Since 2012, the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project has worked with historian Bonnie Montgomery to identify historical sources about the Market Street Chinatown and about Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans living in Santa Clara County. Ms. Montgomery has systematically reviewed newspapers from 19th century San Jose and collected and transcribed articles that report on events related to Santa Clara County Chinese individuals and communities, along with editorials, wire service reports, and articles that were intended to influence the readers’ perception of Chinese communities.
For May 1886 – March 1887, only the Evening Herald has been digitized and transcribed. We chose to focus on the Evening Herald because it provides the most exhaustive coverage of San Jose’s Chinese community and public discourse about Chinese immigration.
The resulting files, organized by month and presented in .pdf format as well as .csv spreadsheets, provide a rich source of documentary evidence about journalists’ perceptions of historic Chinese communities and of the public debates about Chinese immigration at the time. The files include the full text of the newspaper article, along with the date of publication, name of the newspaper, type of article, byline or wire service credit, and number of words.
San Jose, California, was one of the centers of the anti-Chinese movement in the U.S. west. The first state-wide anti-Chinese convention was held in San Jose in February 1886, and numerous anti-Chinese organizations were active throughout Santa Clara County. Some newspapers were deeply involved in the anti-Chinese movement, not only reporting on the activities of these organizations but also actively encouraging anti-Chinese policies and activism.
Many of the newspaper records presented in these files contain racist descriptors and terminology we find offensive today, and that were also offensive to many people living in the 19th century. The views and language used are that of the original journalist. These materials are provided in order to facilitate direct access to primary historical documents for those interested in the history of Chinese communities in 19th century Santa Clara County.
To the best of our knowledge, the materials presented here are in the public domain; however we cannot take responsibility for copyright clearance for your use of these materials. We would appreciate if any presentation or publication of these materials include the credit line, “Archival studies contributing to this work were conducted by historian Bonnie Montgomery.” The archival research presented here was conducted under the directorship of Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project principal investigator Barbara Voss, with supported from the Stanford University UPS Endowment Fund, the Roberta Bowman Denning Initiative, and a HELP grant from Chinese Historical and Cultural Project. Claudia Engel and Megan Kane provided web support. Teresa Lau, Sabina Law, Pearle Lun, Sara Ouenes, Keiko Kanno, and Seyma Ozel, and Diana Wong assisted Ms. Montgomery in archival research.