Missionary Collections

We welcome you to explore the online catalogues of Christian missionaries and workers in the Near East Relief from 1900-1920s who observed and photographed the daily lives of the local population.


The foreign missionaries worked as doctors, nurses, educators, and engineers in schools, hospitals, and orphanages including serving the humanitarian efforts of The Near East Relief. While in the region, the missionaries photographed Armenians, Kurds, Assyrians, Turks, Greeks, and others living together in Adana, Agn, Aintab, Aleppo, Antioch, Bitlis, Constantinople, Erzerum, Ismid (Smyrna), Kessab, Kharpert, Malatia, Sepastia, Talas, and Van. Their photos reveal daily life while also providing context for today’s humanitarian, human rights, and immigration scenarios around the world.  


Descendants of the missionaries entrusted these original photographs to Project SAVE Archives to document and catalog and also preserve from loss, destruction, and from being forgotten. Our website will showcase these images while collaborations with educational and human rights organizations will amplify them beyond the Armenian community. Please make your contribution today online or with the enclosed card!


The photographs provide a vantage point to the ethnology of the Ottoman Empire— the study of various peoples and the differences and relationships between them.  Captured by “outside” Western eyes, the photos offer a different perspective from the professional portraits which comprise the majority of images from this period in Project SAVE’s Archives.


New material is uploaded on a regular basis so come back often to see what’s been added!


Tips for Searching


The Keyword Search button allows you to perform a general search across multiple fields for any catalog records online.


The Advanced Search button can help you be more specific with your search. You can search for a word or phrase within a particular search category or use multiple categories to further narrow down your search results. You can also search People and Creator records through Advanced Search.


The Random Images button is a great way to just browse the collection. Each Random Images page displays a random assortment of images from the records online.

The catalog buttons (Archives / Photos / Objects) can also help narrow down your search, by only searching within a selected catalog. If you only want to search for Photos, click the Photos button and type in your keyword(s) or phrase.


Search Tools

OR: Keyword searches use OR as the default connector between words (e.g. a search for will return records associated with Peter OR Iredale).


AND: If you want to find records where both keywords are found, type in AND between the two words.


Quotes (""): To search for a specific phrase, be sure to put the phrase within quotes (e.g. "Near East Relief Orphanage").


Asterisk (*): Use the Asterisk as a wildcard (e.g. a search for histor* would come up with records containing history, histories, historical, etc.).

Since 1975, Project SAVE Archives has collected over 45,000 photographs of which 11,000 are currently digitized. Researchers from around the world are seeking images and information of this period for their fascinating projects.

We are grateful for grants from The Dadourian Foundation, The Bilezikian Family Foundation, and

The Souren Maroukian Charitable Trust. 

Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, Inc.
P.O. Box 236, Watertown, MA 02471-0236
617-923-4542  archives@projectsave.org