The Chinese in California, 1850-1925

Related Resources

In American Memory

At the University of California

Other Online Resources at the Library of Congress

In Print

Settlement of California and the American West
"California as I Saw It": First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900
This collection is comprised of full texts and illustrations of 190 works documenting the formative era of California's history through eyewitness accounts. The collection covers the dramatic decades between the Gold Rush and the turn of the twentieth century. It captures the pioneer experience; encounters between Anglo-Americans and the diverse peoples who had preceded them; the transformation of the land by mining, ranching, agriculture, and urban development; the often-turbulent growth of communities and cities; and California's emergence as both a state and a place of uniquely American dreams. There are two particular works that offer external perceptions of the Chinese in California. The first, Two years in California, documents Mary Cone's experiences in the West; she writes a chapter on her insight into the Chinese Community in California. In the second work, Sixty years in Southern California:1853-1913, Harris Newmark documents his recollections about the Chinese Massacre of 1871.

History of the American West, 1860-1920: Photographs from the Collection of the Denver Public Library
Over 30,000 photographs, drawn from the holdings of the Western History and Genealogy Department at Denver Public Library, illuminate many aspects of the history of the American West. Most of the photographs were taken between 1860 and 1920. They illustrate Colorado towns and landscape, document the place of mining in the history of Colorado and the West, and show the lives of Native Americans from more than forty tribes living west of the Mississippi River.

Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890
This selection of items from Mystic Seaport's archival collections includes logbooks, diaries, letters, business papers, and published narratives of voyages and travels. The unique maritime perspective of these materials offers a rich look at the events, culture, beliefs, and personal experiences associated with the settlement of California, Alaska, Hawaii, Texas, and the Pacific Northwest. A number of photographs, paintings, maps, and nautical charts are also included to illustrate the story of Americans' western seaborne travel. Various themes are touched upon, including whaling, life at sea, shipping, women at sea, and native populations.

The Chinese-American Community
Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933
This collection comprises over 55,000 images of urban life captured on glass plate negatives between 1902 and 1933 by photographers employed by the Chicago Daily News, then one of Chicago's leading newspapers. The photographs illustrate the enormous variety of topics and events covered in the newspaper, although only about twenty percent of the images in the collection were published in the newspaper. Most of the photographs were taken in Chicago, Illinois, or in nearby towns, parks, or athletic fields. In addition to many Chicagoans, the images include politicians, actors, and other prominent people who stopped in Chicago during their travels and individual athletes and sports teams who came to Chicago. See the photographs of a vibrant Chinese community in Chicago by choosing the following collection subject: Chinese--Illinois--Chicago.

San Francisco and 1906 Earthquake ~ Films ~ 1897-1916
This collection consists of twenty-six films of San Francisco from before and after the Great Earthquake and Fire, 1897-1916. Seventeen of the films depict San Francisco and its environs before the 1906 disaster. Seven films describe the great earthquake and fire. The two later films include a 1915 travelogue that shows scenes of the rebuilt city and a tour of the Panama Pacific Exposition and a 1916 propaganda film. Also, the collection contains footage of Chinatown around the turn of the century.

A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
Beginning with the Continental Congress in 1774, America's national legislative bodies have kept records of their proceedings. The records of the Continental Congress, the Constitutional Convention, and the United States Congress comprise a rich documentary history of the construction of the nation, the development of the federal government, and its role in the national life. These documents record American history in the words of those who built our government. Also, to get an idea of laws concerning Chinese immigration and relations with China, search House/Senate "Bills of Resolution" with keyword "chinese".

At the University of California

Oroville Chinese Temple Web Site
With the support of Gloria Gee and the City of Oroville, the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley has created a digital archive documenting the rich collections of the Oroville Chinese Temple, which had been central in the Gee family's history.

Additional Online Resources at the Library of Congress

Arnold Genthe Collection
The Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress has digitized and made available roughly 16,000 negatives, lantern slides, etc. from the studio of this photographer. Over 400 images of San Francisco's Chinatown are included. Search for "Chinatown" to find them. Only thumbnail images are available outside the Library of Congress.

Selected Bibliography

This selected bibliography includes several histories that shed light on the Chinese experience in California and the West. The list in intended to provide further background information on the topical groupings as well as to relate to the broader content of this project. It is not a comprehensive listing on the history of Chinese and Chinese Americans in California and the West. The materials listed below should be available in larger public libraries or in college and university collections. Many of the books listed here contain bibliographies that will help readers to find additional materials.

Bamford, Mary E. Angel Island, the Ellis Island of the West. Chicago: The Women's American Baptist Home Mission Society, 1917.

Bancroft, Hubert Howe. California inter Pocula. San Francisco: The History Co., 1888.

-----. Essays and Miscellany. Vol. 38 of The Works of Hubert Howe Bancroft. 39 vols. San Francisco: The History Co., 1890.

Brienes, Marvin. China Camp and the San Francisco Bay Shrimp Fishery. [Sacramento?]: Interpretive Planning Section, Office of Interpretive Services, California Dept. of Parks and Recreation, [1983].

Carosso, Vincent P. The California Wine Industry, 1830-1895, a Study of the Formative Years. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951.

Chan, Sucheng, ed. Entry Denied: Exclusion and the Chinese Community in America, 1882-1943. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

-----. This Bittersweet Soil: The Chinese in California Agriculture, 1860-1910. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1986.

Chen, Yong. Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, c2000.

Chinn, Thomas W., ed. A History of the Chinese in California. San Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of America, 1969.

Chiu, Ping. Chinese Labor in California, 1850-1880, an Economic Study. Madison, Wisconsin: State Historical Society of Wisconsin for the Dept. of History, University of Wisconsin, 1963.

Coolidge, Mary Roberts. Chinese Immigration. New York: Henry Holt, 1909.

Dana, Julian. The Sacramento: River of Gold. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1939.

Gyory, Andrew. Closing the Gate: Race, Politics, and the Chinese Exclusion. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, c1998.

Hansen, Gladys, and William Heintz. The Chinese in California. San Francisco: Richard Abel & Company, Inc., 1970.

Hittell, John S. The Commerce and Industries of the Pacific Coast of North America. San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft & co., 1882.

Hsu, Madeline Yuan-yin. Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Lai, H. Mark, Joe Huang, and Don Wong. The Chinese of America, 1785-1980: An Illustrated History and Catalog of the Exhibition. San Francisco: Chinese Culture Foundation, c1980.

Lai, H. Mark, Genny Lim, and Judy Yung. Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910-1940. [San Francisco, Calif.]: Hoc Doi (History of Chinese Detained on Island): distributed by San Francisco Study Center, 1986, c1980.

Lydon, Sandy. Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region. Capitola, Calif.: Capitola Book Co., c1985.

Ma, L. Eve Armentrout. Hometown Chinatown: The History of Oakland's Chinese. New York: Garland, 2000.

McGowan, Joseph A. History of the Sacramento Valley. Vol. 1. New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1961.

Nash, Robert A. The Chinese Shrimp Fishery in California. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1973.

Sandmeyer, Elmer Clarence. The Anti-Chinese Movement in California. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991.

See, Lisa. On Gold Mountain: The 100-Year Odyssey of a Chinese-American Family. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995.

Yung, Judy. Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1995.

-----. Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco. Berkeley: University of California Press, c1999.

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