[KS] Update: Important Additional Information about Key P. Yang (1920-1995)

Frank Joseph Shulman fshulman at umd.edu
Wed Mar 25 00:59:46 EDT 2015

Update: Important Additional Information about Key P. Yang (1920-1995)

Re: My posting entitled "Key P. Yang (1920-1995)" on the Korean Studies Listserve, March 15, 2015
I have been informed that the accuracy and overall coverage of the obituary for Key P. Yang that appeared in the Library of Congress Gazette, no.8 [February 27] 2015 (page 8) -- the single most important source for my biographical sketch of the long (1950-1995) and distinguished career of Key P. Yang at the Library -- have been called into question and that the Gazette failed to mention some of his most significant accomplishments. This was carried over into my posting of March 15th, which also gleaned information from a number of other sources and, in addition, contained my extensive listing of his published and unpublished writings. The present update is intended to address these issues on the basis of new information available to me as of the evening of March 24th.

First of all, far more significant than the limited cataloging of Korean-language acquisitions that Key P. Yang undertook were his strenuous efforts to build up the Library's Korean-language collection from less than 1,000 titles in 1950 to over 230,000 volumes by 1995. This alone was an especially noteworthy achievement. Mr. Yang's efforts also included his success in obtaining external funding on behalf of the Library from a number of different sources and, in particular, a $1,000,000 grant from the Korean government in 1990. Furthermore, he not only helped found but also served as the first head -- and the major Korea area specialist -- of the Korean Section for over four decades.
Second, Mr. Yang received a meritorious service award in 1984 from the Librarian of Congress, Dr. Daniel Boorstein, as well as a recognition service award in 1995 (upon his retirement) from Dr. James H. Billington. These two awards were in addition to his receipt of an honorary doctorate degree from Tongguk (Dongguk) University in Seoul in 1975.

Third, since the obituary first appeared in the Library of Congress Gazette, it has emerged that there are discrepancies with respect to Key P. Yang's official job title(s) -- "Chief" versus "Acting Chief" of the Asian Division -- from August 1993 to June 1995. Some of the discrepancies exist between the Annual Reports of the Librarian of Congress for Fiscal Years 1992-1995 and the statements contained within the Gazette on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the two obituaries that appeared in the Washington Post on January 25 and February 15, 2015 respectively and the copy of a 1993 personnel document from the Library of Congress in the possession of Key P. Yang's family. Efforts are currently ongoing to resolve these discrepancies.  As of this time, there is still no definitive, publicly available, record of his service to the Library that would provide full clarity and verify his title. What can be stated with certainty, however, is that Key P. Yang's professional and personal contributions to the advancement of knowledge about Korea through the Library of Congress and to the field of Korean Studies more broadly were considerable, touched the lives of scholars, students and librarians, and continue to be greatly appreciated to this day.

Frank Joseph Shulman

March 25, 2015

Frank Joseph Shulman
Bibliographer, Editor and Consultant for Reference Publications in Asian Studies
9225 Limestone Place
College Park, Maryland 20740-3943 (U.S.A.)
E-mail: fshulman at umd.edu

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