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“No More Cookies or Cake Now, 'C'est la guerre' ”: An American Nurse in Turkey, 1919 to 1920

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For more content, please see Le Fait Missionnaire.

Sylvia Thankful Eddy was a nurse with the Near East Relief in Turkey, based at an American mission hospital at Aintab. She kept a diary during 1919-1920, when she witnessed a conflict between Turkish and French forces and Turkish persecution of Armenians. Her story counters the expectations of a missionary perspective, as she rarely mentions anything religious but frequently reports on sharing social activities with French soldiers. She was awarded the French Croix de Guerre for her actions in saving patients when the hospital was bombarded. Her story illustrates the complicated alliances of an American woman working at the intersection of various conflicting national, ethnic, and religious communities, and demonstrates one woman's route to missionary work. Sylvia Thankful Eddy, infirmière, travailla pour le Near East Relief en Turquie où elle fut basée à Aintab dans un hôpital missionnaire américain. Elle rédigea un journal entre 1919 et 1920 alors qu'elle était témoin du conflit entre les forces turques et françaises et de la persécution des Arméniens par les Turcs. Son histoire ne correspond pas à ce que l'on peut attendre d'une perspective missionnaire dans la mesure où elle ne parle presque pas de religion et qu'elle mentionne au contraire fréquemment les activités sociales qu'elle partage avec des soldats français. Elle reçut la médaille française de la Croix de Guerre pour ce qu'elle entreprit afin de sauver des patients lorsque l'hôpital où elle était fut bombardé. Son histoire illustre les alliances compliquées d'une femme américaine travaillant à l'intersection de diverses communautés nationales, ethniques et religieuses, et elle démontre le parcours singulier d'une femme vers le travail missionnaire.


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