Zhang Youyi

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For the weightlifter, see Zhang Youyi (weightlifter).
Zhang Youyi (Chang Yu-i)
Xu Zhimo & Zhang Youyi.jpg
Zhang Youyi and Xu Zhimo
Born 1900
Died 1988 (aged 87–88)
Occupation Banker, educator
Spouse(s) Xu Zhimo
Su Jizhi (m.1954 wid.1972)
Children Hsu Chi-kai (b. 1918)
Peter Hsu De-sheng (1922-1925)
Relatives Natasha Chang Pang-mei (grand niece)

Zhang Youyi (Chinese: 張幼儀; Wade–Giles: Chang Yu-i; 1900–1988) was a Chinese educator, banker, and the first wife of the Chinese poet Xu Zhimo. With assistance from her brother Chang Kia-ngau, who was the general manager of Bank of China, she ran her own bank, Shanghai Women's Savings Bank.


In 1912, when Zhang Youyi was aged 12, she found an advertisement in the newspaper Shen Bao about a girls' school in Suzhou called the Teachers' College Preparatory School. She raised the idea of attending the school with her parents, and they agreed - due to the low fees charge by the school. Zhang and her First Sister both entered the school after completing an entrance exam. As Zhang was prepared for marriage in 1915, her parents urged her to quit her schooling and return home to prepare for her future. Zhang Youyi did in fact, attend school after her engagement, but two months before her wedding, she left.

She followed her first husband to Europe in 1921, but he left her, and Zhang settled in Berlin in 1922. She studied German intensively for a few months, and then enrolled at the Pestalozzi Furberhaus, a kindergarten teachers' college which espoused the philosophy of Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. Zhang chose to study there because it required the least amount of German language skill.


She married the prominent poet Xu Zhimo (Hsu Chih-mo), and gave birth to two sons, Hsu Chi-kai (born 1918) and Peter Hsu (1922 – 1925). After giving birth to her second son, Youyi received a letter from her estranged husband, declaring his intentions to divorce. In his letter, Xu reasoned that "marriage not based on love was intolerable." Zhang consented, and signed the divorce papers.


Chang, Pang-Mei (Natasha) (1996). Bound feet & Western dress. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385479638

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