A Guide to the Lenna Belle Robinson Papers, 1963-2009
Lenna Belle Robinson (1904-2009) was born on May 14, 1904, in Egan, South Dakota, to Gilbert O. and Maude Ellen Coup Robinson. The eldest of five children, Robinson graduated from Turo Infirmary School of Nursing in New Orleans in 1927 and finished her professional training in osteopathy in Kirksville, Missouri, in 1937. She worked as a laboratory and X-Ray technician in Dallas, Texas, and Alaska.
In 1963, at the age of 59, she moved to South Korea as a missionary doctor. Three years later, in 1966, Robinson suggested that 12 epileptic patients go together to obtain the rare and costly medicine to control their seizures. This group formed the first Rose Club, an epilepsy support group aimed at education. News spread about the club and epileptic patients began to flood Robinson’s hospital. Realizing that many epilepsy sufferers could not come to the hospitals, she helped organize Rose Clubs in public health centers for every county in South Korea. Before returning to the United States in 1994, Robinson corresponded regularly with over 700 missionaries, and her Rose Clubs benefited over 80,000 patients. She received the Daughter of the American Revolution’s Women in American History Award in 2001. Robinson died at the age of 104 in 2009.
Correspondence, historical narratives, newspaper clippings, and an award comprise the Lenna Belle Robinson Papers, 1963-2009, and document Robinson’s time as a missionary in South Korea from 1963 to 1994. The papers consist of five letters written by Robinson while in Korea. Additionally, the correspondence includes eight letters and emails from others concerning Robinson. The collection also contains Robinson’s Daughters of the American Revolution Award, 2001; newspaper clippings relating to a talk given by Robinson in 1974; Robinson’s reminiscences; and a short history of the Rose Club Movement.
The collection is open for research use.
Lenna Belle Robinson Papers, 1963-2009, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Megan Mummey, August 2010.
Detailed Description of the Papers