From the holdings of the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University in the City of New York. [1930s] - 2001
Correspondence, manuscripts, notes, documents, artwork, calligraphies, study materials, photographs, published materials, and clippings, detailing the stages of the life of Peter and Edith Chang are contained in this collection
Peter Chang (his name also rendered as Zhang Xueliang, and Chang Hsueh-liang) was born in Manchuria in 1901 and died in Hawaii in 2001. After his father Chang Tso-lin (Zhang Zuolin), a leading war-lord known as the Old Marshal, was assassinated in 1928 by the Japanese, Chang took his place as the Young Marshal. In 1930 Chang became Deputy Commander in Chief of the Chinese Armed Forces.
On December 4, 1936, Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist leader, met with Marshal Chang in Xian, ostensibly to plan a campaign against the Communists due to begin on December 12. Chang arrested Chiang Kai-shek, an event that became known around the world as the Xian incident.
After the Xian incident Marshal Chang might have chosen to join the Communists. He surrendered to Chiang Kai-shek who placed him under house arrest. This was his status for the next fifty years.
During his long period of confinement on Taiwan, Marshal Chang lived comfortably in a house with an extensive garden selected by Chiang Kai-shek's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, who succeeded his father as President of Taiwan. During this time Chang became a Baptist and spent many hours writing, reading the Bible, and studying history.
After his release Marshall Chang settled in Hawaii in 1995 with his second wife Yi Di Zhao, known as Edith Chang who predeceased him by one year. The daughter of a senior official, she had left her family while still in her teens to become his companion, later following him into exile on Taiwan. Her devotion so moved Chang's first wife Yu Feng-chih that she released him from his marriage vows.