Chinese in Chicago: 1870-1945 edited by Chuimei Ho and Soo Lon Moy


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The first wave of Chinese immigrants came to Chicagoland in the 1870s, after the transcontinental railway connected the Pacific Coast to Chicago. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act prevented working-class Chinese from entering the U.S., except men who could prove they were American citizens. For more than 60 years, many Chinese immigrants had acquired documents helping to prove that they were born in America or had a parent who was a citizen. The men who bore these false identities were called “paper sons.” A second wave of Chinese immigrants arrived after the repeal of the Act in 1943, seeking economic opportunity and to be reunited with their families.

A companion volume to the exhibition Paper Sons, organized by the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, this book explores the history of Chinese immigrants in Chicago – their culture, livelihoods, communities, families, and businesses. Four members of the Chinatown Museum Foundation wrote this book. Dr. Chuimei Ho is a scholar of Chinese art and archaeology and the Foundation’s president. Ms. Soo Lon Moy teaches at Robert Healy Elementary School and is the exhibition curator. Ms. Grace Hong Chun has had a career in publicity and editorial production. Dr. Bennet Bronson is curator for Asian culture at the Field Museum.

The Images of America series celebrates the history of neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the country. Using archival photographs, each title presents the distinctive stories from the past that shape the character of the community today. Arcadia is proud to play a part in the preservation of local heritage, making history available to all.