University of Arizona

                                             Special Collections will be closed December 20, 2023 through January 1, 2024 in observance of the University Holiday break.

Collection of Chinese Documents from Tucson, Arizona

Correspondence to Sheung Tao from Lee Wee Kuan, 1949-1961

A Chinese community of merchants began to develop in Tucson, AZ in the later half of the 1800s. To maintain their ethnic identity, Chinese men met in tongs where they could follow their native traditions and speak of home. A similar organization, The Ying On Association was established in the 1930s to serve as a boarding house for single Chinese men upon arrival to Tucson, AZ. It also served as fraternal organization for elderly Chinese men, and as a source of assistance for members with business problems. A more detailed history of this collection is included with the inventory at the repository.

This collection contains personal papers, business records, and related materials from a Chinese community, the Ying On Merchants and Labor Benevolent Association of Tucson. Included are correspondence with family members, legal papers, ledger books, bills, receipts, newsletters, gambling records, photographs of members, advertising posters, and calendars. Among the individuals documented are Lee Wee Kuan, Lee Wah Ying, Moon Gar Gin, Gin You Chung, and Gin Boon Loon. Organizations represented include the Chee Kung Tong, other tongs, the Suey Ying Labor Association, the Chinese Anti-Communist League, and many of the Chinese-operated stores and restaurants in Tucson. Gambling records are for cards, checkers, dominoes, and chess.

Most materials are in Chinese; some printed forms are in English.