The first students enrolled in Ehwa Haktang

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

The first students enrolled in Ehwa Haktang

The first students enrolled at Ewha Haktang, 1890s. Source: General Commission on Archives and History of the United Methodist Church, Madison, NJ.

Despite Korea’s broadly unsupportive cultural attitude toward girls’ education, American missionary Mary F. Scranton established a school for girls and started to recruit young Korean girls in 1886. The first year began with one student. Enrollment grew to twenty-eight in four years and exceeded the building’s capacity in a matter of years, so a new two-story modern school building was built in 1897. During this early period, the missionary schools functioned more as foster care facilities or boarding schools that provided food, clothing, and accommodation free of charge.