Moffett Korea Collection: Special Collections


Portrait of Samuel H. and Eileen Moffett by Ewan McClure

Dr. Samuel H. Moffett and Eileen F. Moffett (portrait, by Ewan McClure, at right) donated to Special Collections an important and substantial body of personal papers, photographs, books, and periodicals on Korea and Christianity in Korea.

Many of these materials are available online in the Theological Commons: Moffett Korea Collection


The bulk of the collection consists of the correspondence and personal files of Samuel H. Moffett. Moffett’s professional correspondence includes letters from Kenneth Scott Latourette, Roland Bainton, Carl Henry, and Billy Graham. Personal files include drafts and final versions of Moffett’s many books and articles, addresses and sermons in English and Korean, course descriptions and bibliographies, reports on conferences, and clippings and articles on Korean history and culture. Of particular note are materials about traditional Korean religions and “new religious movements” such as those of Sun Myung Moon, files on the Korean Independence movement of 1919, and information about the Shinto Shrine controversy of 1936–1941. There are also important documents connected to the history of Presbyterian-related institutions in Korea, such as the theological seminary in Seoul and the hospital in Taegu, and materials that help give a perspective on the various 20th-century divisions in the Presbyterian Church in Korea.

Click to enlarge photo of William Swallen, Graham Lee and Samuel A. Moffett, early Presbyterian missionaries to Korea, on their way from Seoul to Pyongyang to start a mission station there in 1893

The papers include the extensive correspondence of Moffett’s father, Samuel A. Moffett, a missionary founder of the Presbyterian Church in Korea. Other family papers include correspondence from Samuel H. Moffett’s mother, Lucia Fish Moffett; his brothers James, Charles, Howard, and Thomas; and Elizabeth Tarrant Moffett and Eileen Flower Moffett. The Moffett Papers also contain a large collection of letters, diaries, pamphlets, newspaper clippings, memoirs, minutes, and reports relating to many other Christian missionaries and their families who worked in Korea from the late 19th century through the 20th century. Among these materials are photocopies of the original diaries of William Baird and C.F. Bernheisel; the memoirs of O.R. Avison; a voluminous collection of letters from the Swallen family (from 1898 through the 1940s); materials relating to the Underwood family, J.S. Gale, J.W. Heron, H.W. Lampe, and H.A. Rhodes; and typescripts of letters written by Harold Voelkel that describe conditions during the Korean War. Together, these materials tell a remarkable story of almost 100 years of Presbyterian mission in Korea, and missionary commitment to Presbyterian ministries in China, India, and the U.S.


The collection contains a large set of lantern slides, hundreds of photographs, and other images, some of which date to the late 19th century, depicting Korean life and culture, historic sites, early mission work, and the life and travels of the Moffett family.

Korean History, Culture and Christianity

Samuel H. Moffett has also donated to Special Collections his extensive library of books, pamphlets, and periodicals about Korean history and culture and Korean Christianity. These materials are available for scholarly research. Please contact Special Collections prior to arriving for a research visit.