City of Vancouver Archives
The Chinese Empire Ladies Reform Association was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1903. A division of the Chinese Empire Reform Association (1899-1911), it is the first known Chinese Canadian women’s organization in the region, with representatives from Vancouver and nearby New Westminster, British Columbia. The Chinese Empire Reform Association was an overseas Chinese political organization, established by the wealthy merchant class who advocated for constitutional reform of the Chinese Qing dynasty as an alternative to revolution. Little is known about the activities of British Columbia’s Chinese Empire Ladies Reform Association.
This poster, housed at the City of Vancouver Archives, depicts twenty-two members of the Chinese Empire Ladies Reform Association (1904), along with photographs of the Chinese Empire Reform Association headquarters in Vancouver, British Columbia. A portrait of the Guangxu Emperor (the Qing Emperor of China) is featured at the top of the poster. A number of the women pictured are the wives or female relations of the wealthy merchant Yip Sang. Victoria Yip provides identifications (in English) of some of her female relatives in a facsimile copy, stored with the original. Victoria’s notations include Nellie Yip Quong, the Scottish Canadian wife of Charles Yip Quong (top row, right), Weng Shee (second row, second-from right), Dong Shee (second row, far right), and Chin Shee (third row, far right).