Texas Archival Resources Online

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Biographical/Historical note

Scope and Contents note

Arrangement note

Restrictions

Separated Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series I: Photographs 1976-1985

Series II: Lee Printing Company correspondence and staff photographs, 1985-2010

Series III: Newsclippings, 1977-1980

Series IV: Gene's Food Market receipts and photographs, 1962-1969

Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1962-2010 (bulk 1976-1985) MS 556



Title: Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs
Dates: Bulk, 1976-1985
Dates: 1962-2010
Abstract Newspaper issues of the Southwest Chinese Journal (cataloged separately), photographs submitted to the newspaper for publication purposes and a small amount of correspondence regarding the Lee Printing Company of Houston, Texas, owned by Gene and Hedy Lee. The newspapers and photographs reflect Chinese culture in Houston during the 1970s and 1980s, including family life, business activities, cultural arts and organizations, news, and special events such as the Miss Chinatown pageants. (1 box, plus newspaper issues)
Identification: MS 556
Quantity: 1.0 linear ft. (1 box)
Language:
Language of Materials note The newspaper issues are in Chinese, with English language identification of newspaper title, volume, issue and date. Photographs are largely unidentified, but do in some cases have annotations in either Chinese or English. Correspondence with the Lee Printing Company is in English.
Repository: Woodson Research Center

Biographical/Historical note

Gene L. Lee, military veteran, entrepreneur, and publisher, was born on October 5, 1926, in Canton, part of China's Guangdong province. While only a young boy, Lee's father left their village of Toisan and traveled to Canada. Lee's mother passed away soon thereafter and Lee was raised by his sister with financial assistance provided by their father in Canada. Lee rarely spoke of his early childhood, for it was certainly marked by upheaval and uncertainty.

Lee did, however, travel in a month-long journey to the United States in 1949. His family was instrumental in aiding his travels: his father helped pay for the ship voyage, uncles and cousins joined Lee, and he ultimately lived with his sister and her husband in Houston, Texas. Soon after arriving in Texas, Lee was drafted into the United States Army and was assigned to occupation duty in Germany. Lee fondly remembered his service in the military as a time in which he met people of great diversity and was exposed to a host of disciplines including classes on typing, mathematics, and history. These formative experiences reflected Lee's life-long ambition to learn as much as possible through self-education.

While in Germany Lee met his future wife, Hedy. Following a courtship of only six weeks, Gene and Hedy married. The couple knew very little English and used a pocket dictionary to assist their communication. The Lees lived for two years in Germany while Gene completed his military service.

The couple returned to Houston and Lee began working in at his uncle's grocery. Gene and Hedy, though, soon purchased their own market and, throughout the 1960s, turned it into a successful business. Lee exhibited a strong work-ethic and labored seven days a week. Gene's Food Market, located at 3404 Leeland, was a family enterprise; all five of the Lee children worked in the store.

In 1970 Lee opened Lee Printing Company in Houston. He had long expressed an interest in the printing business, took community college courses on the subject, and sought advice from some of Houston's existing printers. Lee Printing provided both English and Chinese printing services and even sold office supplies to other businesses.

The printing industry directed the already successful Lee toward publishing his own newspaper. In 1976, he introduced the region's first Chinese/English newspaper, the Southwest Chinese Journal. Similar to his success in the grocery and printing business, Lee's positive influence was easily seen in the printing industry. One of his employees, Wea Lee (no relation), a Lamar University graduate, later founded the Southern News Group, which publishes multiple Chinese-language papers.

Lee retired from his prosperous businesses in 1994 and handed the daily operations to his son, Sam. Gene Lee, in addition to being a successful entrepreneur and businessman was also an avid reader and dedicated to self-education. He immersed himself in classical Chinese literature, history, and poetry. A connoisseur of Chinese music, Lee played violin with a Cantonese opera group.

Gene Lee passed away on October 24, 2010, and was survived by his wife, Hedy, their five children, nine grandchildren, and one great-grandaughter.

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Scope and Contents note

Newspaper issues of the Southwest Chinese Journal (cataloged separately), photographs submitted to the newspaper for publication purposes and a small amount of correspondence regarding the Lee Printing Company of Houston, Texas, owned by Gene and Hedy Lee. The newspapers and photographs reflect Chinese culture in Houston during the 1970s and 1980s, including family life, business activities, cultural arts and organizations, news, and special events such as the Miss Chinatown contests. The bulk of the materials are comprised of these photographs, many of which taken by photographer Alvin Wong Gee. Gene's Food Market materials include wholesale grocery receipts and two interior photographs.

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Arrangement note

Newspapers are cataloged separately in the Fondren Library catalog. They are available in the Woodson Research Center and in the Asian Studies Alcove, Fondren Library 1st floor.
Photographs are arranged by the original subject groupings provided by Gene and Hedy Lee.

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Restrictions

Conditions Governing Access note

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use note

Permission to publish from this material must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center. Contact woodson@rice.edu.

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Donor (dnr) Lee, Gene, 1926-2010
Donor (dnr) Lee, Hedy, Mrs.
Chinese Americans -- Cultural assimilation -- Texas -- Houston.
Chinese Americans -- Texas -- Houston.
Asians -- America -- History.
Black-and-white photographs
Chinatown (Houston, Tex.) -- History
Chinese American families -- Texas -- Houston.
Color Photographs.
Correspondence
Newsclippings
Receipts

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Separated Material

Newspaper issues of the Southwest Chinese Journal have been cataloged separately and are available in the Fondren Library's Asian Studies Alcove (1st floor) and in the Woodson Research Center. Years present in the run of newspapers are 1976-1978, 1979 is missing, 1980-1985.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Gene & Hedy Lee Chinese language newspapers & photographs, 1976-1985 (MS 556), Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This material was donated by Gene & Hedy Lee, 2010.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Series I: Photographs 1976-1985

Box Folder
1 1 Business locations, awards, and professional portraits
Scope and Contents note
Identified individuals include Young Il Lee, Alvin Gee (photographer), William Der Bing (NASA Public Information Specialist), Deborah Young Lim (Interior Design), Hardy J. Lee (police), Dr. Rose Tang, Sue-Hwa Loo (biologist), Russell David Yang, Luois Chow (pharmacist), Lily Yeo (police), Roberta T.S. Lee (M.D.), Kwun Kay Szeto (owner of Barbecue Shop), Dr. James Tsao (lecturer), June Dove Leong (jeweler?), Dr. James Tang (M.D.), Patrick Cheng (China Restaurant), Steve and Annie Tsui (Steve's Food market No. 2) and Chris Lee (Deputy Sheriff). Businesses pictured include Diho Market, Yank Sing Chinese 7 American restaurant, Golden Palace restaurant, Chuen Sun Import Export, You Name It Antiques Plants & Gifts. Professions represented (by unidentified individuals) include restauranteurs, bankers, radio dj's, students, and more.
2 Chinese cultural arts
Scope and Contents note
Featured art forms include music, dance, dress, artifacts / objects, martial arts, dragon costumes, dishes, exhibits. People featured include Li Cunxin of the Houston ballet, Peter Lin and others of the Chinese Christian Art Crusade, Tom Ng with guitar and others.
3 Chinese in the news (local)
Scope and Contents note
Many of these photos feature Chinese in Houston appearing with Mayor Kathy Whitmire at political events.
4 Chinese in the news (national)
Scope and Contents note
Chinese campaigning for democratic candidates in U.S.; Bette Bao Lord (author of novel, Spring Moon); photographer Alvin Gee with celebrities at Inc. Magazine's 500 Fastest Growing Companies event in Houston, May 1984.
5 Chinese organizations
Scope and Contents note
Includes images of the Sharpstown Senior High Chinese Cultural Club, Texas Buddhist Association, Chinese American Citizens Alliance (with Councilman Frank Mancuso and event emcee Ping Yang Chou), University of Houston Chinese Student Association, and the YMCA Indochinese Refugee Program.
6 Family banquets and receptions
Scope and Contents note
Color snapshots of groups in restaurants or other banquet facilities, or at other family and friend celebrations and events. Not all images are indentified. Some of the identified names include Bernard Go, Edward Woo and family, Robert Foo Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Woo, Major James McConn, Dorothy Toy (Chan) at the Great Wall, Terry Chang, Sherman Tiym Albert Lee, Henry Lee and Larry Y. Woo.
7 Individuals and groups (1 of 2)
Scope and Contents note
Not all photographs are identified. Names appearing on the identified photographs include Mrs. Margaret Seito Wong, Mrs. H. Wong, Ton and Mamie Yee, Dr. Hwa Jer Tsai, Cindy Li, Karen M. Lee, Frances Wong, Pauline Wong, Pauline Hou Chan, Allen Gau, Betty Lee, C.C. Huang, K.C. Chen, F.C. Lin, S.C. Huang, S.T. Hsu, C.H. Chen, W.T. Hsu, Deanna and Cameron, Jennifer Liu, Natalie Hsu, Dr. ned Hwang and Mr. San Hwang, Dr. James Tong, Liang Chi, Daniel H.L. Chang, David Ng, Darlene Chan, Jane E. Gee, Congresswoman Lera Thomas, Father Luis Chia, Dr. Jue Kang, Dr. Baldwin H. Tom, Esther Lee Yao, Danny Lee, Jiua Lu, Mary Toy, Tom Ng, Frank SUng, Tarzan Huang, Ting Sun, Lap Wong,Martha Wong, Simone Gee, Frank O. Mancuso, Consul General Shan-Chung Lee, Bobby T. Lo, Michelle Fang, Carol Eng, Donna Wong, Philip Cheung, Father Francies X. Chang.
8 Individuals and groups (2 of 2)
Scope and Contents note
Not all photographs are identified. Names appearing on the identified photographs include Mayor Jim McConn, Geneva Kirk Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Chuang Li Huang, Bill Woo, Lewis Yee, Bill Quan, Patrick P.C. Chang, Lee Chia, Kim Gee, Dr. Roland C.K. Ng, Dr. Benning Tan Lu, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Chin, Jeff Yao, Ho family, Ting Sun, Suzanne See, Amy Sit, Rev. and Mrs. Wang, Helen Liu, Dr. Joyce Fan, Chin family, Minister Mo-Sung-nien, Consul general Chuan-li Huang, Mr. and Mrs. Eo Hong, Pastor David Chan, Mr. and Mrs. Kellogg Wong (architect), Dr. Beng Ho, Herbert King, Shen Gee Foy, Dr. Hong Sit, Dr. Katherine Hsu, actress Debra Paget Kung, Gordon Gee, Robert and Susan Dawn, Howard Fong, Marilyn Hsu, Dr. Tzu C. Lu, William Simm, Howard Shunon Tsoi, Chan-Huie Yang with violinist Cho-Liang Lin, Daniel and Myra Chang, ted Wu,Mr. and Mrs. Harry Ng, Mary Ann Wong, Mr. Lubowsky.
9 Mrs. June Dove Leong
Scope and Contents note
Portraits of Mrs. Leong as well as family photographs such as the wedding of her daughter.
10 Miss. Chinatown contest
Scope and Contents note
Color and black and white snapshots of the Miss Chinatown contest events as well portraits of the contestants. Names include Shirley Ng, Virginia Chang, Clara Chou, Elizabeth Jee, Ellen Gee, Bella Truong, Muoy Kuon, Suzette Hong, Wai Man Ip, Ying Mai Wu, Yvonne Lai. Not all images are identified.
11 Press release photographs
Scope and Contents note
Press releases sent in to the Southwest Chinese Journal for publication, covering general event topics in Houston such as performances coming up at Astroworld.
12 Scholarship winners
13 SWCJ Salutes
14 Sports, events, tournaments
15 Weddings
Scope and Contents note
These are generally color snapshots of the bride and groom in the wedding ceremony location, with some additional photographs of family posing with the couple. Names which appear include Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Eng, Doris and Lonnie Liu, Mr. and Mrs. Ben Liu, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Wong, Hubert and Betsy Cheung, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Wong, Irene and Franc Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Chee, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Ong.
16 Who's Who in Houston

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Series II: Lee Printing Company correspondence and staff photographs, 1985-2010

Box Folder
1 17 Lee Printing Company correspondence and staff photographs, 1985-2010

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Series III: Newsclippings, 1977-1980

Box Folder
1 18 Newsclippings on Chinese in Houston
Scope and Contents note
Clippings from the Houston Chronicle, Houston Post and Southwest Chinese Journal regarding Chinese in Houston and President Carter's foreign relations efforts with China.

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Series IV: Gene's Food Market receipts and photographs, 1962-1969

Box Folder
1 19 Gene's Food Market receipts, 1968-1969
Scope and Contents note
Receipts for goods delivered to Gene's Food Market from companies such as Hogan-Allnoch Co., Schott's Sunbeam Bread, Borden's, Mrs. Bairds, Lone Star Beer, Grocers' Supply Company, Rainbow Baking Co., E.L. Sauer & Sons Sausage and Bacon, Emmett's Seafood and others.
20 Gene's Food market interior photographs, 1958
Scope and Contents note
Featuring Gene and Hedy Lee in the market, as well as staff member Robert Holiday and an undientified staff member. Robert Holiday is also noted and photographed here as having worked with the Lee family at the Lee Printing Company in the 1970s.

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