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Coming to America

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and a good time to check out the latest collection from American Memory, "The Chinese in California, 1850-1925." The collection comes to American Memory from the Bancroft Library and the Ethnic Studies Library, both of the University of California at Berkeley; and the California Historical Society in San Francisco. “The Chinese in California” is the last of 23 collections that were added to the American Memory Web site as a result of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. This competition, which concluded in 1999, provided funds and technical assistance to more than 30 institutions nationwide to digitize selected materials and make them available through the Library of Congress.

Two Boys with Older Sister in Doorway Italian immigrant family at Ellis Island

The Learning Page Web site has a special activity called "Immigration: The Changing Face of America." Most of us can point to a place other than America as the origin of our ancestors. In what may be considered the first North American immigration, the people who are called American Indians crossed the land bridge from Asia to North America about 20,000 to 30,000 years ago.

The Library’s Asian Division Reading Room serves as the gateway to material in all languages of Asia and about Asian American Studies, the Asian Diaspora and the Pacific Islands. The Local History and Genealogy Reading Room offers a wealth of material relating to ancestry. It has one of the world's premier collections of U.S. and foreign genealogical and local historical publications. The genealogy collection began as early as 1815, when Thomas Jefferson's library was purchased to help rebuild the collections of the Library of Congress that were lost during a fire in 1814 in the U.S. Capitol (where the Library was then housed).

A. Hortense Shulze, [Two Boys with Older Sister in Doorway], ante 1910. Call No.: SF Chinatown (ii): children: 25413. Repository: California Historical Society (reproduction not available from the Library of Congress)

B. [Italian immigrant family at Ellis Island], ca 1910. Prints and Photographs Division. Call No.: LOT 11687-5 [P&P]; Reproduction No.: LC-USZ62-67910 (b&w film copy neg.)

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