Introduction to the "Adventuring with Anatolia College" web page (5/20/95)

Anatolia College is nowadays a prestigious private high school located in the outskirts of Thessaloniki, Greece; many of its students continue their studies in the U.S., and several of its graduates have distinguished themselves both in Greece and abroad. During its first thirty years (in Merzifon, Turkey) it used to be more like a two-year college, attracting primarily Christian students from Asia Minor and elsewhere; after its forced post-WWI relocation to Greece, it gradually changed from a college serving young Anatolian refugees to the elitist high school it is today (reflecting a certain transformation of Greek society, one might add).

Dr. George E. White arrived at the Merzifon campus, together with his wife, Esther Robbins White, in November 1890, after three years as a pastor at the Congregational Church in Waverly, Iowa, and following graduation from the Chicago Theological Seminary (1887) and Grinnell College (1882). He was acting president from 1902 to 1905 and president from 1913 to 1933, that is, during the college's most turbulent period. After his retirement in 1933, he did record his overseas experience, and Anatolia College's first fifty years (1886-1936), in the book "Adventuring With Anatolia College", published in 1940 by the Herald-Register Publishing Company (Grinnell, Iowa).

I have no ties to Anatolia College, but I happen to be a colleague of Dr. White's grandson, James Burling (we both teach Mathematics at the State University of New York, College at Oswego); Professor Burling inherited a copy of Dr. White's book when his mother passed away in 1994, and he gave me a chance to look at it. I found this rare book to be very interesting and rather captivating, and decided to share 52 passages from it (strictly following their order of appearance in the book, pp. 15-154) with Usenet surfers, beginning the postings on 1/23/95 and ending on 5/22/95; selecting those passages over others, almost as interesting, was not easy, but I did find the time to do that while vacationing in Horta, Portugal (January 1995). At some point, Eleftherios Gkioulekas, a 1992 graduate of Anatolia College and junior at the California Institute of Technology, offered to save the postings on WWW, and I gladly accepted his offer; we split the postings into three periods, Ottoman (1890-1908), Neoturkish (1908-1921) and Greek (1923-1933), and I have also contributed an "introductory" section , offering an intimate look at Dr. White's feelings about his mission and views of the Near East. Passages 1-19 and 20-36, representing the first two periods (before and after the Young Turk revolution, and while the college was still in Turkey) were crossposted on soc.culture.greek and soc.culture.turkish, while passages 37-52 were posted only on soc.culture.greek, "observing" the end of Greek and Armenian presence in Asia Minor; the whole operation was carried out under Professor Burling's full approvement.

Each of the 52 passages is largely independent of the others, but all those "fascinating snippets of history" (as a fellow netter called them) put together look like a movie, covering a number of significant historical events and providing insights into worlds of the past, always through the ups and downs of a Christian educational institution in a turbulent environment; the protagonist of that "movie" is no other than Dr. White, of course: his "adventure", in a world so different from the one where he grew up, was certainly much more than what the average Christian missionary would have anticipated. Most people should find at least some of the passages appealing to them, especially those interested in History, Ethnography, Education and Religion.

The preparation of these WWW pages, a significant time investment on my part, does not in any way imply total agreement with the views expressed in Dr. White's book--or even full blessing of Anatolia College's mission, for that matter. People interested in using this material are free to do so without my permission, but I would love to hear from them. Please address technical (home page) questions to Eleftherios Gkioulekas, lf@ugcs.caltech.edu, and all other questions to me, baloglou@panix.com and/or baloglou@oswego.oswego.edu.

George Baloglou -- (Tenured) Assistant Professor of Mathematics, State University of New York, College at Oswego, NY 13126, USA

** sometimes my opinions contradict those of my employer **

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Addendum (2/2/98): Eleftherios Gkioulekas did indeed prepare the web page mentioned above and hosted it for a year or more in his account at Caltech; I am very grateful for the assistance he provided back then. As he has graduated by now, and I have at long last built a home page, the "Adventuring with Anatolia College" web page is now hosted here at SUNY Oswego, and all questions or comments should be addressed to me at baloglou@oswego.edu.

Disclaimer (2/2/98): The creation and maintenance of this page does not in any way imply full and unquestionable endorsement of Anatolia College's mission either by myself or by my employer; likewise, this page provides only a "benign" glimpse at a turbulent period and region, hopefully encouraging the reader to take a further look at the pertinent bibliography .

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