New Digital Collection: Charles Claflin Davis Papers

A 1910 graduate of the Harvard Law School, Charles 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. Another major effort occurred in September 1922 when Turkish armies assaulted the city of Smyrna on Turkey’s Aegean coast, which had been occupied by Greece since 1919. The ensuing battle (and fire) destroyed the ancient city and left a large number of refugees. Davis received numerous citations for his work.

The collection includes: thank you letters written to Davis, newspaper clippings, a ledger, 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. Entry to the digital collection can be found here.


“Dining-room, lunch” From Scrapbook number 3, image sequence number 667.
Album is dedicated to Davis from the children of the Russian Towns Union Children’s Home No. 1


From Scrapbook number 6, image sequence number 759.
Scrapbook from the Russian Towns Union Children’s Home No. 1.

Dear Mr. Davis!

In our own land at home we were very happy and it was only from books that we knew about unhappy children who had no food and no clothes.

Then we were brought here and it was our turn to be unhappy children without food and without clothes, but found shelter, food and clothes, as our tutors tell us, from you Dear Mister Davis, and the generous, and kind Americans who took pity on us and once more we are happy.

We are very, very greatefull [sic] and pray you, dear and kind Americans, not to leave us.

Russian Towns Union Children’s Home No. 1

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