Lot 264 of 364:
1st novels about Chinese-Americans in California  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$300
$500 - $800

Story of a Chinese Boy and You-Sing: the Chinaman in California

Hosmer, Margaret


Various publishers


  • Story of a Chinese Boy (American Sunday-School Union, 1867) Original green cloth, printed spine. 343 pp. Frontispiece, title-page illustration and  3 full-page plates. Dampstain through first 110 pages not affecting text; first signature loose; ink notation on page of text; bookplate.
  • You-Sing, The Chinaman In California : A True Story Of The Sacramento Flood. (Presbyterian Publication Committee, 1868)  Original blindstamped green cloth. 148pp. Frontispiece and two full-page illustrations. 1887 gift inscription on fly-leaf.


Nearly 20 years before the first Chinatown fiction by Chinese-American author Edith Eaton, these sympathetic “but distinctly missionary” books by a Caucasian woman preceded Bret Harte’s “Heathen Chinee”, which opened the floodgates of racist anti-Chinese literature of the Kearney era. Both were probably written by Margaret Hosmer, who moved from Philadelphia to San Francisco to serve as principal of a public school (and a literary colleague of Harte’s) in the late 1850s. She returned to Philadelphia in 1860 but was back in San Francisco in 1864, remaining into the 1870s. The first, anonymous, book states that the author was “a resident in San Francisco during the period embraced by the sketch,” and the second book identifies Hosmer as author of“The Chinese Boy.”

Lot Amendments

Very good.

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