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Ruth Harkness returns to the United States with Su-Lin
Ruth Elizabeth Harkness (21 September 190020 July 1947) was an American fashion designer and socialite, who traveled to Chinamarker in 1936 and brought back the first live giant panda to the United Statesmarker - not in a cage, or on a leash, but wrapped in her arms.

Harkness was born in Titusvillemarker, Pennsylvaniamarker. In 1934, her husband Bill Harkness had traveled to China in search of a panda, but died of throat cancer in Shanghai early in 1936. His widow Ruth, then living in New Yorkmarker, decided to complete the mission herself.

Harkness traveled to Shanghai, and with the help of a Chinese-American explorer named Quentin Young, launched her own panda mission. After passing through Chongqingmarker and Chengdumarker, the team arrived at a mountainous region, there, on 9 November 1936, they encountered and captured a nine-week-old panda cub. The panda, which they named Su-Lin after Young's sister-in-law, was bottle-fed baby formula on the journey back to Shanghai and the United States.

The panda caused a great sensation in the American press and eventually ended up at the Brookfield Zoomarker in Chicagomarker.

Harkness was found dead in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaniamarker, on 20 July 1947.

External links


Harkness, Ruth, "The Lady and the Panda," Carrick & Evans, New York, 1938

Chicago Brookfield Zoological Society, Chicago,Federici~Ross, Andrea, "Let the Lions Roar, History of the Brookfield Zoo"

Schaller, George B, New York Zoological Society, National Gerographic magazine archive,Vol. 160. No.6, Dec. 1981, Vol 169, No. 3 March 1986

Brady, Erika, Smithsonian Magazine, Vol. 14 Number 9, "First Panda Shanghaied in China, stirred up a Ruckas"

Kiefer, Michael, "Chasing the Giant Panda" 2002, Isbn# 1-56858-223-4

Masloff, E.B. '" Panda Wishes" , (2000)Photograph shown by Teen Beckstedcopyright photos of Su Lin by request

Masloff, E.B., "A Time for Loving Pandas", Published on (2002)

  • Croke, Vicki Constantine, The Lady and the Panda (2005) (ISBN 0-375-50783-3).

Also Written by Ruth Harkness:
  • Harkness, Ruth, Pangoan Diary (1942).
  • Harkness, Ruth, "Mexican Mornings" Gourmet, February 1947

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