Conant Collection


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The Theodore Richard Conant Collection was established in 2008, when he donated his collection on Korea, consisting of over 250 books, 74 film reels, 101 audio reels, 19 music reels, over 300 photographs, and his correspondences between himself and the United Nations, etc.

Ted Conant, the owner of this collection, started his career in media working as a radio studio assistant in high school. He served as a communication technician during World War II. But as the war came to an end, he returned to the U.S. where he worked at a broadcasting studio and later became the assistant of Robert Flaherity, the director of Louisiana Story in 1948. He was then sent to Korea as a member of UNKRA (United Nations Korea Reconstruction Agency) with the responsibility as a recording technician in 1952. He then joined the team that was set to produce the film called "Long Journey" (in Korean, "Kojip"). Unfortunately, the film was never completed. However, according to his interview with the Korean Film Archive held in 2009, he said he completed the film by himself.

During his service in Korea, he worked with Hyong Pyo Lee and other Korean producers to create newsreels, documentary films, and propaganda for the United Nations, broadcasting companies, and the US Army. In addition, he produced independent documentary films such as "Children in Crisis" and "Korean Artists" with Lee. The Conant Collection covers not only the history of the Korean War, but also the history of the Korean film, social life and living conditions during 1950s, and so on. This outstanding collection will be valuable to scholars and students  in a range of fields such as Korean modern history and Korean film studies.

The library has worked with the Korean Film Archive (KFA) on a cooperative digitization project since 2010, and 13 out of 74 film reels has been digitized. The rest of his film reels will continue to be digitized with financial support from KFA and Korea University starting 2012.

The use of the Conant Collection is open to all researchers during the the library hours. However, photos and documents including correspondences are accessible only during the RBR hours. The books, serials, and pamphlets may be found in the library online catalog, CLIO and can be checked out anytime the Circulation Desk is open. The 13 DVDs are accessible via the East Asian library and KFA.

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Korean Studies Librarian
Ms. Hee-sook Shin
310M Kent Hall
(212) 854-1507
hs2148@columbia.edu