Capping ceremony for Grace Lee and Martha Kim in 1906

Gendering Modernity: Korean Women Seen through the Early Missionary Gaze (1880s–1910s)

Capping ceremony for Grace Lee and Martha Kim in 1906

Capping ceremony for Grace Lee and Martha Kim, 1906 (left to right: Ellen Kim, Grace Lee, Margaret J. Edmunds, Martha Kim, and Mattie Chung). Source: General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, Madison, NJ.

Grace Lee’s dramatic life story has been widely publicized within the mission communities and beyond. Grace was born a slave in 1882 and suffered disability as a result of childhood illness. She was herself one of the first patients at Pogŭ yŏgwan and was treated by two missionary doctors, Rosetta Hall and Mary Cutler, for a few years. After recovering, Grace became a Christian and decided to start medical training as a nurse. She became the first female doctor to receive a license from the Japanese colonial government in 1914.