Chinatown, San Jose, USA

The focus of this book is the Chinese settlement of Heinlenville, located in San Jose, California from 1887-1931. The author, Connie Young Yu, draws on family records and correspondence, oral interviews with former residents, and newspaper accounts of the period. The story is told against a broad background of information on Chinese immigration and years of federal anti-Chinese legislation that set the stage for discrimination against the Chinese in San Jose and in other cities in California.

This history was originally published in 1991 by the San Jose Historical Museum Association (now History San José).

Chinatown, San Jose, USA is described by the 1991 edition editor, Kathleen Muller:

There is something extra-special about this book, of all the publications in the San Jose Historical Museum Association has sponsored in the last twenty years, because it contains a perspective on local history that has not appeared anywhere else.

[Author] Connie Young Yu used primary sources extensively in her research for Chinatown, San Jose, USA: personal interviews, family papers, newspapers, materials from the Archives of the San Jose Historical Museum, and the Bancroft Library….”

Connie Young Yu, a third-generation Californian, researches and writes extensively on the role and experiences of Chinese Americans. Much of her work has focused on discovering the individuals who both shaped and were shaped by Heinlenville, among them John Heinlen, San Jose businessman and friend of the Chinese community, and Sing Kee, a Heinlenville resident and World War I hero.

Funding for the first edition of Chinatown, San Jose, USA was provided, in part, by the Stella B. Gross Charitable Trust and the Sourisseau Academy of San Jose State University.

In 2001 CHCP awarded a $8,500 grant to History San José for a third edition of Chinatown, San Jose, USA with new photographs previously unavailable to the public.

Chinatown, San Jose, USA is available online (shop at to fundraise for CHCP), at the gift shop at History Park San Jose, and in various branches of the San Jose Public Library.