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Washington State University Libraries
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Pullman, WA 99164-5610 USA
(509) 335-6691

Cage 438
Humphrey W. Leynse Collection
Films and Papers, 1916-1977

The papers, films, tapes, and photographs of Humphrey W. Leynse were deposited in Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections at Washington State University Libraries by Mrs. Judith Leynse in 1979, forming accession MS 79-39. Robert Arnett arranged and described the film and audio tapes between January and May of 1981. Barbara Kovarik Gahl processed the papers and photographs between July and September of 1981. Anna S. Vogt (audiotapes) and Lisa Kliger (films, papers, photographs, and memorabilia) further processed the collection in the fall of 1998 and the spring of 1999 under the supervision of Lawrence Stark (Assistant Archivist) and Trevor Bond (Manuscripts Librarian).

Restrictions on use: Specific written permission is required from the donor to publish extracts from the correspondence, diaries, logs, and journals of Humphrey W. Leynse.This restriction expired on January 1, 2000. Additionally, reproduction or distribution of the films requires written permission. In all cases, public use of the materials will include an appropriate credit line. The full statement of applicable restrictions can be found in Judith Leynse’s letter to the department that is dated December 21, 1979. This letter is in MASC’s office files.

Linear feet of shelf space: 70
Number of containers: 142


Humphrey W. Leynse was born on June 22, 1921 in Peking, China. His parents, Reverend James and Anna Groenendyk Leynse, were Dutch Reformed Church Missionaries at the Presbyterian Mission in Peking. As a child, Leynse attended the Peking American School, where he first learned to speak English; previously he spoke only Dutch and Mandarin Chinese, and he remained fluent in these languages throughout his life. He also studied French and Indonesian.

Peking was Leynse’s home until age twenty, when he came to the United States to study at Pomona College in Pomona, California. World War II interrupted his education. He served in the U.S. Army and from 1943 to 1945 as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) in the Philippines and New Guinea. His duties included teaching the Chinese language, formulating an English-Indonesian dictionary, and engaging in combat duty as an Agent Investigator. During his time as an Agent Investigator then Sergeant Leynse investigated foreign political groups in the Manila area and helped to establish an informant network. The Army awarded him the Bronze Star in 1945.

At the end of the war, Leynse returned to Pomona to complete his studies for a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. From 1949 through 1951 Leynse served as an educational advisor for the United States Department of the Army and as superintendent of an Educational Center in Karlsruhle, Germany. In 1951, Leynse returned to the Pacific (the Marshall Islands) as an administrator of the Department of the Interior. From1954 to 1957 he again worked for the State Department, investigating those Chinese visa applicants in Hong Kong who sought to emigrate to the United States under the Refugee Relief Act.

Leynse’s career in filmmaking began in 1957 as a Motion Picture Officer for the United States Information Service (USIS), first in Djakarta, Indonesia, and later in Seoul, Korea. He made more than fifty documentary films with USIS. It was during his time in Seoul that he met and married Judith L. Light, a journalist who was assigned to Seoul as a Motion Picture Officer.

Despite his successful career with USIS, Leynse tired of governmental bureaucracy and desired to produce his own full-length feature film. In 1966 he resigned his Foreign Service position and began the odyssey that led him, with Judith and their baby son, to the remote island of Ullung-Do, Korea, some 180 miles east of the mainland in the Sea of Japan. For two years he recorded the harsh life of the fishermen and their families on Ullung-Do. His film, Out There, a Lone Island, won Leynse several awards and was featured in various New York venues, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Film Festival, and the Ethnological Film Festival at the Museum of Natural History. Leynse made this film and many others under the auspices of Oceania Productions, a company he created in 1951 to produce educational and theatrical films concerning the Far East.

In 1970 Leynse came to Washington State University as an Assistant Professor of Communications. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 1975. Throughout his tenure at Washington State Leynse played an important part developing cinema instruction as part of the Washington State University’s mass media curriculum. In addition to his classes on film criticism, scripting, and documentary film, he taught the very popular "Masters of Cinema" course, which grew from an enrollment of thirty-seven students in the fall of 1970 to seven hundred in the spring of 1977. His film experience was also combined with his Asian interests in a course on Asian society as revealed through Asian films. Leynse also helped to produce one of the area’s most popular radio programs, "Moviegoers," which was written by students in his film criticism classes.

Leynse became ill in April of 1977. Despite this he was able to complete teaching all of his classes and missed only two weeks of the semester; when at one point he dropped in on one of his classes to see how things were going, he was given a spontaneous standing ovation by the students. Following surgery for a brain tumor, Leynse died on August 20, 1977, at the age of fifty-six.


The Humphrey W. Leynse Collection is divided into five series and the subseries noted below. The series are: 1) Films and Pre-Production Material; 2) Audiotapes and Phonograph Records; 3) Photographs; 4) Miscellaneous Papers; and 5) Memorabilia.

Series 1: Films and Pre-Production Material, ca. 1950-1970.
The film collection of Humphrey W. Leynse at Washington State University Libraries consists of finished films, work prints, original film, sound tracks on 16mm and 35mm magnetic stock. The collection includes four categories of films, arranged in numerical sequence. Subseries 1.1, films numbered 1 to 25, are based on a list developed by Mrs. Judith Leynse, including those made by Leynse or his company, Oceania Productions. Subsereis 1.2, films numbered 26 to 47, are those Leynse made while working for the USIS-Korea. Subseries 1.3, films numbered 48 to 77, are those that Leynse collected. Subseries 1.4, Miscellaneous, includes those film materials (numbered 78 to 89) that were part of the original accession, but that were not described in the original inventory.

Note: Each listing in Series 1 contains information about the film, including credits, summary, length, sound, color, print size and type, and additional collateral materials such as work prints, out takes, sound tracks, or duplicate prints. All materials are numbered sequentially within each listing. Prints are generally ranked in sequence, from the final print back to the original filming. For example, Micronesia, film number 10, consisting of fifty related items, is numbered 10-1 through 10-50. This includes two final prints (10-1 and 10-2), a work print and its duplicate (10-3 and 10-4), one reel of sound track (10-5), two rolls of out takes (10-6 and l0-7), and forty-three rolls of original film (10-8 through 10-50).

A subject index to these films is available at the end of Series 1.

Series 2: Audiotapes and Phonograph Records, 1952-1977, n.d.
Series 2 includes sounds recorded for filmmaking, tapes for teaching college cinema courses, an index of lecture material, and records from Leynse’s personal collection. The Leynse Audiotape and Record Collection consists of a variety of audio mediums including 3" 5" and 7" reels, some which play at 3 ¾, 7 ½, and 15 inches per second, cassettes, and 45rpm and 75rpm records. For listening convenience, all reel-to-reel items have been dubbed to cassette, re-numbered, and combined with the original cassette collection.

The audiotape collection consists of two subseries:

Subseries 2.1 (numbered 1-52) is a collection of tapes that were used in the production of some of the films that Leynse produced for Oceania Productions and those films that Leynse worked on while he was with USIS-Korea. The first fifteen tapes are recordings of music, songs, sounds from the South Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, and parts of Southeast Asia. Tapes 16-26 (including 19 and 19a) are similar, but they include recordings of soundtracks used in the production of some films produced by the USIS-Korea. Tapes numbered 27-36 were used in the production of Out There, a Lone Island (previously titled Under One Roof). The last set in this group (numbered 37-52) is a collection of sounds, songs, and radio programs from various parts of the Orient, some used in the production of Sumodo and Out There, a Lone Island.

Subseries 2.2 of the audiotape collection includes tapes (numbered 53-170) that Leynse recorded for use in teaching college courses about cinema, especially history and criticism. These consist of conversations and discussions recorded from television and radio programs, speeches, and readings from autobiographies. Among some of the subjects are film directors such as Robert Altman, Ingmar Bergman, Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Arthur Penn, and Orson Welles, all of whom discuss their careers in films and filmmaking. Leynse also recorded famous scenes from films like Casablanca (Bogart and Bergman) and High Noon (Gary Cooper). Leynse made these tapes by recording television programs such as "The History of the Movies," "The Men who Made the Movies," "The Moviegoers," and others on more specific subjects such as Japanese cinema and the impact of film on black culture.

There are 171 cassettes total that include MASC recordings of approximately 310 reel-to-reel tapes and fifty-four cassettes from the original collection. Original tapes numbered 235, 244, 245, 259, 271, 275, 279, and 281 to 284 are absent from the archive.

The lecture material portion of the collection was indexed by Leynse on 3 x 5 file cards and divided alphabetically into two categories: "People and Things" and "Films." The numbers indexed refer to the originally numbered item. This index can be found in Box 95.

Subseries 2.3: consists of fourteen phonograph records of music from various countries, including China, Thailand, and Germany.

Subseries 2.4: consists of Leynse’s original reel-to-reel tapes.

Series 3: Photographs, 1931-1962, n.d.
The photograph collection consists of prints and negatives taken during Leynse’s youth in China, photographs taken by Leynse while producing films in the Orient and South Pacific, and pictures of artwork. The material is arranged into four subseries: 3.1, Prints and Negatives; 3.2, Glass Transparencies; 3.3, Transparencies; and 3.4, Oversize. The hand-colored prints are mostly of landscape scenes and pictures of ornate temples and castles. The snapshots are more tourist-oriented, featuring images of the Leynse family at various sites in China. The glass transparencies are of the Chinese people, many portraits and scenes of people working, and seem to be an attempt to capture the culture in photographs.

Series 4: Miscellaneous Papers, 1916-1977, n.d.
These include material on Leynse’s childhood in China and his professional life as a filmmaker and college professor. Series 4 has been divided into seven subseries: 4.1, Clippings, 1916-1979; 4.2, Oceania Productions, 1954-1973; 4.3, Writings for Publication, 1945-1975; 4.4, Washington State University, 1948-1977; 4.5, Film-Related Material, 1957-1976; 4.6, Personal Papers, 1921-1971; and 4.7, Card File, n.d. All material, with the exception of Oceania Productions, has been arranged alphabetically by title or subject.

Subseries 4.1, Clippings, 1916-1976, consists of newspaper and magazine articles that Leynse collected over the years as a source of information for his film classes and for personal reference. This series has been divided into two groups: The Film Industry, and, Movies. The Film Industry pertains to directors, stars, and countries that have made an impact on film. Movies deals with news items on individual films.

Subseries 4.2, Oceania Productions, 1954-1973, contains company records, including all costs and profits associated with movie production, letters to investors, purchase orders, expenses, and employee information. These records show how Leynse attempted to distribute Out There, a Lone Island (originally titled Under One Roof), and includes magazine articles, primarily in English, with some in Korean. This subseries has been divided into two groups: Chronology, and Brochures and Pamphlets. Chronology contains closed accounts, correspondence, receipts, shipping invoices, bills, and film bookings of the company formed by Leynse in 1951 to produce educational and theatrical films dealing with the Far East. The material in this group dates from 1954 through 1973. The second group, Brochures and Pamphlets, includes film brochures for many of Leynse’s movies and the photoprints for the pamphlet on his film Micronesia.

Subseries 4.3, Writings for Publication, 1945-1975, is divided into Short Story Manuscripts and Magazine Articles, and, Book Materials. Short Story Manuscripts and Magazine Articles consists of Leynse’s short story material, much of which was submitted for publication. Book Materials includes drafts, proofs, and copies of Leynse’s book, Selected Short Subjects, a study of Asian, documentary, and propaganda films.

Subseries 4.4, Washington State University, 1908-1977, consists largely of Leynse’s classroom material. Included are lecture notes, tests, syllabi, handouts, news articles, film schedules, reserve material, and other readings. Also included is a small amount of correspondence, travel fund requests, and other material related to Washington State University.

Subseries 4.5, Film-Related Material, 1957-1976, consists of various production components of Leynse’s film-making activities, such as director’s manuals, working notes, scripts, subject and descriptive treatments, recording assignments, and photographs taken on location.

Subseries 4.5, Personal Papers, 1921-1971, includes biographical items, personal documents, and some personal correspondence.

Subseries 4.6, Card File, consists chiefly of undated lecture notes.

Series 5: Memorabilia, 1930-1976, n.d.
This series includes mementos and materials from Leynse’s work and travels, such as puppets, rubber stamps, notebooks, scrolls, and medals.


The five series and subseries are housed in the following containers:

SeriesNumber of Boxes
LINK TO Series 1. Films and Pre-Production Material, ca. 1950-197089 titles
1-251.1 Films by Leynse or his company, Oceania Productions
26-471.2 Films produced by Leynse at USIS-Korea
48-771.3 Films collected by Leynse
78-891.4 Miscellaneous
(Index of Films by subject and country)
LINK TO Series 2. Audiotapes and Phonograph Records, 1952-1977, nd13

2.1 Cassettes (film production); Oceania Productions and USIS-Korea, Soundtracks, USIS-Korea

952.2 Teaching Materials (Indexed)
962.3 Phonograph Records
97-1032.4 Original Tapes
LINK TO Series 3. Photographs, 1931-1962, nd9
104-1063.1 Prints and negatives
107-1103.2 Glass Transparencies
1113.3 Transparencies (2 x 2)
1123.4 Prints (includes Oversize)
LINK TO Series 4. Miscellaneous Papers, 1916-1977, nd28
113-1264.1 Clippings, 1916-1976
126-1294.2 Oceania Productions, 1954-1973
129-1314.3 Writings for Publication, 1945-1975
131-1344.4 Washington State University, 1908-1977
134-1384.5 Film-Related Material, 1957-1976
138-1394.6 Personal Papers, 1921-1971
1404.7 Card File, nd
141-142LINK TO Series 5. Memorabilia, 1930-1976, nd2