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Reverend Soon Hyun


Scope and Contents

From the Collection:

The David Hyun papers, 1744-2005 (bulk 1919-2003), consist of writings, photographs, biographical materials, oral histories, architectural portfolios and renderings, materials related to Reverend Soon Hyun, and articles and clippings created and collected by David Hyun during his life and career as an architect, essayist and activist in both Hawaii and Los Angeles.The majority of the material in this collection comprise writings (by himself and others), photographs, and architectural drawings and renderings.

Hyun's own writings are largely biographical and anecdotal in nature, mainly focused on his family (in particular his father Reverend Soon Hyun), ancestral heritage and upbringing as a Korean American, and personal matters such as his battles with depression. Hyun's writings exist in the form of essays, short stories, poems, and diaries. There are many versions of the same stories within the collection (as Hyun performed considerable rewrites of his works) and various formats displayed (i.e. handwritten drafts, typescripts, spiral-bound manuscripts, published articles and clippings). In addition, there are also some speeches and architectural writings. The remainder of the writings are largely by David's brother, Peter Hyun.

The photographs within the collection are representative of Hyun's familial history and life, as well as trips he took with his wife, artistic shots of landscapes and flowers, and a trip to Korea for the reburial ceremony of his parents, and many materials relating to Soon Hyun. These items are expressed in varying formats including print photos, slides, negatives, and a few laminated and matted photographs. Additionally, there are paintings collected by David Hyun.

There are a large number of architectural drawings and renderings, particularly of the Japanese Village Plaza in downtown Los Angeles, Hyun's most famous designed work. Additionally there are blueprints and floor plans from some of Hyun's other projects, including the design of his family residence, as well architectural project portfolios.

The collection also features many materials relating to Reverend Soon Hyun. These include Soon's own autobiographies, historical and legal documents, translations of works, and writings by both David and Peter Hyun. There is also a large number of subject files within the collection, documenting Hyun's involvement with various organizations including the Korean American Coalition, the Korean Methodist Church, the Korean Independence Historical Association, Inc. (KIHAI), and his close work with USC regarding his father's papers. Subject files also include correspondence with family members, as well as many letters to and from Jean Sadako Kim, Hawaii's first female and Asian American Lieutenant Governor. There is also a White House inauguration invitation and letter to George W. Bush. Interestingly, there are also a few items relating to 18th century American History, including a reprint of the Declaration of Independence and a poem reproduction on rag paper.

The remainder of the collection consists of oral family histories of David, Peter, and David’s sister Mary, biographical materials including awards, certificates, scrolls, and genealogical documents, and material relating to Hyun's Board of Directors involvement with the Korean American Museum.


  • 1774 - 2005
  • Majority of material found within 1919 - 2003


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.


From the Collection: 27.96 Linear Feet (26 boxes, 1 map-case)

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries East Asian Library Repository

Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles California 90089-1825 United States