Category Archives: photo

Look See, wife of Chin Quong, a manager of the Wa Chong Company

Look See (Mrs Chin Quong)to
“Photo of Look See (Mrs. Chin Quong),” 1904, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Look See case file, Seattle Box 1236, 35205/1-4.

Look See, wife of Chin Quong, a manager of the Wa Chong Company, 719 King Street, Seattle, Washington, made two trips in China—one in 1904 and another in 1917.

After the first trip Look See was re-admitted to the United States at Port Townsend, Washington on 22 June 1905. She testified that she was thirty-six years old and first came to the United States with her sister, Mrs. Chin Gee Hee, in about 1882 or 1883 when she was around thirteen years old. When asked if she knew any white men in Seattle, she replied that she knew Mr. Whitlock, a lawyer; and three white ladies: Mrs. Hambeck, a Christian teacher; Mrs. Thomas, an old lady, also a teacher; and Mrs. Greene. Chin Kee was her Chinese witness. He testified that Look See and Chin Quong had been married according to the Chinese custom for at least twenty years; they had six children—three sons and three daughters, all born in Seattle. Her maiden name was Ah Quan. Chin Gee Hee, a merchant, labor contractor, and well-known early settler in Seattle, performed their wedding ceremony in October 1886.
Look See’s husband Chin Quong testified that he had been a member of the Wah Chung (Wa Chong) firm since about 1890. There were seven partners whose capital stock equaled $60,000 [worth almost  $1,600,000 in 2017]. The partners were Chin Quong (himself), Chin Quok Jon, Woo Jen, Chin Wing, Chin Wing Mow, Chin Wing Yon, Chin Yen Gee, and Chin Ching Hock. [That adds up to eight partners but the John H. Sargent, Chinese Inspector did not ask about the discrepancy.] Chin Quong was also a manager at the Wah Chung Tai Company in Butte, Montana.
John C. Whitlock, testified that he was forty-eight years old, had lived in Seattle more than sixteen years–arriving in the spring of 1898, and since he collected the rent from the Chinese tenants of the Wah Chung building he was well acquainted with Chin Quong. Whitlock usually had to go to the building night after night to find all of the tenants. He was aware that Look See was in the detention house in Port Townsend when this testimony was taken. Whitlock, Samuel F. Coombs, Justice of the Peace; and Chin Quong all testified in affidavits in Look See’s favor in 1904 before she left for China.
Look See left Seattle again in September 1916 with her sons Chin Dan and Ah Wing, and her daughter Ah Lan. She was returning in June 1917 with her son, Chin Dan, and her daughter, her daughter’s husband, Pang Chung Cheong; and their infant son. They were admitted.
The Reference Sheet lists these files: RS 910 & 34,380, Look See; 35205/1-1, Archie Pang, son-in-law; 35205/1-2, Annie M. Chin, daughter; 35205/1-2, Victor Ernest Pang, grandson; 35205/1-5, Chin Dan, son; 36918/3-8, Chin May Goon, daughter of husband by secondary wife; 40231/2-16, Anna Pang (Annie M. Chin) Chin May Young, daughter; RS 2033, Chin Quong, husband.

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Soong May Ling – the future Madame Chiang Kai Shek

photo of Soong May Ling 1907
“Photo of Soong May Ling, Chinese Certificate for Section 6 Student Exemption,” 1907, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Soong May Ling case file, Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1483.

Soong May Ling (sometimes spelled Soong Mai-ling) age 9, and her sister, Soong Ching Ling, age 14, (Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1479) arrived in Port Townsend, Washington on the S.S. Minnesota. They came from their home in Shanghai, China as Section 6 students and were admitted.
The 1907 Section 6 Certificate is the only document in the file. The file contains correspondence from 1943 between Earl G. Harrison, Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Raphael P. Bonham, District Director of Immigration and Naturalization in Seattle, Washington. Harrison asked Bonham to confirm that Soong May Ling was admitted into Seattle as a student in 1907. Bonham replied that “a charming little Chinese maid” had arrived with her sister “now also a lady of renown.” Bonham asked a local Chinese Consul to examine the document for its authenticity. It passed his scrutiny. Bonham concluded that Soong May Ling “was the now world-famous and accomplished Madame Chiang Kai Shek.” Bonham had the photo from the 1907 certificate copied and sent three prints and the negatives to Harrison hoping that he would forward one to Madame Chiang Kai Shek.
Bonham received this letter dated 5 May 1943 from Harrison:

Letter from Harrison to Bonham
“Correspondence between Harrison and Bonham,” 1943, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Soong May Ling case file, Seattle RS Box 39, RS 1483.

Information not in the file:
Soong May Ling1 and her sister graduated from Wesleyan College. Soong Ching Ling became the second wife of Sun Yat-sen, one of the leaders of the 1911 revolution that established the Republic of China.2
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai Shek “became the first Chinese person, and only the second woman, to address a joint session of the United States Congress as she sought to have the United States repeal the Chinese Exclusion Act, which had been in effect since 1882 and prohibited new Chinese immigration.”3

President Franklin D. Roosevelt repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act on 13 December 1943.
Madame Chiang Kai Shek lived to be 105 years old and had a fascinating life. Read more about her!
1.“Soong Mei-ling,” Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soong_Mei-ling : accessed 2 September 2017.)
2. “Soong Ching-ling,” Wikipedia, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soong_Ching-ling : accessed 2 September 2017.)
3. “Madame Chiang Kai-shek Biography,” Encyclopedia of World Biography, (http://www.notablebiographies.com/newsmakers2/2005-La-Pr/Madame-Chiang-Kai-shek.html : accessed 2 September 2017.)

William K. Lai – Vaudeville performer & vocal soloist from Portland, OR

William Lai 1913
“Lai Man Kim (William K. Lai), Form 430 photo,” 1913, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lai Man Kim case file, Portland Box 23, 3282.

Lai Man Kim whose American name was William K. Lai was born on 5 September 1887 in Portland Oregon, the son of Lai Fong and Foong Ho. He had no siblings. His father died when he was about four years old and his mother went to live in China in 1906. Lai Kim obtained a certificate of residence in 1894 when he was seven years old. On his 1913 pre-investigation of citizenship status he listed several witnesses: Mr. Sanborn of Van Schuyver & Co., and several prominent Chinese: Lee Mee Gin, Seid Back, Moy Back Hin, Seid Back, Jr. (Said Gain) and Moy Bow Wing. Lai Kim was a charter member of the American Born Chinese Association in Portland and held certificate number 21. After his mother left Portland he lived with the Moy Bow Wing family. He listed his occupation as vocal soloist at the Majestic Theatre in Portland. Lai Kim was a student at Chinese and English schools in Portland before attending the University of Oregon at Eugene, Oregon. Lai Wai, Lai Kim’s cousin and godfather, help support him and his mother after his father’s death.
Lai Man Kim’s application was approved by the Seattle Immigration Office but he didn’t leave the country at that time. About a year later, in 1914, Martin Beck, General Manager of the Orpheum Circuit in Chicago wrote to Immigration Service in Portland to tell them that Lai Man Kim would be leaving Chicago for Canada, then returning to Seattle from Vancouver, B.C. There is no more information in the file.
Information not included in the file:
[These entries are from my 2009 blog on the Chinese at the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held in Seattle. The newspaper articles tell a little bit more about William Lai’s earlier musical career.]
Portland student at AYPE and Harry Ding and William Lai Perform

Charley Dea Laundry Price Ticket – 1916 Chicago area

Chinese Laundry Ticket 1916
“Charley Dea Light-Grade Hand Laundry Price List,” ca. 1916, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Lee Chung Hing case file, Box RS 285, RS 34366.

In 1916 Lee Chung Hing, a laborer, applied to leave the United States from his home in Chicago, Illinois for a visit to China. His application for a laborer’s return certificate was rejected because he could not prove that he was a lawful resident of the United States. He had lived in the U.S. for about 36 years but did not have the required certificate of residence. When he originally entered the U.S. he was classified as a merchant. He presented his original merchant identification paper in 1916. It was not accepted.

John G. Sullivan, Immigration Inspector in Boston, interviewed those who Lee Chung Hing listed as his business partners at Quong Suey Lung Company in Boston in the 1890s. Chin Sing had been a partner of the firm for over thirty years but did not remember Lee Chung Hing. He had heard that Lee was a member of the firm but didn’t know him. Lee Chung Hing’s Caucasian witnesses, Luther Gaddis and William K. Jones, were both deceased by 1916. According to the inspector both witnesses had signed hundreds of affidavits for Boston Chinese years ago. They were not the most credible witnesses.

Lee Chung Hing was sixteen years old in 1880 when he first came to the United States. It was two years before the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed. He lived in San Francisco as a merchant until about 1892, Boston for seven years, then Chicago where he was a laborer working in a laundry. Lee had a hard time getting the proper paper work for his return certificate. There was a lot of confusion about what documents were needed when the Act was first passed; Lee switched from being a merchant to a laborer; and different documents were required for each classification. Over thirty years had passed since he first arrived in the U.S. His witnesses couldn’t remember him and two had died.

On Lee’s application for a return certificate he claimed his friend of over twenty years, Dea Poon Suey borrowed $1050 from him to buy a laundry in Aurora, Illinois. In fact, the loan was only for $500. [The Scott Act 1888 severely restricted Chinese laborers who were already residing here from returning to China for visits. They could not reenter unless they owned property or held a business investment of $1,000 or more.1] The amount of his loan wasn’t enough to satisfy the law’s requirements. He did not have enough evidence to obtain a return certificate and was denied because lawful residence in the country had not been shown. He was giving the right to appeal. There is no indication that he appealed.

1 John Jung, Chinese Laundries: Tickets to Survival on Gold Mountain (Yin & Yang Press), 2007, 31.

Arthur Chin –Chinese-Japanese War Pilot and WW II Hero

Photo of Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin)
“Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin), Form 430 photo,” 1932, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Chin Suey Tin (Arthur Chin) case file, Portland, Box 102, 1209/614.

[See CEA Blog entry for Virginia Wong on 1 May 2017 for more information on the World War II Chinese combat pilots who trained in Portland, Oregon.]

Arthur Chin (Chin Suey Tin) was born on 22 October 1913 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon, the son of Chin Fon and Eva Wong (Wong Gue Tai). In 1922 at age eight, he visited China with his family. They stayed fourteen months. He attended Atkinson Grammar School and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland.
He applied to visit China in August 1932 to visit his sick grandmother. In his application he stated he had three sisters: Mildred, Dorothy and Evelyn, and two brothers; Harold and Norman. He left for China in August. A few months later, in November, he enlisted as a fighter pilot for the Chinese Air Force to fight in the Japanese-Chinese war. He became a war hero.
Although Arthur Chin was born in Portland, Oregon, he lost his U.S. citizenship when he joined the Chinese Air Force. He married in China and his two sons were born in Hong Kong. Because of his lost citizenship, his sons, Gilbert and Stephen, were not considered U.S. citizens.
His wife was killed in the war. Major Chin was injured with severe burns and was returned to the United States at Miami, Florida on 25 July 1942 as a war casualty. He was hospitalized for over two years. He was released from the service of the Chinese Air Force on 1 February 1945.
In 1944 his 1922 Certificate of Identification was returned to him. He was repatriated in July 1945 in the U.S. District Court, Portland, Oregon. According to his second wife, Frances, in 1945 Arthur Chin was flying for PanAm Airlines and based in Calcutta, India.
Arthur Chin’s 1945 naturalization #D-376 is mentioned in the file.
[ Much is written about Arthur Chin but his Chinese Exclusion Act case file usually is not mentioned.]

Charlotte Chang – lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native

Charlotte Chang Photo 1910
“Charlotte Chang Photo, Form 430,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Charlotte Chang case file, Seattle, Box RS 193, RS 29,101.

Charlotte Chang lost her U.S. citizenship when she married a China native.
Charlotte Ah Tye Chang, mother of Ora Chang [see June 19, 2017 blog entry] and Oliver Carrington Chang, was married to Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia. When Mrs. Chang and her children applied to leave the United States in May 1910, the Commissioner of Immigration wrote,
“…I am not prepared to approve her application, as under section 3 of the act of March 2, 1907, in reference to the expatriation of citizens and their protection abroad it would seem that this woman is not now a citizen of the United States she having been married to an alien, and which marital relationship has not been terminated. Of course Mrs. Chang being the wife of a consular representative is permitted to accompany her husband into the country at any time.“
Charlotte Chang and her children were all born in California. Although Charlotte lost her citizenship when she married a Chinese native, she was allowed to leave the U.S. and return because of his position as the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, B.C.
In 1935 Charlotte Chang petitioned for the restoration of her American citizenship (Naturalization file No. 22 X 6304). In her statement she said that in January 1910, accompanied by her mother, Chan Shee, she gave testimony at Angel Island station, California to receive return certificates in order to proceed to Vancouver, B. C. The Chang family took a train from San Francisco to Seattle and then a steamer to Vancouver. Mrs. Chang claimed that she lived in Vancouver from 1910 to about January 1913.
[The file refers to Charlotte Chang’s San Francisco file #12041/62 and her citizenship restoration but doesn’t give any more information.]

Ora Ivy Chang – Berkeley Resident

Ora Chang photo
“Ora Chang Photo, Form 430,” 1910, Chinese Exclusion Act case files, RG 85, National Archives-Seattle, Ora Chang (Chang Ora) case file, Seattle, Box RS 193, RS 29,102.

[What huge bows in Ora’s hair and fine detail on her dress.]
Ora Chang, the daughter of Hong Yen Chang, the Chinese Consul at Vancouver, British Columbia, was admitted to the United States at the Port of Seattle on 5 April 1912 with her mother Charlotte Chang They were making a brief trip from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle accompanied by Chin Keay of the Quong Tuck Company.
Ora Ivy Chang’s initial application to travel to China was in 1910. The family was living 2330 Fulton Street, in Berkeley at the time. Her birth certificate stating that she was born at Laporte, California on 8 November 1898 is included in the file. She was visiting China with her mother and brother Oliver Carrington Chang. The San Francisco Chinese Inspector interviewed Ora Chang, age 12; Charlotte Ahtye Chang, her mother; Chun Shee, her grandmother; Dr. Elizabeth Keys, the physician who attended at the birth of her brother Oliver; and D. R. Rose, another white witness who knew Mrs. Chang since 1884. Chun Shee, Ora’s grandmother, testified that she was 68 years old and the widow of Yee Ahtye. They had five children, all born in Laporte, California: a daughter Fook Yow living in Oakland; a son, Yee Jock Sam living in San Francisco; daughters Yee Ah Oy and Yee King Lan, living in Berkeley; and a son Yee Jock Wai (Dilly), living in San Francisco.
[This file gives lot of names and places of residence but doesn’t have a lot of other personal information.]