“Far away in heathen lands” -Rosetta Sherwood Hall & Pyong Yang Deaf School (1909)
By H Dominic W Stiles, on 7 July 2017
Rosetta Sherwood Hall was born Rosetta Sherwood in New York state in 1865. She married a Canadian Doctor, Rev. William James Hall, M. D. and travelled with him to Korea in 1894. He died not long after, of Typoid fever. Not dissuaded from missionary work, she returned with her children in 1897. At first she worked with a blind girl, Pongnai, but later in 1909 began teaching deaf children together with blind children.
The quotation below, from her article in Silent Worker, was reprinted from The Christian Herald. The tone of the article reflects the zeal of the missionary age – as the title of one book has it, “How you gonna get to Heaven if you can’t talk with Jesus.” The Deaf (and blind) are neglected in the fight to gain souls, and they need language in order to understand the ‘word of god’.
Far away in heathen lands, one of the trials of the Christian missionary is to realize his limitations in meeting and relieving not only the spiritual mental and moral dearth, but the physical defects and distress that press and depress upon every side.
The condition of the blind and of deaf-mutes of Korea is truly pitiable; the latter are considered imbeciles, while the former are never taught anything useful, but become fortune-tellers or vile sorcerers if their parents are well enough to do to have them thus trained; otherwise they are often neglected […]
There are several thousand deaf-mutes in Korea for whom the mysteries of life are fought with the animal instincts only; they have souls but do not know it; they live in a perpetual silence which the voice of no regular evangelist can ever penetrate. (Hall, Silent Worker, 1910)
She left Korea in 1933, and died in 1951.
The photos here are photographs of photographs, very small in the originals, no doubt used by Selwyn Oxley in a lantern slide show on Deafness. I scanned at the best resolution I could – as usual, click on the image for a larger size. We see Mrs Hall as the lady with glasses in the top image, and as the only woman on the other image. Quite who the men are I do not know – Japanese military? If you know please comment.
Hall, Rosetta Sherwood, The Deaf and Blind in Korea, Silent Worker, 1910 vol 23 no. 10 p.186 and 202