Finding Aid to Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California, circa 1906-1911

Processed by Chris McDonald.
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
© 1996
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Finding Aid to Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California, circa 1906-1911

Collection number: BANC PIC 1905.02634-.02731--PIC

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Finding Aid Author(s):
Processed by Chris McDonald.
Finding Aid Encoded By:
© 2013 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California
Date (inclusive): circa 1906-1911
Collection Number: BANC PIC 1905.02634-.02731--PIC
Collector: Cross, Ira B. (Ira Brown), b. 1880
Extent: 101 photographic prints, 9 x 14 cm. or smaller. 100 digital objects
Repository: The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: Collection shows laborers from various ethnic groups (Chinese, Japanese, Mexican, Italian, "Hindu") working in the following locations: Sacramento (including Japantown), San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Los Angeles, Gilroy, and Merced. Photos show laborers in the fields, but also focus on their businesses, ranches, living conditions (including interiors of houses), street scenes, and children.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Information for Researchers


Collection is available for use.

Publication Rights

Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. See: .

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California, circa 1906-1911, BANC PIC 1905.02634-.02731--PIC, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

Digital Representations Available

Digital representations of selected original pictorial materials are available in the list of materials below. Digital image files were prepared from selected Library originals by the Library Photographic Service. Library originals were copied onto 35mm color transparency film; the film was scanned and transferred to Kodak Photo CD (by Custom Process); and the Photo CD files were color-corrected and saved in JFIF (JPEG) format for use as viewing files.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Agricultural laborers--California--Photographs
Alien labor--California--Photographs
East Indians--California--Employment--Photographs

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California collection was received as a gift from Ira B. Cross.


Finding aid and digital representations of archival material funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Ira Brown Cross, a descendant of William Bradford and John and Priscilla Alden of the Plymouth Colony, was born December 1, 1880 in Decatur, Illinois. He received his A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, and while a student there became a member of the Socialist Party. In 1904 he served as the Assistant Secretary of the National Convention of the Socialist Party in Chicago. Cross received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 1909. He remained at Stanford as a professor until 1914, when--despite his radical economic views--he was asked by University of California president Benjamin Ide Wheeler to accept a position in the Department of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley. Cross accepted and would remain at the University of California until his retirement in 1951. During his tenure at Berkeley he significantly expanded the scope of the Department of Economics and gained a reputation as a challenging, iconoclastic instructor and impassioned lecturer who was able to enliven student interest in a field often referred to as the "dismal science." An estimated 60,000 students enrolled in his classes during his career. Cross was Chair of the Department of Economics in the 1919-1920 and 1923-1924 school years. In 1951 Cross was awarded the LL.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin, and in 1958 was awarded the same degree from the University of California. In 1964 he was honored with the dedication of the Ira B. Cross Room in Barrows Hall on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to his career in academia, Cross was also active in arbitration and strike-breaking efforts, and created one of the nation's first employment management training courses. He also served as a member of the American Institute of Banking from 1935 to 1960, for whom he taught and contributed important educational texts. Cross also helped to form the Berkeley Police School, an internationally recognized crime prevention program. After his retirement, Cross pursued his interest in the cultivation of chrysanthemums, becoming such an authority on the subject that he served as associate editor of the Bulletin of the National Chrysanthemum Society. Ira B. Cross died March 24, 1977.
In addition to publishing numerous articles and reviews, Cross also wrote several volumes on economics and banking, among them the following: Cooperative Stores in the United States (1906); Essentials of Socialism (1911); Collective Bargaining in San Francisco (1917); Domestic and Foreign Exchange (1923); History of Banking in California (1927); Economics (1931); Money and Banking (1931); and A History of the Labor Movement of California (1935).
(Sources: Cross, Ira B. (interviewee), Portrait of an Economics Professor: Oral History Transcript, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, California, 1967; In Memoriam, Academic Senate, University of California, Berkeley, California, 1978 edition.)

Scope and Content

The Photographs of Agricultural Laborers in California collection contains 101 photographic prints taken circa 1906-1911. The collection documents various ethnic groups, many of them agricultural workers, present in California in the early twentieth century. Especially featured in the collection are Japanese farm laborers and scenes of urban Chinese communities. Also pictured are Mexican, Italian and East Indian (referred to in the captions as "Hindu") workers and communities. Agricultural locations pictured in the collection include the Stockton area, Palo Alto, Woodland, Visalia, Ryde, and the San Joaquin River area. Many prints show the various types of housing used by the farm laborers, which included large ranch houses, communal bunk houses, dilapidated shacks, and open-air tents and beds. Also pictured are laborers at work or during travel.
The collection also includes scenes of many urban communities, including the Chinatown districts of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno, Gilroy, San Jose, and Merced, as well as Japanese commercial districts in Fresno, San Francisco and San Jose. Also pictured are an Italian residential area of San Francisco, and a Mexican employment office in Fresno.
Many of the photographs in the collection may have originated from a 1908 U.S. Immigration Commission study conducted by Stanford University professor Harry A. Millis with the assistance of Cross, which sought to gather information on immigrant farm labor problems of the San Joaquin Valley.
Individuals identified in the collection include Harry A. Millis, rancher George Shima, and anarchist William C. Owen.
Cross is likely to have been the photographer of many of the prints, but this has not been ascertained.
The original captions accompanying the photographs are reproduced in the container listing. They include words like "Jap" and "Hindu" that were commonplace at the time, but may now have a derogatory meaning.

Container Listing


"Blanket Stiff". [Man carrying bedroll on his back.] BANC PIC 1905.02634--PIC


"Blanket Stiffs". [Two men carrying bedrolls on their backs.] BANC PIC 1905.02635--PIC


Interior of bunk house. BANC PIC 1905.02636--PIC


Jap ranch laborer's shack. [Housing for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02637--PIC


Jap beet workers near Woodland. [Japanese laborers tilling a field.] BANC PIC 1905.02638--PIC


"Blanket Stiff". [Men carrying bedrolls and belongings in front of unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02639--PIC


Japanese, San Jose. [Children in street.] BANC PIC 1905.02640--PIC


Jap laborers and white foremen. [Japanese laborers and white foremen? in a field.] BANC PIC 1905.02641--PIC


Jap beet workers [Japanese laborers cultivating a field.] BANC PIC 1905.02642--PIC


Jap laborer's house on ranch. [Housing for Japanese laborers on a ranch.] BANC PIC 1905.02643--PIC


Interior Jap bunk house. [Interior view of a bunkhouse for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02644--PIC


Jap farm laborer's shack. [Housing for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02645--PIC


[Unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02646--PIC


Jap farm labor bed. [Makeshift shelter for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02647--PIC


[Makeshift shelter for laborers on a ranch.] Visalia 1908. BANC PIC 1905.02648--PIC


Jap beds [of?] farm laborers. [Makeshift shelters for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02649--PIC


Jap beds, farm laborers. [Beds for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02650--PIC


Jap bed. [Makeshift shelter for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02651--PIC


Bunk house. [Jarfey?], Fresno. BANC PIC 1905.02652--PIC


Club house. [Jarfey?], Fresno. BANC PIC 1905.02653--PIC


Jarfey[?] ranch bath house, [Fresno. Shower stalls.] BANC PIC 1905.02654--PIC


[Japanese Information Bureau, unidentified location.] BANC PIC 1905.02655--PIC


[Street and sidewalk, unidentified location. Businesses include B.A. Soberanes, Real Estate Agent and Togo the Machine Shoemaker.] BANC PIC 1905.02656--PIC


Bunk house, Palm Tract, Island ...[illegible], near Stockton. BANC PIC 1905.02657--PIC


Island ranch house, Palm Tract, near Stockton. BANC PIC 1905.02658--PIC


George Shima's launch. BANC PIC 1905.02659--PIC


San Joaquin River Island Ranch. 1909. BANC PIC 1905.02660--PIC


Jap laborers on Shima's ranch near Stockton. [Japanese laborers with horses.] BANC PIC 1905.02661--PIC


George Shima's ranch house near Stockton. BANC PIC 1905.02662--PIC


Jap farm laborers. Wife and son. [Japanese mother and son working in a field.] BANC PIC 1905.02663--PIC


Ryde. Jap farm hands. [Japanese laborers riding in horse-drawn wagon.] BANC PIC 1905.02664--PIC


Jap packs. Ryde, Cal. Sac[ramento] River. [Bedrolls and belongings of Japanese laborers stacked outside unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02665--PIC


[Hay stack with farm laborers (including Japanese?).] BANC PIC 1905.02666--PIC


Jap alley. Fresno, Cal. 1910. [Alley in Japanese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02667--PIC


[Unidentified farm building, possibly in the Sacramento or Stockton area.] BANC PIC 1905.02668--PIC


Jap laborers. [Japanese laborers cultivating a field.] BANC PIC 1905.02669--PIC


Jap farm house, near Sacramento. [Housing for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02670--PIC


Jap farm house, near Sacramento, Cal. [Housing for Japanese farm laborers.] BANC PIC 1905.02671--PIC


Jap alley. Fresno, Cal. Italian and Mexicans, boot black boys. [Children in alley in Japanese commericial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02672--PIC


Jap town. Fresno, Cal. 1910. [Japanese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02673--PIC


Sacramento Jap town. [Japanese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02674--PIC


Sacramento. [Alley or side street, with Chinese sign visible.] BANC PIC 1905.02675--PIC


Sacramento. [Bon Ton Meat Market. Commercial street scene in Japanese or Chinese district.] BANC PIC 1905.02676--PIC


Jap town, Sacramento. [Japanese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02677--PIC


Jap potato diggers. Sacramento Islands. [Japanese laborers working a field. Islands in the Sacramento River Delta?] BANC PIC 1905.02678--PIC


Jap laborers. [Laborers stacking hay.] BANC PIC 1905.02679--PIC


Jap alley, Chinatown. Fresno, Cal. [Alley of Japanese shops within a Chinese commercial district?] BANC PIC 1905.02680--PIC


[Kamikawa's Hotel and Kamikawa Bros. Co. General Store, Fresno, California. Duplicate of :02682.] BANC PIC 1905.02681--PIC


Jap town, Fresno, Cal. Jap bank and P.O. in this building. [Japanese commercial district. Duplicate of :02681.] BANC PIC 1905.02682--PIC


San Francisco Jap town. [Japanese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02682A--PIC


Chinatown, Gilroy. 1911. [Chinese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02683--PIC


Chinese store, Gilroy. BANC PIC 1905.02685--PIC


Part Chinatown, Fresno, California. BANC PIC 1905.02686--PIC


[Chinatown. Fresno, California. Duplicate of :02688.] BANC PIC 1905.02687--PIC


Part Chinatown, Fresno, Cal. [Duplicate of :02687.] BANC PIC 1905.02688--PIC


Chinese, San Jose. [Children on a sidewalk in Chinatown.] BANC PIC 1905.02689--PIC


Chinatown. Merced, Cal. BANC PIC 1905.02690--PIC


Main Street, Chinatown. Fresno. [Duplicate of :02714.] BANC PIC 1905.02691--PIC


Chinese Children, San Francisco. J293. [Post card.] BANC PIC 1905.02692--PIC


Chinese Market, San Francisco. J57. [Post card.] BANC PIC 1905.02693--PIC


Chinese. San Francisco. BANC PIC 1905.02694--PIC


Palo Alto. Chinese laborer. BANC PIC 1905.02694A--PIC


Palo Alto. Chinese laborer. [Carrying baskets balanced on pole.] BANC PIC 1905.02694B--PIC


Chinese, San Francisco. [People gathered on street corner.] BANC PIC 1905.02695--PIC


Chinese. San Francisco. [Chinese boys and men on sidewalk, Chinatown.] BANC PIC 1905.02696--PIC


Jap farmer. Sacramento River. [Ranch house of a Japanese farmer.] BANC PIC 1905.02697--PIC


Chinatown. Fresno, Cal. [Children sitting on front stoop.] BANC PIC 1905.02698--PIC


Chinatown, Sacramento. [Makeshift dwellings.] BANC PIC 1905.02699--PIC


Chinatown, Los Angeles. 1911. [Child in front of unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02700--PIC


China alley. Fresno, Cal. 1910. [Alley in Chinese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02701--PIC


Part Chinatown. Fresno, Cal. 1910. [Chinese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02702--PIC


Merced Chinatown, Cal. BANC PIC 1905.02703--PIC


Chinatown. Fresno, Cal. 1910. BANC PIC 1905.02704--PIC


Sacramento Chinatown. [People resting on sidewalk in Chinese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02705--PIC


Chinatown, Los Angeles. 1911. BANC PIC 1905.02706--PIC


Chinatown, Los Angeles, 1911. [View down street.] BANC PIC 1905.02707--PIC


Jap town, Fresno. [Chinese commercial district?] BANC PIC 1905.02708--PIC


Chinatown, Los Angeles. 1911. BANC PIC 1905.02709--PIC


Chinatown, Los Angeles. 1911. [Men in front of unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02710--PIC


[Same?] China alley. Fresno, Cal. 1910. [People in front of building in Chinese commercial district.] BANC PIC 1905.02711--PIC


Main Street (part of) Chinatown. Fresno, Cal. Showing Mexican employment office. BANC PIC 1905.02712--PIC


Part of Chinatown. Merced, Cal. BANC PIC 1905.02713--PIC


[Main Street, Chinatown. Fresno, California. Duplicate of :02691.] BANC PIC 1905.02714--PIC


Partly Jap and China town. Fresno, Cal. [Japanese and Chinese commercial districts.] BANC PIC 1905.02715--PIC


Hindu bed. [Makeshift shelter for Indian farm laborer.] BANC PIC 1905.02716--PIC


San Francisco. 1910. [Men sitting on wooden sidewalk, one Indian or South Asian man in turban.] BANC PIC 1905.02717--PIC


[Group of men, including Indians[?] or South Asians with turbans, outside building. San Francisco, 1910. Cf. :02717.] BANC PIC 1905.02718--PIC


San Joaquin Valley Island. 1909. Hindu laborers. [Indian farm laborers tending field.] BANC PIC 1905.02719--PIC


Hindu laborers. [Indian farm laborers tending field.] BANC PIC 1905.02720--PIC


San Joaquin Valley Island. 1910. Italians. [Italian farm laborers in front of unidentified building.] BANC PIC 1905.02721--PIC


Italian district. San Francisco. BANC PIC 1905.02722--PIC


W.C. Owen. San Francisco. Anarchist in '80s. Taken about 1906-7. Highly educated -- fine, friendly personality, but an advocate of anarchy. BANC PIC 1905.02723--PIC


George Shima [(the potato king)?] -- plowing -- on ...[illegible]... lands near Stockton. BANC PIC 1905.02724--PIC


Dr. H.A. Miller & Shima and Jap laborers near Stockton. [Laborers and ranch owners.] BANC PIC 1905.02725--PIC


Dr. H.A. Miller and [George] Shima on Shima's ranch near Stockton. BANC PIC 1905.02726--PIC


Mexicans -- Plaza -- Los Angeles. 1911. BANC PIC 1905.02727--PIC


Mexicans -- Plaza -- Los Angeles. [People gathered at unidentified plaza in Los Angeles. 1911? Cf. :02727 and :02729.] BANC PIC 1905.02728--PIC


Shoe Blacks. Mexicans -- Plaza. Los Angeles. 1911. [Shoeshine boys waiting to shine shoes in unidentified plaza.] BANC PIC 1905.02729--PIC


Visalia. [Mex?] fruit. [Laborer picking fruit.] BANC PIC 1905.02730--PIC


Sailors' Union of the Pacific Headquarters. 1911. On Embarcadero, between Market and Mission. BANC PIC 1905.02730A--PIC


Ranch house. Stanford farm, Calif. BANC PIC 1905.02731--PIC