A dramatized history of the earliest and the last Chinese laundry in St. Johns, Newfoundland that depicts the difficult lives of Chinese laundrymen working long hours in an often hostile community where they lived in cultural and social isolation.
Many customers of our laundry mistakenly called my father, Frank Jung, “Sam.” It was not unexpected that they thought he was “Sam Lee” because our laundry, the only one in Macon, Georgia, between the last 1920s and mid-1950s was named, Sam Lee Laundry. Sam Lee Laundry had existed since 1885 at that site where severalContinue reading “What Chinese Laundry Names Really Mean”
In the late 19th century the most common occupation for Chinese male immigrants was “laundryman” even though they had no experience with this business back in China. It was not so much their choice, but one of the few ways afforded to Chinese who were excluded from more desirable and better paying work. The lifeContinue reading ““Trapped Inside” Many Laundrymen Was A Person Eager to Be Free”
My parents came from Hoiping in Guangdong in 1928 to operate the Sam Lee Laundry from until 1956. I never knew or wondered if this laundry where I grew up and helped work had been run by Chinese before my parents came. I am guessing my parents must have met the Chinese who sold theContinue reading “Our Chinese laundry in Macon, Georgia started around 1885!”
The United States and Canada were not alone in having Chinese laundries in virtually every city and town during the last third of the 19th century and continuing well into the twentieth century until there was wide availability of home washers and dryers, new clothing materials that were easier to wash and often not requiringContinue reading “Chinese Laundries Across New Zealand”
The Chinese laundryman came to be the stereotype of the Chinese in America even though they worked in many other fields. He was an easy target for racist humor that mocked his broken English, different clothing, strange foods, and hair tied in a “pigtail” or queue until 1911 when the Chinese revolution freed them fromContinue reading “Mocking the Chinese Laundryman”
Laundries and laundromats are not “synonyms” Just as a cafe is not a cafeteria, a laundry is not a laundromat.
Chinese immigrants entered the United States at major ports from the mid 19th to mid 20th century and many found work nearby. However, it must be recognized that they were often “transient” and moved one or more times to other regions of the country, sometimes to join a family member or friend who offered themContinue reading “Chinese Remigrate: Laundrymen Example”
Chinese all over the country would sell and buy laundries from other Chinese for many different reasons, but a most unusual offer of a laundry offered for sale stipulated that the buyer would also acquirer the wife of the seller! In 1907, Fong Tin, a laundryman in Britt, Iowa, put his laundry for sale andContinue reading “Laundry for Sale, Includes Wife”
Until the last quarter of the 19th century, there were few Chinese in the middle of the United States. This situation began to change after 1869 with the completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory, Utah. Suddenly out of work, thousands of Chinese laborers had to find their way back to the west coast orContinue reading “Lives of Chinese in Grinnell, Iowa, c. 1900 Similar to Other Small Towns Across the U.S.”