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(LEAD) (Yonhap Interview) Granddaughter of late U.S. reporter brings colonial relics to S. Korea

All News 18:02 February 29, 2016

(ATTN: ADDS comments from museum in paras 12-13; Minor edits)
By Choi Soo-hyang

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- The granddaughter of an American correspondent who first reported on Korea's uprising against Japanese colonial rule almost a century ago has made a second trip to Seoul with hundreds of colonial legacies.

Jennifer Taylor, a 57-year-old collage artist, brought 349 items her late grandfather, Albert Taylor, and his family had used at their home in Seoul.

Albert Taylor became the first foreigner who reported on the Independence Movement on March 1, 1919, after he accidentally found a copy of the declaration of independence hidden under the hospital bed of his son Bruce, who was born on the eve of the movement.

"The night of his (Bruce's) birth, what Albert had done, the Koreans' fight for independence from the Japanese and the seriousness of that was totally one of the most important things in Albert's life," Jennifer Taylor said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency, a day ahead of the 97th anniversary of the Independence Movement.

"Dad was always joking the discovery of the declaration of independence at the night of his birth was far more interesting than his birth," she said.

After succeeding in sending the declaration to the AP bureau in Tokyo, Albert Taylor covered Korea's situation under Japan's colonial rule until he was expelled to the United States by the Japanese authorities in 1942.

The Independence Movement eventually led to Korea's independence from Japanese colonial rule that lasted from 1910-45.

Later in the day, Jennifer paid her respects to her grandfather, who is buried in the Yanghwajin Foreign Missionary Cemetery in western Seoul after his death in 1948.

It was not her first trip to Seoul, but this time she brought items to donate to the Seoul History Museum.

"All of these things my grandmother meticulously took care of, documented and passed on to me, now I have opportunities for these things to have a home back here in Korea, where they should be," Jennifer said.

Last week, the Seoul city government announced it would restore "Dilkusha," where the Taylors lived, and open it to the public in 2019, marking the centenary celebration of the March 1 Independence Movement.

Kim Dong-jun, an official at the Seoul museum, said the donation, which includes interior photos of the house, would largely contribute to the restoration.

"The items are very precious in that they could hint to us about how foreigners lived in Korea during the colonial era," he said.

Jennifer Taylor said she feels very happy and comfortable with the designation and restoration of Dilkusha.

"It was moving to go there without my father and my mother. My grandfather lived there, my grandmother lived there, my father lived there, my mother visited there and now here I am, standing before it," Jennifer said after visiting the place on Sunday. "I always feel they are with me."

In 2006, she visited Seoul with her late father, Bruce, to film a documentary on her family. She is currently working on a different documentary based on her grandmother Mary Taylor's book "Chain of Amber," which details her family's life in Korea.

"It would be wonderful if the energy to go forward with this film would come from Korea," she said. "Because, it's Korea's story in part. It's been my hope to look for Korean-Anglo-Saxon co-production."

After taking part in the city's bell-tolling ceremony, celebrating the independence movement on Tuesday, Taylor is set to return home on Sunday.


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