This is a case study on seowon which deals with Yeongbongseowon(迎鳳書院) [renaming its ho to Cheongok(川谷) in 1568], the sewon that was first built in Seongju. Yeongbongseowon is one of the representative seowon founded during Toegye’s Seowon Distribution Movement which helped them to distribute seowon stably in Chosun society and lay the foundation of its development by defining its characteristics. Therefore, this study on Yeongbongseowon is significant in that it has examined the characteristics of seowon in the initial stage and also Toegye’s recognition on seowon. Yeongbongseowon is equipped with proper conditions for case study because presently, we have related records such as Yeongbongji(迎鳳志) telling us the full account of its foundation and collections of works written by Toegye(退溪) or Jeonggu(鄭逑) who was involved in founding and operating seowon in the initial stage, and also, we can restore the institutional rules or such with which we can understand the aspects of Cheongokseowon as an early educational institution based on the initially founded Yeongcheon(永川) Imgoseowon (臨皐書院)’s Seowongyubeom(書院規範) and Indong(仁同) Osanseowon(吳山書院)’s Osanji(吳山志).
Yeongbongseowon was built under Moksa(牧使) Rho Gyeongrin(盧慶麟)’s supervision upon requests from the hyang sarim and came to be granted with saaek(賜額) from the government immediately. And during the Imran, it was destroyed by the fires of war and then rebuilt and re-granted with saaek in 1606. At the foundation, a big dispute arose over selecting the figures of jehyang or wicha(位次), and in the process, they followed the opinion of those represented by Toegye to put emphasis on Dohak(道學) and then chose Jeong Ja(程子) and Chu His(朱子) as Juhyang(主享) and Gim Goengpil as Jonghyang(從享). Later, Jeong Gu(鄭逑) and Jang Hyeongwang(張顯光) who were born in this region and were the key figures of Yeongnam School worked actively for restoring and operating the seowon, and particularly, Jeonggu made its institutional rules taking Chu His’ Baekrokdong school rules as an example when appointed as the head of it and also played his roles actively in teaching disciples which was the original duty of seowon. After that, for Cheongokseowon, Jeong Gu and Jang Hyeongwang were chosen as Jonghyang, too, and its status was lifted even higher as the most prominent seowon in Yeongnam, not just in Seongju.