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The Charles Claflin Davis Digital Collection spans the years of 1897-1923 (bulk dates 1921-23) and contains materials illustrative of the work Davis did while leading the efforts of the American Red Cross in Turkey and Greece. The Davis Digital Collection includes thank you letters written to Davis, newspaper clippings, a ledger, photographs, scrapbooks, and American Red Cross Reports. Perhaps the highlights of the collection are the photo scrapbooks that document refugee camps. One of the scrapbooks is an album made by the children of Russian Towns Union Children’s home No. 1 thanking him for his help. The collection should be of interest to researchers studying refugee camps, orphans, international relief work, and the American Red Cross among others.

A 1910 graduate of the Harvard Law School, Charles Claflin Davis received international praise for the relief work he oversaw as Director of the South Eastern Base of the American Red Cross from 1920-1922. Headquartered in Constantinople, the South Eastern Base coordinated humanitarian efforts for Russian refugees fleeing the Russian Revolution and oversaw operations in Smyrna, Turkey and Lemnos, Greece, as well as in Constantinople. In mid-September 1922, the Turkish armies assaulted the city of Smyrna on Turkey’s Aegean coast, which had been occupied by Greece since 1919. The ensuing battle and subsequent fire destroyed the ancient city and created a large number of refugees in need of the American Red Cross’s assistance. Davis received numerous citations for his work on behalf of these refugees.

Digitization services were provided by Harvard College Library’s Imaging Services department.

Image credit: Detail, Wards of the American Red Cross, Lemnos, 1920-1923 (photograph, olvwork438708);
The Children’s Home at Erenköy of the Union of Russian Towns, 1923 (scrapbook cover, olvwork431507);
Three Russian refugees eating outside the Dolma Bagtche in Constantinople, Turkey, 1920-1923 (photograph, olvwork438436);
Russian Towns Union Children’s Home No. 1, 1921-1923 (scrapbook image 4, olvwork431508).
Harvard Law School Library. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.