By Sebastián Encina, Collections Manager
This year has proven to be a difficult one for many people. COVID-19 has affected the health of a great number of people throughout the world. Through it all, the people at the frontline have proven how essential they have been and still are. Nurses and doctors have been stretched thin, and we thank them for their dedication.
Acknowledging the work of health professionals is not limited only to emergencies and times of crisis. Hospital workers face dire situations day after day. And still, they show up to help people.
For this month’s “From the Archives,” we present this picture taken 100 years ago by George Swain. In 1919 and 1920, Swain and Francis Kelsey traveled through Turkey and Syria. They had several goals during this trip, including some archaeological ones. In addition to this work, Kelsey was intent on visiting humanitarian efforts in Turkey and Syria, including orphanages and hospitals, and the refugees who were there.
In June 1920, Swain snapped a photo of nurses and staff in front of a hospital in Istanbul (Swain refers to it as Stamboul, as it was still Constantinople at the time). The nurses worked at the Canadian Hospital for Tubercular Children. On the reverse side of the photo, someone wrote the following:
The personnel of the Canadian Hosp for Tubercular Children Yédi Koulé consists of
A Greek cook and housemaid, husband and wife
A Greek guard and pantry maid, husband and wife
Two Turkish chauffeurs
Two Armenian orderlies
One Armenian kitchen boy
One Armenian gardener
One Armenian Housekeeper
Five Armenian nurses
Three Russian nurses
All natives seen in the photo are Armenians, others not being on the place the day the photo was taken. The Hospital’s (formal opening) will take place on Canada’s Dominion Day July 1st.
Tubercular children to be admitted June 21st.
A mix of people of different origins and nationalities came together in order to help children. Kelsey was invested in these efforts and worked with the Red Cross to help provide resources to those in need in the region.
It is evident that nurses and doctors have consistently been doing what they can for the sick. And have been for a long time. The events of 2020 are just another example of this effort. We are grateful to the people putting themselves in positions to help us when we need them most.