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Early Chinese-Americans at Stanford

This guide pulls together several sources held in Special Collections and University Archives documenting early Chinese-Americans at Stanford. The inspiration for the guide comes from the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project (ACLQ), a collaborative, community-based archaeology project about the history of Chinese workers at Stanford. Located in the Stanford University Arboretum, the site housed Chinese employees who worked across Stanford lands. They were instrumental in the creation and maintenance of the University’s iconic historic landscapes: the Arboretum, Palm Drive, the Oval, and the gardens of the Main Quadrangle. The site was occupied between the 1880s and 1925 when the last resident left and the buildings were demolished.

Chinese worker, faculty housing, Alvarado Row

Primary sources

Special Collections » University Archives » SC0006 2017-332 HALF BOX 1
Palo Alto Stock Farm Records, 1875-1903; large collection of various records, ledgers, journals, letter books, time books, etc. that reflected multiple aspects of daily life at Palo Alto Stock Farm/Palo Alto Estate, owned by Leland and Jane Stanford.Boxes 5-14: letter books contain carbon copies of daily entries and letters from PASF ranch clerk to Ariel Lathrop, Charles Lathrop and others; Lathrop brothers managed PASF from their respective San Francisco residences/offices and needed daily updates from clerk; entries include topics that covered every topic of daily life at PASF, including Chinese employees.Boxes 17-20: business letters re PASF dating from 1888 to 1894; many entries contain Lathrop responses to letterbook enquiries, including Chinese employees.Boxes 22-23: leases between Jane Stanford and various tenants, including Chinese tenants.Boxes 36-37, 42, 50: timebooks that reflect employees, salaries and tasks, including Chinese employees.Box 41: three ledgers (cash book, journal, order book), each with Chinese-related entries.Box 42: rent receipt books, timebook and board account books, each with Chinese employee/tenant entries.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC0033F FLAT BOX 1
Stanford Family Scrapbooks: newspaper clippings about Leland Stanford and his evolving viewpoints regarding Chinese laborers living in California.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC0048
Controller’s Office Records and Ledgers, 1891-1893: Entries indicating Chinese cooks hired for Encina Hall and Roble Hall in 1891.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC0195 HALF BOX 1
Stanford University Arboretum Records: Daily journals kept by first university gardener, Thomas Douglas, with entries relating to Chinese employees.
Special Collections » University Archives » SCM0109
Isabella Cass Diary, 1884-1885: visitor to Sherwood Hall and Palo Alto Stock Farm included her observations about Chinese employees at Sherwood Hall and Hotel del Monte.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC0206 BOX 1
Earthquake (1906) Collection: letter written in Chinese by Ah Wing, addressed to Stanford community following 18 April 1906 earthquake.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC1071 BIOGRAPHICAL PHOTOGRAPHS BOX 1
General Photographs and Stanford Family Photographs.
Special Collections » Manuscript Collection » M0179
Gunnison Journals: diaries of Gunnison, personal friend of SU Trustee Timothy Hopkins, including transcript of meeting between Hopkins and Menlo Park Anti-Chinese League, 1884. Gives details about daily running of Sherwood Hall, similar to daily running of Palo Alto Stock Farm; both estates relied on Chinese labor.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC1049 FLAT BOX A1
Stanford University Maps: Map 152 (1878-79), Map 158 (undated), Map 801 (1917). These maps all show some of the locations of the various China Camps located at the PASF.
Special Collections » University Archives » SC4000
0006: Palo Alto Stock Farm, 4-digit collection; entry about Jane Stanford bringing four Chinese cooks from Sacramento to San Francisco when Big Four relocated headquarters/selves and families.