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Chinatown Dreams

The Life and Photographs of George Lee

Edited By Geoffrey Dunn

The striking images in this book by the talented photographer George Lee provide a unique-and intimate-portrait of a Chinese American community in California that stretches back for more than sixty years.

George Lee

Born in 1922, Lee was raised in the last of Santa Cruz's Chinatowns. His early photographs from the 1930s captured the generation of Chinese American immigrants from the late-nineteenth century who met with vigilante racism throughout California and were forced to live out the remainder of their lives in bachelor societies. Lee's stunning portraits provide them with a grace and dignity found in few other photographs from this era.

“[Santa Cruz Chinatown] has been reborn through Lee's arresting photographs and the vivid, heartfelt memories, commentary, and storytelling of relatives and friends, who place the long-ago dreams of Chinatown's residents in the rightful context of American dreaming.”

Ruthanne Lum McCunn,
author of Thousand Pieces of Gold, Sole Survivor and The Moon Pearl.

A veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, Lee dedicated his life to photography and studiously explored his craft until his untimely death, at the age of 76, in 1998. He served as a photographer for the Santa Cruz Sentinel for thirty years, recording floods and earthquakes and building demolitions, and he also contributed several award-winning images to the Associated Press.

But the subject most dear to his heart was his family. His collected oeuvre captured five generations of family members-his wife and daughter, mother and siblings, nieces and nephews, in-laws and shirt-tail cousins-so that by the end of his life he had provided an unparalleled record of the Chinese American experience in California.

With text by seven of Lee's friends and family members-all well-known Northern California writers-Chinatown Dreams: The Life and Photography of George Lee celebrates not only Lee's artistic achievements, but the man himself. This book confirms his significant contribution to American documentary photography.

Award-winning photographer George Lee (1922-1998) chronicled five generations of a Chinese American community on the Central California coast. Chinatown Dreams offers a multicultural appreciation of Lee's life and his impressive collection of documentary photographs.

The Authors:

Geoffrey Dunn, a longtime family friend of George Lee's, is an award-winning journalist, filmmaker and historian living in Santa Cruz.

Lisa Liu Grady, Lee's cousin-by-marriage, is a freelance writer with nonfiction publications in the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner.

Tony Hill, founder of Access Unlimited was the creator of “Welcoming Diversity” workshops and seminars, television producer and writer. Tony passed away suddenly in August 2007.

James D. Houston, is the author of a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction exploring the cultures and histories of the western United States and the Asia/Pacific region.

Sandy Lydon is Historian Emeritus at Cabrillo College and is the author of Chinese Gold: The Chinese in the Monterey Bay Region.

Morton Marcus has published nine volumes of poetry and one novel, and his work has been selected to appear in over seventy-five anthologies in the United States, Europe and Australia. For further information go to: www.mortonmarcus.com

Mark Stuart Ong has been a book designer for more than twenty-five years, and his designs have won multiple awards from Bookbuilders West and the Association of American University Presses.

George Ow, Jr., George Lee's nephew, is a Santa Cruz businessman, land developer, publisher and body-boarder.

Title: Chinatown Dreams: The Life and Photographs of George Lee
Publication Date November, 2002
Length: 128 pages

Soft Cover
ISBN – 10:0-932319-07-6
ISBN – 13: 978-0-932319-07-4

List Price: $29.95

Special Website Price - $25.00 with free shipping!

Hard Cover
ISBN – 10:0-932319-06-8
ISBN - 13:978-0-932319-06-7

List Price: $39.95

Special Website Price - $30.00 with free shipping