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The Chinese At Home and Abroad. Together with the Report of the Special Committee of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco, on the Condition of the Chinese Quarter of that City
San Francisco: A. L. Bancroft, 1885. First Edition. Hardcover Hardcover. Near Fine. A notorious anti-Chinese book, with a fold-out color map of vice in San Francisco's Chinatown. iii, 118, 114 pages, plus the exceedingly important and rather rare fold-out color map entitled 'Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco' (21-3/4 by 8-1/2 inches). ***BIBLIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION*** Two books, separately paginated, in one, with a rather complex bibliography, to wit: The first part of this volume is an extended anti-Chinese diatribe, apparently printed only in this edition. The second book is a (re?)printing of a report issued by a special committee, headed by Farwell, of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, cataloguing the supposed harm inflicted on the city by its Chinese residents. That report was issued in three versions in 1885: 1) As a separate report '... on the Condition of the Chinese Quarter and the Chinese in San Francisco' dated July 20, 1885; 2) as part of a bound collection of Municipal Reports for the fiscal year 1884-1885; and 3) in the present volume, sometime after September 1885. The separate report and the collected reports version both included an appendix not present here. This version and the separate report appear to have been printed from the same plates; the collected version has a different pagination and typesetting. Textual differences may exist, but if so, they are small. The present volume includes a report on the Chinatown in Sacramento based on testimony given before state legislative committee in 1876. The testimony was published in Sacramento newspapers at the time (and perhaps in other cities as well); this may be the first book appearance of the committee hearing transcripts. All three versions of the San Francisco supervisor's report included the landmark 'official' map of Chinatown, which is really a documentation of vice, which were considered the same thing in 1885 San Francisco. The map is known in two variants. There is a large-scale version (62 by 140 cm), printed on two sheets, that is believed to have been issued separately. The smaller-scale issue, printed on one sheet and included in all three published versions of the reports, measures 22 by 54 cm. According to the map scholar David Rumsey, the smaller issue has one correction, correctly showing a Chinese house of prostitution where the separate map shows the location as a site of white prostitution. ***ABOUT THE AUTHOR*** Farwell arrived in San Francisco from Massachusetts in 1849, as part of a company that purchased a ship, filled it with supplies needed in the Gold Rush, and set sail for fortune and adventure. As was the case for many other entrepreneurs, selling supplies was more lucrative than panning for gold. Farwell settled in San Francsico and pursued a number of businesses. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1884 and served one term. ***ABOUT THE BOOK*** As members of the Supes, Farwell and fellow supervisor John E. Kunkler, headed a special committee that visited every address in Chinatown and produced a report on the vice found in the neighborhood. That report, while clearly biased, was essentially factual and contains considerable detail about the living conditions and culture of Chinese immigrants and their American-born children. In the first part of this volume, Farwell goes further. His aim is 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). One wonders if Farwell wanted to include this material in the Board of Supervisors report and was prevented from doing so. Clearly his publisher, A. L. Bancroft, thought Farwell's personal views on the Chinese were the central element of the book. In advertisements run in newspapers throughout the Western United States, Bancroft described The Chinese At Home and Abroad in these terms: 'The Book of the Hour! 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). ***ABOUT THE MAP*** Despite the considerable value of the text of the book, it is eclipsed by the map, which has attracted schlolary 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 color printing gambling dens, opium dens, joss houses, and Chinese prosititution, and white prostitution (the Board of Supervisors' Report blames the existance of white prostitution on the Chinese and while the existance of Chinese prostitution was used to condemn the entire Chinese population, the fact that white women also worked as prostitutes had nothing to do with their whiteness). It is one of the earliest maps of ethnicity and cartography scholars link it to efforts to map disease, in this case social ills (see for example Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown by Nayan Shah, pp. 37-44 etc.). First edition (first printing). A beautiful copy of a book often found well-worn. Spine ends bumped, old bookseller description affixed to front pastedown, else near fine, with the front board gilt still bright. Map also fine.
      [Bookseller: Eureka Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2018-01-10           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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