Horace Newton Allen
Horace Newton Allen
|2nd United States Minister to Korea|
October 1, 1901 – June 9, 1905
|President||William McKinley |
|Preceded by||Himself (as Consul)|
|Succeeded by||Edwin Vernon Morgan|
|United States Consul General to Korea|
September 13, 1897 – October 1, 1901
|Preceded by||John Mahelm Berry Sill|
|Succeeded by||Himself (as Minister)|
|Born||April 23, 1858|
|Died||December 11, 1932 (aged 74)|
|Education||Ohio Wesleyan University (B.S.) |
Miami Medical School
Horace Newton Allen (April 23, 1858 – December 11, 1932) was a medical doctor and the first American Protestant missionary in Korea, arriving there in late 1884. He served in Korea at the end of the Joseon Dynasty, becoming close to the emperor. At his suggestion, in 1885 the emperor founded the institution that became known as Severance Hospital in Seoul (now in South Korea). It is now part of the Yonsei University Health System. Due to Allen's relationship with the emperor and other officials, Allen became part of the United States Legation to Korea: he was appointed as secretary in 1890 and as US minister and consul general in 1897.
Due to disagreements with the US government over its lack of intervention in the Russo-Japanese War, Allen was recalled in 1905. Five years later Japan annexed Korea, setting up a ruling government that lasted until the end of World War II and Japan's defeat by the Allies.
Horace Newton Allen was born in Delaware, Ohio on April 23, 1858. He received his B.S. at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1881. He studied medicine at the Miami Medical School in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduating in 1883.
Allen was appointed a medical missionary and sent to China by the Board of Foreign Missions of the [Presbyterian Church in U.S.A] and arrived at Shanghai on October 11, 1883. After awhile he decided to serve in Korea which had just opened her doors to the western world and after obtaining mission boards permission he came to Korea on September 20, 1884 to explore. As government law prohibited foreign religion at the time, he was appointed medical officer of the United States Legation to Korea in Seoul, thus hiding his true identity. He went back to Shanghai to bring back his wife Francis "Fannie" and their son, Harry to Korea on October 26 (Allen's Diary-Archive Department of New York Public Library).
On December 4, 1884 Gap Sin Jeong Byeon Gap Sin Emuete took place, a coup tetat staged with the help of the Japanese army by handful of elite progressive officials who had toured in the previous year the United States per compliment of the U.S. State Department. The progressive government collapsed in 3 days as the Chinese army entered Seoul and defeated the Japanese army. This event started with the assassination attempt on the life of the queens nephew, Min Young Ik, who was hosting a banquet to celebrate the opening of the nations first postal office with dignitaries including foreign diplomats and he was inflicted with 7 severe sword wounds. Dr. Allen was summoned and treated Min's near mortal wounds, applying western medical methods against the objection of 14 of the court’s medicine men. It is noted that wounds soon became infected and Dr. Allen treated the infected wounds with "baked mud" to absorb pus and wash away with water and it took 3 months before Dr. Allen's treatment on him was completed.
Upon hearing the wide spread rumor that a foreigner with bushy red beard revived a dead prince, many people flocked to his house. He seized this opportunity to serve Korean people and submitted to the Foreign Ministry "A proposal of founding a hospital for the government of His Majesty in Seoul Corea" with an introductory letter by J. C. Foulk, charge de' affair of the U.S. Legation. The king Gojong granted his proposal readily and a western hospital named Gwang hye Won (廣惠院, House of Extended Grace) was opened in a traditional Korean estate on April 10, 1885. The name quickly was changed to Chai Jung Won 제중원 the House of Universal Helpfulness. The hospital had 5 separate in-patient rooms, eye treatment room for extraction of cataracts, vaccination room for small pox, etc. A year later, Dr. Allen, Dr. James Heron and Horace Underwood opened a medical school "Medical and Scientific School of Royal Corean Hospital and admitted 16 medical students. The adjoining school building had a large class room, a chemistry lab and 2 dormitory rooms.
It is noteworthy that since September 1894 the Board of Foreign Mission started to operate the nations first western hospital and medical school in Korea and in September 1904 Chai Jung Won built a new ultra modern brick building outside the South Gate with help from Louis Severance, a philanthropist in Cleveland Ohio, moving patients from "the old to new buildings" on September 23. The invitation to the dedication of the building read "the New Chai Jung Won/Severance Hospital". For a while after the transition the popular daily newspaper Donga Ilbo called the new hospital "New Chai Jung Won" and government official document also referred the new hospital as Shin Chai Jung Won (New Chai Jung Won). The newly renamed Severance Hospital was the direct descendent of Chai Jung Won.
The Severance Hospital and Medical school on June 5, 1962 moved to a new location in Sinchon after building a huge medical complex which included the Eighth U.S. Army Memorial Chest Hospital as an integral part and a separate unit ($400,000 worth of building material and $70,000 for medical equipment as American Forces Aids to Korea Program 1955). This institution now is called Yonsei Health System, part of Yonsei University after union with Yonsei University on Jan 5, 1957.
Allen's post Chai Jung Won activities related to Korea are; King Gojong of Korea asked Allen to help open the Korea Legation in United States of America and Allen led a 12 man delegation to Washington D. C. in November 1887 and established the Korean Legation in January 1888 when Minister Park J. Y presented appointment letter to President Cleveland. Allen helped operate the Korean Legation and carried out diplomatic activities (his position was "foreign secretary" "참찬관" ).
Upon his return from America he started working in July, 1890 as Secretary at the United States Legation in Seoul and left 15 years later in June 1905 as the Envoy Extraordinaire and the Minister Plenipotential before his successor Morgan closed the United States legation in November 1905.
Allen was decorated 3 times by King Gojong and the last one, the highest Tae Guk Order was donated to Yonsei Health System in 2015 by his great granddaughter Lydia Allen.
He died in Toledo, Ohio on December 11, 1932. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Toledo. Allen and his wife, Francis Ann "Fannie", had two sons, Horace Ethan "Harry" who in turn had 3 sons and Maurice who left no children. There are 5 surviving great grandchildren.
Dr. Allen's contribution to Korea(<ref>Things Korean by Allene ref>:1. Introduction of western medicine to Korea. 2. Opening the door to the proselytization of Christianity to Korea 3. Industrialization of Korea; arranging building a railroad system, trolley, electric company, etc. by American companies. 4. Faithful supporter of King Gojong and Korea.
Legacy and honors
- Gojong awarded him the highest decoration, Taeguk.
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)
- Allen was portrayed by Sean Richard in the 2010 Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) TV series Jejungwon, about the early years of the hospital and the first class of Korean medical students. the series ran for 36 episodes.
- Allen was also portrayed by Lorne Oliver in the 2018 TVN (South Korea) TvN and Netflix series, "Mr. Sunshine".
- Allen's Diary
- Allen's diary
- letter by Dr. Jesse Hurst<ref and 이하영 서신 규장각
- documents from letters to Dr. Ernest Weiss from U. S. Eighth Army
- 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