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.
- Description (Brief)
- Lee B. Lok (1869-1942) immigrated to San Francisco from Guangdong Province, China in 1881 and soon after moved to New York City's Chinatown where he worked in the Quong Yuen Shing & Co. store.
- Lee B. Lok ordered this gown from China to wear at the 1896 arrival ceremony in New York of Li Hongzhang, emissary of the Empress Dowager of China. Soon after Lee came to America he abandoned Chinese clothes for daily use and cut his queue. However on special occasions Lee wore clothing that identified him as Chinese. This Manchu style gown splits at the back, front, and both sides to allow for easy movement on horseback – a reflection of the Manchu people’s equestrian background.
- Currently not on view
- date made
- ca 1896
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center