Anna May Wong calling card

Description (Brief):

Calling card used by Anna May Wong. The white paper card is printed with "MISS ANNA MAY WONG" in black ink on one side and her name in Chinese (likely Taishanese) script in black ink on the opposite.

Description (Brief)

Anna May Wong (1905-1961) was a groundbreaking Chinese American film star, model, and style icon who fought racist prejudice against Asian Americans that limited her opportunities and obscured her legacy. Born Wong Liu Tsong, she grew up in Los Angeles's Chinatown obsessed with movies, and took her stage name at the age of 11 while trying to break in to the burgeoning film industry there. She first appeared as an extra in the 1919 film The Red Lantern and received her first screen credit in the 1921 film Bits of Life; that year she dropped out of high school to pursue her career as an actress. Despite gaining critical acclaim for her acting in notable films such as The Toll of the Sea (1922), The Thief of Bagdad (1924), Daughter of the Dragon (1931), and Shanghai Express (1932), Wong found her opportunities limited to a range of roles as “Dragon Lady”, doomed lover of a white man, or sensual concubine, embodying harmful stereotypes about Asian women. Meanwhile, she became a major style icon, helping to popularize the flapper look as well as Asian-inspired fashion in her simultaneous career as a model. She lobbied for the role of the sympathetic Chinese lead O-Lan in the major MGM feature The Good Earth (1935), but producers instead hired white Louise Rainer for the role, a major disappointment for Wong. She found greater freedom and success in Europe, where she appeared in classic films like Piccadilly (1929), and embarked on a highly publicized tour of China. In later life, she used her fame to support the allied war effort in WWII and continued to work in B movies, radio, and television, becoming the first Asian American actor to headline a television series with Dumont's The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong (1951). She was attempting a film career comeback with a role the major musical Flower Drum Song when she died in 1961.

User: Wong, Anna May

Location: Currently not on view

Subject: Chinese AmericansAsian AmericansActors


See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Entertainment, Popular Entertainment


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Anna Wong

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2022.0275.03Accession Number: 2022.0275Catalog Number: 2022.0275.03

Object Name: card

Physical Description: paper (overall material)printed (overall production method/technique)Measurements: overall: 2 in x 3 1/2 in; 5.08 cm x 8.89 cm


Record Id: nmah_2023247

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