[ Kajwa-dong, Gyeonggi, South Korea: Kajwa Farmers’ School, ca. 1948-1950.]. This unique scrapbook documents the work of students (mostly elementary- and middle-school-aged students, with some help from local high schoolers) and area residents to build a school and educational farm in Kajwa-dong from 1948-1950. The photographs preserved here show students clearing land, making bricks, hauling stones, cultivating the new fields, and more. Several photos also show the old Kajwa Farmers’ School that existed before the renovation: a small, windowless building where students sat on the floor during lessons. The photo of the nearly completed new schoolhouse is impressive, with brick walls and large windows. Forty-three silver gelatin photos (approx. 5 x 3 ”), most with typewritten captions in English and manuscript Korean translations. Also, with an original watercolor painting (of the proposed finished school) and a manuscript title-page in English, with the following text: “I believe there will be friendly assistance from the American friends for the Korean farmers’ boys and girls who are eager to learn in the adverse conditions and poverty. One photo missing. Very clean aside from some offsetting at corners of photos from old mounting tape. Very good. Quarter green cloth over black boards. Slight edgewear and a bit of soiling to cloth. Quarto (10 x 7 ”). Item #17453
At the time this scrapbook was compiled, South Korea was a United Nations-designated least developed country, and almost exclusively an agricultural economy. It was not until after the Korean War ended in 1953 that the economy of South Korea began to flourish (in a period known as the Miracle on the Han River), with the country seeing a ten percent annual growth in its economy between 1962 and 1994. By that time, South Korea had the best-educated workforce of any comparable nation, which likely contributed to the rapid economic growth of the country.
The compiler was likely a teacher at the school, though there are no specific identifying marks in the scrapbook.