Posted in Amherst College Alumni, Armenian history, Missionaries, Photography, Turkey-missionaries, William Earl Dodge Ward, tagged Adana, Armenians, Kurds, Massacre of 1909, Missionaries, Turkey, William Earl Dodge Ward, William Nesbitt Chambers on September 26, 2014|
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Mosul. Erbil. Erzurum. Aleppo. Adana. Armenians. Yazidis. Kurds. Read the news lately? If you have, then these words suggest something to you. Undoubtedly, we’ll all be even more familiar with them soon enough.
But in the archives “everything old is new again.” Or maybe it’s more accurately the reverse, everything new is old, with new associations mingling with older ones. Around here, the words above are likely to remind us of our many Amherst College missionaries who left the campus to make new lives in the Middle East, often for decades and generations.
For example, when I hear “Kurds,” I think “Koords” (having a weakness for old-timey spellings). And then I think “Earl Ward. Missionary and photographer in Turkey between 1909 and 1913.” And then, “Nesbitt Chambers, missionary in Turkey for forty-five years.”
Earl Ward, ca. 1910
William Nesbitt Chambers, ca. 1880
We may be hearing a lot about the Kurds these days, but Ward and Chambers heard about them before we did, including their reputation for being fearless warriors, a reputation that’s still talked about today.
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This summer we started a multi-year project to reprocess one of our most visually rich, fascinating, least known and hardest to use collections (hoping, of course, to change these latter points).
Students exploring the newly opened Frost Library in September of 1965
The College Photographer’s Negatives Collection is a large collection of negatives and prints created by the official college photographers from 1960 to 2005. The college photographers documented all aspects of the college and college life: events, staff, buildings, sports, theater, daily student life, and everything in between. The current project is to rehouse the negatives (which are already listed in the finding aid) and organize and integrate the many boxes of prints. Our hardworking student assistant, Tessa McEvoy ’16, has already rehoused the 21,000+ negatives from the 1960s and is moving full steam ahead into the 1970s. (more…)
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In a previous post I wrote about Otis Cary (AC 1943), “Amherst’s Man in Japan,” who worked with Japanese POWs after World War II and went on to represent Amherst College at its sister institution, Doshisha University, for several decades. I’ve recently had an opportunity to revisit the incredibly rich and vast unprocessed collection of Cary Family Papers to discovered another story from the war, this time featuring Cary’s father, Frank Cary (AC 1911).
Frank Cary as an Amherst senior, 1911. An all-season athlete, his nickname was “Jumbo.”
Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1945. Shanties were built in the courtyard to relieve overcrowding. National Archives, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer [111-SC-202141]
Like his father before him, Frank Cary was an ordained Congregational minister (Oberlin, 1916) who served as a missionary in Japan. From 1916 until 1941, he was involved in school and church work in Japan until the threat of war made it necessary for Americans to leave the country. Cary went to Davao, in the Philippines. When the Pacific war broke out in December 1941, the Japanese took control of the Philippines. Cary became a prisoner, interned first at Davao; then in December 1943 he was moved to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp
in Manila. (This was on the campus of the present-day University of Santo Tomas
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