MOCATalks with author Nancy Davis - The Chinese Lady: Afong Moy

Thu, Sep 5, 2019 @ 6:30pm - 7:30pm



Tickets are $15 and include book signing, wine, and Museum admission. Members receive complimentary tickets. Not a Member? Join today!


Nancy Davis joins us to meet and talk about the enthralling story of Afong Moy, possibly the first Chinese woman to encounter America. Nancy’s recently published book on Moy offers readers the first comprehensive account of her life, including new insights on Moy’s life, her coerced journey from Guangzhou to New York in 1834, the mixed reception she received as she traveled the country publicizing everyday Chinese objects for an American mercantile firm, the devastating years in poor houses, and her life as P.T. Barnum’s oriental “ornament.” Nancy shares with us the experiences of her research in China, and in U.S. museums, libraries, and archives as well as images of the everyday Chinese objects Moy presented to early nineteenth-century Americans; followed by Q&A.


Nancy Davis is curator emeritus, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History. A scholar working at the intersection of object studies and history, she has co-curated exhibitions on migration and immigration, on Asian American life, the history of American business, and women’s history, with attendant Smithsonian Institution Press, and Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press publications, and most recently the author of The Chinese Lady: Afong Moy in Early America (Oxford University Press).