Collection 2018-030 - Albert Lee's Chinese Canadian

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Albert Lee's Chinese Canadian

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    Dates of creation area


    • 1910?-2014 (collected 1997 to 2014) (Creation)
      Lee, Albert

    Physical description area

    Physical description

    8 cm of textual records (1 box)
    48 photographs: b&w, 23 prints, 15 copy prints, 10 negatives; 20 x 26 cm or smaller.
    3 audio cassettes (1 hr. 43 min. 18 sec.)
    11 digital audio files: mp3 (5 hrs. 10 min.)

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    Name of creator


    Biographical history

    Albert Oy Lee (1952- ), amateur historian and professional photo-journalist, was born in 1952 in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Shew Chuck Lee (1907-1990) and Sui Fa (Kung) Lee. He graduated from New York Institute of Photography and the Germain School of Photography in New York, United States in 1970 and from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario in 1973. He worked as a freelance photographer in Toronto, New York, Southeast Asia and the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Albert Lee researched his family’s immigration to Canada from Hoi Ping, Guangdong Province, China and became interested in the history of Chinese immigration to the Maritimes. In 1997 he organized an historical exhibit for the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History in Halifax, NS then joined Saint Mary’s University Gorsebrook Research Institute (GRI) as a research associate. He has published articles and given public talks in Halifax and in Vancouver, BC, recorded interviews with community members, and worked with the University of British Columbia Library on a digital exhibit for the internet in 2011-2012.

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    Collection partially documents the business and personal lives of Albert Lee’s parents Shew Chuck Lee and Sui Fa Lee, and the families of Charlie Wing Lee and Nellie Lee, Dow Fong, and Mary (Ling) Mohammad. Collection contains wedding, school and family photographs (1910?-2011); restaurant menus and similar ephemeral documents (ca.1940s-ca.1950s); audio recordings of interviews with Dow Fong, Chuck Lee, Annett Ling, George Ling, William Ling, Dr. Larry Shyu and Dr. William Wong (1988, 2011-2012); memoir on childhood in China, business licenses and card from Chuck Lee (1980s, ca.1920s, 1946) as well as his engineering diploma from Dalhousie University (1939). Also includes a memoir of life at a Halifax Chinese laundry by Linda Lee Oland (1997); historical essays written by Albert Lee (1999-2014) and promotional items for the Nova Scotia Museum exhibit “Growing Up Chinese in Halifax” (1997).

    The collection was assembled by Albert Lee for this 1997 museum exhibit. 40 items, including 4 audio interview recordings, were subsequently digitized for use by University of British Columbia Library for their digital exhibit “Early Chinese History in the Maritimes” in 2011-2012. Items are arranged by family creator/owner, with those items used in the digital exhibit filed separately.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    Collection acquired by Nova Scotia Archives in 2018 through private donation by Albert Lee, researcher and collector.


    Imposed by archivist.

    Language of material

    • Chinese
    • English
    • French

    Script of material

      Location of originals

      In some cases, the owners provided copy prints to Mr. Lee and kept their original photographs.

      Availability of other formats

      Items bearing GRI numbers are available in digitized format from University of British Columbia (UBC) Library website’s Open Collections database under the name Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Studies Collection, created in 2011-2012.

      Restrictions on access

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Copyright held by various organizations and individuals. See item descriptions for details. See Nova Scotia Archives’ Services page for information on copying, reproduction, and use of materials.

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      Item descriptions available above.

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      General note

      Collection also includes 2 publications: Thumbs Up! magazine published by Royal Canadian Air Force (Dartmouth, NS: 31 May 1941.) and the Chinese Directory of Halifax Nova Scotia for 1952, a complete list of Chinese-descended residents, businesses and professional men.

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