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Finding Aid for the Hei Sop Chin Archival Collection, 1906-1970
367  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hei Sop Chin Archival Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1906-1970
    Collection number: 367
    Creator: Chin, Hei Sop
    Extent: 37 boxes (19 linear ft.) 5 oversize flat boxes
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Hei Sop Chin (1905- ) was the editor of the World Literary Dictionary (1955), wrote the textbooks Korean reader (1958) and Fundamental Korean for English speaking people (1959), founded, edited, and published the news weekly Hanmi t'ongsin, or The Korean American news bulletin (1961-1965), was the head of the lithograph department at the University of Southern California Press, founded Johnny International men's clothing importing company (1970), and founded two corporations (1983), Harry and Sons, and Asia International to promote joint ventures and business development in China. The collection consists of materials related to the Korean independence movement in Hawaii and the mainland United States prior to 1945, organizational papers pertaining to Tongjihae, and documents pertaining to the United Korean Committee, Korean Interim Government and Assembly and the Korean Community Center in Los Angeles.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Hei Sop Chin, 1997.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Hei Sop Chin Archival Collection (Collection 367). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4232680 

    Biography

    Hei Sop Chin, or Harry Chin, was born in Jirin, China, his father having left Korea in 1905, after the Japanese takeover; came to Seoul when Korea was liberated in 1945; graduated with a degree in Korean language and literature from the College of Liberal Arts and Science at Seoul National University, 1954; attended graduate school there; was an editor of the World Literary Dictionary (1955); came to the U.S. and continued graduate school at the University of Southern California in comparative literature and Asiatic studies; became instructor at the Korean language school run by the Korean National Association; wrote the textbooks Korean reader (1958) and Fundamental Korean for English speaking people (1959); founded, edited, and published news weekly Hanmi t'ongsin, or The Korean American news bulletin, 1961-1965; in 1962 the Republic of Korea gave him an Official Commendation and Award for Excellent Achievement in Korean Culture; head of lithograph department, University of Southern California Press; instructor, Los Angeles City College, 1968-69; founded Johnny International men's clothing importing company in 1970, and in 1983 founded two corporations, Harry and Sons, and Asia International to promote joint ventures and business development in China; appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to the Korea America Centennial Committee in 1982.

    Biographical Narrative

    Hei Sop Chin, or Harry Chin, was born in Jirin, China. His father emigrated there after Japan made itself suzerain of Korea in 1905. Hei Sop Chin came to Seoul when Korea was liberated in 1945.
    From early on, Chin's literary talent was noticed by others. He received private tutoring from renowned essayists and literary critics. Having earned a scholarship, Chin attended the College of Liberal Arts and Science at Seoul iv ationai University. He was elected to the student council and was named editor of the Journal of the College of Liberal Arts and Science. He graduated with the degree in Korean language and literature in 1954. While he attended the graduate school of Seoul National University in subsequent years to continue his study in Korean culture, he was a teaching assistant and an editor of World Literary Dictionary (Seoul Minjung Publishing Company, 1955).
    Hei Sop Chin then came to the United States to continue his graduate work at the University of Southern California. He chose to major in comparative literature and Asiatic Studies. He earned his California Junior College teaching credential and was an instructor at the Korean language school run by the Korean National Association. He wrote the textbooks Korean Reader, published in 1958, and Fundamental Korean for English Speaking People, published in 1959.
    Chin was the founder, editor, and publisher of the weekly “Hanmi t'ongsin,” The Korean American News Bulletin]. This was his community service, for there was no Korean-language newspaper popular among Korean residents, many of whom were students who had arrived in America after World War II. He published this newspaper from 1961 to 1965.
    Chin helped to get the Korean American community in Southern California recognized and respected by others. In 1962, the Republic of Korea gave him an Official Commendation and Award for Excellent Achievement in the Korean Culture. Also in 1962, Los Angeles Mayor Sam Yorty appointed him to be on the Permanent Host Committee for the Reception of International Visitors. Continuing his ties to the University of Southern California, Chin was appointed head of the lithograph department at USC Press. He also served as an instructor between 1968 and 1969 at Los Angeles City College.
    In 1970, Chin established Johnny International Incorporated, a men's clothing importing company, in Los Angeles. He remained the president of the company until 1982, when he was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley to the Korea America Centennial Committee to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the United States.
    In 1983, Chin established two corporations--Harry and Sons, Incorporated, and Asia International, Limited, to promote the joint ventures and business development in China. To date, he has remained the president and chairman of both corporations.
    Recognizing the importance of Korean American historical documents for future generations, Chin spent the last four decades gathering various primary materials. Scholars and students of Korean American studies are indebted to him for his collection and preservation of rare and important Korean American primary materials.
    The Hei Sop Chin Archival Collection consists primarily of documents and correspondence files pertaining to the Korean independence movement in Hawaii and the mainland United States prior to 1945. The first group of documents consists of letters exchanged between Yang K. Kim and key Korean leaders in America following the March First Movement The files of incoming correspondence include: Syngman Rhee, Philip Jaisohn, and Henry Chung. These three men were members of the Korean Commission in Washington D.C. from 1919 to 1923.
    These individuals were extremely important both in modern Korean history and Korean American history. With the encouragement of Philip Jaisohn, Young-gi Kim, who had attended a college in Ohio, went to Hawaii and became a community leader actively involved in the independence movement there. After Korea was liberated from Japan, he was later appointed South Korean ambassador to Italy. Syngman Rhee came to America in 1904 and became the first Korean Ph.D, and after the defeat of Japan, he became the first President of the Republic Korea. Philip Jaisohn entered the United States after a failing coup d'etat in Seoul in 1884. He became the first Korean medical doctor in America and then returned to Korea, where he organized the progressive Independence Club and published the first Korean newspaper in 1896. Henry Chung, the second Korean Ph.D, came to the United States in 1904 and published books and articles calling for Korea's independence from Japan.
    The second group of documents consists of correspondence and cablegrams exchanged between the Korean Provisional Government in China and the Korean National Association offices in Hawaii and San Francisco from 1919 to 1945. There are also many rare documents in relation to the activities of the above organizations, including financial statements, receipts, public statements and announcements. The Korean National Association was established in 1909 through the consolidation of Korean organizations in the mainland United States, Hawaii, and Mexico. It became the de-facto Korean government in exile following Japan's annexation of Korea in 1910. By 1914, it had 120 local chapters in the United States, Hawaii, Mexico, Cuba, Manchuria, and Russia. The association laid the foundation for the Korean Provisional Government, which was established in Shanghai in 1919 after the mass demonstration for Korean independence that transpired in Seoul on March 1st and that resulted in the execution of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators by Japanese police and military. The demonstrators of this so-called March First Movement were inspired by American President Wilson's call for the self-determination of native peoples set forth in his Fourteen Point proposal for postwar peace.
    The third group of the primary sources in this collection includes various organizational papers pertaining to Tongjihoe which was founded by Syngman Rhee and his allies in July 1921. This organization maintained a very conflictual relationship with the Korean National Association and its affiliates over the issue of authenticity in Korean immigrant society and independence movement, which resulted in a court battle in 1930-1931. The various publications of Tongjihoe, including magazines and newsletters are among the most important materials in this group. Researchers should note that there is a bundle of financial records related to the Korean Provisional Government's Savings Bond drive, which was carried out under the unauthorized leadership of Syngman Rhee.
    The fourth group contains the documents pertaining to the activities of Korean immigrants during the wartime and postwar period in the United States amd Korea; The wartime papers are from the United Korean Committee which was the federation of Korean organizations in the mainland United States and Hawaii between 1941 and 1947. The postwar papers pertain to the Korean Interim Government and Assembly between 1945 and 1947. Materials related to the establishment of the Korean Community Center Incorporated, in Los Angeles during the 1960s are also available.
    In this collection, there are also many Korean-immigrant newspapers and newsletters, as well as books, magazines and journals published in the mainland and Hawaii. Many of these materials are non-existent in other academic institutions and archives. For example, earlier issues of the Korean National Herald, or “Kungminbo” have not been available even in microfilms, while the Tansan Times, or “Tansan sibo” is a new discovery. Books and magazines are also considered to be very rare.
    Finally, although not directly related to Korean American history, this collection has a large number of Korean-language books and magazines published in Korea before and after the Korean liberation. Many are about Korean literature, linguistics, and culture. There are also some English-language books in the same categories.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of materials related to the Korean independence movement in Hawaii and the mainland United States prior to 1945, including correspondence, documents, and various printed materials. Includes letters exchanged between Yang K. Kim and Korean Commission members Syngman Rhee, Philip Jaisohn, and Henry Chung; correspondence and cablegrams exchanged between the Korean Provisional Government in China and the Korean National Association offices in Hawaii and San Francisco; organizational papers pertaining to Tongjihae; documents pertaining to the United Korean Committee, Korean Interim Government and Assembly, and the Korean Community Center in Los Angeles; and the Korean-immigrant newspapers, The Korean National Herald ( Kungminbo) and Tansan Times ( Tansan sibo).
    The majority of the collection is in Korean.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Korean immigrant history materials (Boxes 1-9).
    2. Magazines and books published in Korea and China (Boxes 10-16).
    3. English-language books and magazines on Korea (Boxes 17-30).
    4. Reference materials (Boxes 31-37).
    5. Korean immigrant newspapers (Boxes 38-42).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Chin, Hei Sop--Archives.
    Korean Americans--California--Los Angeles--Archival resources.
    Korea--Politics and government, 1910-1945--Archival resources.

    Related Material

    Korean-American Oral History Project (Collection 1414)  . Available at the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.