Liz Stewart of Chico Heritage Association alerted me to the website Butte County California Chinese Immigrants. This project is the work of Bill Jones, former Special Collections librarian at CSUChico, and Paul Johnson. The focus is on a collection of photographs of Chinese men in Butte County during the 1890s. It also includes photos and essays that provide an excellent overview of the Chinese experience in California and in Butte County.
These photos were taken in order to comply with the Geary Act of 1892, a follow-up to the Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882 and 1888, which required Chinese immigrants to carry residence certificates as proof of their right to be in the country. On the back of each photo is recorded the name of the subject, his age and place of employment, the date, and the names of several white witnesses.
Bill Jones, with the assistance of Jarith Kraft, did an outstandingly thorough job of checking census records, tax assessment rolls, newspapers, and other historical resources for every possible scrap of information on both the Chinese men and the witnesses, as well as the photographers and the places that employed the men. The result is a snapshot of Chinese life in Chico and Oroville in the 1890s.
Go and take a look!