From: (George Baloglou)

Newsgroups: soc.culture.greek

Subject: Re: "Adventuring With Anatolia College", 52

Date: 23 May 1995 02:57:39 -0400

In article <3pp9gu$> (George Baloglou) writes:


[This article is part of a series of 52 largely self-contained passages from George E. White's book, where Anatolia College's second president (1913-1933) narrates the cultural circumstances and historical events related to the college's relocation from Merzifon, Turkey to Thessaloniki, Greece in the early 20's.]


>#52: Summer (1931)




"During the summer the children of the Charilaos community were granted the use of our athletic field as a play ground, supervised by a young Russian athlete employed for the purpose. The many children had a great time that summer enjoying our large field and we hoped to make that the beginning of social service in our neighborhood, but the time for that was not quite ripe yet. Some of us often dreamed of turning the Quadrangle into a Social Settlement or Neighborhood House, but the reach of dreamers often exceeds their grasp."


On this pleasant note on "children's games" the "Anatolia" series has reached its end, two years before Dr. White's retirement and a few pages before the end of what he calls "Fifth decade, in part (1926-1933)"; by that point, life in "refugees' mother" Thessaloniki had largely been normalized, and this certainly reflects on Dr. White's writings, which became more and more "business oriented". To get a bit personal here, I notice that by that time, 1931, one of my maternal uncles, living not too far from the Charilaos neighborhood (known to this day as "Charilaou"), was certainly old enough to venture out to Anatolia College's grounds and play there; and, toward the other end of the city, that was the year that my father "built" a primitive bicycle (there was no way his family could afford a new one).

As the years went by, Thessaloniki did change a lot, the refugees ceased to be refugees, and Anatolia College has gradually evolved from that hastily built, refugee-serving college into the prestigious, elitist high school it is today, located in the outskirts of the city--although I certainly have been there, I cannot quite match its present location with Dr. White's description of its expansion through 1933. Save for a few friends or relatives who graduated from it, I have no other ties to Anatolia College, nor do I fully and unquestionably condone its mission or Dr. White's views; the main reason for my postings was to capture some episodes of Anatolian history and ethnography (#1-#36), as well as a few moments of post-WWI development of Greece and, in particular, Thessaloniki. The fact that Dr. White's main goal was the history of the college itself, rather than Near Eastern history during that turbulent period, adds elements of "distanced objectivity" to his writings, I think, making his book quite appealing; I have also to admit that I found his way of writing rather captivating at times and was often touched by an educator's "adventures" in a world so different, and so less stable, from the American Midwest where he was born and raised.

I did make an effort to make my postings, largely self-contained mini-stories on their own and yet evolving like a movie when read together, appealing to an audience as wide as possible, and not only to those specifically interested in Anatolia College and/or the Near East; the response from a number of netters has been very encouraging and rewarding.

A major difficulty was to select 52 passages from the book, a number dictated by both posting frequency and winter & summer travel plans; some things had to be left out, and 55 to 57 postings would probably have been more consistent with what I viewed as important in Dr. White's book. Many of the topics that had to be left out, however, like Dr. White's letter to his father in 1896, have been included in an "introductory" file that I prepared over the weekend and can be mailed upon request; same holds for the three files that cover the periods >from 1890 to 1908 ("Ottoman", #1-#19), 1908 to 1921 ("Neoturkish", #20-#36), and 1923-1933 ("Greek", #37-#52). Further, all this material will soon be available on WWW--watch for an announcement coming from Passadena :-)

Another issue has of course to do with what happened in Anatolia College (and Greece) after 1933. Here I have a nice surprise, in the form of a book shown to me last week by Dr. White's grandson (and retiring colleague of mine here at SUNY Oswego), James Burling:

Carl C. Compton's [Anatolia College's President from 1950 to 1958] "The Morning Cometh: 45 years with Anatolia College", edited by John O. Iatrides and William R. Compton, Caratzas Publishing Co., 1986, ISBN 0-89241-422-7.]

In his book, which he wrote at the age of 90, Mr. Compton covers a number of turbulent periods, such as 1921-1924 (unlike Dr. White, he remained in Turkey during that time) and 1944-1949; during both periods, he was actively involved in relief work, and he certainly mentions "events" such as Topal Osman's atrocities in Pontus and Polk's assassination. Of course, happier memories are recorded, too.


"In 1936, came the golden jubilee of the College, with throngs of cheerful participants. But that is another story. It is to be hoped that many who shared in those exercises may be present fifty years later at the centennial of the College. Meantime, everyone joins in all good wishes for the administration of President Ernest Wilson Riggs and in the spirit of the College motto, which was selected by Dr. Edward Riggs: THE MORNING COMETH."

[From: George E. White's "Adventuring With Anatolia College", p. 154 (Herald-Register Publishing Company, Grinnell, Iowa, March 1940)]

George Baloglou

(broadcasting from the southeastern shores of Lake Ontario)

"thv glwcca mou edwcav Ellhvikh ctis ammoudies tou Omhpou"

(Odysseas Elytis)

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