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menuAmerican Social History Project  ·    Center for Media and Learning

  • Historical Eras > Industrialization and Expansion (1877-1913) (x)

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"Bananas Being Loaded into Waiting Carts"

New York dockworkers unload bananas from a cargo ship into a waiting cart in this early twentieth-century photograph by maritime photographer Edwin Levick. Their work was dangerous—the fatality rate for longshoremen was higher than for any [...]

"Lodgers in a crowded Bayard Street tenement"

Lodgers in a boarding room on New York's Bayard Street charging "five cents a spot" exemplify the overcrowded, frequently squalid living conditions that immigrants in New York City faced at the turn of the twentieth century. As documented in Jacob [...]

A Police "Mug Shot" Reflects the New "Science"

This New York City Police Department arrest record from 1903 reflects the widely-held faith in "scientific" techniques for identifying and keeping track of criminals at the dawn of the new century. Advocates claimed that methods like those developed [...]

Customers Shop in a Chinatown General Store

The Sam Hop Company, a general store on Clay Street in San Francisco, sold a wide assortment of Chinese imported goods. Merchants were the economic and political leaders of Chinatown. They worked with American contractors to bring workers from China [...]

"Interior of Chinese theatre, Jackson Street, San Francisco, Cal."

Going to the theater was a popular form of entertainment for Chinese immigrants. By the 1880s there were several different theater companies operating in Chinatown, including this theater, located on Jackson Street. Theaters could seat several [...]

"Boys Playing Shuttlecock"

Children were a visible part of San Francisco's Chinatown. Because of the tight-knit community, children moved freely within the neighborhood, often without direct supervision. In this Arnold Genthe photograph, four boys look on as a fifth boy [...]

"The Fish Dealer's Daughter"

As historian John Kuo Wei Tchen notes of this portrait, "the girl's tattered clothing and gloves on both hands clearly indicate that she works hard, probably assisting her father in carrying the wicker shrimp baskets shown behind."  Tchen [...]

"Children of High Class"

Lew Kan, a prominent merchant who ran canneries and a store, walks through Chinatown with his two sons. The boys' formal clothing indicates their high status. All boys and many girls attended segregated public schools in Chinatown. (One merchant [...]

Platform of the American Anti-Imperialist League

The Anti-Imperialist League was formed on June 15, 1898 to oppose U.S. annexation of the Philippines. Prominent members of the league included author Mark Twain, industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and American Federation of Labor [...]

The AFL Supports Chinese Exclusion

These excerpts from a 1902 American Federation of Labor pamphlet argue for a second extension of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. The pamphlet, entitled Some Reasons for Chinese Exclusion: Meat vs. Rice, alleged that the supposed willingness of [...]

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