The Collected Writings of the Master Archivist


Welcome to our newest version of the Him Mark Lai Digital Archive! The CHSA Museum is happy to make accessible to the public significant achievements in the work of our grand historian Him Mark Lai. This website contains over 200 published and unpublished works of Him Mark Lai that can be downloaded. We have also included his biographical information, videos and a photo gallery. We are still in the process of refining this site in order to improve the user experience. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Remembering Him Mark and Laura Lai


Him Mark Lai (1925-2009) was internationally known as “the dean of Chinese American studies” for his many years as a historian, writer, and community activist. (His accomplishments and contributions to the Asian American community are too numerous to list here; we encourage you to explore the biographies here at the Him Mark Lai Digital Archive for a full recounting of Him Mark’s life and scholarship.)

Laura Lai (1933–2014) was an unsung hero in supporting Him Mark’s work, as well as herself participating within the community. After Him Mark’s passing, Laura continued to contribute to the community and the organizations they helped build (including the CHSA Museum) with her kind spirit and unconditional support. Outgoing and upbeat, Laura enjoyed dramas, music, and good food, especially when shared with friends, all of whom cherished her kindness, warmth, and generosity.

Together, their relationship and their efforts in the Chinese American community laid the foundation for Asian American studies in this country, and their legacy continues in the lives that they touched, including ours. Proof that true love can achieve great things!

Watch this video tribute to Laura Lai by Felicia Lowe, which celebrates the lives of both Laura and Him Mark Lai.

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In Memory of Him Mark Lai

CHSA continues to celebrate the life and contributions of Him Mark Lai. He would have turned 87 years old on November 1, 2012.

According to UC Berkeley’s Professor Ling-chi Wang, Him Mark Lai’s rescue, collecting, cataloguing, preservation, and sharing of historical sources in both Chinese and English opened the field of Chinese American history to scholars and researchers in the US and across the Pacific. Generations of historians and writers have relied, and will continue to draw, upon Him Mark Lai’s insights & prodigious scholarship.

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