Gale, James Scarth (1863-1937)
Canadian missionary in Korea
Gale was born in Pilkington, Ontario, and graduated from University College, Toronto, in 1888. He was sent to Korea that same year as a lay missionary of the University College YMCA but joined the mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in 1891, when support from the YMCA became uncertain. He traveled widely in Korea, established a mission in Wonsan, opened work in remote areas, participated in translating the Bible and Christian literature into Korean, wrote a Korean grammar and dictionary, and translated Korean literature into English. After ordination in 1897, he served as a pastor, devoted years to education, and wrote widely, including articles on Korean politics, educational materials in Korean, a novel, and accounts of his experiences. A major interpreter of Korea to the West and of things Western to Korea, Gale devoted much of his time to Korean studies. His Folk Tales (1913) and Cloud Dream of the Nine (1922) (a translation of an old Korean novel) were both well received, and his History of the Korean People (1927) reveals an appreciation of the culture and religious background of Korea. Retiring to England in 1927, he revised some earlier writings and expressed regret at Korea’s modernization and the loss of the spirit of old Korea. As a missionary pioneer in Korea, he explored the nation geographically, historically, and culturally and became an important early Korean studies scholar.
Edward W. Poitras, “Gale, James Scarth,” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 234.
This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.
The James Scarth Gale papers, 1888-1937, are at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Manuscript finding aid at Fisher Library Reference desk. Collection includes drafts of writings about Korea and translations of Korean texts; commonplace books, diaries, correspondence, family papers, photographs, his collection of manuscripts, photographs, and printed appearances.
Numerous articles by Gale were published in Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society, Korean Repository, and Korea Magazine.
Gale, James Scarth. The Epistles and Revelations in Hausa. London: Printed for the British and Foreign Bible Society, 1879.
_____. Korean Sketches. New York: F. H. Revell, 1898.
_____. The Vanguard: A Tale of Korea. New York, Chicago, Toronto, London, Edinburgh: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1904.
_____. Korea in Transition. New York: Young People’s Missionary Movement of the United States and Canada, 1909.
_____. Korea. [Translated into Danish by M. Wolff]. Koøbenhavn: Schoønbergske Forlag, 1911.
_____. Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts and Fairies. Translated from the Korean of Im Bang and Yi Ryuk. London; New York: J. M. Dent & Sons; Dutton & Co., 1913.
_____. Cloud Dream of the Nine [A translation of a Korean novel by Kim Manjung, a story of the times of the Tangs of China about 840 AD]. With an Introduction by Elspet Keith Robertson Scott and Sixteen Illustrations. London: Westminster Press, 1922.
_____. University College Y.M.C.A.: Report of Mission to Korea. Toronto: C. Blackett Robinson, . In the University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Service.
_____. A Christian Literature for Korea. n.p.: Korean Religious Book and Tract Society, [after 1891]. In the Columbia University Libraries, New York, NY.
_____. Selection and Divorce. n.p.: n.p., [between 1894 and 1914]. In the Columbia University Libraries, New York, NY.
_____. The Influence of China Upon Korea. [New York?]: n.p., 1900. In the New York Public Library.
_____. The Thousand Character Series: Korean Reader Number 3. Korea: Korean Religious Tract Society, 1905.
_____. Korea, Twenty-Five Years After. [New York: Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., 1909?].
_____. A Korean-English Dictionary. Yokohama: Printed by Fukuin Printing, 1911.
_____. A Korean-English Dictionary (the Chinese Character). Part II. Yokohama: Printed by Fukuin Printing, 1914.
_____. The Diamond Mountains. Seoul: n.p., 1922.
_____. The Great Learning. [A translation of Confucius from Chinese into English and the Korean vernacular, with parallel text]. Seoul: Christian Literature Society of Korea, 1924.
_____. The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. [A translation of the novel by Daniel Defoe into Korean by J. S. Gale and Wun Mo Yi]. Seoul: The Christian Literature Society of Korea, 1925.
_____. History of the Korean People. n.p.: n.p., 1927.
Gale, James Scarth and Alexander A. Pieters. The Unabridged Korean-English Dictionary, 3rd ed. Seoul: Christian literature society of Korea, 1931.
Gale, James Scarth, W. D. Reynolds, H. G. Underwood, A. A. Pieters and W. G. Cram. Sinyak Chyonsyo [the New Testament in Korean]. Yokohama, Japan: Printed by the Fukuin Printing Company for the Bible Committee of Korea, which represents The British and Foreign Bible Society, The Amerian Bible Society, and the National Bible Society of Scotland, .
Cho, Francisca. “Interpretive Essay.” In Cloud Dream of the Nine [a Korean novel by Kim Manjung, a story of the times of the Tangs of China about 840 AD], translated by James Scarth Gale. Fukuoka, Japan: Kurodahan Press, 2003.
Fessler, Susanna. “Introduction.” In Cloud Dream of the Nine [a Korean novel by Kim Manjung, a story of the times of the Tangs of China about 840 AD], translated by James Scarth Gale. Fukuoka, Japan: Kurodahan Press, 2003.
Ion, A. Hamish. The Cross and the Rising Son. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1990-1993.
Oak, Sung-Deuk. “Shamanistic Tan’gun and Christian Hanănim: Protestant Missionaries’ Interpretation of the Korean Founding Myth, 1894-1934.” Studies in World Christianity 7, no. 1 (2001): 42-57.
Rutt, Richard. James Scarth Gale and His History of the Korean People. Seoul: Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, 1967. For editions with a biography and annotated bibliographies, 1972 and 1982.
Ryang, Key S. John Ross, Homer B. Hulbert and James S. Gale’s Contribution to the Modern Korean History: A Bio-Bibliographical Study. Seoul, Korea: Institute of Korean Studies, 1983. Also in Korea Observer 14 no. 2 (Summer 1983): 172-84.
Yoo, Young-Sik. The Good Pastor: In Celebration of Dr. James S. Gale, First Canadian Missionary to Korea, 1888-2008. [Mississauga, ON]: Society for Korean and Related Studies, 2008.
Gale, James Scarth. Korean Sketches. Seoul: Published for the Royal Asiatic Society, Korea Branch, by Kyung-In Publishing Co., 1975. Orig. New York: F. H. Revell, 1898. Hosted by Hathi Trust Digital Library.