Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Young Family

The Lyman Museum joins in the observance of Asian American – Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Most Chinese immigrants arrived in the Hawaiian Islands during the period of 1852 to 1899 to work on sugar plantations. When their contracts ended, many started businesses in the towns of Hilo and Honolulu. In Hawaiʻi they established organizations with shared ties to kinship, friendship, professions, and religion.

The papers and photographs of Young Chung, Young Eliza Choy Yee Chun, and their family illuminate the life of a Chinese immigrant family. The family involved themselves with the Chinese community of Hawaiʻi Island and internationally. They owned the Ah Mai Store in Hilo, Hawaiʻi. 

The Lyman Museum preserves the papers and photographs of the Young Family of Hilo. The Archives is open for research by appointment. Learn more at

(Click on images to enlarge)

[Young Chung and possibly Young Hook Ing] Young Chung (ca. 1871-1952) on the right, was born in Guangdong (Kwantung) Province in southern China. In 1894 he immigrated to Hawaiʻi and worked as a cook on an inter-island boat. Later the family moved to Hilo and he partnered with Ah Mai in business. The young man on the left is possibly Young Hook Ing (1890-1965), a nephew, who immigrated to Hawaiʻi in 1912. 
Young building. In 1928 the family built the Young Building at Kamehameha Avenue and Haili Street in Hilo. The Ah Mai Store sold dry goods and became a prominent shopping destination for generations of Hilo residents.
Chinese School. The Young children attended the ­­Wah Mun Chinese School in Hilo and schools and universities in Honolulu, Hong Kong, and the U.S. mainland. The Chinese school closed in 1943. The building still stands at 614 Kilauea Avenue.
Chinese School Character Practice Book. This Chinese School Character Practice Book was from the ­­Wah Mun Chinese School. The booklet features a portrait of Sun Yat-sen and Chinese National flags on the cover. Sun Yat-sen, the provisional president of the Republic of China, visited Hawaiʻi six times between 1878 and 1910. He attended school in Honolulu and raised money and support for pro-democracy efforts in China.

(Click on images to enlarge)