Guide to the Earn Hong Photograph Albums D-703

Liz Phillips
University of California, Davis Library, Dept. of Special Collections
1st Floor, Shields Library, University of California
100 North West Quad
Davis, CA 95616-5292

Language of Material: English
Contributing Institution: University of California, Davis Library, Dept. of Special Collections
Title: Earn Hong Photograph Albums
Creator: Hong, Earn
Identifier/Call Number: D-703
Physical Description: 0.4 linear feet
Date (inclusive): 1919-1922
Abstract: Photographic record of Korean American activist Earn Hong's travels in the United States and Peru between 1919 and 1922.
Physical Location: Researchers should contact Archives and Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.


Earn (or Eurn) Hong (1880-1951) was an active member of the Korean American community in Hawaii and California in the early 20th century. He first moved to the United States in 1905, studied in Hawaii, and eventually moved to San Francisco in 1911. In California, Hong became a representative of the Manchurian General Assembly of the Korean People's Association (or Korean National Association) in November 1912. Hong served in various positions in the Association over the next decade, including as vice president of the organization during the time represented by these photographs. He continued to serve the Korean and Korean American community, as Overseas Chinese Commissioner in 1935 and as Secretary of the Korean Federation in 1944. Hong passed away on March 25, 1951.

Scope and Contents

Photographic record of the American travels of prominent Korean American activist Earn Hong in his fundraising efforts for the Korean National Association. As documented here, Hong's travels took him across California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mexico, and Peru, largely to assess the need for financial relief of Korean residents in the Americas and to collect money for Korean independence efforts against Japan. The images document some personal travels as well.
The photographs here capture a wide range of people and settings, document Asian American, Asian Peruvian, and indigenous life in Peru in the early 1920s, and is a virtual treasure trove of identified Asian Americans in the western United States and Peru just after World War I.
The albums are organized chronologically by the locations Hong visited between 1919 and 1922. The first album begins in California, where Hong notes on a real photo postcard of San Francisco that the city is "My adopted hometown where I resided for eight years since 1911." Hong features the David Hewes Building in San Francisco, which he describes as "the corner building where there is the office of the Korea National Association." He also includes a photo of the Dewy House, where Hong has kept "7-Years' Residence." Hong then features and identifies dozens of fellow Korean Americans and Chinese Americans and their families in San Francisco and all across California, in the towns of Santa Monica, Marysville, Vallejo, Santa Rosa, Hollister, Salinas, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Dinuba, San Diego, Pasadena, Santa Barbara, and others. He also includes pictures of San Francisco's Chinatown, scenes in Golden Gate Park, at the Cliff House, and other locations across California, including Yosemite, a sugar pine mill in Madera, the Young Korean Academy in Los Angeles, an orange field in Upland, and a vineyard in Dinuba, often with friends or associates featured at these locations. Hong also visited Seattle and several locations in Oregon toward the end of 1919. He documents an "Indian Totimpl" in Seattle, Union Station and other spots in Portland, and apparently visited Native Americans in Pendleton, Oregon. He closed out 1919 with a whirlwind December tour of Idaho, Utah, Colorado (where he took several photographs from a train on the Denver Rio Grande line and visited a Korean American family in Pueblo), Wyoming, Montana (where he pictures Main Street and a copper mine in Butte City), and back in Washington state, where he pictures a Korean American family in Yakima. Hong began January 1920 in snowy Walla Walla, where the first album ends.
Hong's second album opens with over twenty-five photographs documenting a Korean American ceremony and parade. These photographs are not annotated, and the purpose of the ceremony is unclear, but several images feature participants proudly waving Korean flags alongside American flags, and the location is clearly the United States, likely in California. These images are followed by several shots of the Redwood Aviation School in Redwood City, California. A few of these photos feature Korean American pilots, as the Redwood Aviation School trained Korean pilots to help in the fight for independence from Japan. From there, Hong headed to Tiburon Bay, California (where his did some fishing) before moving on to Nevada (where he again took some photographs from a moving train), before returning to California, briefly visiting the Capitol Building in Sacramento, and then heading back south. Hong snaps a few pictures on the beach in Venice in April 1920 and then crosses to Mexico, visiting Calexico and then briefly Mexicali, Mexico. Returning to the U.S., he travels across Arizona, where he visited numerous sites and pictures them here. While in Tucson, Hong visited a Korean American woman named Mary L. Law, who inscribed a photograph to him. By the end of April Hong was in New Mexico, where he is pictured posing on a train in Lordsburg. A week later, and throughout the first two weeks of May, Hong traveled across Texas and Oklahoma, visiting El Paso, San Antonio, and Fort Worth, then on to Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Muskogee, and Colinville. He then returned to Texas, reaching Austin by May 18 and back in San Antonio the next day. He fished in Brackenridge Park and visits several tourist sites in San Antonio, including an ostrich farm, the Alamo, Mission Conception, and Camp Travis. While in San Antonio, Hong pictures an Asian-American woman in two photographs but does not identify her. The second album ends with a few photographs in New Orleans dated in early July 1920, and a collection of loose photographs dated July 4, 1920, in Hilo, Hawaii. The Hilo pictures document Asian Americans celebrating Independence Day in the city and are similar to the photographs that open the album but are clearly a different location.
Hong's third album is perhaps the most interesting, insightful, valuable, and information-rich of the collection. The photographs, all of which are annotated in Korean in white ink, begin in Lima in August 1921 and take Hong across Peru through September 1922. The album contains numerous shots of Peruvian street scenes, several pictures of "native" street vendors ("Native woman selling peanuts," "Native selling bread," "Native woman selling wood," etc.), a shot of a "Chinese Float of Carnival," fishing boats, a bird's-eye view of Ancón, a few photographs of a sugar plantation in Pomalca, Peru, a sugar mill in Laredo, Peru, a "Chinese Rice Farm" and "Chinese Sugar Mill" near Chepen, a few of Incan ruins, and much more. As with the other two albums, Hong captures views of rural places by taking pictures from a moving train, this time from the Ferrocarril Central del Perú (F.C.C.) Line. Among the places through which he travels are the small Peruvian communities and coastal towns of Chosica, Matucana, Rio Blanco, Galera, Pachacayo, Huancayo, San Luis, Mollendo, Pisco, Ariquippa, Cusco, Chancayo, Huacho, Puerto Supe, Colorado Chorillo, Paltivica, San Nicolas, Malebaya, Chiclayo, Trujillo, Pomalca, Laredo, Salaverry, and Chepen. While in Cusco, Hong photographs an "Incarcan Woman" and a local elderly man captioned "Incarcan old Literals." Hong also includes numerous portraits of Chinese Peruvians, most of whom are identified in the Korean-language captions, but a few are identified in English. Hong pictures Ho Kai Sang and Chan Sing in Ancón (with whom he goes bird hunting), and also includes portraits of Luis Suk Hong, his Peruvian wife, and their son and also Hohn Yee Liang in Trujillo. In Pisco, Hong pictures two "Chinese girls," and another portrait is captioned "Chinese girl Trujillo Peru." Hong includes himself in a few images of his Chinese Peruvian associates at Palese. Near the end of the album are two portraits of Chinese Peruvian B. Celestina Chang inscribed to Hong, and one from Firmina Chang, as well. The portraits in the third album include at least four featuring Earn Hong himself. One shows him at the Chinese Club in Chincha Alta. A second portrait shows Hong sitting on a horse at Huara. Another captures Hong sitting pensively on a park bench at the Plaza Parque in Chiclayo. A fourth image of Hong pictures him in Trujillo in "Native over coat." The final image shows Hong and three associates on the deck of a ship, presumably leaving Peru.
[Description provided by the William Reese Company]


Collection is open for research.

Processing Information

Liz Phillips created this finding aid with information supplied by the William Reese Company.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from the William Reese Company, 2020.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Earn Hong Photograph Albums, D-703, Archives and Special Collections, UC Davis Library, University of California, Davis.

Publication Rights

All applicable copyrights for the collection are protected under chapter 17 of the U.S. Copyright Code. Requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Regents of the University of California as the owner of the physical items. It is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Korean Americans -- Pictorial works
Korean Americans -- California -- History
Koreans -- Peru -- 20th century
Indigenous peoples -- Peru -- 20th century
Hong, Earn -- Archives
Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center