For some odd reason, many of this blog’s referrals are from Google searches for information about the McTyeire School. I have no idea why this should be true. Perhaps there are many people out there who are descendants of McTyeire graduates. Or, perhaps many people are interested in the school because of its most illustrious students, the Soong sisters. Whatever the case, I chose the picture for the original post because it looked really nice:
It did not have any buildings in it. For all of you people looking to see what the school looks like, sorry about that. To rectify the situation, here are some other photos of the campus that I took on the same day, followed by the text of the original post:
The McTyeire School was a girls’ school established by Methodist missionaries in China at the end of the 19th century. For many years, it was located in downtown Shanghai to the east of the racetrack (present-day People’s Square).
It is said in China that there were three sisters–one loved money, one loved power, and one loved her country. These were the Soong sisters, daughters of Charlie Soong, a prominent Chinese businessman in Shanghai, who was heavily involved in boosting McTyeire School. All three sisters went to McTyeire before studying at university in the US. The eldest sister, Ailing, married H.H. Kung, the richest man in China. The youngest sister, Meiling, married Chiang Kai-shek, in no large part because of the connivance of Ailing, who wanted a merger between the wealthiest and the most powerful houses in China. The marriage created quite a scandal within Shanghai, because Chiang Kai-shek had to divorce his wife to marry Meiling, and because he was not a Christian while she came from one of the most devote families in the city. The middle sister, Qingling, married Sun Yat-sen. After his death in 1925, she continued to uphold his ideology, and remained a bitter foe of Chiang Kai-shek until the end of her days. Qingling was the only one of the Soong sisters to remain in China after 1949, and she eventually took up a position in the Chinese government.
In the 1930s, McTyeire School moved to its current location, 155 Jiangsu Road, an area which was then in the countryside. While the main building was designed by Laszlo Hudec, Shanghai’s most distinguished architect, the key distinguishing feature of the campus is the large, grassy commons, something nearly unheard of in Chinese schools. Here, girls in school uniforms used to study, eat lunch, play softball, and perform Shakespearean plays–a sight difficult to imagine today.
The McTyeire School is now the No. 3 Girls’ Middle School, an exclusive public school with no religious affiliation. Though the school grounds are pristine, and all of the well-kept buildings are nearly as they were in 1930s, the school is not open to the public. This was unfortunate for us, as we used to live only a few blocks away from the school, and the school has one of the few greens in Shanghai.