Did you know that an American doctor...

American industrial school for Cretan refugees in Athens (1866) American industrial school for Cretan refugees in Athens (1866)
...a pioneer in the education of the blind, was also one of the most dedicated philhellenes, offering significant humanitarian aid to Greek refugees throughout his life?

Samuel Gridley Howe (1801–1876) was an American physician and philanthropist, abolitionist, and advocate of education for the blind. In Greece, he is best known for his participation in the Revolution of 1821, where he fought, offered his medical services and worked for the relief of Greek refugees (here)

With the outbreak of the Revolution in Crete in 1866, he took action again in favour of the Cretan refugees. He organized fundraisers in the U.S. and went to Greece himself, where he set up a committee and personally oversaw the distribution of aid. In his report he details his philanthropic activity and refers to the organization of "schools" where refugee women would learn to sew and knit, so as not to remain inactive.

“One of the missionaries writes thus: “Really the schools are getting on famously. Mrs. Sakellarios’s has increased to one hundred and eighty, Mrs Constantine’s to three hundred, and Miss Baldwin, besides having the chief oversight of mine all summer, owing to my state of health, has now commenced in her basement rooms one for her own separate district, which embraces about seventy, as many as the rooms will conveniently hold. Our own, at the Duchesses, numbers now about four hundred and fifty children, and goes on very nicely. I happened in the other day, unexpectedly, and found a class of intelligent boys up to the black-board for an arithmetic lesson; another class reciting in the Greek grammar, declining nouns; while in the girl’s department, a part were sewing and others reading. The teachers seem to be very much interest in their work, and praise the aptitude and cleverness of the scholars. The sight alone of so many girls and boys, with clean faces, decently clothed, quiet and orderly, and expending their time in such a profitable manner, instead of running loose in the streets, and adding to their misery and wretchedness by evil habits and pursuits, is enough to move any philanthropic heart.” 

The Cretan refugees and their American helpers : A statement addresed to the contributors for the relief of Cretan refugees / By Samuel G. Howe. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1868, p.20.


ΙΒ498 HOWE min1

 Samuel Gridley Howe (1801-1876)
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