This research report presents the English-language translations of several hand-written, Chinese-language letters from the overseas-Chinese Ah Louis family of San Luis Obispo, California. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, when these letters were written, this medium-sized town on the Pacific coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles was home to hundreds of Cantonese immigrants. As unofficial “mayor” of San Luis Obispo’s Chinatown, the Guangdong-born Ah Louis interacted with a wide variety of merchants, employees, friends, family members, and officials. These documents discuss commerce in Chinatown, a legal case about local Chumash Indians, migration between China and the United States, family life in rural Guangdong Province, and labor relations in California, providing a near-unique window into ordinary Chinese-American life around the turn of the twentieth century. Extensive footnotes also place the letters in their historical and cultural context.
GarrettLou Ann Pierose“ ‘Strangers as We Are’: The Chinese in California in the Nineteenth Century: A Story of Prejudice”1968Unpublished manuscript. California State Library (Sacramento) California History Room.Ca