Photo Archives

A selection of historic photographs from the life of Homer Lea. 
(Please click any thumbnail to open the high resolution version of each.)

HLRS-10001. Alfred E. Lea, circa 1880.

Source: History of Clear Creek and Boulder Valleys, Colorado (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers, 1880)

HLRS-10002. Hersa Lea, circa 1875.

Source: Personal Papers of Mr. and Mrs. James D. Lea, Houston, Texas.​

HLRS-10003. Hersa Lea's grave.

Location: Riverside Cemetery, 5201 Brighton Blvd., Denver Colorado. Source: Lawrence M. Kaplan files.


HLRS-10004. Lea family grave

Lee’s Summit Cemetery, 806 Southeast 3rd Street, Lee’s Summit, Missouri 64063. In the foreground are the graves of Alfred E. Lea and his second wife Emma Wilson Lea. The graves on the far left are those of Dr. P.J.G. Lea and his wife Lucinda.

HLRS-10005. Homer Lea (born November 17, 1876) in infancy.
HLRS-10006. Homer Lea age 12.

Source: History of Clear Creek and Boulder Valleys, Colorado (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co.,
Historical Publishers, 1880)

HLRS-10007. National Surgical Institute.

Homer Lea, at about age 12, went to the National Surgical Institute in Indianapolis, which specialized in treating deformities, to receive treatment for his affliction.

Source: National Surgical Institute Brochure,
circa 1885.

HLRS-10008. Emma Rice Wilson.

Emma Rice Wilson married Alfred E. Lea on July 16, 1890. This photo was taken some time between 1890 and 1894, when the Lea’s lived in Denver.

Source: Robert G. Wilson Personal Papers, 408 Century Plaza Building, Wichita, Kansas.

HLRS-10009. Ethel Bryant Powers, circa late 1890s

Source: Joshua B. Powers Personal Papers, Powers family, South Royalton, Vermont.

HLRS-10010. East Denver High School.

Homer Lea completed his freshman year (1892-1893) at East Denver High School in Colorado.

Source: East Denver High School Post Card, No. C3121, Colorado News Company,
Denver, Col., circa 1890s.

HLRS-10011. University of the Pacific

In the fall of 1893, Homer Lea enrolled for his sophomore high school year in the college preparatory academy of the University of the Pacific, a small Methodist-Episcopal college near San Jose, California, not far from his maternal grandmother’s residence.

Source: University of the Pacific, San Jose, Cal, Post Card, No. 5112, E. von Bardeleben, New York and Germany, circa 1900.

HLRS-10012. Los Angeles High School.

Homer Lea attended Los Angeles High School (located west of North Hill Street and below the south side of Fort Moore Hill) from 1894 to1896.

Source: In and About Los Angeles (Los Angeles: E.P. Charlton & Co., 1906).

HLRS-10013. Homer Lea at the residence of Marco Newmark, a Los Angeles High School friend, circa 1894-1895.

Source: Personal Papers, Mr. and Mrs. James D. Lea, Houston, Texas.

HLRS-10014. Homer Lea, age 20, as a Los Angeles High School senior.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York..

HLRS-10014a. Ermal Lea as a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, 1903.

Source: University of California, Los Angeles Yearbook, 1903.

HLRS-10014b. Hersa Lea as a Senior, Summer Class, Los Angeles High School, 1900.

Source: Los Angeles High School Yearbook, 1900.

HLRS-10015. The 900 block of South Bonnie Brae Street; the Leas lived at no. 918.

Source: Post Card, 1906.

HLRS-10016. The Rubaiyat, by Omar Khayam (Fitzgerald).

Homer Lea loved poetry and the Rubaiyat by Persian poet Omar Khayyam ranked among his favorite readings, which he often carried with him.

Source: Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Boston, J.R. Osgood & Co., 1878). First American Edition.

HLRS-10017. Westlake Park.

Homer Lea often studied on the lawns of Westlake Park that were just a few blocks from his Bonnie Brae Street home..

Source:
Weslake Park, No. 5113, Newman Post Card Co., Los Angeles, CA., circa 1908.

HLRS-10018. Los Angeles High School.

Homer Lea attended Los Angeles High School (located west of North Hill Street and below the south side of Fort Moore Hill) from 1894 to1896.

Source: In and About Los Angeles (Los Angeles: E.P. Charlton & Co., 1906).

HLRS-10019. Central Square Park.

As a freshman at Occidental College (1896-1897) in Los Angeles, Homer Lea participated in debates at nearby Central Square Park.

Source: Central Park, Los Angeles, Western Pub. & Novelty Co., Los Angeles, circa 1912.

HLRS-10020. Stanford University.

Homer Lea attended Stanford University (depicted here in a 1903 photo) from 1897 to 1899 and majored in Economics.

Source: Stanford University Postcard, 1904.

HLRS-10021. Encina Hall.

At Stanford University, Homer Lea resided at Encina Hall, the school’s male dormitory.

Source: Encina Hall Post Card, No. 862, Edward W. Mitchell, San Francisco, Calif., circa 1900.

HLRS-10022. Maclean Hospital.

In May 1899, Lea took a leave of absence from Stanford and checked into San Francisco’s Maclean Hospital (depicted here) for surgery after a riding accident. He contracted small pox at the hospital and subsequently gave up plans to return to Stanford while recuperating at home.

Source: San Francisco Call, November 18, 1896. 

HLRS-10023. Map of China.

Imperial China, circa 1896.

Source: R.H. Macy & Co., Macy’s Atlas of the World (New York: R.H. Macy & Co., 1896).

HLRS-10024. Dowager Empress

In 1898, Dowager Empress Tzu Hsi (depicted here, circa 1900) responded to Emperor Kwang-hsu’s introduction of westernized reforms that were inspired by his advisor K’ang Yu-wei, by placing the Emperor under house arrest and putting a price on K’ang Yu-wei’s head.

Source: Arthur J. Brown, The Chinese Revolution (New York: Student Volunteer Movement, 1912).

HLRS-10025. Emperor Kwang-hsu.

Emperor Kwang-hsu was 26 years old when the Dowager Empress deposed him in 1898. He died two days before the Dowager’s death in November 1908.

Source: Washington Times, November 13, 1908.

HLRS-10026. K’ang Yu-wei, circa 1898.

K’ang Yu-wei, circa 1898.

Source: Philip W. Sargent, The Great Empress Dowager of China (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1911).

HLRS-10027. Robert E. Lee.

Homer Lea successfully sold himself as a military expert to the Chinese Empire Reform Association by claiming he was a relative of the famous Confederate general, Robert E. Lee, which he was not.

Source: Library of Congress No. LC-B8172-001.

HLRS-10028. San Francisco Call (1900).

Sensational San Francisco Call headlines announcing Homer Lea’s intent to lead military forces in China, April 22, 1900.

HLRS-10029. Homer Lea, SF Call (1900).

Homer Lea’s photo from the April 22, 1900 article “Young Californian is Plotting to Become Commander-in-Chief of Chinese Rebel Forces.”

Source: San Francisco Call, April 22, 1900.

HLRS-10030. Steamship China.

On June 22, 1900, Homer Lea boarded the Pacific Mail steamship China(depicted here, circa 1900) in San Francisco, destined for China.

Source: Stereo view card, E. & H.T. Anthony, circa 1900.

HLRS-10031. Grand Hotel Yokohama

On his trip from California to China during the summer of 1900, Homer Lea stayed at the Grand Hotel in Yokohama, Japan, after arrival there on July 11, 1900.

Source: Post Card, circa 1900.

HLRS-10032. Hong Kong Post Card

Post Card Homer Lea sent from Hong Kong to his sister Ermal during his 1900 trip to China.

Source: Personal Papers of Mr. and Mrs. James D. Lea, Houston, Texas.

HLRS-10033. Yamagata

While traveling in China in 1900, Homer Lea met with Baron Yamagata Aritomo (depicted here as a Field Marshal in the early 1890s), a former Japanese prime minister and founder of the modern Japanese army.

Source: H.W. Wilson, Japan’s Fight for Freedom, Vol. 3 (London: Amalgamated Press, 1906).

HLRS-10034. Steamship China.

On June 22, 1900, Homer Lea boarded the Pacific Mail steamship China(depicted here, circa 1900) in San Francisco, destined for China.

Source: Stereo view card, E. & H.T. Anthony, circa 1900.

HLRS-10035. Ito

Homer Lea met with Marquis Ito Hirobumi, another distinguished statesman and former prime minister, who was sympathetic to the Chinese reform cause.

Source: H.W. Wilson, Japan’s Fight for Freedom, Vol. 3 (London: Amalgamated Press, 1906).

HLRS-10036. San Francisco Call (1901)

Sensational San Francisco Call headlines announcing Home Lea’s return as a General in the Chinese Army, April 21, 1901

HLRS-10037. Liang Ch’i-ch’ao

Liang Ch’i-ch-ao, circa 1903.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York.

HLRS-10038. Pao Huang Hui Medal

Gold medal presented to General Homer Lea by the Los Angeles branch of the Chinese Empire Reform Association (Pao Huang Hui) at the dedication of their new headquarters at 419 Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, on January 2, 1904. The Chinese inscription on the medal reads: “To comrade General Lea, loyalty and honesty, the comrades of this association give this medal to General Lea.”

Source: Lawrence M. Kaplan files.

HLRS-10039. Order of Kwang Hsu Medal

Homer Lea received a gold medal, the “Order of Kwang Hsu,” an eight pointed star, suspended from his neck on a crimson ribbon from K’ang Yu Wei during their 1905 cross-country tour. Lea’s medal was reportedly inscribed: “To Homer Lea from Kang Yu Wei.” The medal had an image of the Emperor on the obverse, and on the reverse were two crossed flags, one with a Chinese dragon representing the Chinese imperial flag, and one with the Pao Haung Hui flag with its three stars representing liberty, education and equality. There was an inscription around the medal’s border saying the medal was presented by the Emperor in his 34th year through K’ang Yu-wei. Beneath the reform flag were the Chinese words “Pao Huang Hui.”

Source: Lawrence M. Kaplan files.

HLRS-10040. Homer Lea in Uniform 1904

Lieutenant General Homer Lea, Chinese Empire Reform Association military commander, circa 1904.

Source: Lawrence M. Kaplan files.

HLRS-10041. Lea in Chinese attire 1904

Homer Lea in Chinese attire, circa 1904.

Source: Lawrence M. Kaplan files.

HLRS-10042. George W. West

George Whitfield West, a former West Point cadet, who became Homer Lea’s first Los Angeles drill instructor for training Chinese Empire Reform Association military cadets in 1904.

Source: Los Angeles Times, October 26, 1912.

HLRS-10043. Western Military Academy Incorporation Articles

Articles of Incorporation of the Western Military Academy, November 23, 1904.

Source: California State Archives, 1020 O Street, Sacramento, California 94244.

HLRS-10044. O’Banion

First Sergeant Ansel. E. O’Banion, Troop A, Fourth Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army, circa 1902. In 1904, O’Banion became Homer Lea’s principal drill instructor of Chinese Empire Reform Association cadets in Los Angeles.

Source: U.S. Cavalry Museum, Fort Riley, Kansas.

HLRS-10045. Angelus Hotel

Homer Lea periodically had meetings at the Angelus Hotel to plan for Chinese Empire Reform Association military cadet training. He recruited George W. West and Ansel E. O’Banion to be drill instructors at the Angelus Hotel.

Source: Angelus Hotel Post Card, No. 3566, Adolph Seloge Publishing Co., St. Louis-Leipzig-Berlin, circa 1904.

HLRS-10046. O’Banion and Cadets

Ansel O’Banion (white shirt) and Western Military Academy cadets training at Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, California, August 12, 1904.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York.

HLRS-10047. Allen Chung

Lieutenant Allen Chung, Chinese Empire Reform Association Army, circa 1905. Chung was the Secretary of the Los Angeles branch of the Chinese Empire Reform Association..

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York.

HLRS-10048. Chinese Cadets Portland 1905

Chinese Empire Reform Association cadets, Fourth Infantry Regiment, Portland, Oregon, 1905.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York.

HLRS-10049. CERA Officer St Louis

Unidentified Chinese Empire Reform Association officer, St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1905.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York

HLRS-10050. Fresno CERA Group

Homer Lea (seated) and Fresno Chinese Empire Reform Association officers and their attorney (Standing left to right: Captain Ben. O Young, Captain W.S. Scott, attorney William D. Crichton and Lieutenant E. Curtis Neal), circa 1904-1905.

Fresno Bee, February 21, 1943.

HLRS-10050a. Major George McVicker

Major George McVicker, Chinese cadet drillmaster, New York City, 1903

Source: New York Press, May 3, 1903.

HLRS-10052. Chinese Cadets Portland 1905

Chinese Empire Reform Association cadets, Fourth Infantry Regiment, Portland, Oregon, 1905.

Source: Charles O. Kates Personal Papers, Mr. Brian Kates, Pomona, New York.

Homer Lea: American Soldier of Fortune

By Dr. Lawrence M. Kaplan
“An excellent biography of a largely forgotten but extraordinary man…  His fascinating life is well told in this biography.”
― Edward M. Coffman, author of The War to End All Wars: The American Experience in World War I