geroge foulk korea


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Samuel Hawley is a writer. His books are highly eclectic. He has written about 16th-century East Asian history, 19th-century Korean-American relations, Olympic sprinting and land speed racing and a circus elephant named Topsy who was electrocuted in 1903. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.


These are images from a 16-page photo spread I prepared for "America's Man in Korea" that the publisher was unable to include in full in the book.

lucuis foote american legation seoul
Lucius and Rose Foote and their American legation staff, Seoul, circa 1883-84.

george foulk pukhan 1884
A pavilion in Pukhan mountain fortress north of Seoul. Foulk, an avid photographer, took this shot during his first journey in Korea, a circular tour through Kaesong, Kanghwa Island and Suwon, in August 1884.

george foulk korea travel map
Foulk's hand-drawn map of his first Korean journey.

korea hong yong-sik 1884 coup d'etat
Hong Yong-sik, head of the Korean postal service and one of the "progressives" who made a failed  attempt to overthrow the Korean government in 1884.

so kwang-bom george foulk
So Kwang-bom, another of the "progressives" involved in the attempted coup and one of George Foulk's closest Korean friends. "[H]e will either become a very great man here," Foulk wrote of So, "or will die for his country."

kim ok-kyun korea 1884 coup
Coup leader Kim Ok-kyun. He would later be assassinated in China and his body cut up and the pieces sent throughout Korea as a warning to others.

kim ok-kyun so chae-pil so kwang-bom 1884 korea coup
Pak Yong-hyo, So Kwang-bom, So Chae-pil (Philip Jaisohn) and Kim Ok-kyun (left to right) in Japan in early 1885, after fleeing Korea following the failed coup d'etat.

pyon su korea maryland college
Pyon Su (he wrote his name in English as "Penn Su') at the Maryland Agricultural College in the late 1880s after fleeing Korea, in the West Point-stye uniform then worn by all MAC students. He was struck and killed by a train in 1891, shortly after starting to work at the US Department of Agriculture. (Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries)

us legation seoul 1880s hugh dinsmore
The office at the US legation in Seoul in the late 1880s, Hugh Dinsmore behind the desk. This is where George Foulk would have worked during his time as charge d'affaires. (University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville)

uss trenton captain robert phythian
The USS Trenton's Captain Robert Phythian, seated third from left. He resented Foulk's promotion to charge d'affaries - and showed it. (Naval Historical Center)

korea choson king kojong 1880s
Korea's King Kojong in the 1880s. "He is a little man," wrote Foulk to his parents, " with a sunny, bright face, always smiling, innocent, yet intelligent in the extreme. He is not exactly girlish, yet you must, after a fashion, fall in love with his face and manner."

foulk america's man in korea