Finding aid for the Philip Ahn papers 3007
USC Libraries East Asian Library
Doheny Memorial Library
3550 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, California 90089-1825
Language of Material:
USC Libraries East Asian Library
Title: Philip Ahn papers
Ahn, Philip, 1905-1978
Identifier/Call Number: 3007
Identifier/Call Number: 947
4 Linear Feet
4 bankers boxes
Date (inclusive): 1935-2001
Date (bulk): 1935-1978
Abstract: Philip Ahn was a Korean American actor, WWII veteran, and USC alum. This small collection comprises primarily personal and
family photographs, film and television stills, and awards and realia documenting Ahn's professional career, personal life,
and his numerous involvements within the Korean community. It also contains scripts, teleplays, and some biographical materials.
The Philip Ahn papers have been organized into the following series: 1. Film and TV stills; 2. Scripts and teleplays; 3. Biographical
materials, awards, and realia; 4. Personal and family photographs.
The original arrangement of the film and TV stills was primarily chronological; this organization has been kept intact and
applied to the remainder of the series excluding the scripts and teleplays series, which has been arranged alphabetically,
as documented in the separated materials note.
Scope and Contents
The Philip Ahn papers, 1935-2001 (bulk 1935-1978), consist of film and television stills, scripts and teleplays, biographical
materials, certificates, awards, realia, and photographs created and collected by Philip Ahn as well as by family members
after his death. The materials document Ahn's career as a film and television actor, as well as his armed service history
and many commitments to the Korean community.
Photographs make up the bulk of the papers, both in the form of film and television stills as well as personal and family
related items. There are numerous headshots, portraits, and family events, as well as materials collected after Ahn's death,
including photo albums from his funeral and his posthumous induction into Hollywood Walk of Fame. The papers also include
certificates of Ahn's achievements, such as his multiple appointments as honorary mayor of Panorama City, receipt of the Heart
Service Award, and his acceptance as a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Awards and realia (mainly
in the form of plaques) are also prevalent within the collection and largely relate to Ahn's armed service history and contributions,
as well as his local involvement in the Korean community. The remainder of the collection consists of scripts and teleplays,
articles and clippings, some correspondence, and various publications and programs, including a program and invitation for
the 46th Annual Academy Awards.
Philip Ahn, born March 29, 1905 in Los Angeles, was a Korean American film and television actor (despite his portrayal as
Japanese in many roles) and USC alum. He was discovered for his first film role ("The General Died at Dawn", 1936) while on
campus and subsequently dropped out after completion of his second year in order to seriously pursue acting.
Ahn was the son of Dosan Ahn Chang-ho and Helen Lee Ahn; his family was reportedly the first of Korean descent to settle in
Los Angeles, emigrating to the United States in 1902. His father was an activist and educator during the colonial period
of the Korean Independence movement and returned to Korea in the 1920s to continue his efforts there. Ahn was the oldest of
two brothers and two sisters, one of whom was Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first ever Asian-American woman to join the U.S. Navy.
Ahn revealed his desire to be involved in society by the young age of 13, selling war bonds for which he received commendation
of his excellence. This drive extended into Ahn's academic career at USC, where he was the member of multiple honor societies,
assistant to the Dean of Men, president of the USC Cosmopolitan Club, and chairman of the All University Committee on International
Despite his active film career during the 1930s and 1940s, wherein he worked with such actors as Bing Crosby, Shirley Temple
and Anna May Wong, Ahn found the time to assist during World War II as a member of the U.S. Infantry. Ahn continued his armed
services involvement during the Vietnam War, visiting American and Korean soldiers at the invitation of the U.S. Government,
for which he received a number of awards and accolades. Ahn was also an instrumental part of establishing the Do San Memorial
Park in Seoul, Korea and worked to make Los Angeles a sister city of Pusan, Korea. He helped bring the Korean Bell of Friendship
to San Pedro, California and served as honorary mayor of Panorama City, California for twenty years.
Philip Ahn died on February 28, 1978 due to complications from surgery. He was 72. On November 14, 1984, he posthumously became
the first-ever Korean American actor to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Conditions Governing Access
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. 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.
[Box/Folder# or Item name]. Philip Ahn papers, Collection no. 3007, Korean Heritage Library, USC Libraries, University of
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of the Ahn family.
Related Archival Materials
Related materials pertaining to Philip Ahn's father can be found within USC's Korean-American Digital Archive under An Chang
Ho, as part of the Korean American Private Records subcollection. http://libguides.usc.edu/KADA
This collection includes correspondence between USC and the Ahn family regarding the processing of Philip Ahn's papers, specifically
that the scripts would be housed as part of USC's Cinematic Arts library. There is an inventory within the collection (compiled
by Ahn's family members) of the scripts that were given to the Cinematic Arts library, as well as a listing of the film and
tv stills that were to be kept within this current collection and housed at the Korean Heritage Library. As the Ahn scripts
in the Cinematic Arts library have yet to be processed, please consult Box 1, Folder 40 for a complete list of their holdings.
It should also be noted that some scripts and teleplays, many incomplete and that were not featured on the inventory, remained
loose within Box 1 of this collection; these have now been organized into their own series and arranged alphabetically.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Academy Awards (Motion pictures) -- Archival resources
Actors -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Actors -- California -- Los Angeles -- Photographs
Asian American men -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Asian Americans in the motion picture industry -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Awards -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Korean American men -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Korean American motion picture actors and actresses -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Municipal officials and employees, Honorary -- California -- Los Angeles -- Archival resources
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Archival resources
World War, 1939-1945 -- Archival resources
United States -- Armed Forces -- Asian Americans -- Archival resources
Ahn, Philip, 1905-1978 -- Archives
Cuddy, Susan Ahn, 1915- -- Archives
An, Ch'ang-ho, 1878-1938 -- Archives
Film and television stills
Box 1, Folder 13
"Kung Fu" (TV series)
Box 1, Folder 15
Miscellaneous/unidentified film/TV stills
Box 1, Folder 2
"The General Died at Dawn"
Box 1, Folder 3
"Thank You, Mr. Moto" and "Daughter of Shanghai"
Box 1, Folder 12
"Something to Sing About", "Let's Get Tough", and Rogue's Regiment"
Box 1, Folder 4
"King of Chinatown" and "A Yank on the Burma Road"
Box 1, Folder 5
"Forever Yours" and "The Adventures of Smilin' Jack"
Box 1, Folder 6
"China" and "The Story of Dr. Wassell"
Box 1, Folder 8
"The Cobra Strikes" and "Women in the Night"
Box 1, Folder 9
"Hell's Half Acre" and "Shanghai Story"
Box 1, Folder 10
"The Way to the Gold", "Battle Hymn", and "Never So Few"
Box 1, Folder 11
"Thoroughly Modern Millie"
Box 1, Folder 16
"An Almost Perfect Plan"
Box 1, Folder 17
Chan #12 - one line breakdown
Box 1, Folder 19
[Commercial teleplays and unidentified/incomplete scripts]
Box 1, Folder 20
"Daughter of Shanghai"
Box 1, Folder 23
Box 1, Folder 25
"A Girl Named Tamiko"
Box 1, Folder 27
"Jackson and Jill in "It's a Deal"
Box 1, Folder 29
"Miracles Do Happen" - A Christmas radio program
Box 1, Folder 30
Ohanian - "Death Watch"
Box 1, Folder 31
Biographical materials, awards, and realia
Box 3, Item 021
[Clay mold of face (Philip Ahn)]
Box 3, Item 019
In Appreciation: 1st Logistical Command Special Services Vietnam [commemorative goblet]
Box 3, Item 016
In Recognition of Your Contribution to the Usarhaw Special Services Entertainment Program [plaque]
Box 1, Folder 34
[Philip Ahn memorial and bio]
Box 3, Item 017
Sgt. Philip Ahn [ nameplate, wood]
Box 1, Folder 35
Box 1, Folder 36
[Programs and publications]
Box 1, Folder 37
Box 1, Folder 38
[Articles and clippings]
Box 3, Item 018
With Deep Affection and Gratitude for a Decade of Service as Honorary Mayor, Panorama City [commemorative bowl]
Box 1, Folder 39
Certificates and awards
Box 2, Item 002
Young Men's Christian Association [plaque]
Box 2, Item 001
Honorary Mayor's Award [plaque]
Box 2, Item 003
[Red standing frame with Korean writing]
Box 2, Item 005
[Service related plaque]
Box 2, Item 004
To Mr. Philip Ahn presented by Yoo Hak Seong [plaque]
Box 2, Item 006
Presented by Captain Doan-Ngoc-Bich President of the Tae Kwon Do Association of the Vietnam Navy to Philip Ahn [plaque]
Box 2, Item 007
Republic of Korea Forces, Vietnam [plaque and pins]
Box 2, Item 008
To Philip Ahn in appreciation for visit to troops of Nha Trang from Col. LH Lockhart [plaque]
Box 2, Item 009
Korean Catholic Association of Southern California Korean Night Festival honor [plaque]
Box 2, Item 010
Panorama City Chamber of Commerce Honorary Mayor appreciation [plaque]
Box 2, Item 011
Newhall-Saugus-Valencia Chamber of Commerce Chun-an Sister City Program honor [plaque]
Box 3, Item 023
Television Academy Awards [paperweight]
Box 3, Item 022
3rd Annual National Tae Kwon Do Tournament Appreciation Award
Box 2, Item 012
Korean Association of Southern California Miss Korea Beauty Contest services recognition [plaque]
Box 2, Item 014
ANKC All Nations Open Karate Championships Award for appreciation of dedication and service [plaque]
Box 2, Item 015
KWHY-TV Appreciation Award [plaque]
Box 3, Item 024
[Signed baseball on stand]
Box 2, Item 013
Soodo Women's University Appreciation Award [plaque]
Box 1, Folder 40
[USC correspondence and Philip Ahn Collection documents]
Personal and family photographs
Box 4, Item 3
[Banquet photo, enlarged, cardboard]
Box 4, Item 2
[Dorothy Jordan, MGM headshot, enlarged]
Box 4, Item 4
[Framed b&w photo]
Box 4, Folder 2
[Personal and family]
Box 4, Folder 1
[Philip Ahn headshots/portraits]
Box 4, Item 1
[Philip Ahn in uniform, enlarged b&w print in soft frame]
Box 4, Folder 3-4
[Personal and family]
Box 4, Item 5
Thanksgiving at Philip's
Box 4, Item 6-8
[Philip Ahn Funeral (3 photo albums)]
Box 4, Folder 6
[Birthday party, Byung Mo]
Box 4, Folder 7
[Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony, Ahn Family]