A selection of historic photographs from the life of Homer Lea.
(Please click any thumbnail to open the high resolution version of each.)
HLRS-10005. Homer Lea (born November 17, 1876) in infancy.
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-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-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-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-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.
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-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-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.
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.