Valentina Suntzeff Memorabilia

Among the small collection of Valentina Suntzeff’s papers and memorabilia housed by the Washington University School of Medicine Archives are items relating to her journey from Russia to the United States via China. The following items come from that collection.

Chinese Residency Permit for the Suntzeff family

This “certificate” is a residency permit issued by the Chinese government for the Suntzeff family when they lived in China from 1920 to 1923. Alexander and Valentina Suntzeff and their daughter Ludmilla emigrated to China after leaving Russian following the Bolshevik Revolution. In the fall of 1923 the family emigrated to the United States.

Alien Head Tax Receipt, 1923

Receipt for Alien Head Tax paid by Valentina Suntzeff upon entering the United States. The receipt is dated October 16, 1923 on the back. Suntzeff and her family had lived in Harbin, China for three years, having left their native Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. Suntzeff and her family had traveled on the S.S. President Jackson from Kobe, Japan to Seattle, Washington. Upon arrival in the United States, the Suntzeff family first moved to San Francisco; four years later the family moved to St. Louis.

Declaration of Intent to become a U.S. citizen, 1928

This 1928 U.S. Declaration of Intent document was signed by Dr. Valentina Suntzeff, indicating her “intention in good faith” to become a citizen of the United States and renouncing her allegiance to her native Russia. This declaration indicates Suntzeff’s date of birth as February 15, 1892. However, in her autobiography Suntzeff states her date of birth as February 28, 1891.