In the fall of 1928, a young Chinese immigrant named John Jung entered Fanny Boulden's fourth grade class in Devils Lake, North Dakota. Besides attending school, Jung also worked in his father's laundry. The following year, Miss Boulden was married, retired from teaching, and moved to a farm near Larimore in Grand Forks County. Jung later moved to Bismarck where he attended school and worked in a cafe with his father.
In January 1932, Jung returned to China for approximately eight months. While in China, he visited his mother, and also enlisted in the Chinese Army. After returning to North Dakota, and he graduated from Bismarck High School in 1935. Following graduation, Jung continued his education on a scholarship at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He was enrolled as an engineering student at Purdue through the 1936-1937 school year, and was an active member of the Cosmopolitan Club, an all nationality organization.
The last letter to Fanny (Boulden) Peterson from Jung was dated December 27, 1936. In this letter, there was no indication that he intended to return to his homeland. The question remains, however, whether or not Jung became a part of the 2nd Sino-Japanese War which broke out in China in July 1937.
Donation; Acc.#84-1338. In 1984, the Department of Special Collections borrowed the original letters for duplication from Fanny Boulden Peterson. The original letters were later deposited by Fanny Welte (Peterson’s daughter), Aneta, North Dakota, on November 18, 2003. The photocopies were given to Welte in exchange for the originals
The John Jung Letters consist mainly of 25 letters from Jung to Fanny (Boulden) Peterson from 1929-1936. The letters reveal Jung's adjustment to and reflections on life in the United States, as well as his common daily activities and his experiences in the American educational system. As indicated by Fanny Peterson in 1984, "his intriguing letters are a literary event, I feel. They reveal a developing personality and a young man dedicated to making it in a 'white man's world'.” (see folder 27)
Also included is one letter from Nelson Sawvain, former Superintendent of Schools in Devils Lake, to Jung; a story written by Jung after he had been in Boulden’s class for eight weeks; a biographical account about Jung written by Carol Welte; and photocopied materials from the archives at Purdue University.