Notes: A notorious anti-Chinese book by a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, issued with a remarkable and visually compelling fold-out color map of "vice" in San Francisco's Chinatown. "For historians in search of a complete single work containing most of the indictments widely disseminated in the 1870s and 80s about the Chinese, this is probably the best book"—The Chinese in California: A Brief Bibliographic History, p. 54.
This volume is actually two books in one, separately paginated, with appendices on Chinatown manufactures, gambling locations, and the Chinatown in Sacramento, based on testimony given before a state legislative committee in 1876.
The first book is an extended anti-Chinese screed in which Farwell aims to "expose...the vices, low grade of morality, cruelties, and all the general qualities which the [Chinese] race possess" and to prove "incontrovertibly, that the Chinese at home are a race unfit in every aspect of life to mingle with and exist among a Christian community" (p. 3-4). The second book is a reprinting of a report issued by a special committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, cataloguing the supposed harm inflicted on the city by its Chinese residents. Farwell and fellow supervisor John E. Kunkler formed a special committee that visited every address in Chinatown and produced a report on the vice found in the neighborhood. The report also provides considerable detail about the living conditions and culture of Chinese immigrants and their American-born children. He also summarizes white opinion about Chinese immigrants from a variety of places, including the Washington Territory (p. 70–72, 111–112). He devotes a chapter to opium and another to leprosy. While Farwell's intent is overtly racist, he does provide considerable factual evidence available nowhere else.
The fold-out "Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco" has attracted scholarly interest as well as popular fascination (it has been featured in Wired magazine and Slate, for example). The map identifies the kind of business located on the first floor of each building in San Francisco's Chinatown, calling out in printed color the gambling dens, opium dens, joss houses, and places of Chinese and white prostitution (the Board of Supervisors' report remarkably blames the existence of white prostitution on the Chinese). It is one of the earliest maps of ethnicity and vice (see for example Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Nayan Shah, pp. 37-44 etc.).
Farwell's publisher, A. L. Bancroft, ran newspaper advertisements throughout the Western United States, calling The Chinese At Home and Abroad "The Book of the Hour!" and summarizing it as "Showing the peculiar characteristics of this repulsive people. It proves the appalling danger of retaining this heathen race among us" (See Nevada State Journal (Reno), March 5, 1886, and other dates and papers).
** Bibliography **
The first book in this volume was apparently printed only in this edition. The second book was issued in three versions in 1885: a) As a separate report dated July 20, 1885; b) as part of a bound collection of San Francisco Municipal Reports for the fiscal year 1884-1885; and c) in the present volume, sometime after September 1885. The map was included in all three volumes. A larger version of the map was issued separately.
iii, 118, 114 pages, plus the fold-out "Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco" (21-3/4 by 8-1/2 inches).
Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A nice copy. The map had old tape repairs on the verso (back) which were professionally repaired by ECS Conservation. There is a previous owner's name on the front free endpaper, dated 89.
Publication: San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1885.
Item No: #305890