Card Illustrating Bret Harte's Poem, Plain Language from Truthful James


In the 1870’s, white laborers considered the Chinese to be competition for jobs and sometimes responded with great hostility. Californians led the effort to prohibit further Chinese immigration, encouraging the passage of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. In 1871, Brett Harte wrote a poem, Plain Language from Truthful James, that rebuked a white card shark cheating a Chinese man. Intended to be a commentary on the prejudice against the Chinese, the poem was often misinterpreted as a condemnation of the Chinese.

Date Made: 19701870

Producer: Harte, Bret

Place Made: United States: Illinois, Chicago

Depicted: Chinese Americans


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Domestic Life

Exhibition: Many Voices, One Nation

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Nancy E. Davis

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2015.0281.07Accession Number: 2015.0281Catalog Number: 2015.0281.07

Object Name: poem on card

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 1/4 in x 5 1/2 in; 18.415 cm x 13.97 cm


Record Id: nmah_1805303

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