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Enriching History

Enriching History Colloquium 2015
The Chinese Encounter America:
 Emigration, Fraternalism, and Freemasonry
enriching history
Sunday, November 22, 2015, 9am-3pm
Anchor Room, Masonic Center, Nob Hill
1111 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108 
For questions and more information, please contact Cheryl Walker,
Director of Programs and Development, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 
Breakfast, lunch, and refreshments will be provided throughout the day at no cost.
A very special Lion Dance will be performed at lunch. 
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The Anchor Room can be entered directly from the traffic light corner rather than the long way via the big main entrance. 
Enriching History aims to be part of a new series enriching cultural studies and social studies curriculum and teaching, by deepening interest in the American saga and showing new ways of looking at our past. The series' mission is to influence the ways in which we learn and discuss the various experiences that have produced an ever-evolving country. The program brings together a diverse group of individuals who believe in the wide dissemination of and attention being paid to scholarly works on important historical events and figures.
This year Enriching History will focus on The Chinese Encounter: Emigration, Fraternalism and Freemasonry. The Chinese immigrants who came to America not only helped to build the railroads and mine the mineral wealth but helped build the urban culture. Helping them were their supportive social networks founded in the Tongs, a particular sort of Chinese freemasonry that continues to be part of Chinese American life. The adventures, trials and tribulations of one of America's most important ethnic groups is the theme of our meeting this year. The following outstanding figures have accepted invitations to present:
Bennet BronsonEmeritus Curator, The Field Museum
Chuimei Ho, Founder, Chinese American Museum of Chicago
Joanne Orion Miller, Anthropologist and Author
Philip Choy, Retired Architect and Historian
Wendy Rouse, Department Member, San Jose State University
Paul Rich, President, Policy Studies Organization
Read more about each presenter below: 
Splendors of Chinas Forbidden CityDr. Bennet Bronson has many publications in the field of human cultures in Asia and in the history of Chinese Americans, and in research on the Asian collections of the Field Museum. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is Emeritus Curator at that institution. He is coauthor of Splendors of the Forbidden City: The Glorious Age of Qianlong, and co-author of Unwrapping the Textile Traditions and is currently co-editor and webmaster of the Chinese in Northwest America Research Committee website,
Chinese in Chicago 1870 to 1943Dr. Chuimei Ho received her BA from the University of Hong Kong and her Ph.D. in art history and archaeology, from the University of London. She was a founder of the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and has been visiting curator at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and the Denver Museum of Natural History and an Adjunct Curator at the Field Museum, and was lead curator of the Splendors of the Forbidden City exhibition at the Field. Two of her books are the co-edited volumes, 15th century Asian Ceramics (Taiwan National University) and Life in the Imperial Court of Qing Dynasty China (Denver Museum of Natural History). With Ben Bronson, she authored Splendors of the Forbidden City: The Glorious Age of Qianlong (Merrill). With Soo Lon Moy, she was editor of Chinese in Chicago 1870-1945 (Arcadia). With Bronson she is co-editor and webmaster of the Chinese in Northwest American Research Committee's website,
ShakedownArmed with a degree in anthropology, Joanne Orion Miller became a cable network marketing manager and then worked for the Apollo astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell at the the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS). One of many books she has authored is her recent novel Shakedown, based on a real person, Teresa Wall, who made the papers on a regular basis in the wide-open Gilded Age before the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco. The richly-textured story is influenced by tales from Chinese relatives and other stories of Chinese immigrants to California at the turn of the century.
San Francisco ChinatownPhilip Choy earned a degree in architecture from UC Berkeley and was involved in major residential and commercial projects. During the Civil Rights era, Choy became president of the Chinese Historical Society of America and teamed up with historian Him Mark Lai to teach the first-ever Chinese American history course at San Francisco State University. He has served on the San Francisco Landmark Advisory Board, on the California State Historical Resources Commission and recipient of the San Francisco State University President's Medal and the Lewis Award for Western History. Advocating preservation of the Angel Island Immigration Station he wrote the case study to nominate it to the National Register of Historic Places, because of its historical significance as a place where many Chinese immigrants were. He is the author of San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide to Its History & Architecture, Canton Footprints: Sacramento's Chinese Legacy, and The Coming Man: 19th Century American Perceptions of the Chinese.
The Children of ChinatownDr. Wendy Rouse is a faculty member in the interdisciplinary social sciences at San Jose State University, where she teaches courses in American History and California in social science perspectives. Her books include Children of Chinatown: Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco and Chinese American Death Rituals in the volume Respecting the Ancestors. Her research includes publications on the dress of Chinese American children, women and self-defense in the Victorian era, and the use of postcard images in understanding youth in Chinatown.
Exilir of EmpireDr. Paul Rich will present on "Chinese Emigrant Freemasonry: Tongs, Triads, and Lodges." Dr. Rich is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and life member of the American Historical Association and Organization of American Historians. A Freeman of the City of London, he is a member of St. John's Lodge in Boston, the oldest Masonic lodge in the Western Hemisphere. Active in Harvard Alumni affairs and sometime research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, he is the author or editor of more than thirty books.
Engaging with this year's theme: 
image California Chinese Chatter
Coming Home in Gold Brocade: Chinese in Early Northwest America and California Chinese Chatter are two fascinating read that engages the theme of this year's Enriching History, and can be purchased at A short video about Freemasonry's role in the settlement of the West is at
More about the Enriching History Colloquium: 
Organized in cooperation with the Masons of California, and the American Public University, the Enriching History Colloquium explores local histories and highlights the diversity of those who make-up its population. The event also offers those with a limited knowledge of freemasonry to learn more about the fraternal organization along with the opportunity to see a Masonic temple, rich in historical heritage. Thanks to our sponsors, there are no registration costs and includes breakfast and lunch for those in attendance. For catering and seating purposes, registration is mandatory.

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