Film, Video Scene in Chinatown
About this Item
- Scene in Chinatown
- This film was shot in an alley of San Francisco's Chinatown on Saturday, September 15, 1900, at midday. The topography of the site (sloping down to the far street), the width of the alley, the location of utility poles [Frame: 0255], and the location of buildings across the far street suggest that the view is north from Washington Street down Washington Place (today's Wentworth Street) to Jackson Street. Washington Place was known locally as Tuck Wo Gai ("Virtue and Harmony Street") and adjacent Washington Street was called Wa Sheng Dun Gai ("Waystation to Prosperity Street"). Washington Place was located in the northeast part of old Chinatown, just northwest of Portsmouth Square, around which gold rush San Francisco was built. Chinese provision stores lined the west (left) side of Washington Place, with fish and poultry stores on the east side. Three gambling houses were also located on the east side toward Jackson Street. The film features a group of white men ascending the alley  before dispersing down Washington Street. Some Chinese residents are also seen. The group of men, one dressed as an inspector, are most likely members of the Health Department Committee on an inspection tour. Presumably, such a tour would have been easiest on a Saturday, when most Chinatown residents were likely to be home. Chinatown suffered from extreme crowding in ghetto conditions and was a major health concern for San Francisco. Bubonic plague had initially appeared in Chinatown in March 1900, but only a few cases were subsequently identified and there was no epidemic. Authorities remained on the alert, however, and a second outbreak occurred in January 1901; the disease was not fully eradicated until 1908. Alternatively, the group may be the Chinatown Squad, formed in 1875 as the Raiding Squad, which suppressed illegal activities in Chinatown. However, the casual, non-militant aspect of the group and the absence of any detained persons make it unlikely that this is the Chinatown Squad. A few Chinese men with characteristic queues are seen in the alley  and several Chinese women in fashionable dress descend Washington Street near the end of the film. The first woman  may be a family servant, the second and third women  may be a mother and daughter; unescorted women of good character were rarely seen alone outdoors.
- Contributor Names
- Ackerman, Raymond, camera.
- American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
- Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
- Created / Published
- United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, c1903.
- Subject Headings
- - Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.)
- - Streets--California--San Francisco
- - Pedestrians--California--San Francisco
- - Commercial buildings--California--San Francisco
- Actualities (Motion pictures)
- Short films
- Nonfiction films
- - H30730 U.S. Copyright Office
- - Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 24Apr1903; H30730.
- - Duration: 1:06 at 15 fps.
- - Camera, Raymond Ackerman.
- - Photographed: September 15, 1900. Location: Chinatown, San Francisco.
- - Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
- - Received: 4/24/1903; paper pos; copyright deposit; Paper Print Collection.
- 1 roll (55 ft) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. paper pos.
- Call Number/Physical Location
- LC 375 (paper pos)
- Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA dcu
- Digital Id
- Library of Congress Control Number
- Online Format
- LCCN Permalink
- Additional Metadata Formats
- MARCXML Record
- MODS Record
- Dublin Core Record
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
SubjectsActualities (Motion Pictures)
Chinatown (San Francisco, Calif.)
City and Town Life
Rights assessment is your responsibility.
Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions.
The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright in the motion pictures in these collections. As is indicated in the cataloging, most of the titles were registered for copyright prior to 1916. (No registration information exists for some titles.) The Library notes that the reproduction of some titles may be restricted by privacy rights, publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Additionally, some works may still be protected by copyright in some foreign countries.
Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. Users should consult the catalog information that accompanies each item for specific information. This catalog data provides the details known to the Library of Congress regarding the corresponding item and may assist users in making independent assessments of the legal status of these items as related to their desired uses. Users should also consult restrictions associated with donations to the Library.
Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.More information about American Memory and Copyright.
More about Copyright and other Restrictions
For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.
Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.
Chicago citation style:
Ackerman, Raymond, Camera, American Mutoscope And Biograph Company, and Paper Print Collection. Scene in Chinatown. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/00694411/. (Accessed January 21, 2017.)
APA citation style:
Ackerman, R., American Mutoscope And Biograph Company & Paper Print Collection. (1903) Scene in Chinatown. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/00694411/.
MLA citation style:
Ackerman, Raymond, Camera, American Mutoscope And Biograph Company, and Paper Print Collection. Scene in Chinatown. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1903. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/00694411/>.