An American woman who would become a well-known novelist and journalist, Hahn resided in the Belgian Congo between 1930 and 1932. She travelled alone to Dar es Salaam. She took up for a while with one Patrick Tracy Lowel Putnam, of Harvard University, director of a small hospital in the middle of the Congolese forest. Emily found her desire for adventure stifled in the company of this complicated man. She left him and was soon in Asia, where she was able to bloom amid the intellectual and artistic ferment of the time.