The Tongjihoe Collection consists of surviving records (approx. 18 linear feet) of the Hawaii branch of the civic organization Tongjihoe, or Dong Ji Hoi. Closely associated with Syngman Rhee, the Hawaii organization was formed in 1921. Several district branches were formed in various areas, but their number was never stable. At most, the Tongjihoe had nine district branches. The total membership of Tongjihoe in Hawaii varied from 150 to 400. The organization erected its own building on North King Street in Honolulu in 1949, which was used as its headquarters until 1970. Prior to 1949, the organization had used rented units, including one on Kuakini Street, Honolulu.
The original purpose of the organization was stated to be to support the provisional government of Korea, and not Rhee alone. From 1925 onward, however, the organization generally supported only Rhee’s political activities and policies. After the student revolution in 1960, Tongjihoe began to concentrate more on mutual welfare activities among its members.
In 1925, the organization formed an investment corporation named Tongji Siksanhoesa 동지식산회사, but the business lasted only until 1931. From 1913 to 1930, Tongjihoe also published the Korean Pacific Magazine 태평양잡지. The title was changed to the Korean Pacific Weekly 태평양주보 in December 1930. Besides holding various fundraising activities for different causes—political causes and social welfare—and maintaining a radio program in the 1950s, Tongjihoe also kept in close contact with other Korean organizations in Hawai‘i, including Sinhung Korean Language School, the Korean Christian Church, the Korean Women’s Relief society, and the Old Men’s Home, among others.
The surviving documents by no means constitute a complete record of the organization, but they do cover a substantial span—from as early as 1925 to as recently as 1970. Of the total collection, about 80 percent were generated directly by the organization, and the rest consist of materials that were printed or published by an organization or an individual other than Tongjihoe and its members.
The Tongjihoe materials consist of financial records, newsletters, bulletins, articles, correspondence, photographs, bills, receipts, reports, minutes of meetings, documents, and membership records. The Non-Tongjihoe materials include books, magazines, travel guides, maps, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and bulletins.
An inventory of the collection, in PDF format, can be found on line at http://korean-studies.info/pdf/tjhfa.pdf.