Preserving the global Armenian experience through photography

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New! Online Collections Database

Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives proudly launches our Online Collections Database, meeting the demand for rare images and creating worldwide, searchable access to hundreds of primary-source photographs.

We want these rare images to be seen and for people to access them, share them widely.

The online database is made possible by our generous supporters, as well as grants from The Dadourian Foundation, The Bilezikian Family Foundation, and The Souren Maroukian Charitable Trust.

The wood market, Konya 1919, photographer unknown.
Courtesy of Araxi Hubbard Dutton Palmer

The photographs are by Christian Missionaries and workers in the Near East Relief from 1900-1920’s who observed the daily lives of the local people. Images include the foreign missionaries work in schools, orphanages, and hospitals, and evidence of both the Armenian Genocide of 1915 to 1923, as well as earlier massacres of the Armenian Christians in the Ottoman Empire.

Project SAVE was entrusted to preserve and protect these historic images from loss, destruction, and being forgotten. Many of these Missionary Collections were acquired in the 1980s and early 1990s prior to the wide use of digital technologies. Our Online Collections Database now makes these collections widely accessible, fulfilling our promise to our photo donors.

Currently a growing number of states mandate the inclusion of the Armenian Genocide in curriculum. Providing access to the missionary photo collections will offer primary source material to these curricula, as well as testimony to counter misinformation.

We launch our online database with the Missionary Collection because it is of broad interest beyond the Armenian Community and because we receive the highest demand for images from this period.

High resolution images are available for use in publications, documentaries/films, exhibits, etc for a small fee.

We hope unidentified subjects in the photos are recognized, and noted to us, in turn expanding our knowledge and understanding of the missionary activity and relief efforts. We also hope viewers will be inspired to donate photos to our Archive.

Street in Van, 1892, photograph by Reverend Frederick D. Greene, an American missionary to Van. Courtesy of Marie Bashian Bedikian

The Missionary collection, in particular brings attention to:

  • The multi-cultural world the missionaries observed throughout the region before the Genocide.
  • The Adana massacres of 1909, which are less well known than the Genocide of 1915 to 1923.
  • The important contributions of American Missionaries and relief workers, who brought not only their Protestant Christian ideals, but the ideals of American democracy and universal education.
  • A broader perception of Project SAVE’s collections beyond family portraits to show the daily lives of those living in the Ottoman Empire.
  • Women missionaries and relief workers taking roles of great responsibility, including physicians.
  • Descendants of both missionaries and Armenians enabling them to visualize how their ancestors may have lived.

Refugees at Yeni Mahalle camp, Adana, 1909 photo by Harry Gaylord Dorman, M.D. Courtesy of the family of Harry G. Dorman, M.D., 1876-1943
Shaw, Dale 18-99

We are creating more access to our primary-source photographs and their stories, to ensure our vibrant and rich heritage is seen and promoted.

Your generous support makes our work possible, together, we preserve Armenian heritage and culture for future generations.

Since 1975, Project SAVE Archives has collected over 45,000 photographs. We plan to continually add new material and additional collections to the Online Collections Database.

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