[LETTERS TO THE EDITORS]Fixing an errorYour Monday issue carried an article, “Ewha’s grammar mystery: A bookstore’s demise,” on the occasion of the school’s 119th birthday on Tuesday .
There was a significant error, however, which should be corrected for your readers. The article states that Mary Fitch Scranton ― the founder of Ewha Hakdang, today’s Ewha Womans University ― was “the wife of a Methodist missionary from the United States.”
In fact, Mrs. Scranton was not the wife of a missionary. She was already a widow when she arrived in Korea. And she herself was a duly-appointed, full-time missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society, in the United States. Mrs. Scranton arrived in Korea on June 20, 1885, less than three months after Reverend and Mrs. H.G. Appenzeller (who soon returned to Japan) and Horace G. Underwood.
Mrs. Scranton’s son, Dr. William B. Scranton, came to Korea on May 3, 1885, as a medical missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church and was working with Dr. Horace Allen, a Presbyterian and the first medical missionary to Korea.
Dr. Scranton retired as a missionary in June 1907, while his mother, Mrs. Scranton, remained in Korea until her death on Oct. 8, 1909. She was buried in the Foreigners’ Cemetery in Seoul.
It is unfortunate that still today many people in Korea and elsewhere assume that it is always the man who is the missionary and that the woman is just the wife of the missionary. However, indeed throughout the world, now as in 1885, many women missionaries who may be wives, widows or unmarried women, are deeply involved in various kinds of mission work, along with whatever family responsibilities they may also have. Mrs. Scranton, the revered founder of Ewha Womans University was one of these women. We should honor her, and many others like her, by accurately recording and remembering great and often sacrificial achievements as missionaries on behalf of all women and, especially today, the heritage Mrs. Scranton has given to Korean women through Ewha.
by Sonia Reid Strawn