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Finding Aid to the Kem K. Lee Photographs and Other Materials, 1927-1986
AAS ARC 2006/1  
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The Kem Lee photograph collection, 1927-1986, contains Lee's photographs and other materials in subject files relating to his photojournalistic assignments and business advertisements for San Francisco Chinatown newspapers and includes photographs of the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, community organizations, political activities, as well as formal studio portraits. Formats consist of photographs, contact sheets, transparencies, negatives, slides, 16mm reels, newspaper clippings, and materials related to the photographs. The collection also contains Kem Lee's personal self-portraits; photographs with his wife, Nanying Stella Wong (Stella Wong Lee); his family and friends; biographical materials; correspondence; and poetry. Kem Lee Studio business correspondence and records, layouts for advertising, reference materials for assignments, newspaper clippings, and miscellany are also included in the collection. There are a few photographs of documents that date from 1909 to 1920.
Kem K. Lee was born on October 1, 1910 in the Taishan District, Guangdong Province of China. In 1928, he arrived in the United States and later opened one of the first photography studios in San Francisco's Chinatown. Lee worked both as a studio photographer and photojournalist, documenting community and organization events, including serving as the official photographer of the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant. He married poet-artist Nanying Stella Wong. When he retired from professional photography in 1978, he concentrated on writing and publishing his poetry in various local Chinese language newspapers. Kem Lee passed away on October 2, 1986. He was also known as Lee Siu Yum, Lee Kim Kin, and Thomas K. Lee.
Number of containers: 3 cartons, 154 boxes, 15 oversize boxes, 1 oversize folder Linear feet: 73.75
Copyright has not been assigned to the Ethnic Studies Library. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce must be submitted in writing to the appropriate curator. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Ethnic Studies Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.
Collection is open for research.