More than 30 years ago, Bud Glick set out to photograph the New York Chinese community as part of the New York Chinatown History Project, now the Museum of Chinese in America. The work, along with oral histories collected of the Chinese community, was meant to record a part of New York culture that was rapidly changing within a city that was itself rapidly changing.
Glick worked on the project for a little more than three years, from 1981–84, focusing on all of Chinatown including the bachelor society, so called because of the disproportionate number of men living in the United States without their wives or children.
Some of these men had been prevented from seeing their wives and children who were still in China due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, enacted in 1882 to block immigration of Chinese laborers into the United States. The men who were already in the United States were unable to become citizens and had to apply for re-entry if they left the country. Although the act was repealed in 1943, it wasn’t until 1965, when the quota of Chinese allowed into the United States was lifted under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, that the Chinese population began to grow, marking the end of the bachelor society.