Angel Island Footnotes

Notes to Angel Island pieces

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1. See map by A. L. Kroeber, "Native Tribes, Groups, Language, Families and Dialects of California in 1770," in R. F. Heizer and M. A. Whipple, The California Indians, A Source Book (Berkeley, 1971). Angel Island is part of Marin County, which was the home of the Miwoks. M. B. Hoover, H. E. and E. G. Rensch (revised by W. N. Abeloe), Historic Spots in California, 3rd Edition (Stanford, 1966), p. 348. In their writings Chinese often used the name Tianshi Dao, a direct translation of Angel Island. In other instances transliterations of various Cantonese dialects were used, such as Yin-jote Al-lan or Eng-ji Ai-lun.

2. T. W. Chinn, H. M. Lai, P. P. Choy, A History of the Chinese in California (San Francisco, 1969), p. 26.

3. D. L. McKee: Chinese Exclusion Versus the Open Door Policy, 1900-1906 (Detroit, 1977), p. 29. The 1882 act was amended in 1884. Two laws were passed in 1888 restricting reentry of laborers. The 1882 act was extended in 1892 and again in 1902. In 1904 exclusion of laborers was extended indefinitely. Exclusion was also extended to U.S. possessions.

4. U.S. Congress, House, Document No. 847, Compilations from the Records of the Bureau of Immigration of Facts Concerning the Enforcement of the Chinese Exclusion Laws (1906), pp. 13, 9.

5. Ibid., pp. 28, 6.

6. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1902/1903, p. 107; 1904/1905, p. 98.

7. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1904/1905, p. 81; Chinese World, May 2, 1910. CCBA Petition to Prince Zai Tao, who was in the U.S. to study military conditions.

8. McKee, Chinese Exclusion, 192.

9. U.S. Congress, Senate, Report No. 776, Chinese Exclusion, 57 Congress, I Session, 1904, p. 313; Ira M. Condit, The Chinanan as We See Him and Fifty Years of Work for Him (New York, 1900), pp 86-7.

10. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1909/1910, p. 132; San Francisco Chronicle, November 18, 1902.

11. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1902/1903, p. 63.

12. Section III, "Historical American Building Survey," in Recommendations for the Historical Recreational Development of Angel Island, prepared by Marshall McDonald and Associates for the Division of Beaches and Parks, State of California (1966); U.S. Congress, House, Report No. 4640, Immigration Station on Angel Island, Cal., 59 Congress, I Session, 1906; San Francisco Chronicle, August 18, 1907.

13. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1908/1909, p. 104

14. File No. 52961-26B, Record Set 85, National Archives, Washington, D.C.; Chung Sai Yat Po, Nov. 12, 1909.

15. Chung Sai Yat Po, Nov. 30, 1909.

16. Chinese World, Jan. 22, 1910 San Francisco Chronicle, Jan. 23, 1910.

17. Chinese World, April 5, 1910. The CCBA, also known as the Chinese Six Companies, was at the time considered the spokesman for the Chinese community in America.

18. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1909/1910, p. 133

19. Chinese World, May 2, June 9, March 1, 1910.

20. San Francisco Chronicle, Oct. 28, 1910.

21. U.S. Congress, House, Document No. 209, Report on House Resolution 225.

22. Luther C. Steward, Acting Commissioner, San Francisco, to commissioner general, Dec. 19, 1910, Record Set 85, National Archives; Chinese World, Nov. 17, 1913; San Frarrisco Chronicle, Aug. 8, 1920, March 14, 1922, Nov. 1, 1922.

23. For example, see San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 12, 1923; Feb. 27, 1924; Oct. 10, 1927 Nov. 23, 1934; Feb. 24, 1937; Mar. 29, 1937.

24· Chung Sai Yat Po, Aug. 12, Nov. 7, 1940.

25. Handwritten manuscript on Angel Island Immigrant Station stationery, n.d., anonymous.

26. Information on the life of Chinese immigrants in the detention quarters was pieced together from interviews with thirty-five people who were on the island, including two interpreters, two inspectors, and a kitchen helper as well as male and female detainees whose experience spanned the entire period the immigration station was active.

27. Annual Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1919/ 1920, p. 370.·It should be noted that the station was not used solely for immigrants. It was used during World War I to intern enemy alien seamen, and until 1925, it also used to hold federal prisoners. The immigration commissioner ordered all prisoners off the island when some of them attempted to escape.

28. Chinese World, December I5, 1910. The Chinese community of San Francisco sent Dr. King H. Kwan (Guan Qiangting) of China as their representative to Washington, D.C. He succeeded in convincing the Department of Commerce and Labor that filiariasis was not a dangerous contagious disease and that patients should be allowed to stay in the U.S: for medical treatment. Chinese World,Jan. 30, I922. The Chinese community fought the liver fluke regulation all through the 1920's. In 1927, Dr. Fred Lam (Lin Ronggui) of Honolulu, delegated by the Chinese Chambers of Commerce of Honolulu and San Francisco to go to Washington, D.C., successfully proved to public health officials that clonorchiasis or liver fluke was not contagious in the U.S., and the regulation was amended accordingly.

29. Dorene Askin, Historical Report, Angel island Immigration Station (draft), June 3, 1977, p. 5·

30. Most of the deportees were arrested for fraudulent entry or for committing crimes. A few were deported for political reasons. Xavier Dea (Xie Cang), a radical leader of the Chinese Unemployed Council in San Francisco, was deported during the early 1930's to the USSR. Chinese World, May 16, 1931.

31. H. D. Evey, Chinese Exclusion Laws and Immigration Laws as Applied to Chinese, Second series, Lecture No. 32, Pt. I, Jan. 21, 1935. Some poems in the detention barracks were written by Chinese going to Mexico or Cuba. Chinese laborers in transit were admitted if they posted bonds. This was not required if they transferred from one vessel to another vessel in a U.S. port, and some of these evidently were detained on Angel Island. One interviewee who arrived at Angel Island from China in 1929 met his uncle who was on his way to China from Cuba. He was detained on the island awaiting the ship's arrival. Many deportees from neighboring countries were also detained on Angel Island while waiting for a ship to China. During the period of anti-Chinese agitation in Mexico in the early 1930's, many Chinese surrendered to U.S. authorities and were deported via San Francisco.

32. Ah Tai was hired from Cameron Home, maintained by the Chinese Presbyterian Mission in San Francisco as a home for orphaned girls and girls from broken families and in trouble, in 1910. Chinese World, Feb. 22, 1910.

33. Steward to commissioner general, Dec. 10, 1910; Chinese World, Mar. 17, 1924, Dec. 3, I932.

34. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration, 1922/1923, p. 30.

35. For example, Chung Sai Yat Po reported on visits by the Chinese YMCA in the following issues: May 13, June 24, July 21, Aug. 4, Oct. 1, Oct. 15, Oct. 17, Oct. 29, 1925; Aug. 26, 1926. The visits appeared to have ceased by the 1930's.

36. Kuan Yin, Goddess of Mercy on Angel Island (Cincinnati, 1939?); Daughters of the American Revolution, Angel Island (1929).

37. Chung Sai Yat Po, Jan. 27, 1910.

38. Chinese World, Feb. 17, Mar. 1, Sept. 26, 1916.

39. The responsibility for feeding the detainees was borne by the steamship company until island officials ruled on eligibility for admission. Subsequent to that date, the cost fell on the shoulders of the applicant or his sponsor. Chinese World, Jan. 25, 1911.

40. According to the Chinese World, Feb. 28, 1910, the menu was as follows: BREAKFAST--Tea, rice, pork with white greens, winter melon, dried lily flowers, Chinese cabbage, mustard greens, or dried bean sticks, plus one small dish. LUNCH-Congee with Pork and dried shrimps, congee with beef and dried white greens, sweet congee with green beans, sweet congee with red beans, coffee and bread, or sweet tapioca soup. DINNER--Tea, rice, beef cooked with cabbage, dried bamboo shoot, potatoes, or turnips. Fresh fish or bean vermicelli with dried shrimp on Friday; plus one small dish. The small dish could be salt fish, preserved olive, fermented bean curd, sweet pickles or plum sauce.

41. Chinese World, Feb. 26, 1911; May 13, 1911; Sept. 6, 1913; Mar. 1, 1916.

42. Mary Bamford, Angel Island, The Ellis Island of the West (Chicago, 1917), p. 15; Chinese World, Jan. I5, 1919; Mar. 19, 1920. The new menu was as follows: BREAKFAST--Tea and rice with following dishes: Pork with preserved stem cabbage, greens (Mon:); pork and mustard greens soup, fermented bean curd (Tues.); pork with greens, salt fish (Wed.); pork with dried bean sticks, plum sauce (Thurs.); pork and winter melon soup, bean curd with soy sauce (Fri.); beef steamed with sweet pickles, greens (Sat.); bean vermicelli with pork, fermented bean paste (Sun.). LUNCH--Biscuits, bread, and tea with the following: Pork congee (Mon.); sweet tapioca soup (Tues., Thurs., Sat.); Pork and fish congee (Wed.); pork congee (Fri.); pork noodles (Sun.). DINNER--Tea, rice with following: Bean vermicelli with pork, salt fish (Mon.); fish with dried lily flowers, preserved olive with potatoes, preserved olives (Wed.); beef with bean sprouts, salt fish (Thurs.); codfish with dried lily flowers, preserved olives (Fri.); york with white beva, preserved olives (Sat.); beef with turnips or cloud fungus, beef with onions, salt fish (Sun.).

43. In March, 1925, officials decided to let new arrivals dine first because of crowded conditions. Detainees who had been on the island for a longer time took exception to this arrangement and caused a disturbance. Chinese World, Mar. 27, 1925. In 1925 Chinese accused a white waiter at the dining hall of being an informer. On June 30 he served the detainees stale bread, and they attacked the waiter and guard with utensils and table settings.

44. Chinese World, Aug. 24, 1923. In an interview on July 16, 1977, J. P. Wong, an old Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) member, claimed that Lin Qushen, a Kuomintang member, was the founder of the Zizhihui. So far no other corroborating evidence had been found. The Kuomintang, however, during the early part of the century, was a militant group, and the idea of the Zizhihui was a concept which would fit into the Kuomintang ideology of that period.

45. For example, in 1932 the Chinese association started a school. Chinese World, Jan. 9, 1932.

46. San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 6, 1940.

47· Gilbert Woo (Hu Jingnan); "Messengers on Angel Island (Tian shi Dao shang ti Daixinren)" Chinese Pacific Weekly, Nov. 28, 1974.

48. San Francisco Examiner, Mar. 20, 1928

49. In 1913 the Chinese consul general complained of long delays in Chinese cases. Chinese World, Nov. 8, 1913. In 1916 a committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce investigating conditions on Angel Island found the same situation. Chinese World, Mar. 1, 1916.

50. U.S. Immigration Service Bulletin, Vol. I, No. 12, Mar. 1, 1919. Edward L. Haff: Boards of Special Inquiry, 2nd Series, Lecture No. 24, Nov. 26, 1934.

51. From July I, 1920, until June 30, 1940, some 71,040 Chinese entered the U.S. as U.S. citizens, while aliens admitted during the same period numbered 66,039, with a large percentage being merchants and their families. Timothy J. Molloy, "A Century of Chinese Immigration: A Brief Review," Immigration and Naturalization Service Monthly Review, Dec., 1947. pp. 69-75. Most of the citizens in the earlier years were "native sons" but by the late 1920's, more and more sons and even grandsons of natives began to apply for admission. Report of the Commissioner-General of Immigration 1927/1928, p. 15.

52. Haff, Boards of Special Inquiry.

53. A joint investigating committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Merchant's Exchange found it "an impossibility" for any applicant to answer the inspector's questions correctly. Chinese Defender, Oct. 10, 1910. Another Chamber investigating committee also concluded that inspectors asked nit-picking questions. Chinese World, Mar. 1, 1916. One inspector from the 1930's recalled that he used to probe for information about: the applicant himself; the applicant's family; older generations related to applicant; the applicant's village; neighbors in the applicant's village; the applicant's house in the village; the village market attended by the applicant's family; the homeward journey of the applicant's father; the applicant's trip to Hong Kong.

54. Haff, Boards of Special Inquiry.

55. One of the rare incidents noted by the press was as unsuccessful suicide attempt in 1926, when a woman jumped from the building and injured her head and left leg. Chinese World, May 18, 1926. At least two suicides, one successful and the other unsuccessful, were reported in 1948. By this time, the detention quarters was in the Appraisers' Building in San Francisco. San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 24, Oct. 27, 1948

56. There are more than 60 poems identified so far on the walls of the detention building. In addition two collections of poems copied by detainees Smiley Jann and Tet Yee in 1931 and 1932 respectively had come forth. The Jann and Yee collections included 92 and 93 poems each. In all there are more than 130 different poems known today.

57. The Chinese immigrants often did not distinguish between the custom and immigration stations.

58. Annual Reports, Secretary of Labor for 1937, 1938. 1939, 1940 (Washington, D.C.).

59. In 1976, the California state legislature passed a bill allocating $250,000 for the preservation and historical interpretation of the immigration detention building on Angel Island.