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Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545

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Near East Relief Digital Collection

Historical Context

The MacDaniels were among those who left New York City on Sunday, 16 February 1919 for Brest, France on the SS Leviathan. At the French port the party re-embarked on a British transport to Constantinople. The MacDaniels returned from their mission on 14 July 1920 to New York.

Before the MacDaniels arrived in Harpoot in eastern Turkey – their final destination – the ACRNE administration asked them to remain in Stamboul [Istanbul?] and Derindje [Derince] for several weeks to organize the relief activity. In Derindje, Laurence H. MacDaniels served as Commissioner of Public Works. During this period he directed projects, which involved the improvement of living conditions for the NEF workers, the construction of a road and planning of agricultural work for the farmers in the vicinity of Derindje. On 25 May 1919, the MacDaniels departed for Harpoot where they remained until the beginning of April 1920.

Harpoot and Mezireh figured heavily in the daily lives of the MacDaniels as they carried out their duties connected with relief work in the region. They were part of a unit that ran orphanages in Harpoot, Malatya and Arapkir, gave aid to children who lived with relatives, arranged soup kitchens and living quarters for refugees in Malatya. The NEF set up and ran tailor shops, shoe shops and employed locals. Laurence H. MacDaniels travelled around the country to collect wheat and wood for their orphanages. They raised livestock and set up vegetable gardens at the orphanages where the orphans worked. The ACRNE group focused its efforts on housing and clothing as well as educating and training the orphans.

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