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News Release
Oregon Historical Society Presents Statewide Programs on the History of Oregon's Early Chinese Residents (Photo) - 05/18/22

Portland, OR — In December 2021, the Oregon Historical Society’s scholarly journal, the Oregon Historical Quarterly (OHQ), published a captivating special issue titled “Chinese Diaspora in Oregon.” In partnership with the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project and guided by guest co-editors Jennifer Fang and Chelsea Rose, this important scholarship makes visible the long, complex, and geographically diverse history of Chinese Oregonians.

Focused on the period beginning in 1850 and continuing through the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, this heavily illustrated issue offers both new research and new conclusions about the history of Chinese people in Oregon — a subject that has been erased in Oregon’s public memory over the course of 200 years. This popular issue is already in its second printing, having sold out within months of its original release last year.

To further engage the community with this important scholarship, the Oregon Historical Society will present “OHQ on the Road,” a series of public programs across the state where scholars, authors, and knowledge-holders will share insights from the scholarship produced in this special issue. Kicking off in Eugene, Oregon, on May 19, these free, immersive programs will show how early Chinese communities were integral to the shaping of Oregon. These communities existed in every corner of Oregon, in rural and urban areas, and thrived while navigating complex governmental, social, and cultural systems that were often unwelcoming and oppressive. 

These programs are presented in partnership with the Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project, a multi-agency partnership that has been excavating sites across the state to better understand and share the history of Oregon’s early Chinese residents. With a focus on rural communities, remote mining camps, and railroad construction, this collaborative project has provided important insight into the Chinese experience and role in the settlement and development of Oregon.

Published continuously since 1900, OHQ brings well-researched, well-written history about Oregon and the Pacific Northwest to both scholars and general readers. OHQ is one of the largest state historical society journals in the United States and is a recognized and respected source for the history of the Pacific Northwest region. The Winter 2021 “Chinese Diaspora in Oregon” special issue and many back issues of the Oregon Historical Quarterly are available for purchase through the Oregon Historical Society’s Museum Store for $10, and a subscription to OHQ is a benefit of Oregon Historical Society membership. 

OHQ on the Road Series Schedule

Longevity: The Archaeology of a Chinese Business in Eugene's Market District
A panel discussion with Jon Krier, Marlene Jamplosky, and Chris Ruiz
Thursday, May 19 at 6pm at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, Eugene

This presentation and panel discussion on a recently re-discovered early twentieth century Chinese restaurant and gift store in Eugene’s downtown district illuminates a new chapter of Chinese experience in Oregon.

Oregon’s Early Chinese American History and Portland’s Louie Chung
Presented by Jennifer Fang and Myron Louie Lee
Wednesday, June 1 at 7pm at the Oregon Historical Society, Portland

Louie Chung immigrated to Oregon 1892 and worked as a contract laborer before becoming a wealthy Portland merchant. Join OHS for a discussion of what his story tells us about early Oregon history and the Chinese American diaspora.

Bona Fide Merchants and the Buck Rock Tunnel: Chinese Diaspora in Southern Oregon
Presented by Lisa A. Rice and Chelsea Rose
Wednesday, June 15 at 7pm at Grizzly Peak Winery, Ashland

Discover how researchers used historical-document analysis and landscape-scale archaeological investigation to uncover powerful stories of the Chinese merchants and laborers whose actions left significant marks on southern Oregon.

Tour of Chinese Mining Sites in Malheur National Forest
Led by archaeologists Don Hann and Katee Withee
Friday, June 24 at 9am at Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site, John Day

Join two researchers whose work has helped reveal fascinating new information about the businesses, homes, and lifestyles of Chinese gold miners in eastern Oregon on a tour of the sites where Chinese miners lived, worked, and recreated. Please note that this tour is now full, but folks can use the registration link to be added to the waiting list in the event that anyone cancels.

Uncovering the History of Chinese Mining in Eastern Oregon
Presented by Don Hann, William F. Willigham, and Katee Withee
Friday, June 24 at 7pm at Canyon City Community Hall, Canyon City

Learn how the work of the statewide Oregon Chinese Diaspora Project has uncovered histories of Chinese mining partnerships in eastern Oregon — including business records, clothing, tools, and work and home sites — that shift our understanding of Oregon history.

Wing Hong Hai Company Store Open House
Presented by Jacqueline Y. Cheung and Eric Gleason
Sunday, June 26 at 1pm at the Wing Hong Hai Company Store, The Dalles

Discover objects from the Wing Hong Hai Company Store, which played an important role in the maintenance of Oregon’s Chinese diaspora communities in The Dalles. This open house is hosted by the current building owners who are co-authors of an article in the OHQ special issue and are renovating the store and researching early members of the Chinese community in The Dalles.

Searching for Salem’s Early Chinese Community
Presented by Myron Louie Lee, Kylie Pine, and Kirsten Straus
Thursday, June 30 at 7pm at the Willamette Heritage Center, Salem

Learn how community members helped advise an archaeological team in uncovering a funerary table in Salem’s Pioneer Cemetery, one of few physical remnants of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century community, which led to reinstating its use in a revived annual Qingming festival at the cemetery. 

About the Oregon Historical Society

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state’s collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website (www.ohs.org), educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon’s history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon’s cannot be contained within a single story or point of view. 

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