Emily HAHN (aka Mickey) [1905-1997] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Emily HAHN (aka Mickey) [1905-1997]

Alias / nickname: 
Birthplace (town, state): 
St. Louis, Missouri
Birthplace (country): 

More information:



In the description of the Broom family's escape from wartime Hong Kong, Mrs Broom writes:

On the ferry crossing to Kowloon I happened to be sitting in front of Emily Hahn.  I overheard her saying to her friend something about Nasty.  As we were leaving the ferry on Kowloon side I approached her and told her I heard her saying something including the word Nasty (the name Vincent used when we first met).  She was quite taken aback and said she did not realise she was speaking that loud.  I told her I am Nasty and asked for the message.  She told me she had not got it for she was so frightened at the time that she tore up the message and others and flushed them down the toilet in the Hongkong Hotel.  I asked her what the message was and she said she could not be involved and did not read it.  Just at that time the Japanese were rounding up all sorts of people, Doctor Selwyn Clark was arrested at this time.

I wondered whether this meant Hahn worked regularly for the BAAG, or if this was just a one-off. I asked Elizabeth Ride, expert on all things BAAG, for help. She replied:

I have found several references to Emily Hahn in the papers, though nothing seems to suggest any operations for or with the BAAG.

Though Hahn didn't work for the BAAG, they certainly knew of her, and there was at least one time they were in contact. Elizabeth found this description of the BAAG sending funds to Hahn via Macau (Letter, ref:MA/133/1 from British Military Attache in Chungking to Col. Ride):

I have agreed to do what I can to fulfil the wishes of a Mr. J. Allsopp who has recently arrived here from Stanley via Lorenco Marques and Washington. He is an American "columnist" in a pretty successful way I think, his success no doubt being largely due to the fact that he is some sort of cousin of the Presidents and well on the inside of American political circles.
There were certain people in Stanley who were kind to him, some of them to the extent of giving a large, proportion of their own meagre supplies of such things as vitamin B tablets, prior to his (unsuccessful) attempt to escape. He was subsequently repatriated. Now he wants to try and repay their kindness.
He has given me a sum of NC$18,800 He suggests that this should be converted into HK dollars and sent in to Mickey Hahn. She is to be told to use some of it for providing essential foodstuffs for herself and Charles, and the balance to be used by her to buy and send food or other requirements to certain people now in Stanley. These people are as follows:-
I have taken the NC$18,800 and put it to the credit of my account here. Will you take the same amount from your funds and do what you can to implement his wishes.
I have made it quite clear to Allsopp:-
  • i. That I can give no guarantee that the money will ever reach Mickey.
  • ii. That on no account will this business be allowed by you to compromise any of your work or agents, and that if, in your opinion the attempt to send money in to Hongkong is likely to do so, you will say so and I will refund his money.
  • iii. That the decision as to whether or not the money is sent to Mickey or to some other source is left entirely to you.
  • iv. That I can give no guarantee that even if the money reaches Mickey she will be able to carry out his wishes.
  • v. That I can give no guarantee that he will ever hear whether his wishes have been carried out successfully or not.
Allsopp says that he quite understands my attitude and is perfectly willing to put up the money under these conditions.
I shall of course be glad to pass on to him any information you can give me as to the outcome of any action you see fit to take.
But I want you to feel perfectly free to decide whether or not to make the attempt without any pressure from me.

Later documents show that Allsopp's money was successfully delivered to Hahn.