Glimpses of foreign lands and people : William Wisner Chapin's early photographs of Korea
thesisposted on 08.06.2021, 09:56 by Soohyun Yang
This thesis focuses on a description and analysis of 130 hand-colored lantern slides of Korea made by William Wisner Chapin (American, 1851-1928) that are housed in the permanent collection of George Eastman House. In addition, it critically examines Chapin's National Geographic Magazine article, "Glimpses of Korea and China", published in November 1910. Both the lantern slides and the article were products of Chapin's 1909 world tour. This paper is not intended as an overview of the representation of early twentieth century Korea, nor is it a study of the lives of Korean people. It is a study of American society and popular culture at the turn of the last century through an examination of one person's photographs and their subsequent uses. It contextualizes the lantern slides by exploring the histories of lantern slides and the National Geographic Magazine, as well as illustrated travel lectures and travelogues, in an effort to consider the ways the lantern slides would have been understood at the timed of their creation and initial consumption. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates that lantern slides are important and valuable historical objects, and that they are worthy of scholarly attention. In addition to the essay, the thesis includes a cataloguing of Chapin's lantern slides of Korea, providing a glimpse of early twentieth century Korea.