Guide to the George Clayton Foulk Papers, [ca. 1876-1889]

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History --Military History History --History, Asia --History, Japan History --History, Asia --History, Korea Geographical (by Place) --Asia --Japan Geographical (by Place) --Asia --Korea

Guide to the George Clayton Foulk Papers, [ca. 1876-1889]

Collection number: BANC MSS Z-Z 148

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Encoded by:
Xiuzhi Zhou
© 1996 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: George Clayton Foulk Papers,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1876-1889
Collection Number: BANC MSS Z-Z 148
Creator: Foulk, George Clayton, 1856-1893
Extent: Number of items: 460 items in 2 boxes
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Abstract: Personal and official papers, chiefly as Naval Agent and Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Legation, Korea, and as representative, American Trading Company, in Japan. Includes a copy of a letter from President Chester A. Arthur.

A diary, 1884, of travel in Korea, miscellaneous records for his U.S. Navy service, photographs and a few printed items, included.

Also, a small group of correspondence of Harold J. Noble with member of the Foulk family, 1927-1928.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], George Clayton Foulk papers, BANC MSS Z-Z 148, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Biographical Sketch

George Clayton Foulke, born in Marietta, Pennsylvania, in 1856, was graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1876 and served for two years in the Far East. Following a trip across Siberia in 1882, he accepted a post at the Naval Library in Washington, D.C. In 1884 he was appointed Naval Attache to the American Legation in Korea, and with the resignation of the minister in 1885 he became chief United States representative at the court of the Korean king. Although he was invited to become the personal advisor to that monarch, Foulke resigned his commission in 1887 and with his Japanese wife took up residence at Kyoto. The two years 1888-1890 were spent in the employ of the American Trading Company at Yokohama, following which he accepted a position as professor of mathematics at Doshisha College, Kyoto, where he remained until his death, in 1893.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of Foulke's personal and official papers, chiefly as Naval Agent and Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Legation, Korea, and as representative, American Trading Company in Japan. It includes miscellaneous records for his U.S. Navy service, including official Navy orders and pay orders; a diary of travel in Korea in 1884; photographs of Foulke, his wife, and Japanese friends; and miscellaneous manuscript and printed items. It also includes a small group of correspondence of Harold J. Noble with members of the Foulke family.
The collection was acquired by Harold J. Noble in Korea during the years 1926-1929, and was presented to the Library, along with the Noble Papers, by Mrs. Noble in 1956.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1



Incoming Letters

item 1

American Geographical Society, New York


1 letter, 1883

item 2

American Trading Company (New York)


3 letters from Yokohama and Shanghai offices, 1888

item 3

Arthur, Chester Alan


1 letter (copy), 1883

item 4

Baird, Spencer Fullerton


1 letter, 1883

item 5

Bayard, Thomas Francis


1 letter, 1887

item 6

Harrington, Parnell Frederick


3 letters, 1882-1883

item 7

Holme, Ringer and Company, Nagasaki


2 letters, 1885-1886

item 8

Sampson, William Thomas


3 letters, 1882-1883

item 9

Soley, James Russell


3 letters, 1882-1883

item 10

U.S. Navy Department, Washington, D.C.


8 letters, signed by: W. B. Chandler, D. B. Harmony, J. G. Walker, Theo B. M. Mason, 1883-1887

item 11

U.S. Treasury Department, Washington, D.C.


4 letters, 1888-1889

item 12



7 letters, 1883-1889


Outgoing Letters


71 letters, 1878-1889


Pay Orders

item 1

U.S. Navy Pay Office, Baltimore, Maryland


2 letters, 1879

item 2

U.S. Navy Pay Office, New York


4 letters, 1879-1883

item 3

U.S. Navy Pay Office, Philadelphia


3 letters, 1876

item 4

U.S. Navy Yard Pay Office, Washington, D.C.


6 letters, 1883-1889

item 5

U.S. Treasury Department, Washington D.C.


40 letters, 1878-1889

item 6



9 pieces, 1883-1884


U.S. Navy Orders


57 pieces, 1876 -1888


U.S. Navy Vouchers and Reports

item 1

Efficiency Reports on Foulke


9 pieces, 1877-1887

item 2

Travel vouchers


3 pieces, 1881

item 3

Details of Duty


6 pieces, 1876-1888



item 1

Passports of Foulke


4 pieces, 1881-1884

item 2

Calling cards, souvenirs, invitations


9 pieces

item 3



103 pieces, 1885-1888

item 4



47 pieces

item 5

Forms and envelopes


10 pieces


Noble Correspondence.

Scope and Content Note

Correspondence between Harold J. Noble and members of Foulke's family

9 pieces, 1927-1928

Box 2

v. 1. Journeys in Korea by Foulke; a diary, 1884


v. 2. Photographs of Foulke, Mrs. Foulke, and Japanese friends.

Physical Description: 21 items.


Note: On September 3, 1986, only six photographs were found in Volume 2 and MSS Division has no record of transferring them out.

Printed Items:

item 1

A Chapter of Mission History in Modern Japan compiled by James H. Pettee, Okayama, Japan [1895?]

item 2

Siberian time-tables (3)

item 3

Miscellaneous news articles.

item 4

Sample of hand-made paper.

Partial List of Correspondents


Outgoing letters from Foulke, George Clayton, 1856-1893


Letters to various persons, 1878-1889.

Additional Note

Letter, 1878, to Admiral T. H. Patterson, reports on Chinese naval vessels at the Pagoda Anchorage, Min River; letter, 1881, to the Secretary of the Navy, suggests return of three Navy officers (himself included) from Yokohama via Siberia and Europe, and value of their report to the Navy; letter, Nov. 20, 1888, to Baron Takasaki Goraku, reports on the Union Iron Works, San Francisco.

American Geographical Society, New York.


Letter(s), 1883.


Arthur, Chester Alan, Pres. U.S., 1830-1886


Copy of letter, 1883.


Baird, Spencer Fullerton, 1823-1888.


Letter, 1883, (1)

Additional Note

Written as Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Bayard, Thomas Francis, 1828-1898


Letter, 1887, (1)

Additional Note

Written as Secretary of State.

Harrington, Purnell Frederick, 1844-1937


Letters, 1882-1883, (3)


Holme, Ringer and Company, Nagasaki


Letters, 1885-1886, (2)


Sampson, William Thomas, 1840-1902


Letters, 1882-1883, (3)


Soley, James Russell, 1850-1911


Letters, 1882-1883, (3)

Additional Note

Written as Librarian, U.S. Navy Department.

U.S. Navy Department


Letters, 1883-1887, (8)

Additional Note

Signed by W. E. Chandler, Secretary, and David B. Harmony, Acting Secretary, of the Navy; and by J. G. Walker, Chief, Bureau of Navigation, and others. Also, pay orders from various Naval Pay Offices, travel vouchers, efficiency reports and duty details, 1876-1889.

U.S. Treasury Department


Letters, 1888-1889, (4)

Additional Note

Also, pay vouchers, 1875-1889.