geroge foulk korea


HOME         BOOKS        BIOGRAPHY        FORTHCOMING        CONTACT        LINKS






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.

seoul east palace 1880s
Another of Foulk's photos, taken in April 1885 at Changdok Palace, shows Dr. Horace Allen and his wife Frances (second and third from left). Foulk's handwritten caption reads: "Lotus pond and ancestral shrine buildings of East Palace (where fight occurred Dec. 84)." The uniformed men on either end are identified as Lieutenants Milligan (left) and Rogers (right).

seoul east palace 1880s
Another of Foulk's photos, taken in the Secret Gardens presumably at the same time as the one above. Foulk's caption: "Pleasure grounds in E. Palace of Seoul, Korea (Korean gentlemen)." Is that Dr. Horace Allen lurking behind the mound in the background?

korea william parker 1880s
William Parker in better days, as a Confederate naval officer in the early 1860s. He proved a disaster as US minister to Korea, a chronic drunk, when he arrived in Seoul in June 1886 in response to Foulk's repeated requests for relief. From the moment of Parker's arrival, Foulk wrote to his parents, he remained "in a horribly drunken stupor, utterly foolish and silly, falling around his room, breaking pottery and committing nuisances on the floor." Foulk, by this time deeply disillusioned, was obliged to send Parker home and stay on.

qdmiral robert schufedt
Admiral Robert Shufeldt, who negotiated the treaty signed between the United States and Korea in 1882. Highly regarded by the Koreans for this, he was invited back following his retirement from the navy to take up an unspecified government post. "I don't trust him," Foulk wrote his parents, "and have written him a point-blank letter showing plainly why he is not cared for here...As the world goes it is perhaps foolish for me to tackle men of such influence as his, but it is in me to kick against shallowness and selfishness where it concerns my duty, and I don't know how to do otherwise." (Library of Congress)

owen nickerson denny
Owen Nickerson Denny, employed by the Korean government as advisor to King Kojong following von Mollendorff's dismissal. He sided with Foulk in standing up to Chinese interference in Korean affairs. (Oregon Historical Society, OrHi 53610)

hugh dinsmore korea
Hugh Dinsmore, the American minister to Korea who arrived in Seoul in April 1887. Foulk's assessment: "Mr. Dinsmore is clever and just, a thoroughly good man, but the case at hand is one in which a knowledge of diplomacy to be acquired by long experience out here can only be effective. This Mr. Dinsmore does not have." (University of Arkansas Libraries)

american legation seoul 1880s hugh dinsmore
The US legation in Seoul in the late 1880s. The Western man in the white hat is Hugh Dinsmore. (University of Arkansas Libraries)

uss ossipee
The USS Ossipee, which made regular visits to Korea during Foulk's time as charge d'affaires. (Naval Historical Center)

george foulk wife kane 1888
Foulk and his Japanese wife Murase Kane circa 1888. (Naval Historical Center)

george foulk grave kyoto
George Foulk's grave on a hillside just east of Kyoto. He died on August 6, 1893, not quite thirty-seven years old, a broken man after his time in Korea.  (Naval Historical Center)

george foulk america's man in korea