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Chinese American History

A guide to 19th and 20th-century historical collections documenting the Chinese American experience in California and the West.

The Huntington Library’s Chinese American holdings chiefly concern the historical experience of the Chinese in the Western United States. Recent effort to collect history from the Chinese American point of views has also yielded a number of important collections created during the Chinese Exclusion era, and they touch on immigration, community formation, legal advocacy and resistance, and assimilation from the late 19th to the mid-20th century.  

Collections that represent the Chinese American point of views include personal and professional papers created by lawyers, engineer, merchants, and leaders of the Los Angeles Chinese American community from the early to the mid-20th century. Collectively, these collections offer more comprehensive historical coverage on Chinese American individuals and families.  

Image Credit: Lion dance at West Gate, New Chinatown. mssSooHoo. Peter SooHoo, Sr. papers, 1883-2007 (bulk 1923-1945). Gift of SooHoo Family Trust, January 2019 and April 2019.