Author: Knox, Jessie Juliet
Title: Little Almond Blossoms and In The House of the Tiger
Place Published: New York and Boston
Date Published: 1904-1911
Little Almond Blossoms. A Book of Chinese Stories for Children (Boston: Little Brown & Co., 1904) Illustrated with 15 uncredited photographs of Chinese children. (8vo) original quarter red cloth over printed gray pictorial cloth boards. First Edition. Front hinge cracked, ownership signature.
In the House of the Tiger (New York: Eaton and Mains, 1911) (12mo), original red cloth with front cover photographic plate, gilt titles. Photographic frontis of the author in "Chinese Costume" + 30 uncredited photographs. First Edition. Owner's bookplate.
Possibly the first books of Chinese-American children's stories written by a white author. Most are set in San Francisco Chinatown and illustrated with photographs of Chinese-American children in northern California (both preceding Asian-American Edith Eaton's Mrs. Spring Fragrance (1912 listing)
Tthough historians have noted that Knox's stories perpetuate stereotypes of a vice-ridden Chinatown filled with tong assassins and budding gangsters, what sets her books apart from common racist fiction of white authors at the turn of the century are both her candid Earthquake-era Chinatown photographs - and her genuine sympathy for the Chinese residents, based on personal experience of their life and culture. Born in Tennessee, the daughter of a Methodist minister, after Knox moved to San Jose and married a banker, she became an impassioned advocate for the northern California Chinese community. One Sunset reviewer praised her "great compassion and profound love" for Chinese women and children. Knox later became a Chinatown social worker, sponsored by Donaldine Cameron, to whom the second book is dedicated - the missionary "Angry Angel" who "rescued" Chinatown immigrant girls and women from indentured servitude. Probably through Cameron's good offices, Knox also "adopted" and raised a nine year-old Chinese girl (not an orphan) who later grew up to found a Canton hospital in war-torn China.