Guide to the Chingwah Lee papers M1807

Sara Timby
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
2011 ; revised 2021
Green Library
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford 94305-6064

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Title: Chingwah Lee papers
Identifier/Call Number: M1807
Physical Description: 0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)
Date (inclusive): circa 1920-1980
Abstract: Small collection of material by and about Chinese American writer, actor, art appraiser and scholar Chingwah Lee.
Language of Material: There are a few Chinese-language newspapers and other publications.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research; material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Atha Fong, 2011; purchase, 2012 and 2013. Accessions 2011-006 and 2013-082.

Biographical / Historical

Chingwah Lee was born in 1901 in San Francisco's Chinatown. Three generations on his father's side were art dealers in both China and America. His mother's side were noted shipbuilders. He was a graduate of the University of California and of the Chinese Academy. A Chinese American author and editor (Chinese Digest - a cultural Chinese magazine published in English), actor and movie consultant (The Good Earth, Little Mister Jim, Thirty Seconds over Tokyo, Blood Alley and others), art collector and consultant, and antiques appraiser and dealer (particularly Chinese ceramic art), he was also active in civic affairs as a tour guide, eighteen-year director of the Chinese Boy Scout movement, and former secretary of the Chinese branch of the Y.M.C.A. He died in 1980.

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], Chingwah Lee papers (M1807). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Related Materials

Audio recording of Lee available in the H.K. Wong collection (M2021)
Photograph of Chingwah Lee by Cindy Westbrook Hu, 1975 (MISC 1867)
Additional postcards of Lee's film work, and at least photograph are in the Philip P. Choy papers (M2521)

Scope and Contents

Small collection of material including articles about Chingwah Lee, publicity for his speaking engagements, typescripts for a Chinatown tour manual, correspondence and records for his art selling and appraisal business, and other ephemera.

Conditions Governing Use

While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Chinese Americans.
Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.)
Art, Chinese -- Collectors and collecting

box 1, folder 1

The Good Earth and Impact postcards

Scope and Contents

Two photo postcards featuring Chingwah Lee meeting with Anna May Wong and Ella Raines of the movie "Impact" (1949), on which Lee served as a technical consultant. Frank Tanner is listed as the photographer in one of the photos. Both are signed by Lee in English and Chinese. One depicts Lee sitting between the two women holding a book open for them to see, the other shows him standing between them pouring tea.
A third photo postcard depicts Lee in costume as Ching, a character in the film "The Good Earth," for which he served as a talent scout.
box 1, folder 2


box 1, folder 3

Biographies, photographs, personal ephemera

box 1, folder 4

Personal correspondence: legal

box 1, folder 5

Appraisal 1965

box 1, folder 6

"Alex" - loan, 1966-1967

box 1, folder 7

"Chang" consignment, 1967

box 1, folder 8

Sales & Consignments

box 1, folder 9

Art, miscellaneous

box 1, folder 10

Publicity & event programs

box 1, folder 11

1974 - deposition

box 1, folder 12

Sales & Consignments

box 1, folder 13

Sales & Consignments

box 1, folder 14

Sales & Consignments

box 1, folder 15

Chinatown tour manual & related

box 1, folder 16

Chinese Designs

box 1, folder 17

Japanese Houses and Gardens

box 1, folder 18


box 1, folder 19

Chinese Rugs