Clothes and Heritage: Chinese American Clothes from the Virginia Lee Mead CollectionAbout the Collection
The Lee family wore these objects of clothing between 1881 and 1945 which Lee’s youngest daughter, Virginia Lee Mead, donated to NMAH. The family imported many articles of clothing from China that were worn on special occasions; otherwise, the children and businessman Lee dressed in Western-style attire for daily wear. The mother of the family continued to wear traditional Chinese dress most of her life. Their clothing reflects diverse Chinese and American cultural traditions.
The Lee family, c. 1920. The donor, Virginia Lee, was not yet born.
"Clothes and Heritage: Chinese American Clothes from the Virginia Lee Mead Collection - About the Collection" showing 1 items.
- Mrs. Lee had bound feet her entire life. Her daughter, Grace Mok, noted in an oral history that her limited mobility and difficulty in walking required her to be accompanied wherever she went. Though these are not Ng Shee Lee’s shoes, they are similar to those she wore.
- Foot binding in China may have originated as early as 900 AD. Though outlawed by the conquering Manchus in the 17th century, the Han Chinese retained the social practice into the 20th century.
- Currently not on view
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- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center