Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Lily Vendor

When you hear "Chinatown", if your first thought isn't of Jack Nicholson, chances are you think of San Francisco. You might be surprised to know that there are Chinatowns all over the world, from Manila and Nagasaki to London and Paris, and from Liverpool to Ho Chi Minh City. Just in North America, there are sizable Chinatowns in Houston, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, and three in New York City.

But the largest and most famous Chinatown is in San Francisco. It was first established in 1850 as a gateway for Chinese immigrants seeking their fortunes in the gold fields of the West or work on the transcontinental railroads.

The photograph was made by Arnold Genthe between 1896 and 1906, showing a lily vendor in San Francisco's Chinatown. Mr. Genthe chronicled life there and published a book. His entire collection of photographs is available online at the Library of Congress.

1 comment:

High Desert Diva said...

Your blog posts give me new appreciation for the Library of Congress.