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Yonsei Underwood Exhibit Opens May 13

Posted May. 12, 2006 02:59,   


On May 13, the Underwood Family Hall at Yonsei University campus in Shinchon-dong Seoul, will be expanded and open to the public.

The Underwoods, who came to Korea as missionaries, built the foundation for Yonsei University over four generations.

The Underwood Family Hall started as a one-room exhibition hall in October 2003. The study in the Underwood family estate was renovated for the purpose.

The exhibition room was recovered through expert assistance and from pictures of the estate which were taken in the 1930s. The pictures were supplied by Dr. Won Il-han, a third-generation Underwood in Korea. The whole of the first floor has been renovated for the new opening, and it even has a documentary room.

Han Mi-gyeong of the planning division at Yonsei University said, “We first expanded the first floor and opened it to exhibit the articles that Underwood the fourth donated before he returned to the United States. We will renovate the second floor to use as research facilities.”

Dr. Won Han-gwang, a fourth-generation Underwood and former Yonsei University professor, donated to Yonsei University on July 2004, 42 boxes of letters and sermon texts his father left, including ”Korean Grammar,” which French priests published in French in 1881, and more than 1,500 books on Korean modern history including a book by a missionary Herbert.

At the Hall, one can clearly see the development of the Won Family in Shinchon.

Pieces showing the Underwood family history, various letters and missionary certificates, old maps used by missionaries, gramophones, and phones are exhibited in the hall.

One can see the first Korean typewriter, made by Thomas Underwood, the older brother of Won Doo-woo, the first generation missionary of the Underwood family.

Yi-Young Cho lycho@donga.com