Lot 266 of 364:
1st autobiography of a Chinese immigrant in America  

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$300 - $500

When I Was A Boy In China

Yan Phou Lee


Lathrop Publishing Company



111pp. Illustrated with frontispiece photo of the author. (12mo), original decorative green cloth covers, gilt titles. Probable First Edition

The first Asian American autobiography published in the United States as well as the first book in English written by a Chinese-American immigrant. Lee came to America in 1873 to be educated in New England public schools, graduated from Yale in 1887, became a businessman and newspaper editor in New Jersey and was married twice,  both times to white women. His landmark memoir offers both an overview of Chinese civilization and his own first impressions of contrasting life in America.

A much later edition of 1906 – after the publishers had morphed into Lothrop, Lee and Shepard in 1905 - with a front-cover illustration of a boy chasing a kite, is often erroneously listed as the First Edition. Lee’s earlier work undoubtedly inspired the publishers to initiate a long series of 25+ titles in a “Children of Other Lands” series

Lot Amendments

Wear to extremities; very good.

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