In 1985, the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA) appointed Him Mark Lai, Fayette Taylor, and Judy Yung to serve on an editorial board assisting CHSA Bulletin editor Annie Soo. During a meeting of the group, Taylor raised the point that the Bulletin's format was too restrictive. It was awkward to publish longer historical essays because they would have to be printed in several installments. He suggested that CHSA start a new publication tentatively named Occasional Papers to provide a platform for such writings. His motion was passed unanimously and subsequently approved by the CHSA board under President Vyolet Chu. The board appointed Lai and Yung to be the editors of the intended publication, and in October 1985, an announcement was placed in the Bulletin calling for the submittal of papers.
In anticipation of the reviewing and editing tasks to prepare this intended annual collection of essays on Chinese American history and society, the editors invited author Ruthanne Lure McCunn to join them on an Editorial Committee. When the Committee met to decide upon a name for the publication, Lai suggested Chinese America: History and Perspectives. All present agreed on the title and the first issue was made available at the annual CHSA dinner held in early 1987, when Ted Wong was president.
CHSA volunteers did the typing and proofreading for the first two volumes, which was funded by donations from members and friends. Russell Leong of Amerasia Journal gave valuable advice. Don McCunn of Design Enterprise did the necessary production work to prepare the volume for publication. (Design Enterprise closed down after the second issue.) The committee then struck an agreement in 1989 with Asian American Studies (AAS) Department in San Francisco State University (SFSU), wherein CHSA was the publisher and the latter became a sponsor of the publication. Marion K. Horn joined the Editorial Committee as the SFSU-AAS representative while Ted Wong was added on the CHSA side. George K. Woo, AAS chair at the time, and Michael C.M. Hornbuckle became respectively, production manager and assistant, to do the necessary computer production work. However, that arrangement was found to be too cumbersome for efficient production and AAS sponsorship was dropped beginning with the 1993 issue, although Horn remained on the editorial board.
Based on the experience gained in publishing the previous issues, it was decided to use professional help for the...