George Edward White.

Charles Chapin Tracy, missionary, philanthropist, educator, first president of Anatolia college, Marsovan, Turkey online

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name came to be included by the Armenians them-
selves, a recognition which few missionaries have ever
attained. At this time he wrote and published his little
volume in Armenian entitled, " Letters to Families,"
which had a wide circulation and rendered useful


When furlough time for the Smith family came, the
Tracys were summoned back to Marsovan. In our
region the rainfall is less than 20 inches per annum,
and the crops are often on the border line of danger
from drought. In 1873-'74 there was drought in
dead earnest, and in its wake stalked grim famine.
Moslems and Christians thronged their cemeteries
and sanctuaries with prayers and cantillations and
sacrifices to God and the saints for the rain that did


not come. Irrigation and the dry farming principles
that are to turn this country into a paradise have not
even yet arrived. The crops dried up and the people
were hungry. The flocks and herds were starving
too, as they depended on straw for their winter fodder
through two months of snow. People were dying all
about, all were suffering, and hundreds of haggard and
tottering refugees reached Marsovan from the worse
stricken regions further east, their skins blackened with
famine and their bodies only half covered with foul
rags. Children were seen with the bones almost
protruding through their skin. " Famine bread "
was sometimes made of barley bran, or chaff
and meal, or with grape seeds or grass among the

Aid was sent from America and other Christian
lands, and Marsovan missionaries undertook their first
work for relief. The soup kitchens and bread rations
which they established saved many lives. Later the
people were helped to get seed wheat and animals, and
to take a new start in life. The Americans suffered
in spirit as well as in body with the miserable people
about them. Sometimes food could hardly be bought
in the market or brought even secretly to the homes.
Famine fever followed the famine, and Mrs. Tracy and
her two children were among those who suffered with
it. Mr. Tracy himself broke down under the strain,
and the family was obliged in broken health to return
to America. They had been away from home eight
long years.



Many missionaries fail in health and some fail in
heart during their first term of service. For three
years Mr. and Mrs. Tracy dwelt among old friends and
scenes before their physical condition was adequately
restored. Mr. Tracy worked on the farm again, turned
his hand to painting, and recovered personal tone by
means of manual labor. He and his wife spoke often
in the interests of missions, to which they were wholly
committed, and visited many churches especially in
New York state. Added grief came to the loving parents
in the death of their Myra, and her father prepared
and published " The Life of Little Myra," a child's
story of missionary life.


At forty years of age Mr. Tracy was again in Marso-
van with his wife and their two sons, Charles Kellogg
and Henry Chester. Some changes had taken place.
A macadamized road had been built instead of the bridle
path up from the coast, and even springless wagons
were an advance over horse or mule caravans. The
war with Russia and the Congress of Berlin were just
over, and there was a note of hope in the air. Mission
work was well established in the compound. The
church in the city had a large and growing congrega-
tion, and included in its membership three persons
who had been born Moslem Turks. Important out-
stations were developing in cities such as Samsoun and
Amasia, and in villages such as Kapou Kaya, which
were almost as fruitful in producing ministers and


teachers as the hill towns of New England. The
Station in 1879 decided to scatter forces somewhat,
as an experiment, and the Tracy family spent two
winters in Amasia. Though the children remembered
those winters as dreary and lonesome, the parents were
happy in their missionary activities, in that large city
on the banks of the Iris River where once King Mithri-
dates had his capital. There were three schools for
girls, day and evening schools for boys, and much
encouraging work. And yet the daily routine of an
American family was obscure and humdrum. The
reward of public approval later was deserved by its
high cost in personal self-sacrifice at the earlier date.
As a permanent policy it was wiser for the Americans
to concentrate their forces at the center and tour among
the out-stations of the field as much as might be pos-
sible. These journeys often involved much hardship
and danger from winter storms, highway robbers and
unsanitary conditions. Once the Black Sea steamer
on which Mr. Tracy was traveling was wrecked in a
storm. But most missionaries love the work of
touring. The zest of exploring the new country, the
welcome by friends of the Protestant communities,
the hospitality shown in student homes, gospel preach-
ing to congregations awake and alert, organizing
Sunday School work, distributing Bibles and other
literature, and conferences with regard to church and
community activities are all experiences of surpassing


If Marsovan Station has possessed any element of
strength it is largely the loyal cooperation of its mem-


bers with one another. This is not to be taken for
granted of every missionary group so lightly as out-
siders may suppose. In western lands if people differ
they can separate and take new positions or find new
associates. A group of missionaries are thrown back
upon their own personal resources, and it sometimes
gets on one's nerves; however much they may disagree,
it is practically impossible to separate. Men and
women of strong convictions likely to pull in different
directions must acquire and maintain grace to pull
together, though the process may involve really painful
experiences. A wise native gentleman in Marsovan
once remarked, " We never hear of any troubles among
our missionaries. If you have difficulties you settle
them among yourselves, and I think that is the right

On the other hand, it would be harder to find closer
friendship than in a mission station. The Master
said, " Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel."
Men and women who honestly and conscientiously
devote their lives in obedience to this command are
drawn into very deep and sacred relations as they pray
and work, suffer and rejoice together year after year.
They meet experiences of sickness, death and danger
together; together they enter into the joy and the re-
sult of work well done. In one instance some personal
difficulty arose between Mr. Tracy and a fellow mis-
sionary. It was settled late one evening when the
two men, together and on their knees in prayer, with
arms over each other's shoulders, got rid of the difficulty.



The standard of instruction in the Seminary, as in
the Girls' School, was raised more than once to meet
the advancing requirements of the churches and the
students, and the institution reached a flourishing
condition. Young men who were not committed to the
ministry also began to be candidates for an education,
and in 1883 Seminary instruction was readjusted with
a theological course of three years following a high
school course. The latter was open to students with-
out regard to the ministry as a profession. The
Armenians called imperatively for a college and offered
to share in supporting it. The Evangelical Churches
needed it to sustain their leadership in the field. The
whole country required that type of service which has
been rendered by the colleges of America, many of them
doing some of their best work under pioneer conditions.
A college was the logic of the situation. It was in-
evitable in the trend of events, and the " High School
in a Cellar," with Mr. Tracy as its principal, graduated
its first and only class in 1886 and was merged into
Anatolia College.

The American Board, in accordance with its general
policy, had put down a group of men, four in number,
in Marsovan, and what was done there depended upon
whether they did it or not. Rev. J. F. Smith was a
sound and conservative financier; Dr. Edward Riggs,
a broad and thorough scholar; Dr. G. F. Herrick, a
strong and devoted administrator; and Dr. C. C.
Tracy was the President of the institution from the
start. Of the Armenians cooperating, Professor Gara-


bed Thoumayan and Dr. Melcon Altounian were among
the leaders, and they, together with Hagop Effendi
Bedrosian, Dr. Jeremiah Altounian and Barsam Agha
Manissadjian, were members of the first Board of

The name " Anatolia " is of Greek origin and means
" The Land of the Rising Sun." It is applied to the
Asiatic wing of the Turkish Empire for one whose
standpoint is Constantinople. It is virtually the
local name for Asia Minor. The young institution
was not encumbered with assets, but it had a wide field
and a worthy label; it was authorized to use the narrow
grounds and the small building of the Seminary in
common with the latter institution; it had the en-
dorsement of the Evangelical Union of Churches and
the Western Turkey Mission. Above all, it had the
backing of the American Board in Boston, whose
Prudential Committee were the Trustees of the in-
stitution, and it was to receive for the time being a
grant in aid of 31,200 a year from the American Board.
Anatolia College had also the men with potential
ability to make the institution what it ought to be-
come. The seal appropriately represents the sun
rising over one or other shoulder of a mountain, just
as is seen from the front door of the college, and rising
on a cloudy morning. The motto is " Morning
Cometh," and the colors, adopted later, are blue and
gold, the blue of the Anatolia sky, and the gold of the
Anatolia dawn.

The course of study covered four collegiate and two
preparatory years. It was the aim to give an adequate
working knowledge of the English language, together


with Turkish, the language of the country, French,
the international language of the Levant, and the
student's vernacular, whether Armenian or Greek;
also at least an elementary education in the Sciences,
Mathematics, History, Philosophy, Economics and
Scripture. The diploma has been usually recognized
by American universities and professional schools and
justified by those students who have come to this
country for more advanced education.


Only those who have had some actual share in such
work can adequately realize the labor, the strain, the
agony involved, as well as the joy of entering into the
reward in founding and building up a pioneer college.
Once, in a whimsical mood, the President drew his
" Coat of Arms " in a friend's autograph album, in-
cluding on the traditional shield, pick, trowel, awl,
ax, gun, plane, pen, telescope, book, bell, diploma,
white-wash brush, shears, tailor's goose, medicine
bottle, plow and flail, all of which he said he had been
called upon to use.

First in administration was the winning of a faculty.
The College organization was unusual. The American
missionaries, to a considerable extent, shared in teach-
ing and in administration, but a majority of the staff
of instruction were natives of Turkey. Promising
young graduates were employed as teachers, and then
encouraged, and assisted with loans of money if neces-
sary, to take advanced courses in Europe or America
to prepare for permanent service. In this way such
men as Professor Manissadjian, Professor Sivaslian,


Professor Theocharides, Professor Hagopian, Professor
Xenides, Professor Daghlian, and others, as the years
went by, became masters in their respective depart-
ments of instruction, leaders of their people outside,
authors of books and many articles in print, lecturers
and preachers of renown, and useful, public-spirited
citizens. The winning disposition of the President
succeeded in gathering around him in the College
Faculty, men of several different nationalities who
cooperated in loyalty with one another, partly, at
least, in response to his personality, which seemed to
stimulate and bring out the best in every man.

Most of the students at first were Armenians, with
the few Greeks later increasing to the first place in
numbers. For the most part they came from humble
homes which represented little of culture, travel,
property or knowledge of the world. They came long
journeys in springless wagons, on horseback, by mule
train or donkey caravan, from a life so simple that
sometimes there was not a calendar within reach by
which the opening day of the College could be calcu-
lated. Many young men with a thirst for knowledge,
honorable ambition, and a willingness to work hard
in order to win, were so poorly clad as hardly to be
warm in winter and so poorly shod that they could say
one to another, " Our teachers know the inside of the
library or the laboratory better than we do, but we
know the location of every thistle on the campus
better than they do." Discipline was strict and
students were often dropped from attendance. Mem-
bership in the student body was kept at a premium.
The College table was as plain as it could be made con-


sistently with providing sufficient wholesome and
nourishing food, and the price for ten months' board
was fixed at 326.40. When the student numbers were
swarming they lodged willingly in attic rooms or sheds,
forgetting to complain of material discomforts, if but
their outreach for knowledge, civilization, and a man's
chance in life might be satisfied. The enthusiasm of
the President pervaded the student body and fixed
attention on things worth while.


Looking backward from this distance, it is not easy
to realize how many prejudices had to be overcome
by the " Hat wearers " in those early days. The
College was not national but international in character
from the start, and the races of Turkey did not find
it wholly easy to cooperate with one another. Not
to dwell now upon Moslem sentiment, Eastern Chris-
tians were to some extent jealous for their own churches
and fearful of Protestant influence. One of the most
trying experiences in the early history of the institution
took place when there was a serious College rebellion
in defiance of the rules regarding religious observances.
Nearly twenty students were dropped as a result.
The College was to maintain a position of loyal evan-
gelical Christianity, interpreted in a sympathetic and
catholic spirit. Doodoo, the faithful family servant
and friend, was talking one day with a student of
Gregorian Church connection, who said, " I have been
watching these Protestants since I came here. They
are not as bad as I thought they were. There's Mr.
Tracy, he's not a bad man."


" Not a bad man," echoed the servant. " You may
well say so. He's such a man that I have lived seven-
teen years in his family and he has never hurt my feel-
ings once. He is such a man that when I am clearing
the table and find water left in his glass I take a sip
with a prayer that I may imbibe some of his spirit."

One day, in Amasia, Mrs. Tracy had given a prepara-
tion of iron to a neighbor's child. A woman standing
by said, " Give me some; I have no appetite." She
took a little, but instantly ran away in distress exclaim-
ing, "What have I done? I have taken Protestant
medicine. It will make a Protestant of me."


A visitor once expressed amusement at the Marsovan
way of getting buildings. " First you build a woodshed,
then you enlarge it, next you put on a second story,
you add an ell, then you repair the whole and behold,
you have a useful school building." This method was
Mr. Tracy's way of meeting two difficulties at once,
the financial and the political. He could not often com-
mand generous sums of money, and he could not wait
to complete large amounts before using what was in
hand. But building permits were not always to be
secured. Even when local officials and leading citi-
zens were quite friendly, government officers were
often required to refer such applications made by
foreigners in the provinces to Constantinople, and
there the petition was likely to be lost " under the
cushion." The city governor would sometimes say,
" I really cannot authorize a new structure. For that
you must take your application to the capital, but I


can allow you a permit for repairs and I will construe
it rather liberally. If that is sufficient, you may
proceed." In this way " the old College building "
developed, growing out of what was first put up for
theological instruction alone, and a happy throng of
students and a good and growing educational work
were housed there for years. Later, the Hospital began
its career in a rebuilt shed, used for drying lumber, and
actually did its work there for fifteen years. The
situation required fertility of resource to turn the edge
of difficulties and to keep moving forward. There was
no one to teach physics, so the President did it himself
for several years. He and the students had a real
good time together studying text-books and con-
structing and using spluttering apparatus. Every
step in advance was hailed as an achievement: a plot
of land added to the College holdings, the east dormi-
tory, the fountain in front of the building, the pretty
garden, the arrival of Mr. Wingate, the first in a line of
splendid American tutors.


How many persons unite in the task of building a
typical American College! Anatolia has enjoyed the
confidence, sympathy, and personal support of a wide
and loyal body of friends, some of whom may read
these lines. In addition to those whose names appear
in these pages, many individuals have made their
contributions, some of them repeatedly, also churches,
Sunday Schools, missionary societies, clubs and other
organizations. In this way ground has been purchased
from time to time, the plant has been enlarged, equip-


ment has been added, the industrial department has
been built up, the salaries of teachers have been met,
and aid has been given promising students who other-
wise could not continue in the institution.

Mr. Smith, as a wise financier, kept the young
College from falling under the incubus of a debt. Rev.
Edward Riggs was in America when the institution
began its career and secured the beginning of an en-
dowment for the Greek professorship in the name of his
father, Dr. Elias Riggs, the famous missionary scholar.
Dr. Herrick raised $10,000 for the " English Chair " in
Great Britain in 1889 and laid the foundation for secur-
ing much subsequent assistance from that country.
He also was instrumental in raising seven endowed
scholarships and ten annual in the United States, and
began raising an endowment for the Richards Chair
of the Presidency. A bequest of Rev. and Mrs. J. Y.
Leonard, the first permanent missionaries in Marsovan,
deserves to be mentioned here. More and more as the
years went by, Dr. Tracy was the indefatigable leader
in securing the friends and the funds with which the
work was carried on and enlarged step by step. When
the Girls' School moved to its present quarters, Mrs.
Edward Riggs undertook the organization, in the vacant
building of the " Home " for younger College boys,
which grew into such an important feature of the
institution. Subsequently, Mrs. Smith was its effi-
cient head and with her was associated Mr. Dana K.
Getchell, who, by disposition, training and sympathy,
is a schoolmaster, and is the superintendent of the
newly built Kennedy Home.



The present writer and his wife joined Marsovan
Station November 15, 1890, and our acquaintance
with Dr. Tracy began miles before we reached the
city. Our Greatheart eagerly came far out on the
road to meet his new associates, and we were united in
personal affection and in official college relation from
that time to the day of his death. Just a week later
Mr. and Mrs. Tracy, with their children, Charles,
Chester, Annie and Mary, left for America on furlough.
Another son, William Arthur, born May 8, 1883, had
died August 27, 1884. Four, therefore, of the eight
dear children born in the home had already gone from
the life of this world. Mr. Tracy resigned the headship
of the College and Dr. George F. Herrick succeeded
him as the second able President of Anatolia. The
Tracy family spent the winter in Switzerland to re-
cuperate after twelve consecutive and strenuous years
on the field, and their furlough in America was pro-
longed for the purpose of seeking sustaining friends
for the aspiring young college. Mr. Tracy made many
addresses, wrote many letters, formed many plans,
interviewed many people. One day in Chicago he and
good old Dr. Fisk of the Seminary kneeled in prayer
together, then went by appointment and called on
the famous patron of colleges, the eccentric Dr. D.
K. Pearsons. That interview laid the foundation
for an abiding respect between two capable men.
Dr. and Mrs. Pearsons gave repeatedly to Anatolia
College, their gifts aggregating over $70,000, and
Anatolia is understood to be the only institution out -


side of America ever directly helped by the famous

Many different donors, however, contributed with
intelligent sympathy and a degree of personal interest
that was all very gratifying. In 1893 Dr. Tracy pub-
lished his " Talks on the Veranda," a book of mission-
ary conversations the composition of which the author
described as his knitting work during the evenings of
the preceding winter. In the summer, Dr. and Mrs.
Tracy again set their faces toward the Orient with
their daughters, Annie and Mary. Charles and Chester
remained at Oberlin for their education.


The College grew rapidly, sometimes it seemed
almost too rapidly for the most substantial results.
It met a growing need and it contributed to create the
need it met. People were waking out of the genera-
tions of Oriental lethargy. Tuition charges were ad-
vanced from time to time, but always with the aim of
keeping College fees within reach of people of the middle
class. A third and then a fourth year was added to the
preparatory course. During the life of the College
the schools in its field have doubtless doubled in number
and doubled again in effectiveness. The American
institution has been a helpful model to many; has
furnished superintendents and teachers to many more;
while it has been an unwelcome rival to some, thorning
them on to improved methods in order to retain their
young people. Missionaries in Caesarea, Sivas, Trebi-
zond, Constantinople and other places helpfully co-
operated. They directed numbers of their young


people to Anatolia and sought young men from the
College for employment in various positions.

Anatolia College was incorporated under the laws of
the State of Massachusetts March 14, 1894, with the
Prudential Committee of the American Board as its
Trustees. This retained the advantage of close affilia-
tion with the Board, but it placed upon the College
treasury the limitations of independence, and it was
largely incumbent upon the President to insure that
funds should be provided as fast as they were expended.
Expanding aspirations and achievements brought
perennial questions regarding grounds, grading, water
rights, tree planting, industrial development, and the
material equipment generally, in addition to the de-
mands for steadily advancing scholarship, which in
turn required a steadily strengthening staff of instruc-
tors. When a guard of Turkish soldiers was quartered
on the premises and two of their number for some reason
died, the Colonel made an inspection and complained
that the quarters provided for their lodging by the
College were inadequate. " All right," said the Pres-
dent, " I'll build something better," and he immediately
set about the construction of a building four times as
large as was needed by the squad of soldiers. After
a time they were withdrawn from the premises, but
an additional dormitory remained. There was a great
occasion on Friday, April 14, 1899, when the Imperial
Firman, or Turkish government charter, was proclaimed

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Online LibraryGeorge Edward WhiteCharles Chapin Tracy, missionary, philanthropist, educator, first president of Anatolia college, Marsovan, Turkey → online text (page 2 of 6)