Quaker Relief Efforts in Europe, 1914-1922

English and American Quakers were involved in relief and reconstruction work in Europe during and following World War I.

The Friends' War Victims' Relief Committee of London Yearly Meeting began its efforts among non-combatants in France in 1914. They were joined by volunteers from the the American Friends' Service Committee in 1917 when the United States entered the War. Relief and post-War reconstruction expanded to include civilians in Russia, Serbia, Austria, and Poland. In 1919 Quakers extended their efforts to include a program of child-feeding in Germany.

A collection of almost 1000 glass lantern slides were given by the American Friends Service Committee to Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College in the early 1930s. The images show the damage caused by war, rebuilding efforts, hospitals and orphanages, and other projects.

How were the slides created and how were they used?

Instructions Sent by the AFSC to Presenters
(Courtesy American Friends Service Committee)


At left: "War Children with Old Face and Lack-lustre Eyes," taken in Germany, ca.1920

At right, "Lithuanian Girl" and "Waiting for Food," taken in Poland.


Above and right, images of France, ca.1916

At left, "Children and Caretaker Before Emergency Home" (Russia)

An online exhibit by Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. For further information, please contact the Library. Last updated: 8/21/09