Volume 2 (1996)

Volume 2

Korean American Historical Society Occasional Papers

The re-inaugural issue of the Korean American Historical Society, Volume Two begins with our feature story, the oral history of the Kang family. Sung Hark Lee, a picture bride who emigrated to Hawaii in 1917 from Pusan, speaks of her struggles as part of the first wave of Korean immigrants to the US. Leaving her home at 17 against her parent's wishes to see the world, she became the picture bride of Chi Kwon Kang, living in Hawaii, San Francisco, and finally settling in Gresham, Oregon to own and run a farm with her five children. Mrs. Kang, who passed away in February 1996 at the age of 95, had been featured in the Tacoma News Tribune as the oldest living Korean American in Washington state. Her story is followed by those of her remaining children, Marion VanDeel and William Kang, as well as those of their cousin Hamilton, and his wife, Ruth Kang, who talk about their family and community life in Honolulu, San Francisco, and Gresham during the 1920s and 1930s.
Also featured are two very unique chapters of previously unpublished material: the first contains three (of twelve) autobiographical essays written by Korean American undergraduates in the 1930s collected by William Carlson Smith; the second consists of two articles obtained by Songmoo Kho regarding Koreans living in the former Soviet Union. William Carlson Smith was a professor of sociology who gathered the autobiographies of Koran American students living in Hawaii as part of a study published in 1937 entitled Americans in Progress: a study of our citizens of oriental ancestry. The stories here were not included in the final work and are appearing in print for the first time. The section, "Koreans in the former Soviet Union" includes an analytical essay regarding the development of Korean nationalist movements among expatriates by V.S. Khan, and a brief history of the migration of Koreans in the Republic of Karakalpakstan from 1938 to 1992 by D.S. Tyugai. They were collected by Songmoo Kho (author of Koreans in Soviet Central Asia) in 1993 before his untimely death. We are fortunate to present works by both of these pioneering scholars.
We then present the results of a survey of 176 undergraduate and 41 graduate students of Korean heritage conducted by students of the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies for a course taught by professor Kwang Kyu Lee of Seoul National University. This report profiles student demographics, as well as their attitudes towards selected Korean traditional values, college life, and US-Korea relations. It has been almost 20 years since such a study has been conducted, and we are pleased to feature the second of its kind .
Volume 2 closes with a book review of Mary Paik Lee's Quiet Odyssey by Seattle City council member Martha Choe, and a report by Samuel S. Chung on the Third Annual Korean American Leadership Conference in Hawaii which took place in 1996.