Donaldina Cameron – “The Angel of Chinatown” in San Francisco

Photo of Donaldina Cameron
Donaldina Cameron

[Correspondence from Donaldina Cameron is included in many Chinese Exclusion files but she is not the subject of a file.]
Donaldina Cameron (1869-1968), the superintendent of the Presbyterian Mission Home in San Francisco from 1899-1934, rescued more than 3,000 Chinese woman and girls from the sex slave trade. Because the Chinese Exclusion Act made it very difficult for Chinese women to enter the United States, young woman were recruited and brought here thinking they would be working as domestic servants. Instead they were sold as prostitutes by the Chinese Tongs. The girls were held captive and Cameron would find them, smuggle them out and give them a safe place to live at the Mission Home.
At the Home the girls had lessons on Christian religion, English language and American housekeeping skills but they were taught very little about their Chinese culture.
To raise money for the Home, Cameron published articles in various religious and women’s journals and a pamphlet, “The Yellow Slave Traffic.” Donaldina founded the Chung Mei Home for orphans boys and Ming Quong Home for orphan girls.
Donaldina retired in 1934 and in 1942 the Presbyterian Home became known as the Donaldina Cameron House. It is located at 920 Sacramento Street in San Francisco, CA.
Miss Cameron died at age 98 on 4 January 1968. 1
1. “Donaldina Cameron,” Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donaldina_Cameron : accessed 16 March 2016.)
More information can be found at:
http://cameronhouse.org/, http://www.findagrave.com/, https://stargazermercantile.com/woman-mission-donaldina-cameron/, http://noehill.com/sf/landmarks/sf044.asp

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2 thoughts on “Donaldina Cameron – “The Angel of Chinatown” in San Francisco

  1. I GREW UP @ 2 BLOCKS FROM CAMERON HOUSE.  A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE AT THE TIME,WHO ALSO LIVED NEAR BY WAS NAMED FOR DONALDINA CAMERON.  I BELEIVE HER MOTHER WAS ONE OF THE WOMEN SAVED.  DONALDINA’S MOTHER WAS ONE TO THER ORIGINAL CHINESE TELEPHONE OPERATOR AT THE CHINESE TELEPHONE EXCHANGE IN CHINATOWN.  THE OPERATORS WERE WELL COGNIZANT OF THE MAJOR CHINESE DIALECTS USED IN THE COMMUNITY.  ALL YOU HAD TO DO TO REACH SOMEONE, ESPECIALLY WELL KNOWN, WAS JUST TO GIVE THE NAME AND AFTER CHASING THAT PERSON DOWN WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, CONNECT YOU.  WHAT A HUE AND CRY WENT UP WHEN THE TELEPHONE COMPANY CLOSED THIS SERVICE AND YOU HAD TO ACTUALLY DIAL THE PHONE NUMBER. LORETTA

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