[Group portrait of orphans from orphanages at the Old Palace and Zappeion, Athens, Greece, and their directors]
Filed in: Greece Children General (folder).
Title devised by Library staff.
On verso: Mrs. Harris, Director, Old Palace (Girls). Mrs. Bassett, Director, Zappion (Boys). C.M.N., Director of Nursing. 1500 New Years Day. Went to the movies as a part of their Christmas....
Forms part of: American National Red Cross photograph collection.
American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) encountered a multitude of orphaned children when they joined the war in 1917. Grassroots orphans’ relief efforts sprang up in France as early as 1914. A 1916 advertisement in The New York Times stated that in August of 1914, a group of drafted factory workers demanded that an organization should be formed to care for their potentially parent-less children. This first charity was founded by M. Vilta, the head of the Paris Université Populaire. It was known as the Association Les Orphelins de la Guerre, War Orphans’ Association. In 1915, the CNSA (National Relief and Food Committee) created the Oeuvre nationale des orphelins de guerre (National war orphans charity) in order to help children who had lost their parents due to the war. This section was created with the support of the very active Commission For Relief in Belgium (CRB). Across the Atlantic ocean, they were supported by a broad network of charitable donors and private citizens including philanthropist William D. Guthrie, Catholic Archbishop John Cardinal Farley, US Supreme Court Chief Justice Howard Douglass White, and French ambassador William H. Sharp, the American Society for the Relief of French War Orphans, which solicited funds from Yale University. In August of 1914, a group of New York-based philanthropists, and several former French residents including August F. Jaccacci, Mrs. Cooper Hewitt and Frederick René Coudert Jr. began the most wide-reaching orphans’ relief organizations, the Franco-American Committee for the Protection of Children of the Frontier. The Committee was assisted by the Service de Transport France-Amerique, a shipping service for transferring goods across the ocean to help the French. The Committee spread and advertisements printed in publications like the Chicago Tribune. Funds collected from the solicitation on the orphans’ behalf by the American public through the advertisements paid for ophan’s care and education that reportedly cost “16 cents a day.” In addition to relief agencies’ fundraising campaigns, the US Red Cross hosted several large-scale Child Welfare Expositions in Saint Etienne, Lyons, and Marseilles in 1917. By December 1, 1917, the Franco-American Committee for the Protection of Children of the Frontier recorded that they had aided 1,365 children. Despite the war environment, most of the children in American Red Cross photographs appear to be calm and well-fed despite their uprooting and the horrors that they may have witnessed. On April 12, 1918 Stars and Stripes newspaper reported that 38 children were adopted by Infantry companies. The Great War resulted in six million orphans across Europe.