Discovery: Science and History Work Together
The Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters site (ACLQ) is located in the Stanford University Arboretum. The site housed Chinese employees who worked across Stanford lands. They were instrumental in the creation and maintenance of the University’s iconic historic landscapes: the Arboretum, Palm Drive, the Oval, and the gardens of the Main Quadrangle. The site was occupied between the 1880s and 1925 when the last resident left and the buildings were demolished.
During spring 2017, work within the project grid located a trash midden, likely associated with the Quarters’ kitchen. Archaeologists hand excavated a small trench through the midden, recovering Chinese ceramics and food remains that were typical of Chinese-style meals. The discovery of the ACLQ site shows how the study of historical documents, when combined with scientific survey methodology, can aid in locating of archaeological sites whose locations have been lost to time.
Opportunity for Research, Education, and Engagement
The ACLQ presents a unique and important opportunity to engage scholars, students, and members of the Chinese American community to partner in studying the important role of Chinese employees in the founding and operating of Stanford University. Research at the ACLQ also contributes to important themes in the history of the American West and U.S.- China relations.
This student-curated exhibit produced by Bright Zhou (Class of 2016) during an independent study course taught by Christina J. Hodge presents evocative items excavated from the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters site and the Stanford Mansion on campus lands.
The University Archives is proud to collaborate with the Stanford Archeology Center, Heritage Services, and the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project in an effort to document and share with the public primary sources relating to early Chinese and Chinese Americans at Stanford.
To that end, we have created a Topic Guide to our collections, which include various records from Leland Stanford’s Palo Alto Stock Farm, scrapbooks, photographs, diaries, and maps. All of these materials are available for research use by the general public. Although no appointment is necessary for visiting, our materials are stored offsite so please order materials ahead of your visit.
For more information on visiting us and using our collections please visit https://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-our-collections.Questions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image provided by the Stanford University Libraries
Barbara L. Voss
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology Faculty Advisor, Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project email@example.com
I am a historical archaeologist who studies transnational cultural encounters. My research on 19th century migration from southern China includes the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project in San Jose, California; the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project; and the Cangdong Village Archaeology Project in Guangdong Province. On the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project, I provide academic mentoring, coordinate research partnerships, and participate in heritage stakeholder consultation.
Christina J. Hodge
Academic Curator and Collections Manager, Stanford University Archaeology Collections firstname.lastname@example.org
I am a museum anthropologist and historical archaeologist engaged in decolonizing museum practices and social archaeologies of colonial America. I lead the Stanford University Archaeology Collections, a museum quality collection of artifacts from around the world, including from campus lands. SUAC will be the permanent home for the material finds and documentary archive from the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project. I currently serve an advisory and logistical role relating to the documentation and care of ACLQ collections.
Megan Rhodes Victor
Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford Archaeology Center email@example.com
I am a historical archaeologist who studies commensality, especially within drinking spaces such as taverns, saloons, and coffeehouses. My research on commensal politics and alcohol includes excavations at the 17th-19th century fishing village of Smuttynose Island, in the Isles of Shoals, Maine, at the 18th century Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg, Virginia, and at the 19th century gold-mining town of Highland City, Montana. On the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters Project, I work with the Campus Archaeology Program and the Stanford Archaeology Center to conduct excavations at the ACLQ, construct comparative language for 19th century transnational Chinese material culture collections, and aid in heritage stakeholder engagement. I am particularly interested in what the data from the ACLQ excavations can reveal with regards to the quotidian activities, including commensal politics and leisure, of the Chinese laborers that lived there.
We are a team of Stanford staff archaeologists and historians managing the Asian American Heritage Survey effort and providing support in archival research, mapping, data recovery, and collections processing for the Arboretum Chinese Labor Quarters project. We work towards evaluating and preserving the heritage of Stanford campus and the surrounding lands.
Dylan Bergersen, Archaeology Technician
Julie Cain, Historian & Historic Preservation Planner
Lauren Conway, Heritage Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Koji Lau-Ozawa, Archaeologist, PhD candidate
Shane Martin, Archaeology Technician
Carol Porter, Heritage Data Systems & Facilities Coordinator
Marco Ramos Barajas, Archaeology Technician
Katrinka Reinhart, Archaeologist
Garrett Trask, Staff Archaeologist, email@example.com
Suzanne Ubick, Archaeologist