Chinese Women Relax in Golden Gate Park

These women relaxing in Golden Gate Park in the 1890s wear silk robes and embroidered slippers; their clothing indicates that it is some sort of holiday or special occasion. The ratio of men to women in Chinatown was 20-to-1; merchants' wives had the least trouble getting permission to immigrate. Some single women worked as house servants or amahs (nannies) for wealthy merchant families.  

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  • in 1900, almost half of the 2,136 Chinese women in the United States lived in California
  • upper class women, with bound feet, led restricted lives in the US—many rarely left their homes
  • women largely confined to 3 occupation roles: merchant's wife, house servants, or prostitute
  • traditional Chinese society was patriarchal; women were expected to be subordinate to men

Source | Unknown, circa 1890-1899; in Laverne Mau Dicker, The Chinese in San Francisco: A Pictorial History (New York: Dover, 1979), 48.
Creator | Unknown
Item Type | Photograph
Cite This document | Unknown, “Chinese Women Relax in Golden Gate Park,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 8, 2015,