Horace Newton Allen
At his own request, he was appointed on a mission to China by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church and a year later he was sent to work at the United States Legation to Korea as physician. Soon after his arrival with his family on September 20, 1884, he was involved in the aftermath of Gapsinjeongbyeon, during which a royal relative Min Young Ik was stabbed and injured. The German diplomat Paul Georg von Möllendorff was present at the massacre and quickly requested Allen's medical care. Under his modern medical treatment unknown to Korea at the time, Min Young Ik recovered in three months. Consequently, this initiated for Allen a close connection with Gojong, and demonstrated the benefit of western medicine to the Korean public. With this auspicious turn of events Allen was able to establish Gwanghyewon (廣惠院, House of Extended Grace) under royal finance and support in Seoul. Gwanghyewon was the first modern medical facility in Korea. The Gwanghyewon was soon renamed by Gojong to Che Chung Won (the House of Civilized Virtue) and evolved to become the current Severance Hospital and Yonsei University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. He was instrumental to lift the nation's anti-Christianity policy to allow the influx of missionaries to evangelize, build schools and other western hospitals in the Hermit Kingdom.
His connections in Korea enabled him to act in the role of a diplomat. In 1887 he accompanied the first Korean legation to Washington, D.C.. In 1890, became secretary to the American legation in Seoul. By 1897 he was US minister and consul general. With close relationship with Gojong and high government officials he arranged American business firms to build nation's first electric and water works, trolley and railway systems. He was outspoken against US noninterventionism during the Russo-Japanese War, but this was not well received by the US government whose policy was in accord with the Taft-Katsura Agreement. He was recalled in 1905 and died in Toledo, Ohio on December 11, 1932. He was awarded by Gojong the highest decoration, Taeguk. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Toledo, Ohio. Between him and his wife, Frances Ann, 2 sons were born, Horace Ethan and Maurice.
Allen's writings introduced Korean literature to the English-speaking world. His publications include:
- Korean Tales, (1889)
- A Chronological Index of the Foreign Relations of Korea from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Twentieth Century, (1901)
- Supplement, (1903)
- Things Korean, (Seoul, 1908)
- Today in History – April 23 at chi.lcms.org
- Horace Newton Allen (1908), Things Korean: A Collection of Sketches and Anecdotes, Missionary and Diplomatic
- Horace Newton Allen (1889), Korean Tales: Being a Collection of Stories Translated from the Korean Folk Lore
- Horace Newton Allen (1901), A Chronological Index: Some of the Chief Events in the Foreign Intercourse of Korea
- The first Presbyterian missionaries in Korea