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Philadelphia Chinese Social Relief Collection

Identifier: MSN/MN 10028

Scope and Contents

The materials in this collection document the efforts of a very early social welfare organization in Philadelphia to aid the city’s Chinese citizens. Materials include correspondence of Edward Syle, an Episcopal missionary who worked closely with the Chinese; reports and minutes of meetings of the welfare committee; and a draft of the committee’s constitution.


  • Creation: 1883 - 1885

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

The Chinese Committee or Chinese Guild was a group organized by a handful of Philadelphians with the goals of providing education and aid to Chinese immigrants in Philadelphia. Philadelphia’s Chinatown had its roots in the relocation of Chinese immigrants from western states to the eastern United States after the transcontinental railroad was finished in 1869. Following Exclusion Act of 1882, many Chinese immigrants in California, Washington, and Oregon faced violence and intimidation, resulting in their flight to states such as Illinois, New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

Biographical / Historical

Edward Syle was an Episcopal missionary who had been working with the Chinese since the 1850s in New York. Syle spoke the Chinese language and devoted his life to this work, which he carried on in both Shanghai and San Francisco.


8 folders.

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.


Philadelphia Chinese Social Relief Collection
Hannah E. Sabal
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556