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1930s Shanghai: History, Fashion, Culture, Society
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Ling Lung Women’s Magazine was published in the 1930s in Shanghai, China at a time when women’s role in society, at least in that sophisticated and foreign-influenced metropolis, was in rapid transition. No longer shuttered within the patriarchal prisons of traditional upper class family compounds, or left to toil in rural villages, women were beginning to become educated in missionary or foreign-inspired institutions, or to work in urban enterprises which allowed them a great deal more independence and social contact. They were hungry for gossip about the glamorous movie stars they saw in the cinema, and eager for advice about social situations which their mothers could not have dreamt of.

Ling Lung, a pocket-sized, slender, and inexpensive weekly, boldly ventured to meet these new needs by encouraging women to advance toward the good life through socially high-minded entertainment. It was filled with articles on fashion, interior decoration, pop psychology, and new careers; and also advice columns on love, sex, and marriage, as well as lavish illustrations of local and Hollywood celebrities. The wide array of advertisements for women’s products are often just as revealing of life and aspirations as the words of the text. In short, the magazine is a gold mine for students of twentieth-century Chinese social history, and a balance to much of the prevailing literature which tends to emphasize only the political interests of the youth of that generation.

The first issue of Ling Lung (known in English as Linloon Magazine) came out on March 18, 1931 and the price was listed as seven hundredths of an ounce of foreign silver, or twenty-one copper coins. Its chief editors were Mr. Chou Shih-hsün (entertainment), Ms. Ch’en Chen-ling (women’s features), and Mr. Lin Tse-min (photography). The magazine ceased publication in 1937.

-Columbia University Libraries


[Ling Lung Womens Magazine includes] articles on a wide range of topics deemed relevant to the lives of urban women in 1930s Shanghai: fashion, interior decoration, childrearing, popular psychology, new careers, and, of course, love, sex, and marriage. In addition, there are many illustrations of local women of "high society," young female authors, and American celebrities, such as movie stars and athletes. Advertisements for women’s products also appear frequently.

Ling Lung is a rich historical source. In addition to many photographs and illustrations, the first issue dated March 18, 1931, included articles entitled "If Your Husband Has an Affair" and "Sports and China," as well as the sheet music and lyrics for "Should I"—a song featured in an MGM production of Lord Byron of Broadway. Special issues feature topics such as children (issue 167, 1935) and China’s emerging "swimming and beach culture" (issue 298, 1937).

-Michael Chang, George Mason University

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This community, titled after the Ling Lung Women's Magazine published in Shanghai from 1931 to 1937, is a forum to share and discuss items relating to Chinese society from the late 19th century until the 1930s, an exciting period of rapid modernization in China. Topics may certainly extend beyond Shanghai and are not restricted to the 1930s (preferrably pre-1949 and Old China in transition, generally 1870-1949), and even articles relating to other East Asian societies during the era (Japan, Korea, etc). The sharing of related book and movie reviews, links, museum events, fashion articles, art, historiography, ephemera, and so on are encouraged. The only rule enforced is to post according to the lose guidelines above, and that self-introductions and requests (regarding photos, historical information, etc) be posted with some additional interesting material relating to the community interests. More information on the Ling Lung Magazine can be attained at The Columbia University Library.

-rattengift, maintainer