Social History for Every Classroom


Social History for Every Classroom

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"The Balloon Man"

As this photograph of a Jewish balloon man on Dupont Street shows, there were many non-Chinese peddlers in San Francisco's Chinatown. Chinatown was a popular tourist destination in the late 19th century, and many peddlers sold novelty goods to tourists. While tensions were high between Chinese, Irish, and Italians in California, there was less conflict between Chinese and Jews.

The little boy is dressed in holiday attire; his queue is made mostly of braided silk chord.
Source | Arnold Genthe, "The Balloon Man," photograph, California Historical Society FN-02278; available from Calisphere,
Creator | Arthur Genthe
Rights | Used by permission of the California Historical Society.
Item Type | Photograph
Cite This document | Arthur Genthe, “"The Balloon Man",” SHEC: Resources for Teachers, accessed October 16, 2021,

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