Monday, September 26, 2016

Dr. Haysmer and the apple thief: The "barbaric American incident" of 1926

Dr. Haysmer and the apple thief: The "barbaric American incident" of 1926 

Part 1: Clyde Haysmer, Kim Myeong-seop, and the response in Korea

It's unfortunate that Robert Neff's article in the Korea Times last week has a title that does little to reflect the importance of the story it tells. When it comes to bitter memories of Westerners in Korea, the tale of Dr. Haysmer (erroneously spelled 'Haysmeir' in contemporary news articles) and how, as a missionary, he punished a twelve-year-old boy from stealing apples from the mission orchard stands above the rest. It's best remembered in North Korea, where it became the basis of one its most xenophobic, anti-American, and influential novellas. I first heard of the case by reading Donald Clark's Living Dangerously in Korea: The Western Experience, 1900-1950. I turned up photos related to the story years ago and thought I'd write a quick post including them, but some crowd sourcing of information on Facebook led me to dig further, and I found that the event is far more fascinating than I realized, both for how it was used by different groups for their own agendas at the time, and for how pertinent the story is today.

What follows is based on English-language sources (like the New York Times, Japan Times, Japan ChronicleNorth China Herald, Seventh Day Adventist materials and genealogical information from and a quick reading of some of the Korean sources (from the Donga Ilbo, Chosun Ilbo, and Maeil Sinbo). A more sustained look at the numerous Korean sources would turn up much more information, as would access to the Seoul Press, which I sadly lack (except for quotations from it in the Chronicle). A number of sources here were provided by Jacco Zwetsloot; they are marked with a ***.

Clyde Albert Haysmer was born in Kingston, Jamaica, on December 6, 1897 to Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) missionaries Albert James Haysmer and Dora Wellman Haysmer, who were originally from Michigan. Dora's father, Elam Van Densen was also an elder in the same church and a missionary. Albert and Dora had started their missionary work in Jamaica in 1893, accompanied by their son, Elam Dolphus, who was seven years older than Clyde. The family would, by 1904, be assigned to Barbados. Both Clyde and his brother would eventually be trained as doctors. An SDA newsletter in 1913 notes under the title "Southern Training School" that "Clyde Haysmer writes from Lowell, Michigan that he is doing work this summer with the Fireside Correspondence School at Washington, D. C." By 1917 his father had become an elder and president of the West Indian Union Conference. In late 1918 his elder brother, Elam, died during the influenza pandemic. Clyde is later found crossing into B.C. in July 1920, two weeks ahead of that year's Alberta Conference Association of Seventh-day Adventists in Calgary, which was announced by his father in the previous month's Advent Review and Sabbath Herald magazine. It was likely here that he met his wife. The July 27, 1979 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner described her early life:
Ida Louise Hanson was born to Charles and Helen Hanson at Selbey, South Dakota, on March 4, 1892. The family moved to Alberta and Ida attended school at Lacombe and later at Walla Walla, Washington. She graduated from the nurses course at the Portland, Oregon, Sanitarium in 1920. A year was spent nursing in the Alberta Sanitarium and as school nurse at the Hutchinson Theological Seminary in Minnesota. In 1922 she returned to Alberta and was united in marriage to Dr. C.A. Haysmer. 
It adds that they spent a year at the Portland Sanitarium. A later issue of Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, from July 9, 1925, announced that on March 20 "Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer went forward for medical missionary work in Korea. Dr. Haysmer is a graduate of our medical college, and had spent a short time practising at the Portland (Oreg.) Sanitarium, and now takes charge of the Soonan Dispensary in Korea." This was also commented on in the March 31, 1925 issue of Western Canadian Tidings:
It was a pleasure to welcome Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer in the office for a few minutes Thursday, the 19th. They left for Rest Haven prior to joining the "Empress of Australia" at Victoria on Friday, the 20th. Dr. and Mrs. Haysmer were connected for a number of years with our sanitarium in Alberta and lately with the Portland Sanitarium. They accepted a call to Korea recently and will take charge of the medical dispensary at Seoul. Our prayers go with these faithful workers and others as they leave the shores of the homeland from month to month.
They sailed for Korea March 20, 1925, and the May 1925 issue of the SDA publication Far Eastern Division Outlook*** reported that "Dr. and Mrs. C. A. Haysmer are now in attendance at the Language School in Seoul, preparatory to service in the Soonan Hospital Dispensary." As the same magazine*** reported two months later:
Dr. and Mrs. C.A. Haysmer are now in attendance at their second term of language school study in Seoul, Chosen. It is their plan to open the hospital-dispensary at Soonan soon after the beginning of the new year.

During the recent session of the Chosen Union plans were laid for developing as rapidly as possible a strong training center at Soonan for medical missionary evangelists. To this end a nurse's training class will be formed and operated in collaboration with the Chosen Union Training School.
It would appear that they arrived in Sunan, just north of Pyongyang (and the location of its current airport) earlier than the beginning of the new year, for Korean newspapers would report that his deed which would live in infamy took place that summer. As Robert writes:
On July 15, while walking through the orchard, he encountered 12-year-old Kim Myoung-sup, a Korean boy living in the neighborhood. Haysmeir later claimed the boy was stealing apples but Korean newspapers reported the boy was merely in the orchard without permission and ran because he was afraid of the American missionary.

What followed next was a horrendous act that marred not only the image of missionaries in Korea but also the face of the young boy.

According to Ransford S. Miller, the American Consul-General in Seoul, after Haysmeir caught the boy, he summoned the boy's mother, Yoon, to the orchard. She begged Haysmeir not to summon the Japanese authorities, and he agreed not to but was insistent that the boy had to be taught a lesson. He had one of the nurses bring him some caustic soda (acid) and then used it to write 'dojeok' (thief) on the boy's cheeks. He then proceeded to lecture the boy for over an hour and cautioned the crying boy to never steal again.
In his article, Robert lays out some of the differing accounts of what happened. Many accounts say he used silver nitrate on the boy's face(one I found said it was 'silver acetic acid'); this is dealt with in more detail below. What seems clear is that the word 'thief' was still visible on his skin a year later and that he later was forced to leave school. The issue lay dormant for almost a year until the Chosun Ilbo reported on it - extensively - on June 28, 1926; the Donga Ilbo followed two days later, and the incident quickly became a cause célèbre. On July 1 both the Chosun Ilbo and Donga Ilbo referred to the event as the "barbaric American incident." On July 4 the Donga Ilbo published this photo of Kim Myeong-seop; it's hard to make out the scarring:

As Robert notes,
According to DongA Ilbo, just after midnight on July 1, 1926, Haysmeir went to the boy's house and tried to negotiate a settlement with his mother. She suggested that she would consider the matter closed for a sum of 10,000 yen ($5,000) but Haysmeir refused and countered with an offer of 420 yen as compensation and 200 yen for treatment for a total of 620 yen ($310). Eventually Haysmeir did pay the 620 yen and offered an apology in the newspapers[.]
Of course, the newspapers were having a field day. As a Reuters report put it, "A wave of indignation is sweeping Korea." Referring to the Seoul Student Federation, this Donga Ilbo article's headlines give a sense of the outrage being cultivated in Korea by the press:
Student organizations stirred to regard to barbaric American incident
Prepare to send a written appeal to worldwide Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Facts of the insult to the minjok come out: Haysmer threatened the victim's mother, "Pay me 5 won or I'll write 'thief'"
The story told by Kim Myeong-seop [the victim] who arrived in Seoul
There were calls for monetary support to treat Kim, who had arrived in Seoul for treatment on July 5. Two days later the Donga Ilbo reported that the Gaesong Youth Federation had met July 5 and that one of its resolutions that day was to send a warning to the “barbaric American, Haysmer.” Within days reports were coming in from around Korea of such actions in places like Mokpo or Masan ("Masan youths roused, excessively aggrieved over the Haysmer incident"). As is described in Donald Clark's Living Dangerously in Korea, "Civic groups joined in. The Bar Association passed a resolution demanding the doctor's deportation. 'We don't like to be experimented on like animals,' wrote a Korean in a letter to the editor of the Seoul Press."

Many called for expulsion or legal punishment, and the Japanese authorities soon obliged on the latter request. A handful of articles, originating from Chinese newpapers, suggested that the incident was dug up by the Japanese to encourage anti-American and anti-missionary feeling. For example, the China Weekly Review of August 14 argued that "the Japanese press and police dug up the affair and a great sensation was made of the action of the American missionary in 'lynching' the Korean boy." However, the chronology of newspaper reports suggests otherwise. The first reports in the Korean papers were in late June; the first articles in the Government General-controlled Maeil Sinbo didn't appear until July 4.

Korean groups displayed a great deal of anger, conveyed by the Korean press. One reason that they could express this may be that the "barbaric enemy" in this case was an American rather than a Japanese. In fact, the abstract for a paper (in Korean) titled "Korean National Cooperative Front and Anti-Christian Movements in 1920s - Focused on Haysmer's Event," by Kang, Myung Sook, says of the post-Samil nationalist movement:
To establish a strong movement the Seoul Group made the issue [of] Haysmer's Event in 1926 which happened in 1925. Koreans considered Japanese' brutalities as Haysmer's brutalities. Through the criticizing of Haysmer's Event, Koreans [criticized] Japanese' exploitation and suppression.
The idea of this bitter criticism of an American missionary being a surrogate for criticism of Japan has merit, I think. While the Maeil Sinbo would, once it joined in, certainly encourage the Koreans in criticizing American "barbarity," it became apparent that this could also be used against the Japanese. On July 11, the Chosun Ilbo reported that a "second Haysmer incident" had occurred in Masan, where a Japanese person beat a Korean child. On August 27 the Japan Times would report another "second Haysmer case" which took place in Pusan, when a Mrs. Iihara was arrested for pouring coal tar over a Korean girl who stole melons from her orchard. It goes to show how the Korean-owned newspapers would make use of openings given to them by the Japanese authorities.

On July 22, the Japan Chronicle published a statement made to the Japan Advertiser by Baron Atsushi Akaike, a member of the Peers and former Chief of the Metropolitan Police Board, which provided more details on the case:
Unfortunately the report about the branding of the Korean boy 12 years old by a certain Dr. Haysmeir is true. I had hoped with vain hope that it was the usual sort of Japanese newspaper talk, gaining weight in travelling. Plain facts are now before us, so I think it is better to inform the public of the bare truths and let justice have its way than to attempt concealing it and thereby deepening suspicion.

"The facts are simple. Kim En Sop, the young boy, stole a few apples and was caught by Dr. Haysmeir, chief of the local hospital and missionary. Dr. Haysmeir sent for his mother. When she arrived he demanded a damage of Y5 a sum impossibly large for her means. When it was manifest that she could not pay it, he instructed the nurse to bring shosangin [초산은 ] (translated in Japanese-English Dictionary as nitrate of silver, caustic silver or lunar caustic) and wrote the inscription on the boy's face. Accused, thereupon, wrote the syllables in to eunman on the left cheek of the boy with nitrate of silver and the latter chyok on the right cheek, and baked the syllables in the sun for about half an hour before the boy was allowed to go home. The doctor also told the boy to come and weed the grass in his garden for a week in lieu of payment of damage, but the boy never returned.

The drug used for the inscription has since corroded part of the outer layer of Kim's cheek, and though he was cured of the injury in four or five days, pigmentary deposit of blood due to inflammatory hyperemia still remains on the outer layer of the skin. It is expected that proper medical treatment of some six months' duration will be required to remove the traces. As to the reason why the affair, which took place last September, had not come to the notice of the local police until recently, Mr. Akai, Chief Public Procurator in Heijo Local Court, is represented as stating in a press interview that Kim, from remorse at his own misdeed, had kept it secret, and that the discovery was due to his having been brought to a hospital for treatment by Min (mentioned in the writ of indictment) who met Kim at the market on the 11th of the Fifth Moon and saw the disgraceful marks on his cheeks.
A statement regarding the investigation's findings by SDA Mission superintendent Edward J. Urhquart appeared days later in (most likely) the Japan Advertiser, which was then quoted in part by the Japan Times on July 23:
The mother was told that this time something must be done by way of teaching the boy the seriousness of his offence. Whereupon the doctor made the mother two propositions: (A) That the mother pay two yen and have written on the boy's face with silver nitrate two Korean characters meaning 'thief,' or (B) That this boy be taken to the police station. (It was explained to the mother that the marks from the silver nitrate would be carried for about two weeks.)

The mother, hearing this proposition, of her own volition chose the mark of thief on the boy's face rather than a visit to the police station. The doctor, therefore, wrote the two characters upon the boy's face and he was liberated. (Now I wish to make it plain that there was no attempt at torture, nor was the boy driven to tears at any time during the proceedings. The act was done at the request of the mother, in preference, of course, to a visit to the police.)
The Seventh Day Adventists' General Conference Committee Minutes for 1926 reveal in more detail how the General Conference Committee responded to these events on July 14, 1926:
Special meeting was called to give consideration to an Associated Press report, stating that one of our doctors in Korea had branded the word "thief" on the face of a Korean boy caught stealing apples from the mission yard.

Not having any information other than that contained in the newspapers, it was decided to request J L Shaw to call at the State Department in Washington, to ascertain whether the matter had been reported to them.
A few hours later, they got a response:
J L Shaw reported the result of his visit to the State Department. The Department had not received a report on the branding of the Korean boy, but on request of Elder Shaw at once cabled for information.

After some study as to what should be done, it was decided to ask I H Evans to cable Korea, to ascertain facts relative to the charges against Dr Haysmer referred to in the newspapers.

Further, that the chairman be asked to issue a statement to the Associated Press to the effect that we utterly repudiate any mistreatment of any race by a missionary, and that we only await confirmation by the State Department of the reports, and our own official channels, before taking action in the matter.
W A SPICER, Chairman.
B E BEDDOE, Secretary.
Regarding the suggested public statement, on July 16 the Japan Times reported that the Foreign Mission Board of the Seventh Day Adventists was investigating the case, and that the board's chairman stated that the Board "disapproves and dissociates itself utterly from any mistreatment of any person by any missionary." Two days later, on July 16, the matter was brought up again by the General Conference Committee:
Report was received from the Department of State relative to the situation in Korea, as follows:

"Reply received from the American Embassy, Tokyo, to request through the Department of State of the General Conference, Seventh-day Adventists, Takoma Park, concerning the alleged branding of a Korean boy by Dr Haysmer, missionary at Chosen:

"'According to a statement which was issued by the Governor General at Chosen, Korea, which has been substantially confirmed by the president of the Mission Board as received on July 15, from Miller, Dr. Haysmer last September branded the word "thief" with chloric acid which was said to have been silver nitrate according to the mission superintendent. The markings failed to disappear, as was expected. There followed agitation, started by Koreans and Japanese, after a solatium was given to the family of the boy. Proceedings against Dr Haysmer were instituted on July 12, according to the American Embassy."

Also the following cable was received from E J Urquhart, the superintendent of the Chosen Mission:

"July 15,1926 Heinanjunan.
“Adventist, Evans.
" Newspaper reports exaggerated. Public opinion adverse. Trial soon. Following Shanghai advice, Haysmer dismissed. Outcome uncertain."

In view of this word received by cable, stating that the missionary in Korea who had marked the word "thief" on the face of a Korean boy has, on the advice of the Far Eastern Division, been dismissed, it was--
VOTED, That we approve of the prompt action taken by our board in the Far East in dismissing the missionary.
W A SPICER, Chairman.
B E BEDDOE, Secretary.
On July 18 it was reported that Haysmer had been "dismissed from the denomination." He was not kicked out of the SDA; rather, he had been stripped of his position as a missionary. The July 29, 1926 issue of the SDA's Advent Review and Sabbath Herald contains this report about the incident by General Conference Committee chairman W.A. Spicer; you can see how some of the information was edited for public consumption:
WHEN newspaper dispatches reported the marking of a Korean schoolboy's face by one of our missionaries as a punishment for stealing, many wrote us for information. Our people, naturally, hoped for denial of the report. Such have doubtless seen in the press our statements, first of disapproval and repudiation of any mistreatment of any one by a missionary, and later the announcement that our Far Eastern Division committee had taken action.

On seeing the press reports, we felt assurance that the division office in Shanghai would take steps to ascertain the facts and act in the matter. As given out by us a week ago to the press, the following Cable was received in Washington from Elder E. J. Urquhart, of the Korean Union:

"Following Shanghai advice, Haysmer dismissed. Trial soon. Outcome uncertain." On receipt of the cable, our board in Washington took action, voting, "That we approve of the prompt action taken by our board in the Far East in dismissing the missionary."

Meantime the State Department in Washington had been making inquiry at our request, their information confirming the fact that the doctor had marked the boy's face with a solution, "said by the mission superintendent to have been silver nitrate." We learn also that when, "contrary to expectations, markings did not disappear," the doctor paid a monetary consideration to the boy's family. We know from the press dispatches that he also advertised his apologies in the Korean press. But the act of a thoughtless moment could not be recalled. Though the missionary would gladly have spent his life in ministry to the sick and needy in that hospital dispensary, some other must do this service. We hope a man may quickly be found to fill the gap in this emergency. The Far East committee is no doubt already making call to this end.

We may well be thankful that in every great mission division we have these division conference committees, made up of responsible and experienced men, ready on the ground to give counsel and to act in every emergency.
President General Conference.
The August 4, 1926 issue of the  Atlantic Union Gleaner offered this commentary on Haysmer and his dismissal:

The members in our field will take courage from the following editorial copied from the Spokane "Chronicle".

Cruelty is not Religion 

"The Seventh-day Adventist church should have commendation of every denomination maintaining missions abroad for its dismissal of the missionary charged with branding the cheeks of a Korean boy for stealing apples.

"Missionaries in the foreign fields are supposed to typify American ideals of religion. A single act such as that charged against the discharged missionary misrepresents America in foreign countries and discounts the sincere efforts of all missionaries.

News Item Copied from same Paper 
"Branding Cost Him Job" 

"Washington, July 17 (A. P.)— Dr. C. A. Haysmer, the Seventhday Adventist missionary charged with branding the cheeks of the Korean boy for stealing apples, has been dismissed by the Far Eastern organization of the denomination, Adventist headquarters here announced today. The mission board here approved the dismissal."

While every Seventh-day Adventist blushes with shame when he thinks of the foolish mistake of Dr. C. A. Haysmer, yet we must not let this episode deter us from courageously meeting the public and asking them to support our foreign missions program.

No reasonable man will cast reflections on the integrity and honesty of the denomination because one of its 9000 workers committed an unpardonable crime. We can yet turn this dark experience into a mighty victory for our Harvest Ingathering work by assuring our friends that the high standards of our denomination do not countenance cruelty or oppression of any kind, and the prompt dismissal of Dr. C. A. Haysmer testifies to that fact.
F. D. Wells.
For Haysmer, being dismissed was likely the least of his problems. The New York Times reported that on July 13 that he had been "formally charged with inflicting bodily injury by the Heijo [Pyongyang] Procurator General." His trial was to take place at the end of that month in Pyongyang, though luckily for the doctor, as Baron Akaike, revealed, "It is telephoned from Heijo that Dr. Haysmeir will not be held in custody pending trial of the case."

The trial began July 29 and much was made of his court appearance in Pyongyang. The Donga Ilbo published this photo of Haysmer:

The Maeil Sinbo published this photo of him in court:

A slightly clearer version is here***:

The Japan Chronicle reported on the trial:
The Seoul Press produces a long account of the proceedings at Heijo Local Court on the 29th ult. when Dr. C. A. Haysmeir appeared to answer a charge of inflicting bodily injury on a Korean boy. Mr. Justice Aramaki presided and Mr. Mitsui, for the defence. Long before the court was opened at 9 a.m. large numbers of Koreans, despite the wet weather, assembled at the gate, all eager to get admission tickets, which were restricted to 100 owing to the limited accommodation. Dr. Haysmeir appeared in lounge suit.

After all usual preliminaries were gone through, Public Procurator Shimmnaru explained why action was brought against the doctor, and examination of him by the Court followed with English interpretation by Mr. N. Kondo. The accused admitted the facts set forth in the speech of the Public Procurator, and expressed his regret that the inscription on Kim's cheeks had not yet vanished now that nearly one year had elapsed since he wrote the syllables meaning thief with nitrate of silver with the intention of chastising the youthful delinquent, and thinking that the inscription would disappear in a fortnight or so. In answer to a question by the Court the accused also stated that were apples stolen so frequently as was done by the Korean boy he would have punished an American boy in the same way.

The Public Procurator then delivered another speech in the course of which he said that as the accused admitted the charge his offence was quite evident. A question in doubt, however, was that the accused wrote the syllables to chyok on the Korean boy's cheeks really believing that they would vanish in a fortnight. At any rate, the act of the accused was cruel and repulsive, especially when the fact was taken into consideration that he was a medical missionary of the religion propagating the text of universal love. It would be no very great exaggeration to say that by making such an ignominious inscription on the cheeks of the Korean boy, the accused morally killed him, and for his act deserved severe punishment. At the same time the Public Procurator acknowledged that the bodily injury caused by the act was not serious and brought home the fact that the accused was now penitent, having paid damages to the victim. The majesty of law, however, must be upheld, and the Procurator asked the Court to sentence the accused to three months' penal servitude by virtue of Art. 204 of the Penal Code.

Mr. Mitsui, counsel for the defence, pointed out that the crime of bodily injury presupposed an unlawful attack, but in the present case the accused acted after obtaining the consent of the mother of the boy, so that the act of his client did not constitute the crime of bodily injury. Could his act be well termed violence, then it required a suit by the party concerned for the Court to take it up - a thing omitted by the party interested. Mr. Mitsui insisted on the acquittal of his client as not guilty. The Court reserved judgment till August 5th.
A Japan Chronicle report describes the outcome of the trial:
Judgement was delivered on Dr. Haysmeir, in the Pyongyang District Court, Korea, on the morning of the 5th instant, when he was sentenced to three months imprisonment with postponement of execution of sentence for two years. Dr. Haysmeir is reported in a Japanese dispatch to have shown relief at this sentence.
On August 7, the Maeil Sinbo reported that the prosecution considered the fact that the sentence was suspended to be unfair and filed an appeal, meaning that Dr. Haysmer's ordeal was not yet over. On August 26, the Chronicle reported that "The Procurator's appeal in the Haysmeir case is to be heard by the Heijo [Pyongyang] Court of Cassation on the 26th" of August. The Maeil Sinbo later reported that on September 2 the Pyongyang Court of Cassation gave him the same result as the first trial – "two months in prison [sic] suspended for two years." This was declared by the prosecution to be unfair and immediately appealed yet again, meaning the next trial would be in Seoul. The Maeil Sinbo was nice enough to include a photo with this report - said to be of the apple tree in question, with Haysmer's house behind:

Meanwhile, the summary of the SDA's General Conference Committee meeting of October 14, 1925 makes clearer why the General Conference Committee dismissed him:
A petition had been received from a number of brethren in Korea, requesting that Dr. C A Haysmer be allowed to remain in the Korean field. The situation was carefully reviewed, and it was—
VOTED, That answer be sent to the dispensary workers at Soonan expressing our appreciation of their sentiments so kindly expressed, but replying that in view of the unfortunate incident and the world-wide publicity given to it, and the possibility that agitators at any time might easily make use of the case to promote their own ends and to oppose the cause of missions, we feel that the best interests of our brother and the best interests of the cause in general will be served by retirement now from the field.
Meanwhile, the Maeil Sinbo reported that the appeal, held at the high court in Seoul, began on November 5, and was dismissed on November 18. As the Chronicle reported,
In the Seoul High Court of Justice Judgement was delivered on Mr. Hays- Their, the American missionary doctor, of Junan, Heian- nando, Korea, yesterday morning at 11 o'clock. The procuratorial appeal was dismissed, and Dr. Haysmeir was sentenced to three months Penal servitude with postponement of the sentence for two years, the same as in Courts of First and Second Instance. This judgement is final.
On November 26 the Donga Ilbo reported that Haysmer would leave Korea within a week. He and his wife appear on the passenger list for the Protesilaus, which had sailed from Yokohama and arrived in Vancouver December 22, 1926. It notes that he had $150 with him and that his passage was paid by "Korea Union Mission, SDA." A later SDA publication shows that "Prof. and Mrs. A. R. Tucker, of Washington, [went] to Korea" in August of 1927 - perhaps they replaced him.

Ida Haysmer's obituary in the July 27, 1979 issue of the Atlantic Union Gleaner described her life after her marriage to Clyde Haysmer:
Later, after spending a year at the Portland Sanitarium and a short term in the mission field, they connected with the New England Sanitarium and Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts, in 1927. Except for three interludes during which Dr. Haysmer took further surgical training, they were connected with that institution until 1964. During much of this time Mrs. Haysmer served in various nursing capacities.

After a year of travel, Yucca Valley, California, was chosen as the best location, both for climate and to carry on surgical practice. Owing to their increasing years, it was thought best to be near relatives; so in 1977 a move was made to Alhambra, California, to be near their niece and nephew.

Mrs. Haysmer's health deteriorated and she died in the White Memorial Hospital at 7:00 a.m. October 28, 1978. A memorial service was held in Yucca Valley and interment was in the family plot in Stoneham, Massachusetts.
If this narrative seemed to gloss over their time in Korea, describing it as only "a short term in the mission field," it may be because the obituary was written by Clyde Haysmer himself. This omission may give a hint as to his feelings about the incident half a century later. His appearances on passenger lists traveling to and from England in the late 1920s and late 1930s may point to the "interludes" when he undertook "further surgical training." Four years after writing this obituary, he died in Alabama in November 1983.

While this would appear to be the end of the story, it went well beyond Korea, and in the summer and fall of 1926, as legal action was taken against Dr. Haysmer, Japanese-controlled newspapers and foreign-run newspapers would battle over interpretations of the incident, as we will see in part two.


Kimberly Latta said...

Did you ever write part two? This is such a fascinating story.

matt said...

I have a draft of it - I wanted to do more research but never got around to it. I'll see if I can finish it.

Also, I came across an academic's explanation of the Haysmer incident that provided new information: It was Haysmer's Korean assistant, a nurse if I remember correctly, who negotiated and applied the punishment; though the marks should have quickly disappeared, the boy kept scratching at them, which made it more permanent. When he was investigated, he took the blame himself and refused to involve the nurse. I've meant to contact the professor and ask for more details, but that's something else I didn't get around to yet...