Chinese History in Idaho

Priscilla Wegars presents 3 programs about Chinese history in Idaho

Idaho Humanities Scholar Priscilla Wegars founder of the University of Idaho’s Asian American Comparative Collection, will present 3 programs about Chinese history in Idaho this spring as part of North Idaho Reads 2018, community reading program for The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes.

Rathdrum Library
Priscilla Wegars presents: Chinese Women in the West 
Tuesday, March 20 at 10:30 am
Historical documents, such as newspapers, census records, and marriage license applications, help locate Chinese women in the West, while artifacts found on archaeological sites and in museums help us understand Chinese customs such as foot binding, and confirm the presence of Chinese women in areas for which no documentation exists.

Post Falls Library
Priscilla Wegars presents:  Polly Bemis – A Chinese American Pioneer 
Tuesday, April 3 at 6 pm
Polly Bemis, Idaho’s most famous Chinese woman, lived here for over 60 years. Although owned at first by a Warren, Idaho, Chinese businessman, she later married Charles Bemis. Charlie died in 1922 and Polly died in 1933. Since her death, fictionalized versions of Polly’s life often state that she was a prostitute or that Charlie Bemis won her in a poker game. Primary sources provide evidence showing that both statements are myths.

Hayden Library
Priscilla Wegars presents:  The Chinese in Idaho 
Tuesday, April 10 at 6 pm
The Chinese began coming to Idaho in the mid-1860s.  While most were then employed as miners, they also performed a wide variety of other occupations, and made important contributions to the growth and development of Idaho as a state.  This presentation provides background on Chinese immigration and focuses on the Chinese experience in Idaho, including occupations, geographical distribution, customs, anti-Chinese legislation, and other topics.

About Priscilla Wegars

2 Replies to “Chinese History in Idaho”

  1. Do you have, or have you read? Under the Sand Creek Bridge (Chinese in Sandpoint area.) The Other Side of the Fence (Chinese in Rathdrum). Interesting local history. I have had both books at one time or another, but have passed them on. I’m looking forward to attending one of your presentations.
    Caroline Crollard

    1. Hi Corollne, As you might know the next program Chinese history program will be at the Post Falls library on Tuesday April 3 at 6:00. Hope to see you there! Thanks for sharing the book titles – I’ve placed a hold on the Rathdrum Library’s copy of the “Other side of the fence” by Joyce Nowacki and I’m really looking forward to reading it. We don’t own The “Sand Creek Bridge” which looks to be out of print. Maybe I’ll run into you at a program – hopefully you’ll be able to attend attend one of our author events for Kelli Estes on April 18, 19th or 20th. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Twylla

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