Land of the Morning Calm

By Lauren Amundson

Between 1883 and 1893, Percival Lowell traveled throughout the Far East.  He lived in Japan from time to time during this period, and he wrote several books about his experiences. He served as the counselor and foreign secretary to the 1883 Special Mission from Korea to the United States, which was the first diplomatic group sent from Korea to any western power.  Following this mission, Lowell stayed in Korea as a guest of the government for several months.

In 1886, he published Chosön, the Land of the Morning Calm. In the book, Lowell describes the geography, people, and culture of Korea, a country that wasn’t well known to the West at the time. We have a few copies of the book in our collection. The other day, one of my volunteers was looking through correspondence files and found the original agreement between Lowell and Ticknor and Company, who published the book.