[KS] Percival Lowell

Robert Provine provine at umd.edu
Tue Apr 7 23:47:02 EDT 2015

Dear Frank:

Well, yes, you're right. He makes a mess of Korean names (who doesn't?), 
but he's pretty good at spelling Western words and generally has 
correct, if convoluted, grammar in his writings. He does have a habit of 
being obscure (note the difficulty in finding any useful dates about his 
1883-4 trip to Korea in the book he wrote) or misleading (his acerbic 
Atlantic article [1886] on the 1884 coup d'état is narrated as though he 
was there watching at the time, which he was not).

"Korea" and "Corea" were under negotiation at about that time, I think, 
and both spellings are rampant in the sources. The 1883 Special Mission 
was reported in the New York Times as Corea and at Sô Kwangbôm's death 
in 1897 they were still using Corea, while the Washington Post announced 
Sô's appointment as Korean Minister in 1896 with a "K." Ah, well.

As to the spelling of Sô Kwangbôm 서광범: Sô himself used "Pom K. Soh" 
or "Pom Kwang Soh," which, I guess, is no less strange than what the 
current government romanization would do with his name.



P.S. I guess everyone in this discussion knows about the (at least) 66 
Korea-related Lowell photos stored (often with original high-quality 
negatives) at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. At a glance, at least 
two of them were taken in Japan in 1883, but most are Korean scenes of 
various sorts, along with the famous portraits of the Emperor and Crown 

On 7/4/2015 22:42, Frank Hoffmann wrote:
> Percival Lowell <=> Gordon Haddo, or Haddo Gordon
> Well possible, but in that case Lowell must have bee extremely careful.
> Look at how he renders names:
> First mention always his _Chöson_ book, second always the Haddo Gordon
> article from _Lippincott's Monthly Magazine_:
> Corea
> Korea
> Sö Kwang Pöm
> Soh Kwang Pom
> Hong Yong Sik
> Hong Yeng Sik
> Tè Wang Kun (大院君)
> Tai-Wen kun
> Best,
> Frank

More information about the Koreanstudies mailing list