Scope and Content
Title: Peter SooHoo, Sr. papers
Inclusive Dates: 1883-2007
Bulk Dates: 1923-1945
Collection Number: mssSooHoo
SooHoo, Peter Francis, Sr.
15 boxes and 4 oversize folders (8 linear feet)
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-5720
Abstract: This collection relates to Peter SooHoo, Sr.'s role in creating New Chinatown in Los Angeles, California, as well as his involvement
with the Chinese American Citizens Alliance and other professional and community activities from 1883 through 2007.
Language of Material: The material is in English and Chinese.
The collection is open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services Department. For more information,
please go to the following
Four fragile photographs have been removed from oversize folder 3. These photographs may not be viewed without prior approval
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material,
nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and
obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item] Peter SooHoo, Sr. papers. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
Gift of SooHoo Family Trust, January 2019 and April 2019.
Peter Francis SooHoo, Sr. (1899-1945) was a Chinese American engineer born in Los Angeles, California. SooHoo graduated from
the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in engineering in June 1923. In September 1925, he married
Lillie Leung at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles; the couple had two children. SooHoo was employed by the Los
Angeles Department of Water and Power, where he worked in the Underground Engineering section from 1925 until his death from
a cerebral hemorrhage in 1945.
SooHoo's was active in the Los Angeles Chinese community and a member of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, Chinese Consolidated
Benevolent Association, Chinese Laundryowners Association of Southern California, China Society of Southern California, and
the director of the Los Angeles Chinese Band. He was also the captain and commanding officer of the first company of the California
State Guard composed entirely of Chinese members. He was affiliated with various Masonic chapters and was the first Chinese
member of Al Malaikah Temple of the Shrine. As the unofficial "Mayor of Chinatown" and member of the Chinatown Project Association,
SooHoo directed the design and financing of the New Chinatown on North Broadway in anticipation of the completion of Union
Station in the late 1930s.
Scope and Content
The collection contains materials relating to Peter SooHoo, Sr.'s role in creating New Chinatown in Los Angeles, California,
involvement with Chinese professional and community activities, and personal life from 1883 through 2007. The first series
consists primarily of albums, blueprints, correspondence, ephemera, financial records, and photographs; this material relates
to community activities and the construction and opening of New Chinatown in Los Angeles, California. Included is material
related to Patricia Herman’s “Chinese Village Project” and Christine Sterling’s "China City,” two tourist destinations conceived
in the 1930s. Also included are copies of two lengthy letters written in August 1937 by SooHoo to Los Angeles mayor Frank
Shaw, where he explains the importance of New Chinatown. Material related to the Bandini Estate Company is also present because
New Chinatown was located on Bandini Estate property. The albums include photographs and clippings related to the SooHoo's
participation in various organizations and the Chinese American community in Los Angeles. The second series consists primarily
of albums, correspondence, ephemera, and photographs related to SooHoo's family, education, personal investments, and work
at LADWP. The bulk of the correspondence is from Peter SooHoo to Lillie SooHoo written from Fresno, San Francisco, Seattle,
and Washington, D.C. about his activities. Included in the second series are clippings, statements, and sympathy letters related
to SooHoo's death in 1945. The albums include photographs and clippings related to SooHoo's wedding, funeral, and ephemera
collected by Peter and Lillie.
Note: Although the albums are separated in two series, there may be a small amount of community or personal photographs within
Arranged in two series:
- Series 1: New Chinatown and community, 1883-2007
- Series 2: Personal, 1915-2002
Chiang, May-ling Soong, 1897-2003
SooHoo, Peter Francis, Sr.
Chinese American Citizens Alliance
Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
Los Angeles (Calif.). Department of Water and Power
Chinese Americans -- Societies, etc.
Chinese Americans -- California -- Los Angeles
Chinese Americans -- California -- Los Angeles -- Social life and customs
Chinatown (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)