Friday, November 26, 2021

Jake Lee’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

American Home Library of Great Musical Masterpieces 
Volume 17, #6017, early 1960s, die-cut cover. The portrait of
Felix Mendelssohn was probably drawn by another artist. 

The album was released again without the die-cut cover. 

(Next post on Friday: Chinese Theaters in San Francisco)

Friday, November 19, 2021

Wai Cheu Hin, Photographer

Very little is known about the photographer Wai Cheu Hin who had a studio, in 1890s, at 800 Stockton Street in San Francisco, California. Two of his portraits can be viewed at California Revealed, and in the 2008 book, Asian American Art, A History 1850–1970, page 481, portrait of a young girl. 

More is known about the building at 800 Stockton Street. An article in the May 1881, The Gospel in All Lands, said 
The Presbyterian Mission was commenced in 1852 by Rev. Wm. Speer, D.D., and since 1850 has been in charge of Rev. A. W. Loomis, D.D., and wife. The Mission House in San Francisco is at 800 Stockton Street. ...
The church’s first home, a two-story building at 800 Stockton Street, housed the chapel, several classrooms, Dr. Speer’s study, and his family. Speer campaigned actively for better treatment of the Chinese. ...
Philip P. Choy, in his 2008 book, The Architecture of San Francisco Chinatown, wrote 
Further evidence of Western architecture in Chinatown exists in church buildings. It would have been sacrilegious to won converts under the roofs of heathen temples. The first Chinese church in America was established by Reverend William Speer and four Chinese—Atsun, Lai Sam, A-tsen and Hi Cheong Kow in 1853 at 800 Stockton Street.
The 1888 San Francisco city directory listed the Chinese Mission Home at 800 Stockton Street. The following year the Chinese Mission Home had moved one block north and was listed as the Chinese Mission Church (Presbyterian) on the west side of Stockton between Washington and Clay streets. 

It’s not known when Wai Cheu Hin occupied 800 Stockton Street. Two articles in the San Francisco Call named Wai Cheu Hin at 800 Stockton Street. The story began with Wong Gee On, a forger, in the Call, August 16, 1891
Another Monster Seizure of Opium.
Two Hundred Thousand Dollars’ Worth Confiscated. 
Chinese Caught Forging the “Thomas” Stamp—Ten Thousand of the Latter Purchased for Fifty-five Cents Each.
... What led to the discovery was the fact that on the forged strips the word “opium” was lower than the word “domestic,” and a greater space intervened. The letters were slightly longer, and other small differences existed. To uproot the gigantic fraud, which threatened to dissolve the revenues from the opium traffic, was the all-absorbing topic. It was deemed to make a raid on Chinatown for the purpose of seizing every can and jar bearing Thomas’ signature.

The descent on the opium marts was made simultaneously by Deputy Surveyor Gaskill and nine men, and Collector Quinn and twelve men, accompanied by Interpreter Rickards. At the same time and for hours previous the two Government Inspectors, Noyes and Pattison, had been following up clew after clew, until they found the place and the man who had made the forgeries. Ten thousand more were found in his apartment at 1023 Stockton street. He gave the name Wong Gee On, and at 710 Commercial street an uncle of Wong Gee On was found, and in his apartment several pieces of paper which bore evidence of having been practiced upon with Thomas’ name. ...
Wai Cheu Hin was a suspect in the forgery scheme. The Call, August 17, 1891, reported 
Government Patrol.
Revenue Officers Watching Chinatown for Opium.
Chinatown was kept in a turmoil of excitement all day yesterday by the presence in its dirty thoroughfares and the constant surveillance of its stores by the Customhouse, Internal Revenue and special Government, inspectors. From early morning until late at night a constant patrol was established, the object being to prevent the transfer of opium and evidence. There were no seizures made or attempted and no arrests. Those taking part in following up the “Thomas-stamp” forgeries yesterday were Revenue Collector Quinn, Revenue Agent Thomas, Deputy Revenue Collectors Lambert and Simon and Special Government Detectives Noyes and Pattison. 

Ah Gow, the Chinaman who was thought to be the actual forger of the “Thomas stamp,” was the special object of the day’s hunt. He was not found, though another was; but the latter’s case was too precarious to justify arrest on the strength of the evidence against him. Ah Gow is considered by Thomas and several others to he a myth of the creative imagination of Quong Gee On, who is now in jail, and who gave out the story of Ah Gow’s connection with the forgery. If Ah Gow exists, says Agent Thomas, he will be apt to turn out a white man. In the meanwhile Quong Gee On spends his time in jail practicing writing. 

Wai Chen [sic] Hin, a photographer at 800 Stockton street, is suspected as being either the leader or one of the active conspirators in the scheme to defraud the United States of its revenues. His opium was stamped the last of all on April 21st last, and it is this date that is marked on the forged opium stamp. His profession as photographer would aid him considerably in making copies of the signatures. Startling developments are looked for in a couple of days.
Wai Cheu Hin was never charged with a crime. His name appeared one more time in the Call, August 18, 1891
Thomas Stamp Fraud.
The Forger, a Chinese, Caught by the Government.
Developments That Throw a Flood of Light on His Operations—Work of the Analytical Chemist. 
Yesterday’s developments in the Thomas stamp forgeries were all the most sanguine Government inspector would dare hope for. The actual forger was found, his identity and the fact that he bought the paper and had it cut were established beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.

The wily forger is a Chinese named Wong Gee On, a teacher of English writing, which trade he follows between his frequent orgies at the pipe. He is counted by his countrymen “a sharp bum.” His place of business was at 800 Stockton street, where he has a room next [to] the photograph gallery of Wai Chen [sic] Hin, who is suspected of having aided him in his writing. 

On June 10th last Wong Gee On called at Klinker’s rubber-stamp manufactory and ordered three stamps—one with the date March 27th,” another the word “domestic” and the third the word “opium.” In the genuine Thomas stamp the last two stamps are included in one. It was this that led to the discovery, for the two words, being put on separately, were seldom in alignment. There was another date used—April 21st—but it has not yet been traced. 

Wong Gee On then, accompanied by a paper expert, called on a Kearny-street paper company and bought 140 sheets—more than a ream of paper—of the same texture and color as the strips used by Thomas. These were cut into strips of the proper width at 507 Sacramento street and taken by Wong Gee On to a certain address on Washington street, near Dupont. Thence all trace of them is lost, until they issued as the “Thomas stamp.”

A white man is known to the Government as being interested in the sale of the stamps, but so far as the forgery is concerned his connection therewith has not been established. Yesterday the Government detectives and Revenue Agent Thomas called at the County Jail, where Wong Gee On is incarcerated. He was asked to write the name “B. M. Thomas,” which he did, establishing beyond all doubt his actual authorship of the forgeries. 

Collector Phelps has the drug and analytic chemist of the revenues at work upon the opium seized, trying to determine imported from the domestic. The former will be seized, while the latter must be given over into the hands of the Chinese, except where forged stamps are on the cans.
The story of Wong Gee On continued in the Call on August 21, 1891; August 25, 1881; September 12, 1891; October 7, 1891; January 12, 1892; and January 23, 1892

The 1894 city directory had “A Chinese Business Directory” which listed Wai Cheu Hin in the photographers category. All four pages of the Chinese directory are below.

What became of Wai Cheu Hin after 1894 is a mystery. 

Further Reading
Picturing Chinatown Art and Orientalism in San Francisco
Anthony W. Lee
University of California Press, 2001
Pages 29 and 203 to 204

Friday, November 12, 2021

Lai Yong, Portrait Painter and Photographer

Lai Yong was a portrait painter and photographer who was born in China in 1840. The 1870 U.S. Federal Census said he was 30 years old. Lai Yong arrived in San Francisco, California in late summer 1866. The Daily Alta California, September 24, 1866, printed an advertisement announcing Lai Yong’s portrait painting studio at the Stevenson House (also known as the Stevenson’s Building in the 1862 San Francisco city directory).

The advertisement was also published on September 25November 19, and December 13, 1866.

The Napa County Reporter (Napa City, California), October 27, 1866, noted Lai Yong’s arrival. 
Art.—San Francisco is a progresive [sic] city. Chinese doctors have long been an established and preferred class, a newspaper printed in the Chinese language is announced, and we see by a city cotemporary [sic] that “Lai Yong,” certainly not an Italian or French name, has opened a studio, for the purpose of practicing his profession as a portrait painter. “Lai Yong” may not be much of an artist, but he will certainly draw well in a city which rejoices in sensations and Celestials.
The 1867 (below), 1868 and 1869 San Francisco city directories listed portrait painter Lai Yong at 659 Clay Street. 

Two of Lai Yong’s portraits were included in the Mechanics’ Institute’s 1869 exhibition. The Report of the Seventh Industrial Exhibition (below) misspelled his name “Lai Yung”. The San Francisco Chronicle, September 24, 1869, said “Lai Yong exhibits two portraits—tolerably good, but rather Chinese in style.” 

Around 1870, Lai Yong moved a block north to Washington Street. The 1870 San Francisco city directory is not available. The San Francisco Chronicle published several classified advertisements, from January 5 to February 4, 1870, for Dr. Jay Hon Chung. Below is the January 25 advertisement which included his address, 743 Washington Street. The doctor was part of Lai Yong’s household. 

The 1870 census, enumerated in June, did not include, in most cases, street names and building numbers. At 743 Washington Street was Lai Yong (head of the household), Lai Chong (probably Lai Yong’s brother who was a portrait painter), Jay Hong [sic] Chung (the doctor who advertised in the Chronicle), Ah Hing (photographer) and Jay Hoon (cook). They resided in Ward Six which was “bounded by Kearny Street on the east, Pine Street on the south, Larkin Street on the west, and Washington Street on the north.” Lai Yong’s name appeared on page two (below) of the census for Ward Six. On the first line of page three the enumerator wrote “Brenham Place” which connected Washington and Clay Streets and was the west boundary of Portsmouth Square. In 1985 Brenham Place was renamed Walter U. Lum Place.

Langley and Bishop city directories, from 1871 to 1879, listed Lai Yong as a portrait painter or photographer or both at 743 Washington Street. Here are the links:

1871, pages 386 and 772
1872, pages 384 and 777
1873, pages 362 and 744
1874, pages 388 and 811
1875, page 1224
1876, pages 479 and 946
1877, page 1419
1878, page 1076
1879, page 933

The San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin mentioned someone named Lai Yong who spoke at the Chinese Mission School. The December 22, 1871 edition reported the “First Annual Examination of the Chinese Mission School” and said “‘Heaven’ (dialogue), Lai Yong and Wong Tim.” The January 24, 1873 paper covered the second anniversary of the Chinese Mission School and said “Next was a very fair declamation, ‘Nature Confessing God,’ by Lai Yong”. 

The San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 1877, said

Lai Yung [sic], our only Mongolian artist, is painting “heep plictures Melican man,” and charging “Melican man’s” price for the same. His principle success is in portraits.

Lai Yong was one of five Chinese men who wrote a petition that was translated and read by Reverend Otis Gibson at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors meeting on June 2, 1873. The text of the petition was printed the following day in the San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin and, on June 7, in the Sacramento Daily Union. In both papers, Lai Yong’s name was misspelled “Lai Tong”. Excerpts of the petition were published in The New York Times, June 17, 1873. Reverend Gibson included a revised version of the petition in his 1877 book, The Chinese in AmericaOne of the signatories of the petition was Lai Foon who may have been related to Lai Yong. 

The 1876 and 1880 (below) San Francisco city directories said “Lai Yong & Brother.” It’s not known how Lai Yong’s brother assisted him at the studio. 

Lai Yong has not been found in the 1880 census which listed 23 Chinese people at 743 Washington Street. Coincidentally, the first household, of five people, had somewhat similar occupations as Lai Yong’s 1870 household. There were two photographers, Chin Ming Hin and Chung Sim; a physician, Do Hong Ning; and two cooks, Leung Wan and Pan King. Lai Yong’s 1870 household had two portrait painters (who later became photographers), a physician, a photographer and a cook. However, adding ten years to the ages of the 1870 household members did not align with the ages in 1880.

The listing in the 1881 directory said “Lai Yong, photograph Gallery, 743 Washington”. After 1881 Lai Yong did not appear in city directories and apparently returned to China.

Further Reading and Viewing
The front and back of one of Lai Yong’s photographs can be viewed here

Asian American Art, A History 1850–1970
Gordon H. Chang, Mark Dean Johnson, Paul J. Karlstrom, Sharon Spain, editors
Stanford University Press, 2008
Pages 2; 3, Portrait of Adolph Sutro; 469, profile and photographic self-portrait; 470, profile; 478 and 479, photographs of Chinese man and costumed Chinese opera performers

(Next post on Friday: Wai Cheu Hin, Photographer)

Friday, November 5, 2021

Loui Ghuey, Restauranteur, Photographer, Merchant and Sign Painter

Loui Ghuey was born in December 1861, in China, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He immigrated to the United States in 1880. Why he settled in Arizona is not known. His name appeared almost 500 times (mainly advertising) in newspapers. Most of the time his name was published as Loui Ghuey. Alternate spellings were Louie Ghuey and Loui Guey

The first issue of The Argus (Holbrook, Arizona), December 12, 1895, included an advertisement for his business. 

The Argus, March 26, 1896, reported his expanding business. 
Loui Ghuey will soon be located on the best business corner in Holbrook, having purchased the corner lot on the south side of Railroad avenue, next to the postoffice, from F. M. Zuck; he has already broke ground for a building 25x30 feet. The structure is to be of stone and abobe.
The Winslow Mail (Arizona), April 24, 1897, noted Loui’s change of appearance. 
Loui Ghuey, the versatile Celestial, has planted a row of cottonwoods about his corner store, he has also parted with his pig-tail, and is going in for American progress with a vengeance, but somehow all this progress savors of Bret Harte’s Artless Chinese.
Loui’s photography project for The Argus was mentioned May 1, 1897. 
Snowflake, April 28, 1897.
... C. O. Anderson was here the latter part of last week accompanied by the Chinese photographer, Loui Ghuey of Holbrook, taking pictures of houses, reservoirs, towns, etc. for use in illustrating the extra edition of the Argus. They went to the Mill (Shumway) and took a view Friday. Saturday Mr. Anderson and George Wooster took a few views of prominent places. We hope everything will work to the interest of the special edition of the paper.
The Flagstaff Sun-Democrat (Arizona), May 6, 1897, named Loui’s various businesses. 
Loui Ghuey, the Holbrook restaurant keeper, sign painter and photographer, is an Americanized celestial. His photograph work is second to none we have seen outside of the large cities. He does quite a big business in this specialty. 
The Argus, June 19, 1897, published a special edition filled with profiles and photographs of prominent residents, businessmen and cities. About Loui the paper said
Loui Ghuey is a quick, bright, progressive Chinaman, who has been a resident of Holbrook several years. He conducts a restaurant and photograph gallery, and owns the only brick business in town. 

The engravings in this edition of the residence of J. E. DeRosear, A. C. M. L store, Holbrook, O. D. Flake’s residence, Snowflake, Snowflake House, Snowflake reservoir, Winslow school house, town of Winslow, residences of L. H. Hatch and J. E. Richards, and the Holbrook street scene, also the portraits of Judge Jackson, Hamilton & Egger, J. C. Houck and George, Bryan are from “photos” taken by Loui Ghuey.

Loui provided photography service to other towns. The Argus, April 22, 1899, said “Loui Guey took his photographic outfit with him and went to Snowflake Wednesday, where he will remain about a week, taking pictures.” The Argus, September 2, 1899, added “Pinetop, Aug. 30, 1899. … Loui Ghuey, the Holbrook photographer, is in town taking pictures. He is doing some good work.” 

Location and date unknown

According to the Winslow Mail, August 31, 1907, Loui was going to marry. 
Louie Ghuey, the Chinese merchant, left last Wednesday morning for Los Angles and San Francisco. He will be away about two weeks and will bring with him a wife. The girl comes all the way from China to marry Louie in San Francisco.
Apparently Loui’s marriage failed to develop until ten months later. The Winslow Mail, June 13, 1908, reported 
The happiest man in Holbrook is Louie Ghuey. He left a few days ago without telling anyone of his destination nor the nature of his business. Sunday morning he returned accompanied by as pretty a bride as one would wish to see. On being questioned he said he had married in Santa Fe two days before. The Argus congratulates Louie on his good fortune. 
The Holbrook Argus, August 4, 1908, said “The wife and sister-in-law of Louie Ghuey returned from New Mexico during the week and Louie is now happy accordingly.” 

Just before Christmas Louis purchased a piano for his home. 

The Holbrook Argus, May 4, 1909, noted Loui’s growing family. 
Mr. Louie Ghuey has been busy of late getting his home in repair for the reception of his wife and little daughter who are expected home from New Mexico in a day or two. 
Loui’s health was reported in the Holbrook News, February 11, 1910. 
Loui Ghuey has been very sick for the last week but is reported by Dr. Brown, to be much improved. Loui had many friends inquiring after his condition while so ill. It is hoped that next week we can tell his many friends of his recovery.
The Winslow Mail, March 5, 1910 said 
Dr. C. L. Hathaway, of Winslow, was here Friday evening to see Loui Ghuey, who is still in a serious condition.

Charley Gann and Loui Show, both well known here, have taken charge of Loui Ghuey’s store during his illness.
The Holbrook News, March 8, 1910, said “Loui Ghuey is reported as being on the road to recovery from his recent illness.”

Loui passed away on March 14, 1910, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Holbrook News, March 18, 1910, reported his passing. 
Louie Ghuey Dead.
Another Good Man Removed from Holbrook.
Louie Ghuey died at Albuquerque, N. M. last Monday the 14th after he had been operated upon for appendicites [sic]. Mr. Ghuey had been sick for a numbers of weeks and had been treated by Dr. D. C. Brown of our town who told him he was suffering with appendicites. Louie would not beieve it and continue to take such treatment as he thought he needed regardless of what Dr. Brown wished or prescribed. Dr. Brown together with Ghuey’s friends tried to persuade him to go and have the operation performed at once but Ghuey always refused. At last the time came to Ghuey that he had better go to the hospital at Albuquerque and have the operation performed. When he got there he was in such a shape that the shock of the operation together with the poison that had been absorbed into his system caused his death. In fact the Drs. said the disease had run on so long there was no show tor Louie to recover. The body was brought back here for burial and was on Wednesday buried in the Holbrook cemetery. Louie Ghuey was forty seven years old at the time of his death and had lived in Holbrook, eighteen years. He was born in China and came to America when he was nineteen years old and has lived in Holbrook ever since. He first engaged in restaurant business. In 1896 he build the first brick store building in our town which he rented for some time when he put in a stock of goods and engaged in business on his own account. He was enterprising and ever in the van for public improvments [sic]. Not long before his death he commenced the erection of a large business house constructed of cement blocks the wall of which were nearly completed when he died. His accounts were always paid promptly which gave him a high standing among his business associates. A large number of friends attended to the last sad rites due from one man to another and followed him to the grave. He leaves a wife and one child.
The same issue published a legal notice on his estate in probate court

The 1910 census was enumerated in April, about a month after Loui’s death. Loui’s seventeen-year-old wife, Bessie, and eleven-month-old daughter, May, were born in New Mexico and resided in Holbrook. Bessie’s father was born in Spain and her mother in New Mexico. Bessie was mentioned in the newspapers in connection with her husband’s estate as it went through probate. 

The Holbrook News, August 26, 1910, said “Mrs. Loui Ghuey has returned to Holbrook, after a months visit with her mother at Santa Fe, New Mexico.” Loui’s house was put for sale according to the Holbrook News, April 28, 1916. What became of his family is not known.

Further Viewing
The Hash Knife Brand
Jim Bob Tinsley
University Press of Florida, 1993
Loui Ghuey photograph of Frank J. Wattron, first sheriff of Navajo County, Arizona Territory