First commencement ceremony for Ewha Middle School

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

First commencement ceremony for Ewha Middle School

First commencement ceremony for Ewha Middle School, June 28, 1908. Source: Ewha Archives, Seoul.

This picture of five students is from the first commencement of the four-year middle school program that was established at Ewha Haktang in 1904. The young women are wearing traditional white Korean dresses (hanbok), with the then-trendy puffy hairstyle. Aged between fifteen and sixteen, most returned home after finishing school, as their parents grew anxious about their daughters becoming too old for marriage. Learning of the importance of marriage in Korean culture at that time, the missionary faculty often sought husbands for their students, sometimes making wedding preparations and hosting wedding ceremonies.