by Robert S. Becker and Jane Tillis
The life of Mendocino-born Look Tin Eli was one of national significance. As a teenager returning home from China in 1884, his illegal detention instigated a court battle, culminating in the state’s legal precedent granting full citizenship for all native-born Californians. After the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, he was instrumental in establishing Chinatown as a business center and tourist destination. He founded the first Chinese-owned bank, the Canton Bank of San Francisco, and he started the China Mail steamship company. With almost 50 black and white historic images, plus a few color photos, this first book-length profile of Look Tin Eli brings to life the cultural and commercial achievements of this remarkable trailblazer.
Mendocino Historical Review XXXI, 2021.