Horace Grant Underwood

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Not to be confused with Grant Underwood or Horace Grant.
Horace Grant Underwood
Hangul 호레스 그랜트 언더우드
Revised Romanization Horaeseu Geuraeteu Eondeoudeu
McCune–Reischauer Horesŭ Kŭraent'ŭ Ŏndŏudŭ
Won Du-u
Hangul 원두우
Revised Romanization Won Du-u
McCune–Reischauer Won Tu-u

Horace Grant Underwood (July 19, 1859 - October 12, 1916) was a Presbyterian missionary, educator, and translator who dedicated his life to developing the Korean society and Christianity.[1]

Early life[edit]

Underwood was born in London and migrated to United States at the age of 12. He graduated from New York University in 1881 and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey the United States in 1884.

Work in Korea[edit]

He arrived in Korea as a missionary, and taught physics and chemistry at Gwanghyewon (광혜원) in Seoul, the first modern hospital of Korea.[2] Underwood worked with Henry G. Appenzeller, William B. Scranton, James Scarth Gale, and William D. Reynolds on the Korean Bible; New Testament 1900, Old Testament 1910. In 1900, Underwood and James Scarth Gale established the Seoul YMCA and in 1915 Underwood became the president of the Joseon Christian College (경신학교 儆新學校), the predecessor of Yonsei University. He wrote several books on Korea, including The Call of Korea.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Underwood's older brother, John T. Underwood, was a typewriter entrepreneur based in New York who helped finance Horace Grant's missionary endeavors. Underwood arrived in Korea on the same boat as Henry G. Appenzeller on Easter Sunday (April 5) 1885. In 1889, Underwood married Lillias Horton (1851–1921), a doctor. Underwood worked with Horace N. Allen, an American missionary doctor attached to the royal court. In 1916, Underwood went back to the U.S. due to his failing health but soon died in Atlantic City. Originally buried at Grove Church Cemetery[4] in North Bergen, New Jersey, his body was transferred from New Jersey to Yanghwajin Foreigners' Cemetery in 1999.

Underwood family legacy[edit]

Underwood's physical legacy is visible in various Christian educational institutes in Seoul. There is a statue of him in the center of the Yonsei University campus, and the Underwood Activity Center of Seoul Foreign School is dedicated to his grandson, Richard F. Underwood. Underwood's descendants have served to develop Korean society, religion, politics and education for over one hundred years.[1] His son Horace Horton Underwood (1890–1951) continued the tradition of education and worked at Yonhi University, another predecessor of Yonsei University. Horace Horton and his wife Ethel named their son Horace Grant Underwood II (1917–2004) who, among other notable achievements,[5] served as an interpreter in the Korean War armistice talks.[6] The Underwood family is no longer involved with mission work but continues to serve in Korea at the U.S. Embassy and in business.[7]

The New Brunswick Theological Seminary has an endowed chair in honour of Underwood for a professor specializing in Global Christianity and missions.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "언더우드 Horace Grant Underwood". Dusan Encyclopedia. Doosan Corporation. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  2. ^ Kim, Young-sik (August 5, 2003). "Americans in Korea in the late 1800's". Association for Asia Research. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  3. ^ Editorial staff (October 17, 2007). "10 Most Remembered". Korea Times. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  4. ^ http://www.grovereformedchurch.org/page/glimpses_of_grove
  5. ^ The Korea Society 2002 VAN FLEET AWARD
  7. ^ Korea Times Underwood Family Bids Farewell to Korea after 119 Years of Service
  8. ^ Reformed Church in America. "RCA Report of the New Brunswick Theological Seminary: Building a New Future for the Oldest Protestant Seminary in North America." (2013). Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  • Underwood, Horace G. (1908). The Call of Korea. Fleming H. Revell Co. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 

External links[edit]