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1936 Chinese American Baby Carrier

Maker:
Lee Ng Shee
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
cotton (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 60 cm x 304 cm; 23 5/8 in x 119 11/16 in
Object Name:
baby carrier
Place made:
United States
Date made:
1936
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.03
Catalog number:
1992.0620.03
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
In America, Mrs. Lee made this decorated carrier for her granddaughter, Jade. Chinese women carried children on their back in carriers such as this. The child sat in the carrier with their feet around the mother’s waist; the four strips of fabric at each corner knotted at the parents’ front.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

1900 - 1910 Chinese American Woman's Blouse

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
wool (overall material)
metal (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 75 cm x 90 cm; 29 1/2 in x 35 7/16 in
Object Name:
blouse, woman's
Object Type:
Main Dress
Blouse
Woman
Place made:
China
Date made:
ca 1905
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.08
Catalog number:
1992.0620.08
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
In America, Mrs. Lee wore this tunic-length satin blouse with side buttons made from 1890 Hong Kong coins. The generously cut blouse or sam, often reaching the calf, was worn over trousers.
Mrs. Lee wore traditional Chinese clothes when she occasionally accompanied her children to the local movie houses. According to her daughter Grace, since she did not understand English she made up her own storyline to accompany the films’ images.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

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1925 - 1930 Chinese American Woman's Skirt

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
silk (skirt, lower material)
cotton (waistband material)
Measurements:
overall: 88 cm x 56 cm; 34 5/8 in x 22 1/16 in
Object Name:
skirt
Object Type:
Skirt
Woman
Main Dress
Place made:
China
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
United States: District of Columbia, Washington
Date made:
ca 1930
Subject:
Weddings
Chinese American
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Family & Social Life
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
2000.0274.02
Accession number:
2000.0274
Catalog number:
2000.0274.02
Description (Brief):
Mrs. Lee ordered this skirt from China to wear on formal occasions, such as weddings. The waistband, of a different fabric, was covered by a blouse.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

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1906 Chinese Immigrant’s Lacquer Trunk

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
leather (overall material)
metal (overall material)
Measurements:
trunk closed: 34 cm x 46 cm x 70 cm; 13 3/8 in x 18 1/8 in x 27 9/16 in
Object Name:
trunk
Place made:
China
Arrived at:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1906
Subject:
Cultures & Communities
Family & Social Life
Transportation
Chinese American
Immigration
Immigrants
Chinese American
Event:
The Emergence of Modern America
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.01
Catalog number:
1992.0620.01
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
In 1906 Ng Shee Lee packed her clothes and belongings in this trunk and left China for America. It was a difficult trip. She slept next to the noisy engine room; arriving tired and sick in San Francisco she was met by the devastating 1906 earthquake. Ng Shee then made her way alone by train across Canada to New York where she rejoined her husband, Lee B. Lok.
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Exhibition:
On the Water
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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1919 Chinese American Baby Bonnet

Maker:
Lee Ng Shee
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
wool (overall material)
fur (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 30 cm x 42 cm; 11 13/16 in x 16 17/32 in
Object Name:
bonnet, baby
Object Type:
Bonnet
Boy
Headwear
Place made:
United States
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
1919
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.07
Catalog number:
1992.0620.07
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
Mrs. Lee made this "dog head" bonnet for her only son, Peter. Chinese mothers traditionally dressed their one year old children in such bonnets to protect them from evil spirits. According to lore, if evil forces met the child they would pass by, thinking it were an animal, and of no value. Fur lines the bonnet's "dog's ears" and the padded wool of the hat lined Peter's head.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

1915 - 1925 Chinese American Girl's Trousers

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
fabric (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 45 cm x 67 cm; 17 23/32 in x 26 3/8 in
Object Name:
trousers, girl's
Object Type:
Trousers
Girl
Main Dress
Place made:
unknown
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1920
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Photograph, Lee family portrait
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?view=&dsort=&date.slider=&q=AC0555-0000003.tif
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.10
Catalog number:
1992.0620.10
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
One of the Lee daughters wore this casual Chinese-style outfit on special occasions, for none of the children wore Chinese dress for every day wear. The trouser band or fu tau , translated as the “head of the trousers,” was folded over and secured with a belt or cord and covered by the vest.
Lee B. Lok, his wife Ng Shee, and their seven children lived above the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store in New York City's Chinatown. Though the children wore Western clothes and participated in the local Scout troop and other clubs, their parents required them to attend Chinese school each day, from 4-7 PM.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

1915 - 1925 Chinese American Girl's Vest

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
fabric (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 41 cm x 57 cm; 16 5/32 in x 22 7/16 in
Object Name:
vest, girl's
Object Type:
Vest
Girl
Main Dress
Place made:
unknown
Date made:
ca 1920
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Photograph, Lee family portrait
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?view=&dsort=&date.slider=&q=AC0555-0000003.tif
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.11
Catalog number:
1992.0620.11
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
One of the Lee daughters wore this casual Chinese-style outfit on special occasions, for none of the children wore Chinese dress for every day wear. The trouser band or fu tau , translated as the “head of the trousers,” was folded over and secured with a belt or cord and covered by the vest.
Lee B. Lok, his wife Ng Shee, and their seven children lived above the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store in New York City's Chinatown. Though the children wore Western clothes and participated in the local Scout troop and other clubs, their parents required them to attend Chinese school each day, from 4-7 PM.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

Circa 1930 Women's Gown (cheong sam)

User:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
satin (overall material)
silk (overall material)
embroidered (overall production method/technique)
Measurements:
overall: 51 cm x 116 cm; 20 3/32 in x 45 21/32 in
Object Name:
dress
Object Type:
Dress
Woman
Main Dress
Place made:
China
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1930
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Photograph, Portrait of Virginia Lee in a cheongsam dress
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?view=&dsort=&date.slider=&q=AC0555-0000006.tif
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.16
Catalog number:
1992.0620.16
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description:
The donor, Virginia Lee, posed in a similar cheong sam for a US World War II poster and for the "Miss China" contest in New York. Also known as a qu pao, the Chinese traditional loose dress shape was modified by Western designers in the 1920's to be more close-fitting to accentuate a woman's figure. The altered dress form became broadly popular in the United States as evening wear in the late 1950's and 1960's.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

1895 - 1905 Chinese American Woman's Skirt

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
satin (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 88 cm x 107 cm; 34 21/32 in x 42 1/8 in
Object Name:
skirt, woman's
Object Type:
Skirt
Woman
Main Dress
Place made:
Zhonghua: Hong Kong, Colony of
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1900
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.20
Accession number:
1992.0620
Catalog number:
1992.0620.20
Description (Brief):
Ng Shee (1874 - ?) had this two paneled skirt as well as trousers made in Hong Kong at the time of her marriage to Mr. Lee B. Lok in China around 1900. After the marriage Ng Shee lived with her mother in law in China until she joined Mr. Lee in New York City in 1906.
The pleated skirt was often worn with a rectangular apron or wei chu’u over a pair of matching trousers.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

1895 - 1905 Chinese American Woman's Trousers

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 49 cm x 100 cm; 19 9/32 in x 39 3/8 in
Object Name:
trousers, woman's
Object Type:
Trousers
Woman
Main Dress
Place made:
Zhonghua: Hong Kong, Colony of
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1900
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.21
Catalog number:
1992.0620.21
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
Ng Shee (1874 - ?) had this two paneled skirt as well as trousers made in Hong Kong at the time of her marriage to Mr. Lee B. Lok in China around 1900. After the marriage Ng Shee lived with her mother in law in China until she joined Mr. Lee in New York City in 1906.
The pair of matching trousers was often worn under the pleated skirt with a rectangular apron or wei chu’u.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

Additional Online Media:

1895 - 1896 Chinese American Man's Gown

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
silk (overall material)
satin (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 72 cm x 131 cm; 28 3/8 in x 51 9/16 in
Object Name:
gown, man's
Object Type:
Man
Main Dress
Gown
Place made:
China
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1896
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Event:
Li Hongzhang visit to New York
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.24
Catalog number:
1992.0620.24
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
Lee B. Lok (1869-1942) immigrated to San Francisco from Guangdong Province, China in 1881 and soon after moved to New York City's Chinatown where he worked in the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store.
Lee B. Lok ordered this gown from China to wear at the 1896 arrival ceremony in New York of Li Hongzhang, emissary of the Empress Dowager of China. Soon after Lee came to America he abandoned Chinese clothes for daily use and cut his queue. However on special occasions Lee wore clothing that identified him as Chinese. This Manchu style gown splits at the back, front, and both sides to allow for easy movement on horseback – a reflection of the Manchu people’s equestrian background.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

Additional Online Media:

1895 - 1900 Chinese American Man's Slippers

Maker:
unknown
Physical Description:
satin (overall material)
Measurements:
overall: 9 1/4 in x 3 in x 2 3/4 in; 23.495 cm x 7.62 cm x 6.985 cm
Object Name:
slippers, pair of, man's
Object Type:
Man
Slippers
Footwear
Place made:
China
Worn:
United States: New York, Manhattan, Chinatown
Date made:
ca 1896
Subject:
Chinese American
Family & Social Life
Immigration
Immigrants
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Chinese American
Publication title:
Lee Chinese -American Family Papers, ca. 1915-1970
Photograph, Mr. Lee B. Lok at his store
Publication author:
Mead, Virginia Lee
Mead, Virginia Lee
Publication URL:
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?q=set_name:%22Lee+Chinese-American+Family+Papers%2C+ca.+1915-1970%22
http://collections.si.edu/search/results.jsp?view=&dsort=&date.slider=&q=AC0555-0000001.tif
Credit Line:
Gift of James Edgar Mead and Virginia Lee Mead
ID Number:
1992.0620.27.a-b
Catalog number:
1992.0620.27.a-b
1992.0620.27a-b
Accession number:
1992.0620
Description (Brief):
Mr. Lee only wore these slippers in his home or with his traditional Chinese clothes on special occasions. The slipper sole was thick, flat, inelastic, and shorter than the upper sole to give enough spring for walking.
For much of his early life, the Chinese New Year was Lee’s only day of rest from the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. general store and a time when he might wear these slippers.
Location:
Currently not on view
See more items in:
Home and Community Life: Costume
Chinese American
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Visitor Tag(s):

Additional Online Media:

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Creator:
Smithsonian Institution Archives
Type:
Blog posts
Smithsonian staff publications
Lectures
Blog posts
Published Date:
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 11:00:00 +0000
Topic:
Archive
Description:


Hispanic Heritage Month, postcard.


Hispanic Heritage Month, postcard, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Brochures/Postcards: Hispanic Exhibitions/Events at the Smithsonian, c. 1988-1993.


ENCUENTROS performing at the National Museum of American History, postcard, 1999.


ENCUENTROS performing at the National Museum of American History, postcard, 1999, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee, Smithsonian Institution Archives.


Struggle for Justice: A Tribute to Cesar Chavez at the National Museum of American History, flyer, 1993.


Struggle for Justice: A Tribute to Cesar Chavez at the National Museum of American History, flyer, 1993, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Brochures/Postcards: Hispanic Exhibitions/Events at the Smithsonian, c. 1988-1993.


Semillas de Cambio: 500 anos de encuentro e intercamio | Seeds of Change: 500 years of Encounter and Exchange, exhibition brochure, 1991.


Semillas de Cambio: 500 anos de encuentro e intercamio | Seeds of Change: 500 years of Encounter and Exchange, exhibition brochure, 1991, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Brochures/Postcards: Hispanic Exhibitions/Events at the Smithsonian, c. 1988-1993.


Latino Resources at the Smithsonian | Oportunidades para Latinos en el Smithsonian, brochure.


Latino Resources at the Smithsonian | Oportunidades para Latinos en el Smithsonian, brochure, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Latino Resources at the Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution Archives.


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Week, brochure, 1988.


Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Week, brochure, 1988, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Brochures/Postcards: Hispanic Exhibitions/Events at the Smithsonian, c. 1988-1993.


"Woman and child aboard a train" (1946), by Jack Delano, "The Art of Jack Delano," exhibition postcard, 1998.


"Woman and child aboard a train" (1946), by Jack Delano, "The Art of Jack Delano," exhibition postcard, 1998, Accession 02-155, Box 2, Folder - Brochures/Postcards: Hispanic Exhibitions/Events at the Smithsonian, c. 1988-1993.

This week starts the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 through October 15) and the Smithsonian is celebrating with a series of vibrant performances, lectures, exhibitions, family activities and tours at various museums around the Institution. September 15th is siginificant because it marks the anniversary of independence for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatamala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  Also, Mexico and Chile celebrate their indepdence days on September 16 and 18, respectively.

The Smithsonian Collections Search Center has highlighted some sets of collections at the Smithsonian that document Latino and Mexican histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Related Resources

Related Collections

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The Bigger Picture | Smithsonian Institution Archives
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Smithsonian Institution Archives
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