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Photograph of Dr. John H. Finley of the Armenian Relief Effort with Armenian children, 1918

Dr. Finley of the Armenian Relief Effort
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_6238
Document Description
Photograph of Dr. John H. Finley, a member of the Armenian Relief effort, posing with a large group of Armenian children in 1918. Finley was the New York State Commissioner of Education, and head of the Red Cross relief effort in Palestine.
Where might the photograph have been taken?
What do you notice about the children?
What is most striking about the photograph?
What was the photographer trying to convey?
Historical Challenges
Write a biography of Dr. Finely in which you describe his role in the region.
Interdisciplinary Connections
ELA: Write a journal from someone participating in relief efforts in Armenia.
Balakian, Peter. The Burning Tigris. NY, Perenial, 2003. Barton, James. Story of Near East Relief. MacMillan, 1930.

Historical Context
Former New York State Commissioner of Education John Finley became the Commissioner of the Red Cross in Palestine. He travelled twice to the war torn parts of Turkey and the Near East in 1918 and 1919 to view for himself relief efforts.

The American Red Cross and the International Red Cross were among the first organizations to recognize the vast humanitarian crisis emerging in Turkey. Later the American government responded by forming the Near East Relief organization and the American Committee on Armenian Atrocities. Relying on private donations, these committees joined the Red Cross and missionaries, doctors, and teachers already in parts of Armenia, Syria, the Caucuses, and Palestine to bring aid to hundreds of thousands of deportees, refugees, and orphans.

Near East relief organized hospitals, schools, and orphanages all across the region. Among the important priorities were reclaiming females from Turk families that either adopted or enslaved them, training the people for future self reliance, and relocation administrations to help find permanent communities in the area and abroad. All told, these groups and efforts of individuals are credited with saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of Armenian orphans.

Essential Question
How are children affected by war?
Check for Understanding
Describe the conditions of these individuals using evidence from the photograph.