Homer Hulbert

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Homer B. Hulbert
Homer Bezaleel Hulbert.jpg
Born (1863-01-26)January 26, 1863
New Haven, VT, USA
Died August 5, 1949(1949-08-05)
Seoul, South Korea
Nationality American

Homer Bezaleel Hulbert (1863–1949) was an American missionary, journalist and political activist who advocated for the independence of Korea.


Hulbert was born in New Haven, Vermont, in 1863 of Calvin and Mary Hulbert. His mother Mary Elizabeth Woodward Hulbert was a granddaughter of Mary Wheelock, daughter of Eleazar Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth College. After graduating from Dartmouth, Hulbert attended Union Theological Seminary in 1884. He originally went to Korea in 1886 with two other instructors, Delzell A. Bunker and George W. Gilmore, to teach English at the Royal English School.[1] After the Japanese annexation began, he resigned his position as a teacher in the public middle school. He went as an emissary of the Korean King, protesting Japan's actions, to the United States in 1905 and 1906, and to the Hague in 1906 and 1907. His 1906 book, The Passing of Korea, criticized Japanese rule. He was not so much theoretically opposed to colonialism as he was concerned that modernization under the secular Japanese was inferior to a Christian-inspired modernization.[2] He was expelled by the Japanese resident-general for Korea on May 8, 1907.


He was reported to have been a close personal friend of Emperor Kojong. One of his young middle school students just after the turn of the century was the first President of Korea, Syngman Rhee, who invited him back to Korea in 1948. It was on this trip that Hulbert developed pneumonia and died. Hulbert's tombstone reads “I would rather be buried in Korea than in Westminster Abbey.” He is interred at Yanghwajin Foreigners' Cemetery in Seoul.[3] He was the recipient of the Order of Merit for National Foundation by the Korean Government. He is occasionally referred to in Korean as a 독립유공자 ("contributor to independence").

Selected bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dynamic Korea: The American who loved Korea more than a Korean
  2. ^ [1] Andre Schmid, "Two Americans in Seoul, Evaluating an Oriental Empire, 1905-1910"
  3. ^ JoongAng Daily: The journalist and missionary who defied Japan

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