Opening the Chrysalis: Willard D. Straight's Sketches, Photographs, and Accounts of Korea's Interaction with the Outside World, 1904-5

Gürsel B.

NEW GLOBAL STUDIES, vol.16, no.3, pp.345-369, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1515/ngs-2021-0055
  • Journal Name: NEW GLOBAL STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.345-369
  • Keywords: Willard D. Straight, Korea, global interaction, modernization, travel photography, imperialism, UNITED-STATES
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Willard D. Straight - architect, diplomat, photographer, publisher, sketcher, and writer - arrived in Korea in 1904 as a correspondent during the Russo-Japanese War, and became the US vice consul in Seoul in 1905. By utilizing a number of images from the Willard Dickerman Straight Papers of Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, and by referring to other relevant sources of/about Straight, this essay presents a textual analysis and comprehensive visual reading about the country which Straight observed in a very crucial transition period in global history. It provides a glimpse at the perspective of an early twentieth-century American diplomat, eyewitness, photographer, and writer on the cultural, industrial, and technological transformations that Korea experienced in the early 1900s as a consequence of its interaction with major world powers.