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Correspondence between the families of President Syngman Rhee and General Lyman Lemnitzer

Call Number: MS 256


President Syngman Rhee, Korea's first president, and United States Army General Lyman Lemnitzer came into contact when Lemnitzer served in Korea in the 1950s. Their families became friends and continued their friendship through correspondence and visits. The majority of letters in this collection are from Mrs. Francesca Rhee to Mrs. Katherine Lemnitzer to thank her for gifts and to share news about orphanages and social events. In one letter, President Rhee writes to the General in appreciation of his support for Korea. There are also letters from the Lemnitzer family and from Jhongman Rhee.


  • Creation: 1956 - 1983


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biographies of General Lyman Lemnitzer and President Syngman Rhee

General Lyman Louis Lemnitzer (1899-1988) served in the United States Army from 1920-1969 and and made contributions during both World War II and the Korean War. Born in Honesdale, Pennsylvannia, he graduated from West Point in 1920 and attended the Coast Artillery School in 1921 and the Command and General Staff School in 1936. He married Katherine Mead Tryon in 1923 and they had two children.

It was during service in Korea that the Lemnitzer and Rhee families became life-long friends. Lemnitzer supported building a strong Korea, which was much appreciated by President Rhee. After the Korean War, Lemnitzer rose in the ranks and from 1960-1963, he served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He ended his military career as a four-star general having achieved the rank of Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and served in that capacity from 1963-1969.

President Syngman Rhee (1875-1965) was the first president of South Korea (1948-1960). Born in the Hwangwae Province, he was educated in traditional studies, as well as attending a Methodist missionary school. As a youth, he was arrested for his work to promote Korean independence. Upon his release in 1904, Rhee moved to the United States where he earned degrees at George Washington, Harvard and Princeton Universities (PhD, 1910). In 1919, he was elected president of the Korean Provisional Government in exile in Washington, D.C. and to support Korean independence. In 1934, he marrried Frances Donner, an Austrian, and travelled the world promoting his cause.

Rhee became a leader in South Korea under the United States occupation after World World II and was elected president of the Republic of Korea in 1948. He believed that all Korea should be united and worked with the U.S. to secure economic aid and support for the military. Demonstrations against government corruption led to Rhee's resignation in 1960. He spent his last 5 years in Hawaii.


.25 linear foot (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Physical Location

MS 256

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Charles Apfelbaum, September 29, 2008.

Guide to the Rhee and Lemnitzer Family Correspondence
Correspondence between the families of President Syngman Rhee and General Lyman Lemnitzer
Finding aid prepared by mab, 2009. Finding aid encoded by mab, 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Rhee and Lemnitzer Family Correspondence, Department of Special Collections, MS 256, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States