a few photos of young boys in scouting uniform. Besides the images of people, there are views of Chinese landscapes and architecture. Several buildings are pictured, but few are identified. One building is captioned as the Sun Ah Hotel, and the sign on the building reads "New Asia Hotel." Another photo depicts a man between two Buddhist-style statues and is labeled as taken in the Winter Palace.
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The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Restrictions on Use
Open to all users.
The album was donated anonymously, so custodial history is unknown. It was originally attributed to AR.1991.076, The Desk and Derrick Club of Austin Scrapbooks, but no connection between this album and that collection could be ascertained so it was separated from that collection.
Inez Lung Lee Photograph Album (AR.2012.028), Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: unknown
Donation Date: unknown
Finding aid created and encoded by Nicole Davis/2015.
Detailed Description of the Collection