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Entrusting The Huntington With Our Father's Legacy


By Nowland Hong

The Huntington has long been recognized not only as a treasure trove of American art and history, but also a resource for academic investigation. After our mother passed away in 1998, my brother, Roger—the family historian—and I were faced with how to manage over 7,000 legal files from our father Y.C. Hong's legal practice, where he represented clients of Chinese descent in immigration matters. Our father had also kept over 50 years of family ephemera, from photographs, motion pictures, and Chinese art books, to architectural drawings covering the development of Los Angeles' New Chinatown.

Even before my mother's passing, she and my brother were concerned with the preservation of my father's legal papers. They met with a number of Huntington representatives before introducing me to a few who expressed interest in the collection. At that time, Roger also inquired into the development of the Chinese Garden at The Huntington—a culturally and historically unique project for the institution. We were both impressed by The Huntington's dedicated commitment to the garden, Liu Fang Yuan. Over time, my brother became acquainted with famed Huntington curators Bill Frank and Alan Jutzi, who had a greater vision for both the legal files and the family ephemera, which they offered to assume.

Due to Roger's failing health, there was some urgency to our decision. As a lawyer, I had once represented a major art donor whose generosity to a local museum resulted in disappointment and litigation, and although the state-of-the-art archives at The Huntington were reassuring, I was still cautious.

GardenOur apprehension was relieved by the care and attention that the collection has been given at The Huntington. My father's papers are part of an ongoing digitization project by the Curatorial Department, and recently my father's legacy was celebrated with an exhibition in the Library, "Y.C. Hong: Advocate for Chinese-American Inclusion," curated by Li Wei Yang, curator of Pacific Rim Collections.

I am most pleased to reassure anyone contemplating a donation to The Huntington that it still maintains the highest standards and exceeds all expectations.

If you would like to make a gift to The Huntington so future generations can experience our collections, programs and gardens, please contact Cris Lutz at 626.405.2212 or

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Huntington a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

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