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Diana Chang Collection

Collection Number
SC 410

OCLC Number

Diana Chang Hermann, 1924-2010

Donated in 2010 by Diana Chang Hermann.

Extent, Scope, and Content Note 
The Diana Chang Collection consists of4.6 linear ft. of manuscripts and published poems authored by Diana Chang, incoming and outgoing professional and personal correspondence, subject files, clippings, and photographs dating from the 1950s to the 2000s.

Arrangement and Processing Note
Processing completed in July 2015 by Kristen J. Nyitray with assistance from Lynn Toscano and graduate assistant Dasha Nenartovich.
Finding aid revised and updated in May 2019 by Kristen J. Nyitray.

The collection is comprised of nine boxes, arranged in four series: 
Series 1: Writings (boxes 1-5)
Series 2: Correspondence (boxes 6-7)
Series 3: Subject Files (box 8)
Series 4: Scrapbook and Photographs (box 9)


Restrictions on Access
The collection is open to researchers without restriction.

Rights and Permissions 

Stony Brook University Libraries' consent to access as the physical owner of the collection does not address copyright issues that may affect publication rights. It is the sole responsibility of the user of Special Collections and University Archives materials to investigate the copyright status of any given work and to seek and obtain permission where needed prior to publication.  

[Item], [Box], Diana Chang Collection, Special Collections and University Archives, Stony Brook University Libraries.

Historical Note
"I have said elsewhere that I feel I’m an American writer whose background is mostly Chinese (my mother was Eurasian). My novels and short stories seem to be preoccupied with being and identity, and arise out of my abiding passion for exploring character and emotion to create the psychological realities of particular situations. In some of my poems a self speaks to the self. Or I write of poetry itself or of painting, as I’m also a painter. Often I explore the natural world and its soul, as it were. In style, I hope to be imagistic, moving instinctively among metaphor, simile, and personification, in order to make my ideas concrete and tangible.” – Diana Chang

Diana Chang (1924-2009) was a Chinese American novelist, poet, educator, and artist. Her first novel, The Frontiers of Love, originally published by Random House in 1956, was the first novel to have been written by an American born, Chinese American, in the United States.

Born to an American mother of Chinese and Irish descent ( Eva  Mary Lee Wah Chang) and a Chinese father (Kuang Chi Chang), she spent the early part of her life in Beijing and Shanghai. She said of her background:

"My father was real Chinese, born and raised in China. He had a classical Chinese education, and then attended and graduated from Tsinghua University in Peking (as Beijing was called then). An architect, he earned his degree in architecture at Columbia University. My mother, on the other hand, was Eurasian, born and raised in the United States.

These permutations make me lop-sided—more than first generation, less than second. Or, because my father became an American citizen in his fifties, I am more than second generation, less than third. You might say I’m more confusing in my background than stereotypical. My first novel, The Frontiers of Love, and my fourth, The Only Game in Town, draw on my Chineseness as their source-as do several poems and short stories. But in my other work, I’ve assumed different personas. For instance, Eye to Eye, my fifth novel, is written from a man’s point of view in the first person, and he is a white Protestant.

I’m part of a minority group, but my imagination doesn’t seem to realize it. My imagination wants to subsume itself with empathy in other people for the sake of the novel I’m inventing. After all, one doesn’t have to be German to sing Lieder."

Diana Chang attended high school in the U.S. and Barnard College, graduating cum laude in 1949 with a B.A. in creative writing. While an undergraduate, Poetry Magazine published three of her poems, including "At the Window." After graduation, she worked on her first novel, The Frontiers of Love (reissued by the University of Washington Press in 1994), and also worked as a junior editor at three book publishing houses (A. A. Wyn, Bobbs-Merill, Avon Books).

For over six years, she edited The American Pen, the quarterly of the American Center of P.E.N., the international writers' organization with 100 centers around the world.

She returned to Barnard College in 1979 as an Adjunct Associate Professor of English and of the Arts, teaching creative writing for ten years in the English Department, and for five years, "Imagery and Form in the Arts," in the Program of the Arts.

Diana Chang's poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, and been collected in chapbooks, including The Horizon Is Definitely Speaking, What Matisse Is After, and Earth Water Light.

She was a recipient of a John Hay Whitney Opportunity Fellowship, which made it possible for her to start writing The Frontiers of Love. Her other awards include a Fulbright Scholarship, Mademoiselle Magazine Woman-of-the-Year Award, and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

An accomplished painter, her work was exhibited in solo and group shows, and are represented in the collections of James Brooks, Alfonso Ossorio, Werner H. Kramarsky, Lillian Braude, and Helena Fraser. According to one autobiographical sketch, "Ocean and sky, fields and strands engage her in a continuing romance with seasons and timelessness in the Hamptons where she lives in Water Mill. She is also an artist who in recent years has concentrated on using watercolors to paint semi-abstract landscapes."

Diana Chang lived in Water Mill, NY with her husband David Herrmann, and later in Pennsylvania. She died on February 19, 2009.


The Frontiers of Love, 1956, Random House; reissued by the University of Washington Press, 1994.
A Woman of Thirty, 1959, Random House.
A Passion for Life, 1961, Random House.
The Only Game in Town, 1963, New American Library.
Eye to Eye, 1974, Harper & Row.
A Perfect Love, 1978, Jove Books of HBJ (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich).
The Horizon is Definitely Speaking (poetry), 1982, Street Press.
What Matisse is After, (poetry) 1984, Contact 11.
Earth Water Light, (poetry) 1991, Birnham Wood.

Chinese American authors.
American literature -- Chinese American authors.
Asian American women authors.
Chinese American women.



Box 1
Poems, A to K

A Bird Addresses a Girl
A Bird Streaks Backward to a Tree
A Bird’s Calling
A Body Unhinged
A Bright Dark
A Change in the Weather
A Cloud Could Come
A Dead Heart
A Dialogue with My Own Temperament
A Double Pursuit
A Dwelling
A for Effort
A Gift
A Girl Causes an Organ to Sing on Park Avenue
A Gleaning
A Gravity
A Harvest
A Line in the Sand
A Mecca of Waters
A Mingling
A Misfit
A Modest Wish
A Mouse in the Birdfeeder
A Page of Day
A Peregrination
A Perspective
A Persuasion
A Poet
A Purse Snatching
A Quality of Being
A Questioning
A Real Place in Thin Air
A Reflection
A Relationship
A Sapphic Point of View
A Secular Piety
A Shadow Lay There
A Shedding
A Shrine of Dahlias
A Siamese Twin’s Complaint
A Song’s Words
A Sort of Polaroid
A Stalker
A Sunday Feeling
A Theft
A Theory about Dancing
A Trance
A Valentine
A Vision
A Young’s Girl Geography
Walls: The Artist as Philosopher/Poet
A Wall of Their Own
A Way of Moving, Though Staying
A Way of the Withdrawn
A Webbing
A Young Woman by Herself
Above All, Sky
Abstract Kingdom: Picture Gallery
After Procrustes
Again, An Afternoon
Ah Yes Wisdom/Lines
All Day
All Over
Along Scuttlehole Road, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
A. M.
Amazing Occasion
Among Things in Another Country
An Alphabet
An Appearance of Being Chinese
An Appreciation
An Aside Addressed to a Spirit Close By
An Echoing
An Encounter
An Equation?
An Inquiry
An Insomnia
An Invocation
An Invocation
An Objective Case or To Whom It May Concern
An Old-Fashioned Egoist
An Old Refrain
Ancient Faces at the Met
Andy Warhol’s Nudes
Annual Checkup
Apples, Stars
Apropos of My Selves
Arboreal Lessons
Art at Large
Artists East and West
As Clocks Hold and Unravel
As for Shadows
As Green Comes
As If in a Mirror Somewhere
As It Is Now
As Mercury in an Open Palm
As Sky Comes Undone
As the Shade
Asian-American Heritage
At a Matisse Retrospective
At Cameron Beach
At Large
At Last, These Lines
At the Beach
At the Club
At the Dia Center for the Arts, Bridgehampton, N.Y.
At the Edge
At the Edge Where We Find Ourselves
At the Imperial China Show of The Palace Museum of Taipei
At the Pond
At the Window
Because I’m A Painter
Because of Her Lovely Tail We Called Her Mermaid
Before Dawn
Beggars in China
Benign Weather
Beyond the Clock
Bird, Woman And Leaves
Body of Water
Bonding with Galway at the Macdowell Colony
Boy in Dry Land
Call it the Owl
Canoe-ing on an Apparition
Carnal Knowledge At Eleven
Cat Sees Bird/Cat Knows Girl
Cities of Objects
Close By
Come to Light
Coming Across a Small One on the Road
Consumer Report
Counting Neighbors
Crowd Scene
Cy Twombly Minds His Own Thinking
Day is Mortal
Daylight Saving Time, May 20
Deer Crossing
Devotions of the Real
Drawing with Color
Driving in Vermont
Driving with Summer
Dusk Full of Lights
En Plein Air
Encountering Alfredo Castaneda’s Faces
Encountering Garbo
“Energy is Eternal Delight”
Everywhere is Here
Everywhere Now
Existence Has No Idea
Expecting Nothing
Eye to Eye
Familiar Light
Familiar Reckoning
Far and Near
Fault Lines
Five A.M.
Flowering Clock
Flying High
Foreign Ways
Forsaking Strangers
Forty Winks
Four O’Clock Evening
Four Views in Praise of Reality
Friday Night
From a Second Story
From the Grave
Galloping Days
Geography We Live In
Glad Rags
Going By, Driving
Gray on Gray
Growing Pains
He Believes What He Knows
Hearing the Music
Holding on to Noon
Holding on to Suzanne Farrell
Hope is a Poem
Houses Remember Me
Hovering in Stillness
How I Wish You’d Live In
“I Am Always Burning”
I Am We
I Feel Vanished Sometimes
I Once Knew
I was Looking
I’m Used to a White Flower Appearing
Impossible Suicide
In a Wake of Air
In Character
In Due Time
In His Sight
In Perpetuity
In Praise of Gray
In Praise of Peach Trees
In Praise of The Unfinished Again
In Real Time
In the City
In the Dark
In the Midst of Magic
In the Pool
In the Yucatan
In Thin Air
In Things
In This Light
In Two
Inhaling Love
Into Another Blue
January Interiors
Kathleen’s Foot
Keeping The Mystery
Keeping Time
Knowing What Desires We Have Had  

Box 2
Poems, L to The

Late Zone
Letter to Asia
Lift off
Like a Little Air
Like a Lovesickness, Abroad
Like a Poet
Like Wind
Lines for an Anniversary
Lines to my Father
Listening for a Poem
Live-In Legacy
Living In
Lost Within Love
Love’s Breakfast
Lying in Wait
Macbeth in the City
Making Friends
Making Room
Marriage as Religious Training or In Holy Wedlock
Memory is What I Am
Message from Molecules
Monday Still
Moonstruck/Memory is What I Am/Fireflies
Moon Watch
Most Satisfied by Snow
My Inner Life
My True Place, After All
9.3 Million Miles Near
New Light Is Shed On Moon’s Brightness
New Year’s Eve
New York City
Next World
Night-Blooming Cereus
Night Hangs on Its Loom
None of Them Aging
Not Against Writing, Really
Not the Blinding Sun
Nothing to Me
November Flurry
Ocean Road, Bridgehampton, In November
Of the Cold
Of Things Seen
Old Math
On a Clock Moving
On a Poet Reading His Own Work
On Angel Island, Walls Were for Writing Chinese Poems On
On Being in the Midwest
On Gibson Lane, Sagaponack
On Hold
On Moving Away
On Reading about a Friend Who Died the Day Before
On Seeing My Great-Aunt in a Funeral Parlor
On Switching on a Jacuzzi for the First Time
On Tap
On the Connecticut River In October
On the Fly
On the Way
Once and Future
One Might
Only Human
Open House
Other Ways
Out of Harm’s Way
Out There
Over Ithaca, N.Y.
Paint in Mid-Air
Paper Work
Passing Thought
Pen and Brush
Penny Dreadfuls
Perchance to Dream
Phantom Calendar
Picture Gallery
Plunging into View
Poem (he was about…)
Poem (on the shore…)
Poor Hackneyed Moon
Poughkeepsie Repeats Itself
Present Tense
Prime Real Estate
Provincetown Revisited
Rain Opens Its Screens
Real Time
Reason for Words
Recurring Topic
Reeling It In
Ripe Lanes and Larders
Samuel, William, Robert and Ezra Have Their Say
Saying Yes
Scene with Nudes
Season’s Greetings
Second Nature
Seeing Her Again
Seen at the Pool
Seegrotte, Outside Vienna
Self-Portrait with John Ashbery
Sex, Lies and Grammar
Should God Care?
Side Show
Sitting Toward Montreal
Sleight of Hand
Soldiers of Any God
Some Don’t Mind Not Being Known
Some Say Madness Bends to Time
Something Silver
Something White
Speaking For Ourselves
Speaking of Love
Spilling Away
Stepping Out
Still Life
Stone Poet
Sudden Snow
Summer and All That Shows
Swarming Galleries
Taking Inventory
Taking the Light
That Other
The Ache
The Anatomy of Sometime
The Appetite
The Assurance
The Audience
The Brew of Age
The Cat Named Love
The Chance
The City From Which He Sees Himself
The Coast
The Concert
The Continent of Monhegan Island
The Contract
The Crescent
The Dark Seems to be All Eyes
The Defense
The Divorced
The Double
The Dress
The Early Moon
The Earth Turns a Thousand Miles Hour
The Estranging
The Face of Time
The Figure in the Mind
The First Line
The Flowing
The Garden
The Grail
The Green Fuse
The Green in Cities of the World
The Gulf
The Healing
The Hiatus
The Horizon Is Definitely Speaking
The Kiss
The Little It Takes
The Ocean At Quogue
The Personality of Chairs
The Piano Insists
The Pulse
The Recognition
The Ride
The Sea Outside
The Shadow Knows
The Sky Helps Me
The Speed of Light
The Spell
The Sphinx
The Still Center
The Thread
The Time Being January 1991
The Trip
The True You
The Twelve-Year-Olds
The Verge
The View Tells Us
The Visitor
The Wait
The Worm
The Writing in the Wind
Then And Now
There And Here

Box 3
Poems, Thi to Y

Things are for Good
Things as They Seemed
Things Being … Things Being What They Are
Things Longing in the Dark
Thinking Along Our Lines
This Being a View
This Music … Like Weather
Three Views in Praise of Reality
Through a Narrow Window
Through Dissolving Mirrors
Through the Eye
Time Stands Still Near The Ponte Vecchio
Time Travel
Time’s Geography
‘Tis Sweet Love
To Be Seers
Tourist Love
Toward Galaxies
Transparent Hour
Travelling Light
Tree Woman
Tribal Ways
Trying to Stay
Two Painters Don’t Speak of Beauty
Two Places of the Mind
Two Vistas of Palm Beach
Under Popocatepetl
Under the Moon and Moving
Unfinished Business
Upon a Married Man
Van Gogh’s Ear Reminds Her
Visible Night
Vistas of Palm Beach
Wainscott on its Way
Waiting to be Born
Watching the Wind
Weather Within
What a Widow Knows
What Happens has a Way of Happening, or Not
What is It
What Matisse is After
What Ought Not To Be
What’s in a Name
When Now is Always
When the Willow
Where We Are Now
White Ceremony
White on White
White Zone
Wildness Out There
Wind of Something
Winning Ways
Winter Light
Within and Without
Within the Real
Without Giving Notice
Woman with Rose
Writing this Poem
Yaddo/The Gulf
Yes, You
Manuscript: “Small Talk Against Dying or Pain of Life: 70 Poems in the Vernacular about Death and Other Relationships”

Box 4
Short Stories

Short stories, A
A Gallant Man
A Heretic of Twenty-One-Eighty-Four
A Hospital Fable
A New Man
A Place Of His Own
A Reason For Flowers
A Road Not Taken
A Two-Headed Creature
A Twosome
An Upright Man
After Procrustes – poem? 

Short stories, B-C
Beyond Men
Carried Away
Close To Home
Commonplace, Extraordinary Sleep
Crossing the Border

Short stories, F-H
Falling Free
Family Night At The Concert
Fighting the Cold
Getting Around
He Flew
How Much Is Somewhat?

Short stories, I-L
I Was That Child
In The Purple Shade
Jane And Company
Jose And The Lady
Literary Sleight of Hand
Long Distance Call 

Short stories, M-N
Not Against Writing, Really

Short stories, O-P
Once Upon A Time
Onto Something
Out Of Thin Air
Penny Dreadfuls
Present Self

Short stories, S
Seeing Things
Shy Eyes
Still Points

Short stories, T (1 of 3)
The Appearance… of an uninvited presence
The Couple
The Face On The Screen
The Ghost’s Story
The Hat
The Nap
The Oriental Contingent 

Short stories, T (2 of 3)
The Other Shoe She Wouldn’t Drop
The Pang
The Patient
The Second Time I Live
The Story That Swallowed Itself
The Sweater

Short stories, T (3 of 3)
The Sweetness Of Things
The Thronging
The True You
The View Before Her
The Wakefulness Of Hypnosis
Their Dad
True Love

Short stories: U-W                       
Unlike Sylvia
Unfinished Business
Waiting For Violet
Walking Away
Wave of Being, Ports of Air
What She Knew
What’s The Story, Luv?
Wide Awake
Woolgathering, Ventriloquism and The Double Life

Short stories: “Sudden Fictions”
Short stories:  fragments and unidentified
Short stories: Diana Chang’s bibiolography

Box 5
Lectures and Talks
Teaching notes and materials
Journal entries
Fragments and notes (4f)


Box 6
Correspondence: Appleman, Marjorie
Correspondence: Chin, Frank
Correspondence: Grice, Helena
Correspondence: Huang, David Henry
Correspondence: Lim, Shirley
Correspondence: Ling, Amy
Correspondence: publishers and editors
Correspondence: Ryan, Pat
Correspondence: Sager, Ann
Correspondence: Wu, Kitty
Correspondence: 1950s to 1960s
Correspondence: 1970s

Box 7
Correspondence: 1980s
Correspondence: 1990s (3f)
Correspondence: 2000s (3f)


Box 8
Autobiographical and biographical (3f)
Chinese language
Ethnicity (news clippings)
Favorite poems
Frontiers of Love
Other poets
Publicity and flyers
Reviews (2f)


Box 9
Scrapbook (contents removed from book for preservation)

Box 10
Photographs (oversized)