Monday, July 12, 2010

A Centennial Celebration of a Historical San Francisco Landmark

Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

From which village in China did you come? How many houses are there in your row? Which direction does your house face? How many steps lead up to your house? How many windows are there in your house? Imagine if you were a Chinese immigrant, detained at the Angel Island Immigration Station in the early 20th century. These are the types of questions you would be expected to answer--one right after the next--and if you happened to pause, stutter, or forget, you could be instantly deported back to China.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Angel Island Immigration Station. You can read articles from that time period in the San Francisco Chronicle Historical database. To access this electronic resource:

1. Go to the SFPL home page, and under the eLibrary tab, select "Articles & Databases." You will need a San Francisco Public Library card to access databases from outside of the library.

2. Scroll down the list and select San Francisco Chronicle Historical.

3. In the search boxes, enter keywords such as "angel island" and "chinese."

4. You will see a list of headlines whose articles contain the keywords entered in step 3. To read the article, simply click on the headline. Or, if you wish, click "Abstract" to read a summary of the article along with its citation, "Page map" to see the entire page on which the article appears," or "Article page - PDF" to get a clipping of the article.

The San Francisco Chronicle Historical archives digitized articles from the San Francisco Chronicle dating from approximately 1865 to 1922. This searchable database offers a wide range of news articles capturing the social, political, and current events during the late 19th and early 20th century in San Francisco.

Finally, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Angel Island, the Chinese Center of the San Francisco Public Library in association with the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation will present "Angel Island: the Shanghai Connection" on Wednesday, July 21, at 6 p.m. at the Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library.

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