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Finding aid to Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, 1894-1897, MS 3642
MS 3642  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Donor
  • Historical note
  • Scope and Contents
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Title: Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers
    Date: 1894-1897
    Collection Identifier: MS 3642
    Creator: United States. Internal Revenue Service. First District of California.
    Physical Description: 3.0 folders (17 certificates)
    Repository: California Historical Society
    678 Mission Street
    San Francisco, CA, 94105
    URL: http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/
    Physical Location: Collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.
    Digital reproductions of the certificates of residence for Chinese laborers are available on the Flickr Commons.


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication rights

    All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Director of the Library and Archives, North Baker Research Library, California Historical Society, 678 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94105. Consent is given on behalf of the California Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Certificates of residence for Chinese laborers, MS 3642, California Historical Society.


    Collection is arranged in numerical order by certificate number.


    Gift of Frank V. Piraro of San Jose, California, 2010.

    Historical note

    Under the provisions of the 1892 Geary Act, which amended the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, all Chinese in the United States were required to apply for, obtain, and carry a government-issued certificate of residence proving their legal presence in the United States. Chinese and Chinese Americans discovered without such identification could be arrested and deported.

    Scope and Contents

    Collection consists of 17 certificates of residence for Chinese laborers in California, dated from 1894 to 1897. Each certificate includes the laborer's name, local residence, and occupation; information about his height, eye color, complexion, and physical marks or peculiarities; and a photographic print. Certificates are signed and stamped by O. M. Welburn, Internal Revenue Collector, First District of California.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    California--Emigration and immigration--History--19th century.
    Chinese Americans--California--History--19th century.
    Chinese--California--History--19th century.
    Identification cards.


    Sources consulted for Historical note:
    Lee, Ericka. At America's gates: Chinese immigration during the exclusion era, 1882-1943. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003.