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Interpreting the Evidence

Appeal from the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography
    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    New York State
    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Appeal from the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, 1918 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Interviews with members of the Armenian community in Niagara Falls can be found on this page

Document Description
Appeal from the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief asking the State Council of Defense to organize help from New Yorkers, July 9, 1918.

Historical Context
Probably attempting to capitalize on the momentous wartime activities and fervor led by organizations such as the localized Councils of Defense, the Committee for Armenian and Syrian relief sought to capitalize on the grassroots efforts already in place across America.
With relief efforts and money pouring into the war-ravaged areas from the large-scale philanthropic movement sweeping America, the committee could hope to secure more funding and volunteers from these local organizations that had tremendous latitude from state legislatures. While they roused patriotism and contributed to the bond effort, these groups had built-in speakers’ bureaus and disseminated information—all of which could be very useful for the relief agency. 
By war’s end and into the twenties, the Near East Relief raised millions of dollars for displaced Armenians, Syrians, and Palestinians, most likely saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of refugees. During the post-war state-making efforts, the group provided shelter and assistance to increasing numbers of displaced persons and orphans from Turkey to the Caucuses and to Mesopotamia.

Essential Question
Why are the world's destitute populations considered dependent on the American people?

Check for Understanding
Write a response to this letter in which you acknowledge the information in the letter and provide a solution for the problems presented.

Historical Challenges
Research how much private companies/individuals donated to the Armenian relief campaign.

Interdisciplinary Connections
ELA/Media Arts: Create a pamphlet to go along with this letter that might further help generate relief.