Notes: An apparently unrecorded Chinese American work and one of the earliest works in English presenting Chinese American culture in a positive light. The publisher was a successful Chinese immigrant merchant, and the unidentified author seems to be writing from a Chinese American point of view.
The author confronts the anti-Chinese sentiment so prevalent in the United States at the time, criticizing "the Chinese exclusion act which discriminates against the men of our land, although the American constitution does declare that 'All men are free and equal.'" The author explains the purpose of the book is to fill the gap in the literature: "The books about the Chinese in America are not a dozen, and most of them are prejudiced, unscientific, and of little real value."
The short chapters in this pamphlet, typically pairing one page of text with one page of ads for businesses in New York's Chinatown, are Life in Chinatown; New York's Chinese; The Chinese Theater; Restaurants; Opium Smoking; Chinese Funerals; The Chinaman's Friends; and China's Christmas (about Confucius, or Kung Foo Tsz).
The section on opium presents the drug in a positive light and insists that contrary to press accounts, the owners of opium dens have no interest in luring "young white girls" into their lairs.
It is possible that the publisher, Charles F. Gong, is the author. He was born in China about 1869 and emigrated to the United States around 1885. If he did write it, a native speaker polished his English. The Buffalo Enquirer, describing him as a "wealthy New York Chinaman", published a letter he wrote in 1908 (June 4 issue), and while his written English was good, it was not perfect.,
24 pages. The copyright date on the front cover is September 16, 1903, but an ad on page 3 for a new Joss House is dated 1904. According to the copyright records, the original book was 23 pages; this is 24, so this is likely a second or later edition. However all editions are very scarce, with no holdings in OCLC; it does not appear that the Library of Congress kept their 1903 deposit copy, or else it is not cataloged.
Edition + Condition: Minor staining and loss to the corners, including a 3/4 by 1/2 inch chip from the blank back cover (not affecting any text).
Publication: New York: Charles F. Gong, .
Item No: #362732