Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

Verso reads: Refugee child, age thirteen, noticed in Heraclion by Dr. Lovejoy and picture taken: Name: Despina Vasakopoulas Age: Thirteen Family: Father over fifty was allowed to leave Asia Minor (girl exact image of mother) brother six months old sister three years. Sister % years. Mother is refined looking woman who has evidently been assuctomed to easy life. Despina was school girl at time of Smyrna disaster; went to Smyrna three quarter hour ride on train; day to school. Has aunt in U.S.A. and aunts husband is Demetrius Marcellos, 46 Olive Street Newburyport, Mass. He was American soldier. Has house and shoe shop of his own. Address; Fathers name is Michaelo Vasakopoulas and address is care Constantinos Picculakis Heraclion, Crete. Family stayed in their home town until Turks came in, then ran away and were brought out under American convoy.

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“Millions of refugees, almost totally without men”: The American Women’s Hospitals and the Fire of Smyrna

The years following the end of World War I were a time of great geographical and social change throughout the world, including Eastern Europe and Western Asia. In the war’s aftermath, the Ottoman Empire was dissolved and divided among the Allied Powers. In 1922, amidst this political, religious, and ethnic upheaval, the Turkish port city of Smyrna (now Izmir) was set ablaze, resulting in tens of thousands of people--mostly Greek and Armenian women and children--fleeing the destroyed city and gathering on the docks to board ships bound for Greece. These refugees ended up in living in outdoor camps on the tiny, barren Greek island of Macronissi (now called Makronisos), where there were no existing sources of shelter, food, water, or medical care.  In 1922, the American Women’s Hospitals established services on Macronissi to care for the refugees from Smyrna. 

The refugees were badly in need of medical care, food, and shelter.  The women of AWH raised money and volunteered to travel abroad to provide medical services to devastated populations.

Creator: American Women's Hospitals

Language: english

Item Number: a144_190

Size: 14.27 x 9.52cm

Physical Collection: Records of American Women`s Hospitals 1917-1982, ACC-144

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Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The American Women’s Hospitals and the Fire of Smyrna: Millions of refugees, almost totally without men. Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA. Date of access.

American Women's Hospitals

Missionaries, Medical--Turkey

Children and war

Izmir (Turkey), Nineteen twenties, -- Refugees

Macronissi (Makronisos), Greece