This collection is comprised of 55
artifacts collected by Guire Cleary and Jade B. Ngoc Le from Southeast Asian refugees.
Cleary is a Franciscan friar of the Episcopal Church who served as assistant director of the
Tolstoy Foundation in San Francisco, California. Le is the former director of the United
States Catholic Conference transit center in San Francisco. The artifacts in this collection
are mostly Hmong or Iu Mien in origin and were left behind by refugees at the Travelodge
Transit Center in San Francisco. During 1979-1983, San Francisco, California was the entry
point for over 50,000 refugees each year who arrived in the United States from refugee camps
in Asia. Other artifacts were collected in the San Francisco area. The artifacts include
clothing, cooking materials, English language exercise books, and identification
In August 1979 Guire John Cleary was hired by the Church World Service, a voluntary agency
in San Francisco, California that assisted in the resettlement of Southeast Asian refugees.
Cleary helped to provide transportation for the refugees, who generally spent the night in
San Francisco before leaving on flights the next morning to their ultimate destination
throughout the United States. After Cleary was injured in an automobile accident, he left
Church World Service and was appointed assistant director of the Tolstoy Foundation in
December 1979, another voluntary agency that assisted in refugee resettlement, predominately
for refugees from Laos. Cleary remained with the Tolstoy Foundation until 1983. After
working for a number of years as a business litigation paralegal in Los Angeles, Cleary
returned to the religious community. Previous to 1979, Cleary was part of the Society of St.
Francis, a religious order in the Episcopal Church. In 2000, as Brother Guire Cleary, SSF,
he was appointed curator of the historic Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores),
the first Episcopalian and Franciscan brother to serve at the mission since 1845. As a
scholar and writer, Cleary's work focused on the history of the Franciscan Order and the
California missions, with a particular emphasis on the Ohlone and other Native Americans who
originally settled in the San Francisco area. Cleary also served on the board of directors
of the San Francisco History Association and the California Mission Studies Association. In
January 2004, Cleary was transferred to New Zealand. Cleary is the recipient of several
awards including Friend of the Ohlone People, Honorary U.S. Park Ranger, and the Oscar Lewis
Award for historical writing.