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Mary Shon papers

Identifier: 3012

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Scope and Contents

The Mary Shon papers, 1924-1964, consist of three folders and fifteen loose items, relating largely to religious education, school administration, and Korean life. The collection comprises primarily yearbooks, the majority from Union Christian College and Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Korea. Although the covers of the bound Union Christian College yearbooks indicate the years as 1958 to 1964, it is possible these dates are when these yearbooks were assembled, seeing as the college itself closed in 1938. The connection between the yearbooks and Shon or her family remains unclear, as they had already been in the United States since the early 1900s. It is possible these items were in Shon's possession due to her academic studies and general interest in religious education.

The collection also contains a photo album featuring items relating to the school administration system in Seoul, again something that was relevant to Shon's academic studies. There is also a book documenting the pictorial history of the first fifty years of work of the Presbyterian Church in Korea and a published photo book on Korean President Syngman Rhee, who was also a friend of Shon's father. The remainder of the collection includes "Korean Ways" a book on Korean life, particularly framed from a Christian perspective, by Sin-young Choy and a Welcome to USA citizenship booklet from 1953, published by the United States Department of Justice Immigration and Naturalization Service.


  • Creation: 1924 - 1964


Language of Materials

Collection is predominantly in Korean.

Conditions Governing Access

Advance notice required for access.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Curator of the Korean Heritage Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Korean Heritage Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical Note

Mary Chun Lee Shon was a Korean American social worker and teacher born on February 21, 1916, in Woodland, California. She is the daughter of Soonkee Rhee and Eunkee Chun, and older sister of Olympic gold medalist and USC alum Sammy Lee. In 1939, Shon graduated from USC herself, earning B.A.s in Sociology, Religious Education, and Social Work. She was the first ever Korean American to graduate from USC.

As a social worker she assisted Chinese, Korean, and Filipino women and children. In 1966, after the death of her husband Herbert Pedro Shon, Mary returned to school, earning a Master's degree in School Administration from Pepperdine University. Thereafter she became an adviser to the Los Angeles Unified School District's Asian Languages program and also taught at Eastman Elementary School.

In 1999, Shon was awarded the USC Alumni Award. She passed away on July 10, 2010.


1 Linear Feet (1 bankers box)


Mary Shon was a Korean-American social worker, teacher, and USC alum. This small collection consists primarily of yearbooks from Union Christian College and the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of Korea. The collection also contains a photo album, a photo book on Syngman Rhee and two publications relating to Korean life.


Materials are arranged chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Shon.

Finding aid for the Mary Shon papers
Sarah Cassone
2018 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries East Asian Library Repository

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