The Center for Asia-Pacific Initiative is hosting a launch of Grant Hayter-Menzies’ new book The Empress and Mrs. Conger: The Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds on Jan. 18. 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hickman bldg 110, University of Victoria.
Hayter-Menzies is the author of Imperial Masquerade: The Legend of Princess Der Ling, as well as the first biographies of stage and screen stars Charlotte Greenwood and Billie Burke. He lives in Sidney where he is working on the first biography of Lillian Carter, mother of President Jimmy Carter.
The Empress and Mrs. Conger: The Uncommon Friendship of Two Women and Two Worlds tells the tale of two women from two different worlds who joined hands, and made history.
Middle-aged Iowan Sarah Pike Conger came to China in 1898 knowing nothing of its people or its culture, its temples or its halls of power. Yet she left seven years later one of China’s most sympathetic defenders, bringing to its women and its most famous woman, the Empress Dowager Cixi, forbidden foreign aspirations toward education, autonomy and international sisterhood.
Using unpublished letters, diaries and photographs, and benefiting from the cooperation and assistance of relatives of Sarah Conger and the Empress Dowager, the book recreates a world of the past while celebrating a friendship between East and West for the present and future to aspire to.