Archives & Collections

CHSNE is a non-profit entity that was incorporated in Massachusetts in 1992. It is the first educational organization dedicated solely to documenting, preserving, and promoting the history and legacy of Chinese immigration in New England. Donations of your materials, papers, and artifacts will play a crucial role in this mission.

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Harry Hom Dow Archive

CHSNE partnered with Suffolk University’s Moakley Archive & Institute Digital Collections and Mass Humanities to create a summary document, inventory, and translation of the archive of Harry Hom Dow—the first Chinese-American to pass the Massachusetts Bar exam.

Mount Hope Cemetery/Chinese Immigrant Memorial

The new memorial at Mt. Hope Cemetery was built to honor the historical significance of the Chinese Burial Grounds there and the pioneering Chinese immigrants who are ancestors of today’s Chinese community in Boston.

What does CHSNE collect?
• Books, reports, articles and unpublished manuscripts
• Oral history interviews
• Films, videos, and audiotapes
• Personal and family documents such as photographs, letters, memoirs, diaries and journals, scrapbooks, newspaper articles, immigration and naturalization records, and genealogical information
• Organization records such as those of businesses, churches, community groups, family and clan associations, and other enterprises. These records may include directories and membership lists, newsletters, brochures and fliers
• Artifacts, including works of art (and their facsimiles), household and personal items, clothes, and signs

Accessing the resources in CHSNE’s archives
Items in CHSNE’s collection are available for public use (provided the donor has specified as such). The Collections Committee has begun the process of cataloguing the items in the archives; however, it will be some time before this is completed. Please call the office to make an appointment with a staff member or visit during our open office hours. You are welcome to browse through our collection. Please note that there may be a charge for research requiring staff time and for permission to use images from our collection.

Why do we want your papers and artifacts?
In order to be historically significant, your papers and artifacts do not need to relate to a famous person, event, or organization. While the records of famous or influential people and organizations are valuable, so are the records of “ordinary” citizens that may describe their immigration experiences, occupations, social and cultural customs, and other topics of life as a Chinese American.

Why should you donate your papers and artifacts to CHSNE’s collection?
When you donate your papers and artifacts to our collections, your family’s and organization’s history becomes a part of your community’s collective memory. CHSNE is committed to documenting and preserving as fully as possible the history and legacy of Chinese immigration in New England and the United States. Preserving your papers and artifacts so that those who come after us can learn about and understand the contributions of Chinese Americans is one of the finest and most long-lasting tributes that can be paid to both individuals and organizations. Please consider donating your artifacts to CHSNE!

What are the archives at CHSNE used for?
The materials, with the donors’ permission, will be made available for research and educational purposes. CHSNE serves as a resource for scholars, professors, genealogists, and members of the public interested in learning about the Chinese American experience. CHSNE also hosts occasional exhibits and displays of photographs and other artifacts and materials.

Artifacts in CHSNE’s archives collection include hand irons used in early Chinese laundries such as those pictured here. (CHSNE collection)

Artifacts in CHSNE’s archives collection include hand irons used in early Chinese laundries such as those pictured here. (CHSNE collection)