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Guide to the Arnold Genthe Photograph Collection
[1895]-1942(Bulk 1906-1927)
  PR 19

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Chris Borris

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on November 10, 2011
Description is in English.

Container List

Series I: San Francisco Chinatown

Scope and Contents note

Series I is a collection of street scenes taken between about 1895 and 1906, during Arnold Genthe's residence in San Francisco. The earliest dated print is from 1898; most are approximately 13 by 9 inches in size. Photographs are arranged alphabetically by title or description.

All of the prints feature Chinese Americans going about their daily lives on the streets of Chinatown. Many photographs are of children, captured alone or with adults, often dressed in ornate, imperial-Chinese clothing (adults are generally not attired in this ornate clothing). One whimsical shot shows a gay parade of Chinese children marching through the streets, each holding onto the long braid of the child preceding him. Another shot captures two elaborately dressed children, standing in front of a porcelain-vase shop, about to cross the street; behind them, people mill about and, in a quintessential San Francisco scene, a streetcar descends a steep cobblestone street. A third striking photograph, titled "Dead to the World," depicts a down-and-out man seated on a grimy stair in a back alley, eyes closed. In Genthe's book of photographs on Chinatown (text by Bill Irwin), this print is captioned "The Hop Fiend," a reference to people like this man who were hooked on opium, the street drug of choice in turn-of-the-century Chinatown. Genthe also took a number of other photos (not in this series) depicting the seamier and sometimes criminal side of San Francisco's Chinatown.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 "A Corner Crowd - Chinatown, San Francisco, 1898"

General note

13-1/8 x 10-1/8 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe" includes his studio label

1898
Box: 1 Folder : 2 "Dead to the World"

General note

13-1/16 x 10-1/16 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe, N.Y."

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 3 [Four children walking down street holding one another's braids]

General note

9-1/8 x 12-3/8 inches

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 4 "In Old Chinatown, San Francisco"

General note

12-11/15 x 8-3/4 inches

undated
Box: 1 Folder : 5 "In San Francisco's Chinatown, 1900"

General note

13-3/16 x 9-7/8 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe"; includes his studio label

1900
Box: 1 Folder : 6 [Man holding baby, with another man and two children]

General note

11-3/8 x 8-1/8 inches

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 7 [Man with two children in imperial costume]

General note

13-3/8 x 8-15/16 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe, N.Y."; includes his studio label

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 8 [Small boy leaning against door post]

General note

13-1/16 x 9-1/4 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe, N.Y."; "San Francisco, Chinatown" inscribed on verso

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 9 [Two children in imperial costume in front of vase shop]

General note

8-13/16 x 13-5/16 inches

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 10 [Two men, one in imperial costume]

General note

13-7/16 x 7-1/4 inches

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 11 [Two young children in imperial costume]

General note

12-13/16 x 6-1/4 inches

undated
Box: 2 Folder : 12 [Woman with child in imperial costume]

General note

12-7/8 x 10-1/16 inches; signed "Arnold Genthe, N.Y."

undated

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