Archives West Finding Aid
Table of Contents
Nancie Gee Pike Place Market photograph collection, 1968
- Gee, Nancie, 1940-2014
- Nancie Gee Pike Place Market photograph collection
- 1968 (inclusive)19681968
- .42 linear feet, (1 box)
- Collection Number
- Photographs taken by Nancie Gee, a Chinese American photographer, for her book Reflections in Pike Place Markets which was published in 1968. The book depicts scenes and people at the market at a time when a significant preservation movement was underway to protect the area's historic character in the face of redevelopment efforts.
Seattle Public Library, Special Collections
1000 Fourth Ave.
Seattle, WA 98104-1109
- Access Restrictions
Collection is open and available for use.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
Nancie Gee was born in Lambert, Mississippi on January 30, 1940. Her parents, Gee Ting Sheong and Wong Shee Gee moved to San Francisco from Canton, China in 1922 before relocating to Mississippi to open a grocery store. Her family moved back to California when Gee was 12. She graduated from Oakland High, earned her degree in social work at San Francisco State University and attended the University of Washington for graduate school.
In 1968, Gee published the photography book Reflections in Pike Place Markets, depicting scenes and people in the bustling market. Gee's photography skills were largely self-taught and picked up during the time she spent photographing the market. The book's introduction, written by Seattle Times chief photographer Joseph Scaylea, calls the work "a most extraordinary portrayal." He continues "Nancie Gee, using a simple camera, and an honest, straight-forward approach, takes the viewer directly to the soul of the market…the people—and with the people, the everyday people of the market, she creates picture after picture of arresting timelessness." The publisher's note at the back of the book promotes Gee as "the first Chinese woman to author a photographic book in America."
The book was released at a time when there was an impassioned battle occurring in the city to save the market from urban redevelopment plans. To fight these plans and preserve the historic character of the market, a group of Seattle citizens banded together to form the Friends of the Market in 1964. The group was led by Victor Steinbrueck, a local Seattle architect. After years of grassroots campaigning, the Friends galvanized Seattle voters to protect the market with the successful passage of the Market Initiative in 1971. The initiative created a seven acre city historic district protecting the market from future urban renewal plans. New plans were then drafted to help rehabilitate the Pike Place Market area and ensure it would be able to stand the test of time while still preserving the historic nature of the district.
Following her time in Seattle, Gee spent time in California and New York, eventually settling again in San Francisco where she worked as a legal secretary and honed her skills in stock trading. Gee passed away on November 24, 2014 after a diagnosis of a rare abdominal cancer.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The photographs in this collection are reprints of a selection of those found in Gee's 1968 book, Reflections in Pike Place Markets. They were likely saved from an exhibit showcasing the book that the Seattle Public Library hosted in July 1968. Gee took the photographs between 1964 when she first visited the Market and 1966 when she returned to San Francisco. The photos are remarkable for their range and diversity, documenting people from different races and socioeconomic backgrounds in an intimate and candid manner. Folder 8 includes Gee's author photo, used at the back of the book.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
Copyright restrictions apply.
[ITEM DESCRIPTION], Nancie Gee Pike Place Market photograph collection, Seattle Public Library, Seattle, WA
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
This collection was processed at the folder level. Folders have been organized according to the order that the photographs appeared in Reflections in Pike Place Markets.
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
|1||1||Biographical Material||1968, 2014|
|1||2||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 12-30||1968|
|1||3||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 31-50||1968|
|1||4||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 51-69||1968|
|1||5||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 70-85||1968|
|1||6||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 86-100||1968|
|1||7||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 101-115||1968|
|1||8||Reflections in Pike Place Markets photos – Pages 116-128||1968|
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Chinese Americans--Washington (State)--Seattle
- Photograph collections--Washington (State)
- Photographers--Washington (State)--20th century
- Pike Place Market (Seattle, Wash.)
- Seattle (Wash.)--Social life and customs--Pictorial works