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Shannon McCune papers

Identifier: 3013

Scope and Contents

The Shannon McCune papers, 1868-1990 (bulk 1937-1990), consist of photographs, negatives, slides, maps, realia, and writings, research, and printed matter created and collected by Shannon McCune during his life and career as a geographer and academic. The majority of the material is comprised of photographs, negatives, and slides relating to the physical and human geography of Asia, particularly Japan and Korea, as well as written essays, research, and publications pertaining to this subject.

The collection also includes personal photos, negatives and slides of trips to Hawaii, Canada, the U.K., and various parts of the United States, transparency and paper maps of Asia, and realia in the form of rock samples, a field notebook, and a cassette tape relating to the Saemaul Movement.


  • 1868 - 1990
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1990


Conditions Governing Access

COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access of the physical files. Access of the select digitized materials available through USC's Digital Library.

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

Shannon Boyd-Bailey McCune was an American geographer born in Sonchon, Korea on April 6, 1913. His parents, George Shannon McCune and Helen McAfee, were Presbyterian missionaries that had moved to Korea from the United States in 1905. McCune went to school in Korea before moving back to the United States. He received his bachelor's degree from the College of Wooster in 1935, his master's from Syracuse University and in 1939 he received a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University.

That same year McCune began teaching at Ohio State University. In 1946 he served with the Foreign Economic Administration in India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and China, where he won a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1947 he became the chairman of the geography department at Colgate University, remaining in that post until 1955, at which point he left to become provost at the University of Massachusetts until 1961.

From 1961 to 1964, McCune left academia to serve as the first civilian civil administrator of Japan's Ryukyu Islands. In 1965 McCune returned to the United States where he was named president of the University of Vermont. He resigned from the position in 1966 to perform a research trip to Asia for the university. In 1967 McCune was named the educational consultant to a United Nations development mission in West Iran. He was subsequently appointed director of the American Geographical Society of New York and remained as such until 1969. In 1970 McCune returned to Okinawa on a research grant from the National Science Foundation. He taught as a professor of geography at the University of Florida in Gainesville until his retirement in 1979.

McCune was the author of a number of articles and monographs on Asian geography, as well as several books including "Korea’s Heritage, a Regional and Social Geography", "Korea: Land of Broken Calm", and "The Ryuku Islands".” He passed away on January 4, 1993 at the age of 79.


8.2 Linear Feet (8 bankers boxes and 1 document box)

Language of Materials



Shannon Boyd-Bailey McCune was an American geographer born in Korea to Presbyterian missionaries. This collection comprises primarily photographs, negatives, and slides as well as research, essays, and various publications relating to the geography and cartography of Japan and Korea. It also contains some maps and realia.


The Shannon McCune papers have been organized into the following series: 1. Photographs; 2. Negatives and Slides; 3. Maps; 4. Realia; 5. Writings, research, and printed matter.

Original order was not evident aside from like-materials having been placed together. This arrangement was kept in tact. Intellectual order was imposed by materials being arranged alphabetically, except for the printed materials which are chronological.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of the estate of Shannon McCune.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some digitized materials can be found at Shannon McCune Collection within the Pacific Rim Archive through the USC Digital Library.

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

Revision Statements

  • 2023 April: Finding aid updated by Bo Doub: added description for material added to the collection from accession no. 2023-003 and corrected digital object information for digitized material.

Repository Details

Part of the USC Libraries East Asian Library Repository

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