“Marks Hard to Erase”: The Troubled Reclamation of “Absorbed” Armenian Women, 1919–1927

“Marks Hard to Erase”: The Troubled Reclamation of “Absorbed” Armenian Women, 1919–1927 Abstract This article explores how American and European humanitarian workers and organizations treated, and represented, a group of Armenian women who were among those “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin households during the genocide of 1915. Taken into Bedouin households, they were tattooed on their faces and hands, according to Bedouin custom. While the “recuperation” of “absorbed” women and children was a core element of these humanitarian organizations’ postwar programs of Armenian national reconstruction, most relief workers viewed the “recuperation” of the tattooed women as far more “difficult”—if not impossible—because of the physical marks they bore, and what those signified to the relief workers. Using both official and private documentation and a range of visual sources, this article unpacks differing discourses and practices around the “troubled” reclamation of the tattooed women, among a number of humanitarian organizations and their varying constituencies of relief workers. Their differences in response expose the complex shifts in interwar humanitarianism, but further consideration also reveals a deeper commonality: the drive to “classify” the objects of humanitarian aid according to criteria of recuperability, with accompanying practices of inclusion and exclusion in the name of national reconstruction—despite the avowedly “modern” claims of that postwar humanitarianism to be able to “fix” and to “save” all. Armenian genocide, gender, tattoos, humanitarianism The story of Zumroot echoes the stories of many thousands of Armenian women and girls during and after World War I.1 In the summer of 1915, when Zumroot was twenty, her father was killed by the Young Turks. She, her mother, and her sisters were subsequently deported on foot from their home in Urfa in southern Turkey, toward Rakka and the Syrian desert. Somewhere along the way, her sisters were lost. Zumroot and her mother seized an opportunity to hide themselves in a pit while the deportation caravan moved on; they found shelter in a mill, but soon afterward her mother died. Some Arabs found Zumroot and took her to their village, where one of them married her. Four months later, she was sold for five sheep to another Arab, with whom she lived for eight years. At some point, Zumroot’s face was tattooed by her captors—small, simple patterns inked into her forehead, her cheeks, her chin, and underneath her lips—a tribal custom that marked her as a woman and a wife, and also, symbolically and visually, completed her absorption into the Bedouin community. In 1923, an Armenian carriage driver who was passing through told Zumroot he would save her if she married him. She escaped with him to Rakka, but on their arrival, some Armenians told her the man was in fact a Turk, not an Armenian. She fled the same night to an Armenian family, and was sent on to the League of Nations Reception House in Aleppo. Reception House was run by Karen Jeppe, a former Danish missionary, who in 1921 was appointed to the League’s newly formed Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East. It was set up to recover Armenian women and children who had been forcibly “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin households during the genocide, and to reintegrate them into the Armenian community.2 There Zumroot joined roughly a hundred other women, girls, and boys. She attended Bible and Armenian language classes, and she was taught a trade in order to become self-supporting. She stayed a little longer than most—eighteen months—working in the sewing room to pay her way, before leaving in 1925 to marry an Armenian farmer in one of the agricultural colonies Jeppe had established to provide Armenians with the means to make a new life. Zumroot’s story is chronicled in one of the marble-bound Reception House intake registers, the 345th of what would come to number almost 1,700 stories of escape and rescue by the end of 1927, when the League ceased its financial support.3 The narrative of her deportation, capture, and multiple escapes makes no mention of her tattoos, however, and in fact the marks are hardly visible in her identification photograph pasted to the page’s top right corner. In one of Jeppe’s personal photograph albums, another image shows Zumroot standing alone in Reception House, her thick hair plaited back, her gaze steadily holding the camera, her tattoos plainly visible.4 (See Figure 1.) A third picture of her, in “traditional” ornamental clothing, appeared on the front cover of a 1927 issue of Orient im Bild, the fundraising newsletter of the Deutsche Orient Mission, for which Jeppe had once worked and which now partly funded her reconstruction projects. (See Figure 2.) The portrait is captioned “An Armenian woman tattooed by Moslems,” but Zumroot is not mentioned in any of the articles—one of which is a piece by Jeppe about refugees in Aleppo.5 The disjunctures between image and text here are more than coincidental. The absence of Zumroot’s story alongside her striking visual presence in Orient im Bild, the elision of her tattoos in the image and text of the intake register, and the more relaxed, self-assured composition of the album photograph all bespeak a particular moment in interwar humanitarianism, when the visual rhetoric conventionally used in humanitarian campaigns, of disfigured, suffering bodies, began to jar with the emerging humanitarian agendas of national reconstruction. This ambivalent portrayal, and the exclusion of the tattooed women by most other relief workers, resonates with a longer history of the troubled relationship between humanitarianism and those it finds less salvageable. Figure 1: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot Godjanian during her time working in Reception House’s sewing room, photographed standing in the doorway between old and new stone buildings. Zumroot arrived at a time of flux within Reception House: the original building that Jeppe had rented burned down (an accident) in early 1923, and by the time Zumroot arrived in August, a new compound was under construction. That was also the year in which Jeppe began pursuing her agricultural settlement scheme; the first village, Tel Samen (Tal Saman, northern Syria), was founded in spring 1924. Zumroot was among the first of Reception House’s residents to leave for Tel Samen, on February 28, 1925, to marry an Armenian farmer. Jeppe did not caption the images in her private albums; Zumroot’s identity and life story are derived from her page in the Reception House Registers. Photograph no. 100, in Karen Jeppe’s album 57 (ca. 1923–1925). Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 1: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot Godjanian during her time working in Reception House’s sewing room, photographed standing in the doorway between old and new stone buildings. Zumroot arrived at a time of flux within Reception House: the original building that Jeppe had rented burned down (an accident) in early 1923, and by the time Zumroot arrived in August, a new compound was under construction. That was also the year in which Jeppe began pursuing her agricultural settlement scheme; the first village, Tel Samen (Tal Saman, northern Syria), was founded in spring 1924. Zumroot was among the first of Reception House’s residents to leave for Tel Samen, on February 28, 1925, to marry an Armenian farmer. Jeppe did not caption the images in her private albums; Zumroot’s identity and life story are derived from her page in the Reception House Registers. Photograph no. 100, in Karen Jeppe’s album 57 (ca. 1923–1925). Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 2: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot, posed in “traditional” ornamental clothing, on the front cover of Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927). Her tattoos, especially the one in the middle of her brow, appear to have been touched up rather crudely by hand, a practice not uncommon for such publicity photographs. This photograph also appears on the front cover of Henni Forchhammer, Et besøg hos Karen Jeppe: Skildring fra en Rejse til Syrien (Copenhagen, 1926). Forchhammer was a prominent Danish social activist and League of Nations representative, and visited Jeppe in 1926. Image courtesy of the Columbia University Archives. Figure 2: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot, posed in “traditional” ornamental clothing, on the front cover of Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927). Her tattoos, especially the one in the middle of her brow, appear to have been touched up rather crudely by hand, a practice not uncommon for such publicity photographs. This photograph also appears on the front cover of Henni Forchhammer, Et besøg hos Karen Jeppe: Skildring fra en Rejse til Syrien (Copenhagen, 1926). Forchhammer was a prominent Danish social activist and League of Nations representative, and visited Jeppe in 1926. Image courtesy of the Columbia University Archives. The tensions over who was deemed recuperable and representable in these national reconstruction projects after World War I are highlighted by a focus on the worldviews and practices of the relief organizations and workers involved in the rescue of Armenian women who, like Zumroot, were recovered from Muslim households after being tattooed.6 The reclamation of these women and girls was part of a broader, almost unprecedented relief effort following the genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turks. At first emergency relief was given, where possible, to those who survived the deportation marches into the desert. One of the most important providers was the specially formed American charity Near East Relief (NER), which deployed missionaries and other skilled and semi-skilled volunteers throughout the crumbling Ottoman Empire.7 Following the Armistice in 1919, however, NER began to shift its efforts away from emergency relief toward the reconstruction of the Armenian community as a religious, cultural, and distinct national entity. The League of Nations, too, joined in this project when it created the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East in 1921. These two organizations, and their different constituencies of relief workers, held varied views on how national reconstruction could best be achieved, but none except Karen Jeppe and her backers could countenance the tattooed women as “fit” to be part of this national rejuvenation. For most missionaries working for NER, the women’s tattoos constituted a barrier to their reinclusion. Unlike the children, who were more easily reabsorbed, these women bore on their skin visible, permanent reminders of their “defilement” by non-Christian men. NER policymakers, too, focused on the orphans, as the more moldable and morally untainted “future of the race” (and a staple of philanthropic giving). Other NER workers—usually young, college-educated men and women who signed up for overseas relief in order to see the world, as well as do good in it—brought their own worldviews to the situation, tending to see the more educated, cultured Armenians, including rescued women, as the basis for national regeneration—although they still balked at the tattoos. Jeppe, on the other hand, felt that the surest basis for national reconstruction was to concentrate on those whose Armenian identity was strongest, and she did not differentiate between those with tattoos and those without. Since her operations were fulfilling the commission’s goals and were wholeheartedly supported by the Armenophile activists, who were otherwise barraging the League with calls for action, the League administrators acquiesced. These different responses were emblematic of the shifts in humanitarianism in the immediate aftermath of World War I, and particularly of the national reconstructionist projects launched in its wake. To date, scholarly work on the humanitarian efforts to recover Armenian women and children has been silent on the tattoos, including Keith David Watenpaugh’s 2010 article in this journal, despite his focus on the rescue efforts of the League and Karen Jeppe.8 Since this historiographical elision is unlikely to have arisen from the same discomfiture that affected contemporary witnesses, it seems that the tattoos have thus far been deemed a “marginal” phenomenon, unlikely to yield significant meaning about Armenian national reconstruction and the “new” humanitarian moment. However, examining the responses of relief workers to the tattooed women—and, crucially, to the question of their recuperability, not their rescue—reveals the unacknowledged but very real unbreachable constraints within which a self-proclaimedly modern and “omnipotent” new humanitarianism was operating. As an emerging historiographical consensus on interwar humanitarianism argues, this period saw a transition from the (predominantly missionary-led) “civilizing mission” of the nineteenth century to a humanitarianism that, Watenpaugh posits, was “envisioned by its participants and protagonists as a permanent, transnational, institutional, neutral, and secular regime for understanding and addressing the root causes of human suffering.”9 But it is also becoming clear that this transition was not as neat as Watenpaugh’s work implies; other scholars have depicted, more forcefully, a time of “overlapping” and “contested” change, replete with “conjunctures” and “contingencies,” and have, for example, questioned his claim of “professionalization.”10 Therefore, by expanding the analytical frame to include a wider range of humanitarian organizations and actors who were responding to the same “challenge”—not only the League, but also NER and their respective constituencies of relief workers, both “old hands” and new—we can demonstrate more fully that in this transitional moment, the policies and practices that evolved and coexisted were often contradictory and contested on the ground. None of this was neat, of course, for in this moment of change, as in any, old attitudes endured or reemerged, reconfigured and embedded in the new; and here it is precisely the tattoos that allow us to understand how the different constituencies of relief workers, as well as their employers and donors, negotiated the changes for themselves. Watenpaugh labels the “regime” that emerged from this transition (and from precisely this case of Armenian relief) as “modern” humanitarianism, a rather loosely conceptualized term he seems to use without any sense of the freight that “modern” carries, or its contestedness.11 There is a more illuminating, deeper relationship with modernity to consider here, if by “modern” we mean the utopian biopolitical projects of the twentieth century and beyond, which claim for themselves the ability and power to reshape, transform, and administer populations in the name of group “progress” and “purity.”12 In this vein, interwar humanitarian organizations such as NER and the League claimed the power to fix, transform, and “save” those affected by the world’s ills, regardless of markers such as religion, nationality, or a troublesome past.13 But as humanitarian projects of national reconstruction, these were also fear- and anxiety-driven processes of inclusion and exclusion in the name of nation-building—recognizably modern, if in a way not implied by Watenpaugh. The tensions and disjunctures here—themselves very modern—tended to be resolved on the ground: the relief workers proved themselves reluctant to see the Armenian refugees in “humanitarian” terms, as all equally recuperable. Their different responses to the women’s tattoos show that the relief workers were hardly “neutral” in the administrative “processing” of all those who came, and instead categorized and divided them along a line of moral, cultural, or national “value” and “purity.” Thus, a more revealing understanding of the humanitarian projects of Armenian rescue and reclamation can be achieved by seeing it as a fully modern nation-building exercise, characterized by redemptive and transformational visions, gendered practices of inclusion and exclusion, and the manufacture of a visual aesthetic of a “pure” and “healthy” community. And while the ideological frameworks through which humanitarians categorize refugees and displaced persons have since evolved, more recent studies of humanitarian practice on the ground suggest that humanitarians continue to divide and ostracize those they categorize as “troublesome” or “incorrigible.”14 The contradictions inherent in these modern claims to be able to remedy (logistically, legally and socially, and transformationally) these individual and collective ills, without regard for category markers, are made clearer here through a bottom-up history of relief workers in the field, rather than a purely organizational history.15 Looking afresh at well-trodden missionary archives and League papers, exploring previously unused archives of NER workers, and paying close attention to the composition of photograph albums and individual images in these collections offers suggestive results. For in the case of the tattooed women, it is the writings and photograph collections of the relief workers that open up these contradictory histories of rescue, rejection, and sometimes inclusion, in a way that the sensationalist but otherwise reticent fundraising campaigns and official histories do not. Historians of humanitarianism have thus far rarely integrated the analysis of visual sources into their research (Watenpaugh, for example, uses images largely illustratively).16 And yet the visual record is key here—not only because of the “visual” nature of the tattoos, or because photographs are useful additional sources for a fragmentary source base, but because the representation of the tattooed women and of Armenian national reconstruction in these images and albums powerfully communicates the tensions and contradictions within the humanitarian project of rescue and reclamation. Photography had been central to these humanitarian fundraising campaigns since the late nineteenth century, as Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno have recently noted, providing campaigners with an evidentiary basis for their claims and helping to generate sympathy (whether through sensationalism or more sober images).17 Here it became intrinsic to the construction of who was “recuperable,” and under what circumstances. The young historiography on humanitarian photography has thus far focused on humanitarian campaigners’ use of photographs to bolster their verbal rhetoric. A staple strategy was the use of raw images of disfigured, suffering bodies (famine-stricken victims of British policies in colonial India, for example, or the mutilated limbs of slaves on a rubber plantation in the Belgian Congo) as visual evidence that worked in tandem with their verbal indictments of imperial authorities’ treatment of colonial subjects.18 In the postwar period, such raw images of suffering continued to be a viable visual strategy for those humanitarian programs aiming at systemic change—combating the global social ills of slavery, disease, and trafficking, or improving the rights of minorities, refugees, and children. But such images of immutable violation became deeply problematic for the new strand of national reconstructionist humanitarianism, whose programs were aimed at transforming (indeed creating) a people: their goal was not just to reassemble surviving Armenians, but to mold a healthy, vigorous, and racially and culturally “pure” nation. Women, as child-bearers and custodians of domesticity, had to epitomize Armenianness. So while the old visual rhetoric—stark images of tattooed women—was still very effective in garnering attention, it locked the women into a permanent state of violation and ambiguous identity, in a way that disavowed the transformative promise of the new national reconstruction projects. This led to a shift in the visual strategies of humanitarian photography, with organizations such as NER favoring images of “the recuperable”—female and child survivors and, later, stirring images of young orphans at work building the Armenian future, which echoed the visual imagery of interwar nation-building elsewhere.19 There is no traumatic “history” in these photographs, nothing to disturb the reconstructive agenda; as in Liisa H. Malkki’s resonant phrase, “history tended to get leached out of the figure of the refugee.”20 But this was impossible for the tattooed women, whose troublesome history was indelibly written on their faces—which for most humanitarian organizations and workers anchored them elsewhere, outside the Armenian nation, as racial and cultural pariahs.21 The issue of these women’s recuperability, as well as their representability, reverberates in other gendered histories of facial marking and disfigurement—for example, the American “captivity narratives” of white women taken into Native American tribes and tattooed; the French gueules cassées, soldiers whose faces were disfigured during World War I; or the women whose bodies were mutilated and tattooed with religious and nationalist slogans during India’s Partition.22 In each of these cases, ethnic and national identity were made uncertain, with all of the attendant communal anxieties about reincorporation.23 But it is the treatment of the tattooed women by relief workers in the Near East that most powerfully signals the disconnect between modernity’s discursively proclaimed capacity to salvage human life, irrespective of categories, and the real and continued practice among humanitarians of recognizing only certain bodies, and certain “histories,” as recuperable. The Armenians were deported as part of a brutal state-building project by the Young Turks in 1915–1916.24 The foreign missionaries stationed in the Ottoman Empire were largely unable to intervene, but they sent home horrific reports of the killing of military-age males and the starvation, massacre, robbery, and extreme sexual violence that the women and children were subjected to during their deportation toward the Syrian desert.25 Along the way, thousands of women and children were abducted, sold, or rescued from the deportation columns and “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin communities as wives, concubines, servants, and slaves.26 Isolated, dependent on their captors or hosts for food and protection, many were also told that there were no Armenians left, and gave up hope. Little could be done during the war years to recover these absorbed Armenians.27 Most American missionaries left Turkey in 1917, when the United States entered the war, but many Scandinavian and German missionaries remained as members of neutral or allied nations.28 Real opportunities for rescue came at the war’s end, in 1918–1919, when the terms of the Armistice mandated the release of Armenians in Muslim households. NER enlarged its operations, and on February 16, 1919, the SS Leviathan sailed from New York for Constantinople with 250 relief workers onboard. Some were missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) who had left Turkey two years before; the rest were volunteers—some with particular skills (in medicine or engineering, for example), some members of organizations such as the YWCA. NER thus represented “a wedding of missionary and philanthropic interests”; its Executive Committee was composed of notable philanthropists and religious leaders, and its head, James L. Barton, was the ABCFM’s foreign secretary, and a former missionary in Turkey himself.29 This marriage was reflected in NER’s official brief; despite the secular tone, this reconstruction would, inevitably given the tenor of contemporary American society, proceed with a Christian ethic at its core: To provide relief, and to assist in the repatriation, rehabilitation, and re-establishment of Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, Jews and other needy peoples of the Near East: to provide for the care of orphans and widows, and to conduct any schools, industrial enterprises or operations of a philanthropic character … to promote the social, economic and industrial welfare of those who through no fault of their own have been rendered destitute or dependent directly, or indirectly, by the vicissitudes of war.30 The rescue of women and children was thus integral to NER’s operations, and its workers quickly reported floods of Armenians coming forth from Muslim households. Rescue homes were organized for the women—there were sixteen such homes by January 1920—while younger children entered orphanages.31 Bible and Armenian classes were given, and industrial schools were established to teach the girls sewing and the boys carpentry or other trades, to make them self-supporting. The ABCFM missionaries were indispensable to NER’s relief operations because of their familiarity with the country, languages, and culture. Many had witnessed the genocide before they left; they returned to find a destroyed and dispersed Armenian population, the intellectual and religious leaders murdered, the remnant generally destitute and to some degree “Islamized.”32 The missionaries prioritized the reconstruction of the Armenian community in Turkey as a religious and national group, understanding Armenian identity as deriving not only from religion, but also from cultural and indeed a form of “racial” belonging, in keeping with the general assumptions of the times. Most missionaries focused on the orphans, but some in charge of rescue homes, such as Caroline Holmes in Urfa and Elizabeth Webb in Adana, threw themselves into the rehabilitation of the older girls and women. In a letter to Barton in October 1918, Webb wrote of her “strong desire to help in this matter … The girls who need a refuge will go wherever they can find one. I would like to be there among the first, to continue under more favorable circumstances the work I left a year ago.”33 When she returned to Adana in March 1919, Webb quickly established a home for rescued women and girls.34 “No work I ever did has so gripped my heart,” she reported, with buoyant descriptions of the transformations in her charges—among them a tattooed girl named Horepsime.35 But Webb and Holmes were exceptions: most recoiled from the moral and sexual impurity they perceived in these women, preferring to expend their efforts on the more moldable, more “recuperable” orphans. Figure 3: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Map of Near East Relief operations, ca. 1921. NER “updated” and reprinted versions of this map from time to time, in order to show the extent of its operations (in this case to counteract the charge that Near East Relief was bankrolling and/or under the influence of the Bolsheviks). This version was printed in the New Near East 6, no. 5 (February 1921): 16–17, and shows eleven rescue homes in operation. Box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 1, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Image courtesy of Rockefeller Archive Center. Figure 3: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Map of Near East Relief operations, ca. 1921. NER “updated” and reprinted versions of this map from time to time, in order to show the extent of its operations (in this case to counteract the charge that Near East Relief was bankrolling and/or under the influence of the Bolsheviks). This version was printed in the New Near East 6, no. 5 (February 1921): 16–17, and shows eleven rescue homes in operation. Box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 1, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Image courtesy of Rockefeller Archive Center. Other relief workers were also involved in the rescue homes. Most were taking advantage of the horizon of opportunity the Great War had opened to them to travel and to make their own mark on the world. For those who had wanted to see active service during the war but were unable to, this was their war. Five young women from Smith College, a liberal women’s college in Massachusetts, were posted to Turkey as the Smith College Relief Unit, under NER. Their letters home were full of enthusiasm and discovery, and they were keen to help in the education and rehabilitation of rescued women.36 In Aleppo, John Dunaway and Stanley Kerr were actively rescuing Armenians from the surrounding villages and towns.37 Kerr, a young chemist (whose profession had kept him on the home front), was in charge of the NER lab and dispensary in Aleppo, but he joined Dunaway on weekend rescue trips into the desert. His letters, self-confident and bursting with adventure, tell of sweeping the area around the town of Al-Bab in their truck, well-armed in case of trouble (since “we aren’t very popular ourselves in Bab”), outwitting men who lied, hid the women, and disappeared when they heard the truck: “The next time [Dunaway is] going to send the Arab interpreter by horse and follow with a machine. Well, it certainly is good sport anyhow.”38 Within a few months, they had covered “practically every village within a radius of 50 miles of Aleppo so that now over 450 girls have been rescued,” some of whom were tattooed—so that Jeppe herself later noted that this area was not important in the rescuing of Armenians, since “the work of liberation [was] largely done.”39 But the rescue homes in fact wound down relatively quickly in 1920–1921 as NER, taking stock of diminishing donations after more than five long years of campaigning, focused its efforts squarely on the orphanages and grand educational and agricultural projects in the Caucasus and Mediterranean. At roughly the same time, in 1921, the League of Nations was responding to a battery of demands from Armenian and Armenophile activists to help release the women and children still imprisoned in Muslim households.40 The First Assembly voted funds to establish the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East, with branches in Constantinople (headed by Emma Cushman, an ABCFM missionary, and William A. Kennedy, a British doctor) and Aleppo, where Jeppe was already working. The commission began active work in 1922, but the political tensions and constraints in Constantinople, as the Turkish War of Independence was concluded and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) superseded the Treaty of Sèvres (1919), meant that active rescue was largely impossible there.41 The rescue methods that Jeppe pursued were very different from those of Kerr and Dunaway. “I could obtain far better results in numbers if I rushed around in an automobile with soldiers and pulled out the Armenians from the houses,” she wrote in 1922, but rescue by force during the current situation—with Syria under an unpopular French mandate, factional fighting, and limited resources—would risk opening up an “Armenian question” in Syria.42 Instead, she employed agents to spread the word quietly that a place of safety existed in Aleppo, and to aid escapees in reaching Reception House. This was also the soundest basis for the task of national reconstruction, Jeppe felt: if only those who wanted to come were reclaimed, only “the far best and most vigorous elements” would be rescued, those who answered “the call” “because their own world has the strongest hold [on] them.”43 Jeppe, too, instituted language and trade classes, taking particular pride in her revival of the art of Armenian embroidery, and she managed to trace the families of many who came. Others, like Zumroot, went to live in the agricultural colonies she established. Between 1921 and 1927, Jeppe rescued 1,484 Armenians and helped over 200 more to escape directly to their families. A third were women and girls, many of whom bore tattoos upon their faces, but unlike most NER workers, Jeppe treated these women no differently.44 Although the League ceased to financially support Reception House in 1927, Jeppe continued her work with funding from other organizations until her death in 1935. Women who had been tattooed were therefore not unknown to the relief workers and organizations in the Near East. The cultural practice of tattooing was well established among the Bedouin and Kurdish tribes in what is today eastern Turkey, Iraq, and the desert regions of northern Syria—the area most Armenians were deported through and to, and now a focus of relief efforts.45 Workers there were more likely to encounter women with tattoos—indeed, Holmes, in southeastern Turkey, mentioned that tattooing “was the case with most of the girls.”46 But a measure of the unease the vast majority of relief workers felt about the tattoos is discernible not least from how infrequently they are mentioned. For something so striking and taboo, there is very little comment scattered across the correspondence, reports, and diaries in the archives.47 The same is true of the photographic record: these women appear only infrequently in organizational fundraising materials, and then usually in stark, sensationalist portraits like that of Zumroot in Orient im Bild, with little or no editorial comment.48 They are also absent from the missionaries’ and most other relief workers’ photograph collections. Kerr, for example, was a keen photographer, but none of the tattooed women and girls he rescued appear in his photographs.49 Only in Jeppe’s collections do they appear with any frequency. Of the minority of workers who did write about tattoos, most merely described the sighting of a tattooed woman or girl. For example, volunteer Florence Billings near Constantinople wrote home: “We visited one of the Relief Orphanages—160 girls, Armenian, some very young to 14–15 … One girl about 12 came from an Arab’s tent, had had two husbands and had been tattooed on the chin.”50 Alice Keep Clark, a missionary in Hadjin, noted one day that “there have been so many pitiful cases today—one was a girl frightfully disfigured by tattoo marks on her face, put on when she was held by the Arabs.”51 Notably, these brief mentions tend to pause or break off afterward, the authors perhaps uncomfortable about discussing the issue further. Billings begins a new paragraph with “Later—All the school has just been vaccinated,” while Clark follows her entry with “I must go to the kitchen now.” This absence or glossing over has something to do with the contemporary cultural unease in Western society regarding tattoos. In the social and semiotic world of the middling, bourgeois families that most of the relief workers came from, tattoos were a sign of primitive, backward, savage “civilizations,” or else the mark of a convict. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Europe and its colonies often tattooed or branded their convicts, usually on the face, as a permanent punitive mark—in what Jane Caplan argues was a vicious reappropriation of the primitive in order to mark the European outsider, also deliberately reminiscent of slave-branding.52 Tattoos were also found on the bodies of sailors, soldiers, and, in the case of women, prostitutes—those already on society’s margins, whose tattoos served to further mark their difference. During the nineteenth century, as Caplan shows, tattoos were increasingly pathologized within European society via the efforts of criminologists, so that by the century’s end, tattoos were interpreted almost everywhere as the mark of the deviant and degenerate.53 For white Americans, tattoos were further associated with the atavism of the internal “other,” Native American tribes, and recalled the horror of their own “captivity narratives” of young white women taken into tribes and tattooed—which had raised similar questions about how far these women were racially, culturally, and visually recuperable.54 The facial tattooing of these Armenian women was thus, for Americans and Europeans, an extreme social transgression. Unable to countenance the ambiguities, most rescuers shrank from the women—suspicious also that the tattoos indicated an individual’s transculturation, and thus divided national loyalties. This unease was reflected in their explanations of what the tattoos meant: they were commonly interpreted as a device for preventing the women from running away, either because they would be too ashamed to return or “with the intention of marking them as slaves of their owners and making it impossible for them, thus marked, to escape the vigilance of their captors.”55 All of these suspicions and explanations placed the women in a semiotic space outside both Armenian and Bedouin society.56 Bedouin tattooing practices, like all tattooing practices linked with tribal identity, beautification, and gender, were obviously more complex than this. Research is sparse, especially in this geographic region, with much of it dated and orientalist, and tattooing is now far less common.57 However, anthropologists noted that tattooing occurred only in nomadic (not urban) populations, and while both sexes engaged in medicinal tattooing, only women were “adorned” in this way (as one historian has drily observed, in male-dominated societies “female tattooing is not likely to be simply decorative”).58 Tattooing happened mostly around the time of puberty, marriage, or other rites of passage—birth, pregnancy, childbirth, death.59 As Hanne Schönig more recently argued, these tattoos thus “mark the stages of life that accompany the transition from one social group to another, from one state to another, from one occupation to another,” stages that place women in a modified relationship to the male world.60 The tattooing of these Armenian women literally marked the moment of their inclusion, integration, and absorption into the Bedouin community, simultaneously defining their status and belonging. It was, according to Jeppe, physically quite a painful procedure.61 The skin was pierced with a small bunch of needles, then rubbed with pigment, usually lamp black or indigo. A scab would form, and when it healed, a bluish coloring was set underneath the skin.62 “As for the designs employed,” wrote anthropologist Winifred Smeaton in 1930, “a great deal could be written on the subject”: The designs are geometrical or stylized. Generally they consist of combinations of dots and lines, especially zigzag and cross-hatched lines, circles, crescents, chevrons, triangles, stars, and crosses … most women have some tattooing on the face, especially on the chin, and dots between the eyes and above the upper lip.63 Only a few of the relief workers’ descriptions of tattoos acknowledge them as “supposed to beautify.”64 Instead, responding to their sense of transgression, relief workers and the European and American press described them as “disfiguring,” as scars, or as the “marks” or “brands” of slavery. This latter showed principled outrage at the Muslim ownership of Christian women, suggestive also of sexual slavery (especially when the orientalist and eroticized specter of “the harem” was conjured)—and the singeing word “brand” hammered home the horror of what the English newsletter the Slave Market News called “this crowning atrocity.”65 The Slave Market News first appeared in 1924, campaigning against white slavery, and regularly published rather hysterical stories about the captivity and rescue of Armenian women and girls, accompanied by stark studio portraits. (See Figure 4.) In December 1924, for example, a piece entitled “The Brand of Slavery” claimed “to comment as calmly as possible”: It is foul inhumanity to enslave the helpless but it is the torture of hell to brand with tattoo marks the fair and innocent faces of white girls with their Moslem owner’s mark. Cattle are branded in England lest they should stray and escape but in Asia Minor they brand white flesh and blood for the same reason … WE CONSIDER THE FACT THAT WHITE WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BRANDED, TORTURED, OUTRAGED, ENSLAVED, BOUGHT AND SOLD IN THE LANDS WHERE CHRISTIANITY FIRST TOOK ROOT TO BE THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY AND A CRIME AGAINST THE CIVILISATION OF THE AGE.66 Figure 4: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. A postcard printed and sold by the Slave Market News in the mid-1920s. The photograph was also featured on the front page of Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925), and with 1, no. 11 (1926), alongside an appeal for funds. The Slave Market News had links with Jeppe, via other British organizations, and most of the images it printed were from Reception House. Standing in the center of this image is Zumroot, who would leave for Tel Samen within the week; conversely, Victoria (standing, left) and Eliza (seated, right) had only just arrived. Mariam (standing, right) and Haiganoosh (seated, left) had been at Reception House a little over six months, and would stay another year. Zumroot, August 16, 1923; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Mariam, June 6, 1924; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. The photograph was also featured on the front cover of Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925), and inside Der Orient (the forerunner to Orient im Bild) 4–5 (1925): 37. None of the publications names the women or details their stories: they remain symbols of disfigurement and violation. Postcard archived in ALON 12/4365/4631. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. Figure 4: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. A postcard printed and sold by the Slave Market News in the mid-1920s. The photograph was also featured on the front page of Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925), and with 1, no. 11 (1926), alongside an appeal for funds. The Slave Market News had links with Jeppe, via other British organizations, and most of the images it printed were from Reception House. Standing in the center of this image is Zumroot, who would leave for Tel Samen within the week; conversely, Victoria (standing, left) and Eliza (seated, right) had only just arrived. Mariam (standing, right) and Haiganoosh (seated, left) had been at Reception House a little over six months, and would stay another year. Zumroot, August 16, 1923; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Mariam, June 6, 1924; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. The photograph was also featured on the front cover of Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925), and inside Der Orient (the forerunner to Orient im Bild) 4–5 (1925): 37. None of the publications names the women or details their stories: they remain symbols of disfigurement and violation. Postcard archived in ALON 12/4365/4631. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. The emphasis in fundraising materials on the women’s “whiteness” was designed to forge racial solidarity among potential donors and allay any fears over transculturation—an insistence upon their recuperability.67 But for the rescuers, particularly the missionaries, the women’s time in captivity raised questions about the lasting moral and racial effects of this “degrading slavery.”68 For them, the image of sexual subjection evoked by the tattoos was intolerable, and also a symbol that the women’s innocence and purity had been corrupted. It is telling, too, that the relief workers responded to their own unease by defining the tattoos as marks of shame. And as Jeppe observed, “the poor girls have a feeling of carrying a stigma for life on their faces, and in fact it often prevents them from coming home; they simply dare not expose themselves to the eyes of their compatriots.”69 The responses of other Armenians were in fact mixed, and here, too, the issue of the women’s “recuperability” revolved around the female body as the repository of the nation. Vahé Tachjian argues that rescued women were taboo among the remaining Middle East Armenian elite, whose main goal was national regeneration—and who thus wanted a pure community, “cleansed” of the last vestiges of “turkification,” and indeed of “blemishes.”70 Other refugees also shunned the rescued women, and many were forced to become prostitutes to survive—compounding the stigma.71 On the other hand, as Lerna Ekmekçioğlu has shown, other members of the Turkish Armenian elite actively reincorporated these women because, whatever their experiences, as women they were a vital resource for national rebirth.72 Reception House’s records also show many cases in which, like Zumroot, the women were soon married to Armenian men—who, one relief worker reported, regarded the tattoos merely as “battle scars.”73 Although neither Tachjian nor Ekmekçioğlu examines tattooed women specifically, as Ekmekçioğlu rightly says, rescued women certainly anticipated stigmatization—and doubly so, we can presume, for those with tattoos.74 Thus, while some relief workers were sympathetic, their characterizations of the tattoos—disfigurement, scars, slavery, shame, stigma—delineated the rescued women as an outcast group. The tattoos were visible reminders of their “degradation,” but more unsettlingly, they also threw the women’s identities into doubt: as “captives,” held in “slavery” by these marks, they were not fully part of Bedouin society, but neither could they fully rejoin the Armenian community.75 Hence the dismay at the permanence of the marks, frequently expressed and reported by the relief workers. As Jeppe’s doctor put it, “they are all tattooed to their great despair … because it is the ineffaceable sign of their time with the Arabs.”76 The tattoos are described as ineradicable, indelible, permanent: “Blueing was injected under the skin of her lower lip, and blue it will be to the end of her days,” wrote Holmes—suggestive of how, after rescue, the tattoos were treated as the women’s primary mark of identification, and a barrier to their reclamation.77 The other side of this particular coin was an obsession with surgical removal. NER’s only article on tattooing in its newsletter, the New Near East, accompanied by a photograph of a tattooed woman that was captioned “Marks Hard to Erase,” suggested that “[t]he main object of many of the girls in coming to the Rescue Home is to get rid of the mark of her slavehood.”78 In Adana, Webb and several other workers wrote of another girl, who “feels this ‘brand’ so keenly that she tries in vain to comb the coarse black hair down far enough to cover it and even asked the American doctor by sign language if he could remove it.”79 Various doctors wrote to medical journals and newspapers asking for advice on tattoo removal, and the New Near East noted that one medical missionary was successfully removing some tattoos “by operations.”80 “Occasionally a girl would disappear for a few days,” reported the Slave Market News, “and then would re-appear with a smile partly of pleasure and partly of embarrassment while a few healing wounds showed where the doctor’s knife had removed the record of her past life, and restored her so far as possible to self respect and to her place among her friends.”81 A full-page illustrated article that appeared in several U.S. newspapers proclaimed the triumph of Western scientific knowledge over the “unknown Oriental inks” in gruesome detail through the story of Nargig Abakiam, who was taken to tattoo experts in New York. A series of drawings illustrated the poultice treatment that would draw out the “secret inks,” leaving Nargig “as beautiful as ever—more beautiful, perhaps, for the little lines and wrinkles that had gathered also as the natural marks of her sufferings will have disappeared and her fresh bloom of youth will have been restored.”82 (See Figure 5.) A YWCA newsletter printed “before and after” photographs, one showing a raggedly dressed young woman with “patches on her face cover[ing] freshly made tattoos,” the second showing her “after she had been in the emergency home a few weeks,” posed in a white Western-style dress, her tattoos almost invisible. (See Figure 6.) The emphasis in each success story was that the woman, now able to show her face, could return to the Armenian community: in a reversal process that mirrored the original tattooing, the doctor’s knife would replace the marks of captivity with the scars of removal, or would draw out the inks under white bandages, culminating in a chrysalis-like restoration. This unmarking was thus a condition for reclamation, and for the woman to be reassigned an unambiguous Armenian, Christian, white identity—as if the success of her moral and national rescue were contingent upon her visual rescue. As with the contemporary case of the French gueules cassées, whose troubling appearance was “cured” via reconstructive surgery or sculpted masks, modern medical intervention was able to “solve” the “problem” of the rescued women’s recuperability.83 Crucially, then, when fundraisers did write of tattooed women, it was to assure donors that they could “become Armenian” again: “history” could, indeed, be “leached out.” Figure 5: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk's Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. Near East Relief’s press office circulated a number of stories about tattooed women to the American press (largely between 1919 and 1923), alongside more staple stories of relief workers, orphans, and continuing need. Local newspapers sometimes adapted or rewrote these stories; different versions of Nargig’s story (a misspelling of Nargis) appeared, for example, in the New York Times on April 4, 1920, 18 (without images), and in the Sandusky Register on October 4, 1920, 2 (with a more formal portrait). Most shorter NER news reports merely tended to note that many thousands of Armenian “slaves” were being (or needed to be) rescued, but like the Ogden Standard Examiner, some indulged in lurid description and sexualizing images, including the Pittsburgh Press, January 24, 1926, 88. Image courtesy of Utah Digital Newspapers, J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Figure 5: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk's Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. Near East Relief’s press office circulated a number of stories about tattooed women to the American press (largely between 1919 and 1923), alongside more staple stories of relief workers, orphans, and continuing need. Local newspapers sometimes adapted or rewrote these stories; different versions of Nargig’s story (a misspelling of Nargis) appeared, for example, in the New York Times on April 4, 1920, 18 (without images), and in the Sandusky Register on October 4, 1920, 2 (with a more formal portrait). Most shorter NER news reports merely tended to note that many thousands of Armenian “slaves” were being (or needed to be) rescued, but like the Ogden Standard Examiner, some indulged in lurid description and sexualizing images, including the Pittsburgh Press, January 24, 1926, 88. Image courtesy of Utah Digital Newspapers, J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Figure 6: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “Foreign Reconstruction,” Blue Triangle News, January 16, 1920, 2. This piece was published at a time when the YWCA was seeking extra funds to expand its work in the “emergency homes” (a term the association preferred to “rescue homes”), as NER sought to withdraw from that work. These two photographs were also published around the same time (1919) on the front cover of and inside a YWCA booklet entitled The Aftermath, which sought to raise funds for its work in the Near East. Copy in YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 337, folder 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Near East Relief also frequently used “before and after” images in its publicity material at this time—but of orphans and others merely labeled “refugees,” not of tattooed girls and women. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 6: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “Foreign Reconstruction,” Blue Triangle News, January 16, 1920, 2. This piece was published at a time when the YWCA was seeking extra funds to expand its work in the “emergency homes” (a term the association preferred to “rescue homes”), as NER sought to withdraw from that work. These two photographs were also published around the same time (1919) on the front cover of and inside a YWCA booklet entitled The Aftermath, which sought to raise funds for its work in the Near East. Copy in YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 337, folder 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Near East Relief also frequently used “before and after” images in its publicity material at this time—but of orphans and others merely labeled “refugees,” not of tattooed girls and women. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. In the field, though, far from the fundraising rhetoric, “history” was not so easily disregarded, and the very modern transformative claims of this humanitarianism remained unrealized. Instead, those engaged in humanitarian projects of national reconstruction continued to exclude those they deemed threatening to their vision of national renewal. Once the issue progressed from the women’s rescue to the question of their rehabilitation, their “history”—as signified by their tattoos—determined how the different humanitarian organizations and workers judged their ultimate viability as components of the new nation.84 When NER began to shift decisively away from emergency relief in 1920, it launched large agricultural, medical, and educational projects for the orphans under its care.85 NER executives made a policy decision to emphasize “the child” over “the orphan,” likely because this suggested moldable “raw material” rather than the baggage the word “orphan” carried.86 From then on, fundraising letters and articles in the New Near East referred to the children as “the hope of the future.”87 An April 1922 center spread, entitled “The Resurrection of a Race,” declared that “Armenia’s hope is in her children. Through them, and them only, can she hope to rise again.” As NER shifted its policies, so too did it shift its visual strategies. Increasingly, the photographs in the New Near East were of neat, healthy orphans busy in NER’s workshops, fields, and schools; there were never any tattooed girls or women to disturb the visual coherence of national renewal. (See Figure 7.) By 1922, only seven of the sixteen rescue homes were still operating, and support for the rescued women had petered out with little comment.88 Figure 7: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “On the Threshold of the Work-a-Day World,” New Near East 7, no. 9 (1922): 10–11. In its initial years of publication, the New Near East favored images of destitution and suffering, to provide evidence of need and provoke pity. This center spread is typical of the imagery NER deployed once it shifted fully from emergency relief to national reconstruction: the collage and accompanying captions emphasize industriousness, craft, self-sufficiency, and collective endeavor—thereby presenting donors with a vision of NER’s humanitarian goal of national reconstruction already successfully under way, and its completion—crucially— within reach. Image courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Figure 7: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “On the Threshold of the Work-a-Day World,” New Near East 7, no. 9 (1922): 10–11. In its initial years of publication, the New Near East favored images of destitution and suffering, to provide evidence of need and provoke pity. This center spread is typical of the imagery NER deployed once it shifted fully from emergency relief to national reconstruction: the collage and accompanying captions emphasize industriousness, craft, self-sufficiency, and collective endeavor—thereby presenting donors with a vision of NER’s humanitarian goal of national reconstruction already successfully under way, and its completion—crucially— within reach. Image courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Given the women’s invisibility in NER’s campaigns, only the writings of missionary and other relief workers running the rescue homes open a window onto their treatment. As Henry Riggs in Harpoot noted, the missionaries were faced with the task of rebuilding the last century’s work among the Armenians from the “shivering remnant” who had returned from exile or had survived in Muslim homes, which, Riggs admitted, was a picture “far from reassuring.”89 The missionaries, too, focused on the orphans, who predominate in the swaths of correspondence and reports, where they are consistently prioritized and imbued with hope for the future: “The work for orphans is in many ways the most important of all,” wrote Emma Cushman in October 1916.90 Few actually contested the drive to rescue the women coming from Turkish houses—indeed, some devoted themselves to it, like Webb and Holmes, while others were wholly supportive, including longstanding missionaries William Chambers and Henry Riggs, the latter of whom told stories of defending Armenian women from disgruntled former husbands with great relish.91 But the general response among missionaries was grudging and reluctant. In Aintab, the rescued women were placed seventh on the list of eleven reconstruction tasks (below “publications”); in Harpoot, Mary Riggs wrote, rather grumpily, that “[t]hey turn up at all times of day and every day of the week and claim they have just run away and have no place to spend the coming night and are in danger of being caught. So I have to take them in. One day last week I took in 46.”92 The running of the rescue homes was left to female missionaries and relief workers, and here, too, the sparseness and tone of their comments indicates both disinterest and growing reservations about the project of rescue. For the missionaries, it was impossible that these women—who had “chosen” to “sacrifice” their moral, religious, and sexual purity by living among the Muslims for four years or more—could participate in the spiritual rebirth of the Armenian nation.93 They represented the failure not just of the missions’ work over the past eighty years, but specifically of female missionaries’ efforts in the realm of “woman’s work for woman”—a missionary endeavor that focused on championing women’s education and trying to replace “primitive” housekeeping and medical practices with “modern” methods, in the hope that women would then exercise a “civilizing influence” within the domestic sphere.94 In the missionaries’ eyes, the rescued women had “proven” themselves unfit for the responsibility of bringing up new families—their key gendered role in national reconstruction. The religious and racial filters through which the missionaries viewed the fact of the rescued women’s—often forced—relationships with Muslim men labeled the women problematic, and diseased, in a metaphorical as well as sometimes literal sense. Ruth Parmelee, a medical doctor in Harpoot, found that only around 15 percent had some form of sexually transmitted disease, but the missionaries’ general suspicion was that most were untreatably “diseased,” and the idea of their being irremediably vitiated as an entire group, and thus “irrecuperable,” is clearly present.95 In a continuation of the disease metaphor, they were frequently described as “mentally unstable.” “One girl had become partially insane from her treatment in a harem,” wrote one missionary. “Her face was disfigured by four tattoo marks … She looked at us in a wild, frightened sort of way as she sat spinning and weaving.”96 This, it was acknowledged, was usually because the rescued women’s “worse-than-death experiences … had robbed [them] of reason,” and while some were undoubtedly traumatized by brutal experiences, there hovers over these descriptions a more general implication of the cultural “damage” done to them as a group.97 “Trouble” around the issue of active sexuality, or sexual impurity, also explains at least in part the missionaries’ division of rescued women and girls by age: girls under thirteen were usually absorbed into the orphanages, blending into the nurtured category of “the orphan.”98 Rescued women, by contrast, were regarded with suspicion—they were not given new clothes for a month, in case they ran back to their Turkish husbands—and they appear in missionary writings as slow-witted, somehow more intractable in nature, more difficult to redeem.99 “Some of them formerly had good homes and still show the result of that training, but for the most part they have had to learn the first essentials of how to live,” wrote one. “In some ways it has been harder to teach them because they are so [much older] and have become so accustomed to their bad ways of doing things.”100 A YWCA worker in Harpoot agreed: “there seems to be more promise for the future in these [younger] girls than in the women of the Refuge Home, many of whom are mature women.”101 In Harpoot, Parmelee housed the mothers separately in a “nursery.” While this was partly a practical measure—the women could work during the day—it was also clearly driven by the sense of their needing “better supervision,” as Parmelee put it.102 This quarantining was also presumably connected to the unease many missionaries felt when confronted with children who were the product of this “sexual impurity” (or indeed a kind of “miscegenation”): Parmelee called them “Armeno-Turkish babies”; others referred to them as “Turk babies.”103 None of these missionaries envisaged the women, sometimes rather cruelly labeled “Turkish brides,” as being able to marry and have a “normal” life.104 In this, the missionaries’ conviction that the orphans represented the best hope for Armenian regeneration dovetailed with NER’s, albeit for slightly different reasons. For women with tattoos, their marks provided a definite indicator of what was otherwise only an invisible potential for impurity, transculturation, and disease. Yet there were others—both missionaries and other NER workers—who did not completely ostracize the rescued women, bringing different perspectives to the question of how, and how far, they could be rehabilitated. These individuals invested time and emotion in caring for the women, and running through their writings is a concern for the women’s individual futures, and indeed their present happiness. At the simplest level, this is evident from the way these relief workers refer to their charges by name, and as girls, not women. Helen Jones and Elsie Tanner, two YWCA workers stationed at Harpoot by NER, shared many of the missionaries’ misgivings about the rescued women. However, approaching them from within a YWCA framework of strengthening individual (and thus global) Christianity through recreation, they sought to “hold out to the freed captives some hope in life.”105 “Up to the present time they have been looked upon from the standpoint of self support rather than self development,” reported Tanner.106 As well as planning “more systematic and supervised industrial work,” they hoped to “reach” the women through supper groups, including the mothers, and took the young woman in charge of the rescue home under their wing: “she has the most tragic look on her face and Elsie and I have resolved that we will try to help Vartanoosh forget.”107 The YWCA workers brought about a marked difference in the rescue home’s atmosphere, as the missionaries themselves reported with an air of surprise, and they were sad to leave some months later for work elsewhere: “It seems hardly possible to have become as interested as I have in many of the girls in so short a time and it is going to be a pull to leave it all.”108 However, the two who invested most in the rescued women and girls were in fact missionaries, Caroline Holmes and Elizabeth Webb. Holmes’s memoir is full of tales of the Armenians she took in, of defending them against false “relatives” looking for servants, and of family reunions—including her cook, who recognized her young daughter among the arrivals one day, and Hirepsomy, a tattooed girl who recognized her brother Hagop in the marketplace: “Their joy was so great that the Turks turned away their faces from the sight and to wipe away their tears.”109 The most dedicated, though, was Webb, a missionary of long standing whose successes were held in high regard by the other Adana missionaries.110 “The life of each one of these twenty-nine girls has its own tragedy,” she noted, describing some of the lengths they had gone to in order to escape, and the transformation in their personalities.111 “How shall I tell you of this Rosa, our first child,” she wrote, “so bold and wilful! Sometimes I almost despaired of doing anything with her. But how can I ever make you see the change that has come over her in the past six weeks? Bright in mind, quick and capable, she is a born leader.”112 And their second girl, Horepsime: After losing father and mother, she spent four years among the Arabs. Here she was obliged to milk 150 sheep every day, besides going to the mountains and cutting wood for fuel, carrying it home on her back. To keep from having her face tattooed, according to the custom of the Arabs, she threw herself into a shallow well. Finally, finding she would be left there to starve, she managed to climb out, and submitted. Her face is now disfigured with a pattern in black spots which will remain till death, except, as possible, they may be cut or burnt out.113 In addition to recording the forlorn girls’ first smiles and organizing day trips, Webb concentrated on teaching them to knit, embroider, and make rugs.114 She was circumspect about the fact that these young women would never be fully reintegrated into Armenian society, but she was resolved, with empathy, to give them the best chance in life: We do not call our home an “orphanage” or a “refugee” [sic], but a “Trade School,” as this is what we plan to make it … Many of these girls can probably never have homes of their own. The right thing is to teach them trades that they may be independent and able to earn a living for themselves. They have been grievously sinned against, and many will suffer through life for it.115 Webb, Holmes, and the YWCA workers thus shared the dominant perspective among relief workers, that the rescued women were not “recuperable” for the nation—but they were determined that the women could be rehabilitated as individuals, and should be given the chance of a happy and fulfilling life: part of the Armenian community, but not part of national regeneration. The five women from Smith College projected a different set of cultural assumptions onto the problem of recuperation. Although they came, like many of the missionaries, from a broadly New England Protestant background, they did not see the rescued women’s experiences per se as a barrier to inclusion in this national project; rather, they based their ideas about regeneration and social progress on their own experience and belief in the transformative power of education. Each was enthusiastic about the rescue work; Esther Greene, in particular, included in her long, intense letters home many stories of taking in women and girls, mediating between them and their Turkish husbands through the home’s door, and accompanying Miss Graffam, a famous missionary, on a quest to retrieve a former pupil from a Kurdish chief’s house.116 But the Smith women, perhaps unsurprisingly, related to those Armenian women most like themselves—those usually of higher social standing who had been educated in the missionary colleges, who spoke English, and who were “extremely attractive, lady-like and well bred.” These they saw as the “leaven in the lump”—“it is to them to whom the country looks for leaders,” wrote Greene.117 Justine Hill, stationed as Stanley Kerr’s lab assistant in Aleppo, argued that once political tensions had subsided, the best among the Armenians should take over reconstruction: “I firmly believe that if given a fair chance to exist, they would soon do their own scrambling, with an occasional hand.”118 Mabel Elliott, a doctor seconded to NER by the service organization American Women’s Hospitals, likewise warmed to this social class of women. The beginning of her memoir recounts her first weeks treating women in the Constantinople Rescue Home, “all from the best class of Armenian homes; carefully reared, well educated, charming girls, much like a group of young American college women.”119 Her tone here is compassionate and affectionate, in marked contrast to her description of a tattooed woman who came to an NER orphanage to claim her child: “There was nothing bright or gay about her stooped figure … Her face was wrinkled and brown as leather, her teeth were decaying, and between the bright dark eyes was the blue tattoo mark of the Turkish-Armenian woman who has known slavery to the Arabs … when the baby understood that she was to go away with this woman she clung to Miss MacKaye’s neck in silent desperation.”120 Elliott does not mention any tattooed women at Constantinople (although other sources do), and neither do any of the Smith women.121 It seems that for these relief workers, too, the rescued women’s tattoos were a visual barrier to their ever being able to be like “young American college women.” Karen Jeppe’s approach to the question of who was “fit” to participate in national regeneration owed less to notions of purity or malleability than to currents of European thinking on national identity and belonging. As Matthias Bjørnlund argues, Jeppe saw herself not as a missionary but “as an aid worker and rescue worker, and, increasingly, as an activist working for national self-determination for the oppressed and dispelled Armenians.”122 Jeppe was deeply rooted in Grundtvigianism, an influential Danish Lutheran movement that emphasized personal freedom, education, and human nature as inhering in one’s own ethnic and cultural nation—and thus she saw her task as supporting and strengthening Armenian group coherence, not undermining it by attempting to convert Armenians to Protestantism.123 Her focus on restoring Armenian cultural heritage, crafts, and language was in this vein. She sought to rescue and reclaim only those whose Armenian identity had remained firm, “whose yearning for their people is so strong that they brave everything and fly. Those are the ones we must get hold of.”124 This, as she intended, required a “special effort” on their part; “they had to decide for themselves whether they would leave the houses where they were detained or not, and they often ran a considerable risk in doing so.”125 For Jeppe, thus, seeking out and seizing Armenians in Muslim households risked not only the emergence of a new “Armenian question” amid the political tensions of French Mandate Syria, but also the possibility of bringing in the “wrong sort.” Early on, she made a very specific appraisal of who the most recuperable Armenians were—an appraisal in which her later agricultural settlement schemes were also prefigured. Unlike those living in villages, where life was “moral and pure” and work the “natural condition of life,” those living in the cities, both boys and girls, were “the victims of an unlimited licentiousness, and have mentally and physically been infected and spoiled”: We have only too many corrupted Armenians, both men and women, and a great number are so turkified that they are no good. The Oriental woman sinks rapidly, and it is difficult to raise her again. A wholesale gathering in of them would bring too many of that kind; in the other way they would not come. Those who would come are the Armenian young men who come with the definite purpose to remain Armenians. They have only one thought, to return to their people and to succeed.126 Jeppe estimated that more than half the Armenian women in Muslim houses had resigned themselves to settling down and “trying to forget their own people,” and accepted that for many, “natural love” for the children born to them would “bind them firmly to the home.”127 These women were “lost” forever, “but on the other hand hundreds of women sigh for liberation. If they could find the means of flight and knew a place, where they would not be entirely abandoned, they would not tarry one moment.”128 While Jeppe managed to trace family members of fully three-quarters of those she rescued—an impressive feat given the geographical spread and continual movement of the ravaged diaspora—others, like Zumroot, settled in Jeppe’s expanding agricultural colonies.129 She established the first, Tel Armen, in 1924, to provide a living for those more used to farming than the city, and also to help mitigate the expenses of Reception House.130 In her report to the League, Jeppe linked rescue with a reconstruction that would forge an “organic link between the Arab and the Armenian world”: The colony would tend to make our refugees much more useful to the country in which they live … No element could ever be more suited to colonisation in this country than these young Armenians with all the energy of their race tingling in their veins … The colony would attract them in thousands and enable them to become Armenians again.131 Accordingly, Jeppe’s criteria for who was “recuperable” diverged significantly from those of the NER workers, missionary or other, in that she judged “purity” and therefore suitability not by morality or “disease,” but on strength of national feeling, as evidenced by their “risking all” to escape. She was therefore little interested in the tattoos marking the faces of some of the women who came to Reception House; it was their inner identity that concerned her, not their outward appearance. In the intake registers, tattoos are visible on at least forty-seven of the women’s faces (see Figure 8), but only three of the personal stories mention tattoos, each time in a case where the extent of the tattooing resulted in medical or psychological difficulties and clearly horrified the staff.132 In general, these photographs do not accentuate the tattoos. Indeed, they bear little resemblance to the mug shots increasingly being used across Europe and America, but instead are in the style of classic late-nineteenth-century portrait photography, using the Victorian technique of an oval frame, thought to flatter and accentuate the shape of the face: these portraits were an act of recuperation in themselves.133 Figure 8: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. The intake photograph of Victoria Boghossian, from Adiaman (Adıyaman) in southeastern Turkey, who arrived at Reception House on February 16, 1925, at the age of twenty-three. The intake register records that she was deported with her mother, three sisters, and two brothers; her mother and at least two of her sisters died along the way. One day when she left the caravan to drink at a river, some Arabs surrounded her, and although she threw herself into the water, they caught her. She lived with one of them for a year; after he died, she lived with another Arab at Tel Samen for eight years. When some Armenians came to the village, she heard that some of her relatives were alive, and fled to Reception House’s new orphanage in Tel Samen. She was sent on to Reception House in Aleppo, but left after five months to join her brother in Beirut. The intake register makes no mention of her tattoos. Victoria, February 16, 1925, Reception House Registers. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. Figure 8: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. The intake photograph of Victoria Boghossian, from Adiaman (Adıyaman) in southeastern Turkey, who arrived at Reception House on February 16, 1925, at the age of twenty-three. The intake register records that she was deported with her mother, three sisters, and two brothers; her mother and at least two of her sisters died along the way. One day when she left the caravan to drink at a river, some Arabs surrounded her, and although she threw herself into the water, they caught her. She lived with one of them for a year; after he died, she lived with another Arab at Tel Samen for eight years. When some Armenians came to the village, she heard that some of her relatives were alive, and fled to Reception House’s new orphanage in Tel Samen. She was sent on to Reception House in Aleppo, but left after five months to join her brother in Beirut. The intake register makes no mention of her tattoos. Victoria, February 16, 1925, Reception House Registers. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. It is the photographs in Jeppe’s six personal albums that are most revealing of her attitudes toward the tattooed women, and their inclusion in her vision of national reconstruction. (See, for example, Figures 1, 9, and 10.) Scattered among the everyday scenes of life at Reception House, in the trade workshops, and in the expanding desert villages are several photographs of tattooed women, including the image of Zumroot standing in Reception House. One woman stands alone, in the doorway to her house in the compound; a group of four women, just rescued, stand in front of Reception House, formal in one photograph, relaxing into smiles in a second.134 In one of the workshops at Reception House, Mariam is shown refining embroidery designs with two workers. (See Figure 9.) Another woman, Jeghsa, stands between two newly built houses in the compound, the whitewash fresh and the trees still young, her quiet, direct gaze holding the camera. (See Figure 10.) None of these photographs sensationalize the women, or reduce them to the “problem” of their tattoos. Rather, they depict the women as Jeppe saw them: getting on with their new lives, as Armenians—both recuperable and representable, if only within the confines of her own albums. Figure 9: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Mariam (right) discussing sewing designs with two of Jeppe’s overseers, ca. 1926. Mariam was seven during the genocide; her father and brother were taken into the Ottoman army, and her mother took Mariam and her sister to stay with their grandparents. The family was deported from there. A Kurd took Mariam and kept her for eight years as his daughter. Eventually a young Armenian man passing through told Mariam’s mistress that her relatives were alive and seeking her, and took her to Malatia. From there, the intake register records, “she came with a caravan of emigrants to this city. Having no relatives, she came to us.” Mariam stayed in Reception House for eighteen months, leaving in January 1926, self-employed as an embroiderer. Mariam, June 6, 1924, Reception House Registers. This photograph was published in “Karen Jeppes Virksomhed i Aleppo: Brev fra Henni Forchhammer,” Armeniervennen 6, no. 7–8 (1926): 29–30, here 29, part of a letter from Henni Forchhammer about Karen Jeppe’s activities in Aleppo. It is noteworthy that in this picture Jeppe includes a tattooed woman who is neither alone nor grouped solely with other tattooed women: she is fully “integrated” into the life of Reception House. Photograph no. 66, in Karen Jeppe’s album 56. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 9: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Mariam (right) discussing sewing designs with two of Jeppe’s overseers, ca. 1926. Mariam was seven during the genocide; her father and brother were taken into the Ottoman army, and her mother took Mariam and her sister to stay with their grandparents. The family was deported from there. A Kurd took Mariam and kept her for eight years as his daughter. Eventually a young Armenian man passing through told Mariam’s mistress that her relatives were alive and seeking her, and took her to Malatia. From there, the intake register records, “she came with a caravan of emigrants to this city. Having no relatives, she came to us.” Mariam stayed in Reception House for eighteen months, leaving in January 1926, self-employed as an embroiderer. Mariam, June 6, 1924, Reception House Registers. This photograph was published in “Karen Jeppes Virksomhed i Aleppo: Brev fra Henni Forchhammer,” Armeniervennen 6, no. 7–8 (1926): 29–30, here 29, part of a letter from Henni Forchhammer about Karen Jeppe’s activities in Aleppo. It is noteworthy that in this picture Jeppe includes a tattooed woman who is neither alone nor grouped solely with other tattooed women: she is fully “integrated” into the life of Reception House. Photograph no. 66, in Karen Jeppe’s album 56. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Jeppe did make strategic use of the tattooed women in her fundraising drives, thus including those not conventionally considered “recuperable” in her visualization of her reconstruction work. She commissioned a set of portraits, including Zumroot’s Orient im Bild frontispiece, which accentuated and exhibited their marks. The Slave Market News was the most avid publisher of these images, printing them alongside sensationalist stories, and also offering postcard reproductions for sale.135 Its campaign style, while more lurid than most, utilized the well-established humanitarian convention of depicting human suffering in order to argue for the abolition of the system that produced it—here, white slavery. But those fundraising for national reconstruction—Orient im Bild and Armeniervennen (the newsletter of the Danish Friends of Armenia, Jeppe’s closest supporters)—were more guarded in their use of these photographs and accompanying captions, perhaps not trusting that their subscribers would also believe that the tattooed women were “recuperable.”136 More often, they published long articles from Jeppe detailing her successes and the progress in the construction of the new colonies—accompanied by images that, cumulatively, chart the transformations in the “recuperated” and the land. Here, as in the New Near East, the new agendas of national reconstruction demanded a new visual aesthetic—not the orderly, sanitized aura that suffused prewar missionary photographs, but a more vigorous, organic aesthetic of struggle and rejuvenation that chimed with the dreams of the interwar period. Jeppe found support for her activities from a number of Armenophile societies and private individuals across the globe.137 In their overriding concern to reestablish the Armenian nation as a cultural and ethnoreligious entity, Jeppe and her funders saw the task of rescue and rehabilitation slightly differently than the League did. In the Near East, the League aimed to construct social peace through a combination of minority protection laws, French and British mandates (an evolution of the “civilizing project”), and social justice and social reform projects.138 Back in Geneva, the focus was on rescue—conceived as the “saving” of Armenian women and children from slavery and forced concubinage, and the reversal of the wartime process that saw national minorities mixed and absorbed into others.139 But for Jeppe, rescue had to be accompanied by rehabilitation, if the nation was to be “saved.”140 She thus had a deeper and more emotional investment in rebuilding the Armenian nation than the League did, but her modus operandi for rescue and rehabilitation fitted their agendas well; even her agricultural settlement project, which in some ways went beyond her original brief, was perfectly in tune with the League’s ideals, in its logic of the economically productive social integration of a national minority into the surrounding majority. As she argued, settling them in her colonies in fact “utilis[ed] that which seemed their greatest obstacle, their ‘arabisation,’ to build up a strong and thriving peasantry fit to understand and to be understood by the native population.”141 Following Jeppe’s lead, her heterogeneous mix of funders became advocates of the reabsorption of the tattooed women into the Armenian community; the League, pleased with Jeppe’s work (and to appease the activists among them), raised no objections. Figure 10: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Jeghsa Hairabedian standing in the Reception House compound, ca. 1929. Jeghsa was eight during the genocide. She was deported from Adiaman with her parents and sister; her father was killed, and then her sister was lost. A Kurd dragged her mother away, and shortly thereafter, Jeghsa herself was taken by another Kurd to a neighboring village. Some years later, mother and daughter met while out gathering fuel, and made their escape. Jeghsa, November 25, 1929, Reception House Registers. Jeghsa’s story was printed in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 29–30, with a photograph that displayed her tattoos more prominently (indeed, they appear to have been touched up); the same image is printed on one of the glass slides that Jeppe and the Danish Friends of Armenia used to illustrate fundraising lectures (Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn). Another studio portrait of Jeghsa, her tattoos prominent, appears in Jeppe’s private albums; but as with Zumroot, the composition of this image—and Jeppe’s inclusion of it in her albums—suggests a more caring, human relationship outside the confines of the fundraising imperative. Photograph no. 395, in Karen Jeppe’s album 59. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 10: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Jeghsa Hairabedian standing in the Reception House compound, ca. 1929. Jeghsa was eight during the genocide. She was deported from Adiaman with her parents and sister; her father was killed, and then her sister was lost. A Kurd dragged her mother away, and shortly thereafter, Jeghsa herself was taken by another Kurd to a neighboring village. Some years later, mother and daughter met while out gathering fuel, and made their escape. Jeghsa, November 25, 1929, Reception House Registers. Jeghsa’s story was printed in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 29–30, with a photograph that displayed her tattoos more prominently (indeed, they appear to have been touched up); the same image is printed on one of the glass slides that Jeppe and the Danish Friends of Armenia used to illustrate fundraising lectures (Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn). Another studio portrait of Jeghsa, her tattoos prominent, appears in Jeppe’s private albums; but as with Zumroot, the composition of this image—and Jeppe’s inclusion of it in her albums—suggests a more caring, human relationship outside the confines of the fundraising imperative. Photograph no. 395, in Karen Jeppe’s album 59. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. The seductive new visualizations of national reconstruction within fundraising materials provided a distraction that helped organizations and donors overlook the problems of “history,” even when they were marked so very visibly on the women’s faces. But for most relief workers on the ground, the women’s tattoos were too significant to be overlooked, and rendered them too problematic to be included in the new nation. Jeppe, too, divided and categorized the surviving Armenian population—not along lines of “history,” but on strength of national feeling. Thus, the treatment of the tattooed women lays bare the contradictions between this “new” humanitarianism’s claims to be able to remedy and transform, and its enduring reluctance to treat all as equally “recuperable.” What makes this interwar humanitarianism truly “modern” is not its (uneven and contested) transition from “old” to “new” personnel and practices; it is these sweeping projects for the remolding of societies and peoples, the attendant gendered biopolitics of inclusion and exclusion, and the construction of a visual aesthetic that would mobilize audiences and donors through uplifting depictions of transformed, recuperated bodies. By putting under the same lens the intricacies of these different visions of national reconstruction, particularly as they related to the tattooed women, we bring into clearer focus both the complex processes of change in humanitarian practices during the interwar period and also their insuperable limits. Crucially, these are best captured by exploring the thoughts and initiatives of ordinary relief workers on the ground, since they themselves frequently embodied, and were agents of, these changes, and directly imposed the limits. And crucially, too, it is in the writings and photograph albums of these relief workers that we find the otherwise hidden stories of the tattooed women and their fates. Zumroot, as the intake registers note, moved to Jeppe’s second agricultural colony and married an Armenian farmer. The four other women on the Slave Market News’s frontispiece and postcard in Figure 4 also found homes: Mariam (standing, right, and Figure 9) became self-supporting as an embroiderer; Eliza (seated, right) supported herself as a servant, living with relatives; Victoria (standing, left, and Figure 8) went to Beirut to live with her brother; and Haiganoosh (seated, left) found work as an embroiderer, living with her brother and father.142 Jeghsa’s story appeared in Armeniervennen in 1930; there are four photographs of her in total, suggesting that she remained at Reception House a while.143 As Caroline Holmes reported from Urfa, Hirepsomy and Hagob were reunited as brother and sister in a chance meeting in the marketplace. And while the ending of Elizabeth Webb’s story in Adana would suggest that Rosa and Horepsime, her first two girls, would have gone on to lead independent and relatively happy lives, we cannot know. Adana was the scene of fighting between French and Turkish troops at the end of 1921, as the Kemalists expelled the French from Cilicia—events that many Armenians did not survive. Webb arrived in Beirut in 1921; her personnel card simply reads “among refugees.”144 Many of the rescued women and girls were swept up in the Turkish military campaigns in the southeastern provinces of Turkey between 1921 and 1923, and many—as Jeppe found—decided to return to Muslim households. Once again, they joined the thousands who became permanently absorbed into the Turkish national community, as Turkish wives, mothers, and grandmothers—whose fate as “hidden Armenians” is only now being recognized in contemporary Turkey, as thousands of Turks hunt through their family histories to see if they, too, have an “Armenian grandmother.”145 Rebecca Jinks is Lecturer in Holocaust Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Representing Genocide: The Holocaust as Paradigm? (Bloomsbury, 2016). She is currently working on a social history of humanitarianism during and after the First World War. This article was begun while I held the first Raphael Lemkin Scholarship at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Yerevan, in 2011. Grants from the Rockefeller Archive Center (2013) and the Friendly Hand (2013) enabled me to complete archival research. I would like to thank the staff at AGMI, the RAC, the League of Nations Archives (Geneva), the Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the Hoover Institution Archives, the Smith College Archives, the Mount Holyoke College Archives, the Yale Divinity School Library, and the Burke Library at Columbia University, as well as Raymond Kévorkian, Matthias Bjørnlund, Mogens Højmark, Rebecca Wennberg, and Piers Rawson, for their archival help and immense wealth of knowledge. I would also like to thank Helen Graham, Dan Stone, Cathie Carmichael, Abraham D. Krikorian and Eugene L. Taylor, Jessica Wright, Melanie Webb, Mathura Umachandran, John Boopalan, Edna Bonhomme, and the AHR’s editors and reviewers for their insightful discussions, suggestions, and support. Notes 1Zumroot, August 16, 1923, Reception House Registers, C1601–1603, Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva [hereafter ALON]. The life stories recounted in the Reception House Registers are very brief, and highly stylized. Understandably, given the nature of the survivors’ experiences, the texts often lack detail and clarity. 2The terms used contemporaneously and in later scholarship to describe these processes are extremely loaded. Campaigners often used “kidnapped,” “abducted,” and “taken into slavery.” Historian Ara Sarafian’s “absorption” is more neutral. Sarafian, “The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households as a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide,” in Omer Bartov and Phyllis Mack, eds., In God’s Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century (New York, 2001), 209–221. “Rescue,” “recovery,” and (especially) “repatriation” all presuppose the “correctness” of these actions. None is sufficient to capture the range of the women’s experiences (see also n. 26); I use these terms as necessary to convey the worldviews of those involved, but I am analyzing these as Western projects of “reclamation,” “reconstruction,” and “recuperability.” 3The registers were called the “Protocols” by the Aleppo staff. Most of the surviving registers (three are missing) are in the League of Nations Archives, which labels them “Reception House Registers.” Another is held in the Danish State Archives, De Danske Armeniervenners Arkiv, 10158, “1919–1949,” Forhandlingsprotokol, pakke 1. I call them “intake registers” since it is smoother, more idiomatic English. See Dicle Akar Bilgin, Matthias Bjørnlund, and Taner Akçam’s project to digitize the “Aleppo Protocols,” The League of Nations in Aleppo: Armenian Women and Children Survivors, 1921–1927, http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/orphan-children.nsf!OpenDatabase, with a critical introduction by Bjørnlund. 4There are six albums, held in the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute archives in Yerevan, numbered (by the archive) 56–61. The photographs in albums 56–60 were numbered consecutively by Jeppe. This is photograph no. 100 from album 57. The photographs are uncaptioned; significant correlative work has been necessary to identify persons, places, and approximate dates. 5K. Jeppe, “Im Flüchtlingslager von Aleppo,” Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927): 20–22. 6The women’s own perspectives are largely absent here. It is in the nature of their lives and experiences that few would have had the opportunity, or wish, to tell their stories in their own words at the time. In the sources I use, their words are always filtered by third parties, whether relief workers or journalists abroad. There are some oral testimonies, mostly dating from the 1960s and 1970s; see Gayané Adourian, Barouhi Chorekian, and Barouhi Silian’s brief testimonies of being tattooed in Verzhine Svazlian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: Testimonies of the Eye-Witness Survivors (Yerevan, 2011), 444–445, 413–414. (Doris Melkonian is working on UCLA’s Armenian survivor testimony collection; others are available via the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.) But the circumstances under which the women gave their testimony (with the need to maintain and underline their reassumed Armenian identity) and the filtering of their memories through their subsequent life experiences—which include starting families of their own, and therefore denote acceptance/inclusion—make them less reliable as testimonies of their feelings in the early 1920s. One published memoir discusses tattooing in some detail: Mae M. Derdarian, Vergeen: A Survivor of the Armenian Genocide (Los Angeles, 1997). It confirms my analysis below, especially in its discussion of Vergeen’s “shame,” her desire for surgical removal of her tattoos, and her fear of non-acceptance by the Armenian community, but it is likewise filtered through her post-genocide family life in America. Moreover, the text itself was written by the daughter of Vergeen’s closest friend, based on Vergeen’s unpublished manuscript. While I would have preferred my critical perspective to be informed by the women’s, I have tried to retain a sense of their independent agency where possible (for example, the choice Zumroot and others made to stay or leave). 7The charity went through various mergers and name changes before becoming Near East Relief upon its incorporation by an Act of Congress in 1919. For a brief critical history, see Davide Rodogno, “Beyond Relief: A Sketch of the Near East Relief’s Humanitarian Operations, 1918–1929,” Monde(s) 6, no. 2 (2014): 45–64. Armenian communities also mounted significant relief efforts, but these lie outside the scope of this article. See Vahé Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion: The Reintegration Process of Female Survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” Nations and Nationalism 15, no. 1 (2009): 60–80; Raymond Kévorkian, Levon Nordiguian, and Vahé Tachjian, Les Arméniens, 1917–1939: La quête d’un refuge (Paris, 2007); and Anna Aleksanyan’s paper “The Issue of Identity of Surviving Armenian Women and Children after WWI,” Aid to Armenia: Armenia and Armenians in International History workshop, Birkbeck College, London, June 3, 2016. 8Keith David Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism, 1920–1927,” American Historical Review 115, no. 5 (December 2010): 1315–1339; Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Oakland, Calif., 2015); Matthias Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians: National Survival in Imperial and Colonial Settings,” Haigazian Armenological Review 28 (2008): 9–43; Inger Marie Okkenhaug, “Religion, Relief and Humanitarian Work among Armenian Women Refugees in Mandatory Syria, 1927–1934,” Scandinavian Journal of History 40, no. 3 (2015): 432–454; Vahram L. Shemmassian, “The League of Nations and the Reclamation of Armenian Genocide Survivors,” in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick, N.J., 2003), 81–112; Victoria Rowe, “Armenian Women Refugees at the End of Empire: Strategies of Survival,” in Panikos Panayi and Pippa Virdee, eds., Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration in the Twentieth Century (New York, 2011), 152–172. Two other historians who focus on Armenian debates over reclamation also largely elide the tattoos: Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion”; Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption: The Politics of Inclusion during and after the Armenian Genocide,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55, no. 3 (2013): 522–553. Suzanne Khardalian’s film about her own family, Grandma’s Tattoos (Cinema Guild, 2011), is the only real treatment thus far, but it is a personal history. 9Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1319; Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 5. 10Johannes Paulmann, “Conjunctures in the History of International Humanitarian Aid during the Twentieth Century,” Humanity 4, no. 2 (2013): 215–238 (“overlapping,” “conjunctures,” and “contingencies”). Others have written of a “subtle and contested realignment”: Rob Skinner and Alan Lester, “Humanitarianism and Empire: New Research Agendas,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40, no. 5 (2012): 729–747, here 737; and of “moments of acceleration”: Kevin O’Sullivan, Matthew Hilton, and Juliano Fiori, “Humanitarianisms in Context,” European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no. 1–2 (2016): 1–15. Other works that explore this transition include Bruno Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924 (Cambridge, 2014); Eric D. Weitz, “From the Vienna to the Paris System: International Politics and the Entangled History of Human Rights, Forced Deportations, and Civilizing Missions,” American Historical Review 113, no. 5 (December 2008): 1313–1343; Humanitarianism in the Era of the First World War, Special Issue, First World War Studies 5, no. 1 (2014); Empire and Humanitarianism, Special Issue, Journal of Commonwealth and Imperial History 40, no. 5 (2012); Humanitarianisms in Context: Histories of Non-State Actors, from the Local to the Global, Special Issue, European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no. 1–2 (2016); Magaly Rodríguez García, Davide Rodogno, and Liat Kozma, eds., The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues: Visions, Endeavours and Experiments (Geneva, 2016). Francesca Piana neatly problematizes “professionalization” in “The Dangers of ‘Going Native’: George Montandon in Siberia and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1919–1922,” Contemporary European History 25, no. 2 (2016): 253–274. 11See Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1319–1322; Watenpaugh, Bread From Stones, 4–9. 12Seminal works linking modernity and exclusionary violence include Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1989), and Amir Weiner, ed., Landscaping the Human Garden: Twentieth-Century Population Management in a Comparative Framework (Stanford, Calif., 2003). See also Mark Mazower, “Violence and the State in the Twentieth Century,” Review Essay, American Historical Review 107, no. 4 (October 2002): 1158–1178; and Weitz, “From the Vienna to the Paris System.” “Modernity” is of course still a highly contested sociological, intellectual, and historical concept. 13See Magaly Rodríguez García, Davide Rodogno, and Liat Kozma, “Introduction,” in Rodríguez García, Rodogno, and Kozma, The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues, 13–30, here 14. 14Suggestive examples include Liisa H. Malkki’s discussion, in her seminal “Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization,” Cultural Anthropology 11, no. 3 (1996): 377–404, of relief workers’ discomfort toward Hutu refugees on the Tanzanian border who did not conform to normative humanitarian definitions and expectations of “the refugee.” The result, she argues, was a “depoliticization” of the refugee category—which also speaks to other cases where the political claims of refugees or their unwillingness to accept certain sorts of aid made them “troublesome” for humanitarian workers. See, for example, Nell Gabiam, “When ‘Humanitarianism’ Becomes ‘Development’: The Politics of International Aid in Syria’s Palestinian Refugee Camps,” American Anthropologist 114, no. 1 (2012): 95–107; Ilana Feldman, “Difficult Distinctions: Refugee Law, Humanitarian Practice, and Political Identification in Gaza,” Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 1 (2007): 129–169. In a different vein, and one that resonates interestingly with surgical efforts to remove the Armenian women’s tattoos (see below), Didier Fassin and Estelle D’Halluin, “The Truth from the Body: Medical Certificates as Ultimate Evidence for Asylum Seekers,” American Anthropologist 107, no. 4 (2005): 597–608, and Miriam Ticktin, Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (Berkeley, Calif., 2011), have explored how the French state views immigration and asylum through a medical lens: the politics of care means that refugees with medical conditions such as HIV or cancer, or with particular experiences of sexual violence or torture, are accepted, while the “merely” impoverished are not. 15See Piana, “The Dangers of ‘Going Native,’” 258. 16Significant exceptions include Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno, eds., Humanitarian Photography: A History (Cambridge, 2015); Kevin Grant, “Anti-Slavery, Refugee Relief, and the Missionary Origins of Humanitarian Photography ca. 1900–1960,” History Compass 15, no. 5 (2017), https://doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12383. 17Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno, “Introduction: The Morality of Sight,” in Fehrenbach and Rodogno, Humanitarian Photography, 1–21, here 1. This is the first historical collection on this topic. As they note, the theoretical literature on “regarding the pain of others” is well-developed, but thus far not always grounded in empirical research (2). Certainly, many interwar humanitarian organizations made good use of the evolving mass media technologies available—including film—and developed well-oiled publicity machines. See Peter Balakian, “Photography, Visual Culture, and the Armenian Genocide,” ibid., 89–114; Kevin Rozario, “‘Delicious Horrors’: Mass Culture, the Red Cross, and the Appeal of Modern American Humanitarianism,” American Quarterly 55, no. 3 (2003): 417–455; Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, chap. 5. NER and Jeppe used film as well as photography. 18Christina Twomey, “Framing Atrocity: Photography and Humanitarianism,” History of Photography 36, no. 3 (2012): 255–264; Zahid R. Chaudhary, Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India (Minneapolis, 2012), chap. 4. 19On NER’s use of images of women and children, see Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 83–84; and Balakian, “Photography, Visual Culture, and the Armenian Genocide,” 104–109. Laura Briggs’s discussion of NGOs’ use of “Madonna and waif” images in the 1950s to “mobili[ze] ideologies of ‘rescue,’ while pointing away from addressing causes,” is pertinent here. Briggs, “Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption,” Gender & History 15, no. 2 (2003): 179–200, here 192, 180. On images of nation-building/national rebirth, see Eric Michaud, The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany, trans. Janet Lloyd (Stanford, Calif., 2004); Claudia Koonz, “‘More Masculine Men, More Feminine Women’: The Iconography of Nazi Racial Hatreds,” in Weiner, Landscaping the Human Garden, 102–134; Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (Cambridge, Mass., 2000); Boaz Neumann, Land and Desire in Early Zionism, trans. Haim Watzman (Waltham, Mass., 2011). 20Malkki, “Speechless Emissaries,” 385. 21This visibility raises the issue of how knowledge and concealment operate in the aftermath of mass sexual violence, and their role in the reacceptance of raped women. Nayanika Mookherjee argues that memories of rape during the Bangladesh War of 1971 today operate as a “public secret,” whereby those who are known to have been raped may retain their “honour” as long as this fact remains, in practice, concealed in public. Mookherjee, “‘Remembering to Forget’: Public Secrecy and Memory of Sexual Violence in the Bangladesh War of 1971,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12, no. 2 (2006): 433–450. A similar situation seems to have been at play for at least some of those Armenian women reabsorbed into the Armenian community—but since this concealment depends on a lack of visible differentiation, such “public secrecy” was hardly possible for tattooed women. For other contexts where the idea of “public secrecy” resonates, see Urvashi Batalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (Durham, N.C., 2000); Jennie E. Burnet, Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda (Madison, Wis., 2012). 22On the American “captivity narrative” of the most famous of these, Olive Oatman, see Margot Mifflin, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (London, 2009); Jennifer Putzi, Identifying Marks: Race, Gender and the Marked Body in Nineteenth-Century America (Athens, Ga., 2006); and Brian McGinty, The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival (Norman, Okla., 2004). On the gueules cassées, see Julie M. Powell, “About-Face: Gender, Disfigurement and the Politics of French Reconstruction, 1918–24,” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (2016): 604–622; and Marjorie Gehrhardt, “Gueules Cassées: The Men behind the Masks,” Journal of War & Culture Studies 6, no. 4 (2013): 267–281. On Partition, see “Honourably Dead: Permissible Violence against Women,” in Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Brunswick, N.J., 1998), 31–64; and Sujala Singh, “Nationalism’s Brandings: Women’s Bodies and Narratives of the Partition,” in Ashok Bery and Patricia Murray, eds., Comparing Postcolonial Literatures: Dislocations (Basingstoke, 2000), 122–133. 23Arjun Appadurai, “Dead Certainty: Ethnic Violence in the Era of Globalization,” Public Culture 10, no. 2 (1998): 225–247. 24Uğur Ümit Üngör, “Seeing Like a Nation-State: Young Turk Social Engineering in Eastern Turkey, 1913–50,” Journal of Genocide Research 10, no. 1 (2008): 15–39. 25See James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon by Viscount Bryce, Uncensored Edition, ed. and intro. Ara Sarafian (Princeton, N.J., 2000; originally published 1916). The most recent and detailed historical accounts are Raymond Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History (London, 2011); and Ronald Grigor Suny, “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide (Princeton, N.J., 2015). 26On sexual violence, see Matthias Bjørnlund, “‘A Fate Worse Than Dying’: Sexual Violence during the Armenian Genocide,” in Dagmar Herzog, ed., Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century (London, 2008), 16–58. Most contemporary accounts use “Bedouin” synonymously with “Arab,” but the Armenians I discuss here were largely absorbed into nomadic (Bedouin) rather than urban (Arab) households; thus I use “Arab” only when quoting the original. The motivations behind Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin people’s actions were always complex: all benefited structurally and economically from those they took in (from their labor, whether domestic or sexual, and/or from not having to pay a dowry, a major expense in a family’s life cycle), but altruism also played a role, and the situation as a whole cannot simply be reduced to one of violent and self-interested exploitation. See Sarafian, “The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households as a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide”; and Richard G. Hovannisian, “Intervention and Shades of Altruism during the Armenian Genocide,” in Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (Basingstoke, 1992), 173–207. 27Missionaries in Turkey were reliant on their powers of persuasion and relationships with local officials to protect even the few Armenians they employed as staff. The Armenian community and some Protestant missionaries in Syria managed to organize help and rescue clandestinely. Arakel K. Tchakirian, “The Romance of Recovering Armenian Orphans from the Turks,” n.d., ALON 12/9640/4631; John Minassian, Many Hills Yet to Climb: Memoirs of an Armenian Deportee (Santa Barbara, Calif., 1986); Hilmar Kaiser, At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917 (Reading, 2002); Hans-Lukas Kieser, “Beatrice Rohner’s Work in the Death Camps of Armenians in 1916,” in Jacques Semelin, Claire Andrieu, and Sarah Gensburger, eds., Resisting Genocide: The Multiple Forms of Rescue, trans. Emma Bentley and Cynthia Schoch (New York, 2010), 367–382. 28On Scandinavian missionaries’ relief efforts, see Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians”; and Inger Marie Okkenhaug, “Scandinavian Missionaries, Gender and Armenian Refugees during World War I: Crisis and Reshaping of Vocation,” Social Sciences and Missions 23, no. 1 (2010): 63–93. 29Flora A. Keshgegian, “‘Starving Armenians’: The Politics and Ideology of Humanitarian Aid in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century,” in Richard Ashby Wilson and Richard D. Brown, eds., Humanitarianism and Suffering: The Mobilization of Empathy (Cambridge, 2009), 140–155, here 144. See Rodogno, “Beyond Relief,” 5–6, for further details on the committee. 30American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief: Minutes, 1915–1919, box 1, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 2, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. [hereafter RAC]. 31“Inventory January, 1920, Near East Relief,” New Near East 4, no. 7 (1920): 11. 32A sanguine contemporary assessment is Henry H. Riggs, “The Period of Disaster,” in “A.B.C.F.M. History, 1910–1942: Section on the Turkey Missions” (unpublished ms., 1944), American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives, 1810–1961, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. [hereafter ABC], series ABC 88. 33Elizabeth S. Webb to James L. Barton, October 5, 1918, ABC 16.9.5. 34Amerikan Bord Heyeti (American Board), Istanbul, “Personnel Records for Elizabeth S. Webb,” American Research Institute in Turkey, Istanbul Center Library, item #15784, http://www.dlir.org/archive/items/show/15784. 35Elizabeth S. Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” Life and Light for Woman 49, no. 12 (1919): 524–528, here 527. 36Near East Relief Unit, 1918–1920, boxes 30–32, War Service Collection, WWI, 1914–1918, Smith College Archives, Northampton, Mass. [hereafter SCRU]. I will discuss the SCRU in more detail in “‘Making Good’ in the Near East: The Smith College Relief Unit, Near East Relief, and Visions of Armenian Reconstruction, 1919–1921,” which will appear in Jo Laycock and Francesca Piana, eds., Aid to Armenia (forthcoming). Kathleen Sheldon’s account of a Red Cross nurse working for NER resonates with this idea of seizing opportunities: “‘No More Cookies or Cake Now, “C’est la guerre”’: An American Nurse in Turkey, 1919 to 1920,” Social Sciences and Missions 23, no. 1 (2010): 94–123. 37Kerr’s career trajectory is also exemplary of someone who seized the opportunities offered by the social shifts the Great War engendered: he returned to Lebanon as a lab chemist after his first NER stint, later becoming president of the American University of Beirut. On Kerr, see Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 91–106. 38Stanley Kerr to family, July 18, 1919, Stanley E. Kerr Archives 94, Zoryan Institute, Toronto [hereafter SKA]. 39Kerr to Marion, September 28, 1919, SKA 99; Kerr to family, Aleppo, July 18, 1919, SKA 94; Karen Jeppe, “Rapport annuel de la Commission de la Société des Nations, pour la protection des femmes et des enfants dans le Proche-Orient: Section d’Alep,” February 21, 1927 [draft], ALON 12/16489/4631. 40E.g., ALON 12/4631/4631, 12/9640/4631, 12/10589/4631. 41See the correspondence in ALON 12/24391/4631. The branch continued to operate, arbitrating disputes between the Armenian, Turkish, and Greek communities over the “national identity” of orphans, running a large orphanage, and helping refugees to trace their families and emigrate. On the minority provisions of Sèvres and Lausanne and the contemporary political climate relating to minorities, see Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, “Republic of Paradox: The League of Nations Minority Protection Regime and the New Turkey’s Step-Citizens,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46, no. 4 (2014): 657–679. 42Karen Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them from the 1st of May until the 1st of September 1922,” August 24, 1922, ALON 12/30066/4631. 43Ibid. 44For statistics, see Karen Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East, Aleppo, July 1, 1926–June 30, 1927,” July 28, 1927, ALON 12/6075/4631. The exact number or proportion is difficult to determine. Although I can discern tattoos on 47 of the 463 women and girls helped by Jeppe (from the surviving sixteen of nineteen registers), I strongly suspect that there were more than the 10 percent this represents. In some cases, a woman’s tattoos stand out strongly in one photograph yet are invisible in a second (see n. 132). This is most likely due to the film emulsion and developing techniques used at the time (my thanks to Piers Rawson for his help here). Relief workers commented that “most of the girls” were tattooed: Mary Caroline Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor (New York, 1923), 47; or that they were tattooed “without exception,” as Jenny Jensen, Jeppe’s helper, wrote: Jensen, “Brev fra Aleppo,” Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925): 17–18, here 18. While they were probably exaggerating for the purposes of advocacy, it seems certain that the proportion tattooed was far greater than 10 percent. 45Jeppe recorded that there was no custom of tattooing among the Turks. Jeppe, “Annual Report of the League of Nations Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” January 31, 1926, ALON 12/16489/4631. Separate here is medicinal or pilgrimage tattooing (never facial), sometimes practiced by the Armenian community. 46Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47. 47These comments are based on work in NER (and associated) collections at the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Houghton Library, the Hoover Institution Archives, and the Burke Library, in the ABCFM collection at ARIT Istanbul, and in the writings of a number of NER workers. It is likely that tattooed women would have sought refuge at other relief stations near Holmes in Urfa—Hadjin, Adana, Aintab, Tarsus, Mardin, Marash, Aleppo—but there are very few archival references to them. Beyond Elizabeth Webb’s description of Horepsime at Adana (n. 35) and Kerr’s single mention from Aleppo (n. 39), only Alice Keep Clark at Hadjin briefly mentions one woman in her memoir Letters from Cilicia (Chicago, 1924), 47. Elsewhere, the records are even sparser: NER’s newsletter mentioned tattooed women at Marsovan in the north (“News Notes,” New Near East 6, no. 3 [1920]: 29), but I found no discussion by the workers there; and despite the strong set of archival records for Harpoot (in the interior), the only mention found was on the reverse of a photograph in the collection of the station’s doctor, Ruth Parmelee, who wrote of one of the mothers depicted: “tattoo marks do not show—done by the Arabs during deportations.” Untitled photograph, box 6, folder 3, Ruth A. Parmelee Papers, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. [hereafter Parmelee Papers]. 48Just one issue of NER’s newsletter—New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920)—included images of tattooed women and girls. A photograph on page 13, taken by the American archaeologist Francis W. Kelsey during his Near East trip in 1919–1920, shows five tattooed girls in Aleppo (probably rescued by Kerr and Dunaway). NER cropped out the background, focusing attention even more on the tattoos, and printed it as a space-filler underneath completely unrelated articles, with the caption “Girls Rescued from Harems—Thousands Are Still in Captivity.” The original is at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Accession no. 7.197. The second image, “Marks Hard to Erase,” was printed on the “News Notes” pages (29–30) with a short accompanying paragraph; I discuss this below. In Orient im Bild, besides the image of Zumroot, only two other photographs of tattooed women appear (in no. 9 [1927]: 65 and no. 5 [1929]: 38), with very short comments or captions. Two other publications, the Slave Market News and Armeniervennen (“Friend of Armenia”), are discussed below. 49Part of Kerr’s collection is held by the Zoryan Institute, and part by Joyce Chorbajian. 50Florence Billings to friends, Brusa, December 8, 1919, Florence Billings Papers, box 1, series 1, folder 1.4, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Libraries, Northampton, Mass.. 51Clark, Letters from Cilicia, 35. 52Jane Caplan, “Introduction,” in Caplan, ed., Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History (Princeton, N.J., 2000), xi–xxiii, here xvi. 53Jane Caplan, “‘National Tattooing’: Traditions of Tattooing in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” ibid., 156–173; Caplan, “Educating the Eye: The Tattooed Prostitute,” in Lucy Bland and Laura Doan, eds., Sexology in Culture: Labelling Bodies and Desires, 1890–1940 (Cambridge, 1998), 100–115. 54Beyond the references cited in n. 22, see, inter alia, June Namias, White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the American Frontier (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1993); and Alan Govenar, “The Changing Image of Tattooing in American Culture, 1846–1966,” in Caplan, Written on the Body, 212–233. Bruce Grant’s The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus (Ithaca, N.Y., 2009) is a compelling reading of captivity narratives in a different imperial context. It is worth noting that at this time, tattoos—though never facial tattoos—were becoming fashionable among European and American upper classes. See Jordanna Bailkin’s investigation of the interplay between fashionable and forcible colonial tattoos in “Making Faces: Tattooed Women and Colonial Regimes,” History Workshop Journal, no. 59 (Spring 2005): 33–56. 55William N. Chambers to Herbert E. Case, Adana, May 14, 1919, William Nesbitt Chambers Papers, box 36, folder 7, Miscellaneous Personal Papers Collection (Record Group 30), Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 56Again, it is difficult to determine how the women themselves saw this “transculturation.” Those who later rejoined the Armenian community often emphasize their unease and discomfort with the Bedouin way of life, their hatred of their tattoos, and their desire to escape, but again, the circumstances and constraints of telling filter their testimony (see n. 6). It is suggestive that many were not “absorbed” alone, but alongside other Armenians, meaning that an earlier identity could be maintained to some extent. Fethiye Çetin, in her memoir of her Turkish-Armenian grandmother, recounts a childhood memory of her grandmother and certain other women of the (Turkish) village baking unfamiliar cakes in spring: they were celebrating Easter. Çetin, My Grandmother: A Memoir, trans. Maureen Freely (London, 2008), 101–102. It is reasonable to assume that when they moved communities, the women’s identities became to some degree liminal or bifurcated, but that in practical terms most adapted themselves to their new households’ way of life. 57Winifred Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” American Anthropologist 39, no. 1 (1937): 53–61; Henry Field, Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia (Cambridge, Mass., 1958); A. T. Sinclair, “Tattooing—Oriental and Gypsy,” American Anthropologist 10, no. 3 (1908): 361–386. 58C. P. Jones, “Stigma and Tattoo,” in Caplan, Written on the Body, 1–16, here 5. 59Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 57. 60Hanne Schönig, “Le corps et les rites de passage chez les femmes du Yémen,” Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 113–114 (2006): 167–177, here 168. 61Jeppe, “Rapport annuel,” February 21, 1927. 62Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 59; Schönig, “Le corps et les rites de passage chez les femmes du Yémen,” 170. 63Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 60–61. Importantly, then, the designs have nothing to do with Islam, either (which in fact forbids tattooing, even as it continues in practice), contrary to the claims that Western newspapers sometimes made: e.g., “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk’s Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. See Göran Larsson, “Islam and Tattooing: An Old Question, a New Research Topic,” Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 23 (2011): 237–256. As far as I can establish, the patterns marked on Armenian women’s bodies were not substantially different from those normally used, confirming my point that these tattoos signified absorption, not captivity. 64New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29; Karen Jeppe to A. Lancaster Smith (Slave Market News editor), May 22, 1925, as reported in a letter from Lancaster Smith to Sir Frederick Lugard, June 4, 1925, ALON 12/43565/4631. 65“The Iniquitous Branding of Women and Girls,” Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925): 3. On the harem, see İrvin Cemil Schick, “The Women of Turkey as Sexual Personae: Images from Western Literature,” in Zehra F. Arat, ed., Deconstructing Images of “the Turkish Woman” (New York, 1998), 83–100. Both Sinclair and Field’s research and anecdotal evidence suggest that it was in fact not men but women (usually from outside the group) who performed the tattooing—so the slippage between tattooing and sex was also an orientalist fantasy. See Figure 5. 66“The Brand of Slavery,” Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 2. 67At the time, American courts were “fretfully” accepting Armenians as legally white, as David R. Roediger puts it in Working toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White (New York, 2006), 96, but socially and culturally they were often labeled (and treated) as “Asiatics.” The fundraising literature therefore worked hard to “whiten” Armenians and demarcate them from other Near Eastern populations. See Janice Okoomian, “Becoming White: Contested History, Armenian American Women, and Racialized Bodies,” MELUS 27, no. 1 (2002): 213–237; Brian Donovan, White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887–1917 (Urbana, Ill., 2006); Daniel Gorman, “Empire, Internationalism, and the Campaign against the Traffic in Women and Children in the 1920s,” 20th Century British History 19, no. 2 (2008): 186–216. 68Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; “Statement with Regard to the Deportation of Women and Children in Turkey and the Neighbouring Countries: Mademoiselle Vacaresco, Romanian Delegate,” September 21, 1921, A.V/7, 1921, ALON 12/15946/4631; Mark Ward to U.S. Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes, May 3, 1922, archived in box 3, folder 11, Parmelee Papers. 69Jeppe, “Annual Report of the League of Nations Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” January 31, 1926. 70Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion,” quotes from 66, 68. 71Uğur Ümit Üngör, “Orphans, Converts, and Prostitutes: Social Consequences of War and Persecution in the Ottoman Empire, 1914–1923,” War in History 19, no. 2 (2012): 173–192. 72Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford, Calif., 2015); Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption.” Tachjian and Ekmekçioğlu disagree strongly on whether this was a politics of exclusion or a “climate for redemption”: Vahé Tachjian, “Mixed Marriage, Prostitution, Survival: Reintegrating Armenian Women into Post-Ottoman Cities,” in Nazan Maksudyan, ed., Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective on Ottoman Urban History (London, 2014), 86–106, here 104 n. 20 and 105 n. 30; Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption,” 525 n. 6. In part this derives from their differing source bases and emphases, but the point here is that there was no single response among the varied Armenian communities and survivors, just as there was not among relief workers. 73Alice Moore to Miss Lewis, May 25, 1919, Derindje, box 30, SCRU. See also the testimonies of Karapet Tozlian, Nouritza Kyukdjian, and Suren Aram Alajajian in Svazlian, The Armenian Genocide. When Vergeen arrives in America, her husband asks her not to hide her tattoos, and calls them “symbols of your valor and honor.” Derdarian, Vergeen, 249. 74Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption,” 525 n. 6. Derdarian bears out this point; Vergeen, 142, 160, 249. 75Caplan’s observation that “[t]he tattoo occupies a kind of boundary status on the skin, and this is paralleled by its cultural use as a marker of difference, an index of inclusion and exclusion,” resonates here; “Introduction,” xiv. 76Vartan Katchperouni, “Rapport médical de la Maison de Réception de la Ligue des Nations a Alep, 1925–1926 [sic],” ALON 12/49505/4631. 77Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47. 78New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29. The gueules cassées felt a similar overriding desire for surgical intervention; Powell, “About-Face,” 609–612. 79Elsie Greene Dewey, manuscript, Adana, May 29, 1919, Albert Dewey Papers, box 2, folder 80, Record Group 161, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library [hereafter Dewey Papers], 2; Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana.” 80New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29. Among those who wrote for advice were Dr. M. Hovneriar in Aleppo: “Removal of Tattoo Marks,” Journal of the American Medical Association 74, no. 10 (1920): 691–692; and Dr. Wilfred M. Post, Fort Wayne Sentinel, December 19, 1919, 2. The two most commonly used techniques, it seems, were removal by surgical means and by chemical poultice: Marvin D. Shie, “A Study of Tattooing and Methods of Its Removal,” Journal of the American Medical Association 90, no. 2 (1928): 94–99. 81“The Brutal Mark of Slavery,” Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 7. 82“Nargig Abakiam” appears to be a misspelling of “Nargis Avakian.” 83Powell, “About-Face”; Gehrhardt, “Gueules Cassées.” As Powell notes (610), the masks, which were inflexible and “evoked a quality of pastness … central to their … appeal,” were part of a profoundly conservative attempt “to co-opt and embody a traditional, French masculinity.” In a period when France was coming to terms with modernity and the pace of change, the masks were comfortingly “‘out of step’ with the ‘modernist spirit’”: they “erased a vision of destructive change.” 84The balance of power within an organization or individual relief station could be key. As I show, workers could sometimes take small initiatives to help the women, or forceful individuals could sway others, and thus shape practices at a local or organizational level. 85Rodogno, “Beyond Relief.” 86Near East Relief: Minutes, 1919–1920, box 1, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 2, RAC. 87Executive Committee to Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, n.d. [1921], Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial records (FA061), series 3: Appropriations, box 9, folder 104, RAC, 3. 88“Report of the Near East Relief to Congress, December 31, 1921,” box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA406), Accession 2009:104, Record Group 1, RAC. 89Riggs, “The Period of Disaster,” 9, 29. For the American missionaries, the years immediately following World War I were precarious. Since the mission’s beginning in the 1840s, they had concentrated on the empire’s Armenian population, partly because of the Muslim elite’s objections to their working among Muslims, partly because they hoped to inspire a Christian “revival” among the Armenians, which included drawing them away from their supposedly sloppy Orthodox practices into Protestantism. This revival was supposed to function as a lever for Ottoman society as a whole, encouraging the Muslim and Jewish populations to convert, too. After the genocide, it therefore “began to look as though the whole educational and medical work of the missions might be blotted out” (ibid., 1). At the same time, the missionaries—their confidence bolstered by the hope of an American mandate or at least social reform—began to hope that the Muslim populations, their “old confidence” shaken by the tumult of war, might now be “open as never before” to Christianity (ibid., 32). The general feeling, as before, was that the Armenians were central. The missionaries’ goal was thus not an independent Armenian nation, but a reconstructed and integrated national religious group within Turkey. As Hans-Lukas Kieser notes, the missionaries variously supported federalism, the return of Armenian and Kurdish refugees, an American mandate, and the installation of a new liberal government. Kieser, Nearest East: American Millennialism and Mission to the Middle East (Philadelphia, 2010), 93–97. It is not irrelevant that many missionaries stationed in Turkey were born there, in (if also apart from) a religiously and ethnically heterogeneous society. 90Emma Cushman and Wilfred Post, “Armenian Relief Work in Konia,” October 1916, ABC 16.5 v.1. 91Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; Henry H. Riggs to family, July 18, 1920, ABC 16.9.7 v.26. 92John Merrill to Mr. Bell, Aintab, February 22, 1919, ABC 16.9.5 v.25.v.5; Mary W. Riggs to family, August 10, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 93The missionaries repeatedly expressed a preference during the deportations that Armenian women commit suicide rather than “turn” and renounce Christianity. See, for example, “Story of the Girls of the Talas Girls’ School in the Year of the Deportation,” n.d., ABC 16.9.4 v.6; Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 161, 337. See also Bjørnlund, “A Fate Worse Than Dying,” 27–28. 94See Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East (Amherst, Mass., 2013); Heleen Murre-van den Berg, “Nineteenth-Century Protestant Missions and Middle Eastern Women: An Overview,” in Inger Marie Okkenhaug and Ingvild Flaskerud, eds., Gender, Religion and Change in the Middle East: Two Hundred Years of History (Oxford, 2005), 103–122. 95Typed statistics archived in box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. “All such were victims of disease,” wrote Caroline Holmes, “and not a few died as a result, in spite of care and nursing and up-to-date methods in the treatment of venereal diseases”; Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 29, emphasis in the original. See also Ward to Hughes, May 3, 1922. 96Elsie M. Kimball to family, July 24, 1919, Elsie M. Kimball Papers, box 1, folder 1, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Mass. 97Mrs. Howard B. McAfee, “Sob-Stuff from Syria: A Story of the Near East,” n.d., Howard B. MacAfee Papers, box 1, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. 98Susan W. Orvis to Miss Lamson, Talas, January 3, 1920, ABC 16.9.4 v.7. Ruth Parmelee also mandated examination for STDs for all those age thirteen and above. Medical statistics list, box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. 99YWCA worker Helen Jones noted that the women “sometimes” ran away, later giving the figure of “one or two.” Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919, YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 708, folder 6, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. [hereafter YWCA U.S.A.]. 100Susan W. Orvis to Miss Lamson, Talas, January 3, 1920, ABC 16.9.4 v.7. Agnes Fenenga in Mardin concurred: “[They] need so much watching.” Fenenga to Women’s Board of Missions, October 19, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 101Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919. 102“Relief Work at Harpoot, 1919–1922,” n.d., box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. 103Parmelee’s comment was inscribed on the back of a photograph; box 6, folder 6.2, Parmelee Papers. For “Turk babies,” see Elsie Tanner, “Report, October 1 to November 1, 1919,” box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 104Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, August 30, 1919, box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 105Helen Hendricks, ed., Report of the Overseas Committee of the War Work Council of the Young Women's Christian Association, 1917–1920 (New York, 1920), 149. 106Elsie Tanner, “Report of E. K. Tanner to the War Work Council—July 1st to Sept 1, 1919,” box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 107Ibid., and Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919. 108Tanner, “Report, October 1 to November 1, 1919.” Mary Riggs noted the different atmosphere in a letter to the Women’s Board of Missions, October 17, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 109Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47–48. 110“After these months of slavery these girls are responding well to the care and attention which is being bestowed upon them to bring back an appreciation of what Christianity is.” Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919. Albert Dewey’s wife also took an active interest in their care (Dewey himself seems to have ignored them entirely); see untitled manuscripts dated May 29, 1919, and 1919 in box 2, folder 80, Dewey Papers. 111Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” 526–527. 112Ibid., 524. 113Ibid., 525. 114Elizabeth S. Webb, “Our Happiness Factory: A Refuge for Abused and Helpless Girls,” ABC 16.9.5 v.23.v3. 115Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” 528. 116See Esther Greene’s letters to family, September 2, 1919, September 28, 1919, November 20, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 117Esther Greene to Mother, July 12, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 118Justine Hill to Miss Lewis, October 17, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 119Mabel Evelyn Elliott, Beginning Again at Ararat (New York, 1924), chap. 2, quote from 21. 120Ibid., 185, 186. 121Florence Billings described tattooed women in Constantinople. Billings to friends, Brusa, December 8, 1919. 122Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians,” 1. See also Jonas Kauffeldt’s critical introduction to his translation of Jeppe’s serialized “biography” of her adopted Armenian son, Misak: An Armenian Life (London, 2016), ix–lxxvii. 123Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians,” 17–18. Grundtvig (1783–1872) was a theologian, historian, and teacher, and had a deep influence on the course of Danish nationalism well into the twentieth century. Ove Korsgaard, N.F.S. Grundtvig—as a Political Thinker (Copenhagen, 2014). 124Archived translation of a letter from Karen Jeppe dated July 13, 1921, ALON S146, “Deported Women and Children in Turkey to June 30th 1924.” 125Karen Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” July 28, 1927. Jeppe thus valued the agency of the refugees in a way that American missionaries typically did not (since it threatened to disrupt hierarchies of power and obedience). 126Archived translation of a letter from Karen Jeppe, July 13, 1921, ALON S146, “Deported Women and Children in Turkey to June 30th 1924.” 127Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them.” 128Karen Jeppe to League of Nations Secretary-General, Aleppo, January 31, 1922, ALON 12/19111/4631. 129Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East.” 130Jeppe to League of Nations Secretary-General, January 31, 1922. I am currently preparing an article on Jeppe’s colonies for a forthcoming issue of History, titled “‘An Organic Link between the Arab and Armenian World’: Karen Jeppe’s Agricultural Colonisation Scheme in Northern Syria, 1920–1935.” 131“Protection of Women and Children in the Near East: Extract from the Minutes of the Thirtieth Session of the Council, September 1, 1924,” ALON A.46.1924.IV. 132Loucia, August 5, 1925; Maritza, September 26, 1925; Aghonie, October 8, 1925, Reception House Registers. Loucia’s records note, for example, that she was tattooed “in an awful manner, not [only] the whole face and chest, but also the hands and fingers. Those [sic] are almost paralysed from this treatment. We are doing our best to help her.” (Loucia’s right hand eventually had to be amputated, and she was still unwell at Reception House in 1931.) However, like Zumroot’s, Loucia’s tattoos are completely invisible in her intake photograph—confirming my point that the proportion of tattooed women and girls is much higher than the intake registers themselves will confirm. 133Although some Armenians had been able to afford studio portraits before the war, it was still unusual. The returnees may well have felt a sense of self-worth sitting for their portrait in an Armenian studio, having just rejoined the Armenian community. On local Armenian portraiture and its meanings, see David Low, “Photography and the Empty Landscape: Excavating the Ottoman Armenian Image World,” Towards Inclusive Art Histories: Ottoman Armenian Voices Speak Back, Special Issue, Études arméniennes contemporaines 6 (2015): 31–69. 134No. 495, album 60; nos. 209–212, album 57. The caption for the latter photographs, “Fire kvinder ankommet til redningshjemmet,” is from a copy of one image found in Jeppe’s collections in the Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn Odder, Denmark [hereafter LAG]. 135See Figure 4; other examples can be found in ALON 12/4365/4631. The Danish Friends of Armenia also produced postcards of Jeppe’s activities, some showing tattooed women (examples in LAG). Ironically, the Slave Market News also occasionally retouched the photographs to make the tattoos even more visible, although rather heavy-handedly—prompting some, including a British Foreign Office official resisting appeals for the government to involve itself in the rescues, to doubt that the tattoos were real: ministerial briefing note, March 10, 1925, FO 1490/228/44, Foreign Office Records, The National Archives, Kew. One retouched Slave Market News postcard is archived in ALON 12/43565/1631, and was also printed in Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 4. The image is of a girl named Mariam (June 18, 1924, Reception House Registers), who clearly has tattoos in her intake photograph, although they are less visible there than in the Slave Market News’s image. 136As noted above, Orient im Bild published a few such photographs, with very short comments and captions. Jeppe’s influence was more evident with Armeniervennen, which published these photographs to shock and attract attention, but also often “normalized” the women by printing their life stories alongside their photos, just as they did with other rescued Armenians. See, for example, Jeghsa’s story in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 36–37. But in both publications, images of national renewal far outnumber and outweigh the images of tattooed women. 137Her annual reports to the League detail funders from America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, some of whom had originally lobbied the League to set up the commission. 138On the mandate system, see Susan Pedersen, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford, 2015); on social reform, see Rodríguez Garcia, Rodogno, and Kozma, The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues. 139See Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1321. 140Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them.” 141“Protection of Women and Children in the Near East: Extract from the Minutes of the Thirtieth Session of the Council, September 1, 1924,” ALON A.46.1924.IV. 142Mariam, June 6, 1924; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. 143Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 36–37. Two photographs are in Jeppe’s private albums, one a glass slide held by LAG. 144“Personnel Records for Elizabeth S. Webb.” 145Ayşe Gül Altınay and Yektan Türkyılmaz, “Unravelling Layers of Gendered Silencing: Converted Armenian Survivors of the 1915 Catastrophe,” in Amy Singer, Christoph K. Neumann, and Selçuk Akşin Somel, eds., Untold Histories of the Middle East: Recovering Voices from the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York, 2011), 25–53; Çetin, My Grandmother. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail journals.permissions@oup.com. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The American Historical Review Oxford University Press

“Marks Hard to Erase”: The Troubled Reclamation of “Absorbed” Armenian Women, 1919–1927

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Abstract

Abstract This article explores how American and European humanitarian workers and organizations treated, and represented, a group of Armenian women who were among those “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin households during the genocide of 1915. Taken into Bedouin households, they were tattooed on their faces and hands, according to Bedouin custom. While the “recuperation” of “absorbed” women and children was a core element of these humanitarian organizations’ postwar programs of Armenian national reconstruction, most relief workers viewed the “recuperation” of the tattooed women as far more “difficult”—if not impossible—because of the physical marks they bore, and what those signified to the relief workers. Using both official and private documentation and a range of visual sources, this article unpacks differing discourses and practices around the “troubled” reclamation of the tattooed women, among a number of humanitarian organizations and their varying constituencies of relief workers. Their differences in response expose the complex shifts in interwar humanitarianism, but further consideration also reveals a deeper commonality: the drive to “classify” the objects of humanitarian aid according to criteria of recuperability, with accompanying practices of inclusion and exclusion in the name of national reconstruction—despite the avowedly “modern” claims of that postwar humanitarianism to be able to “fix” and to “save” all. Armenian genocide, gender, tattoos, humanitarianism The story of Zumroot echoes the stories of many thousands of Armenian women and girls during and after World War I.1 In the summer of 1915, when Zumroot was twenty, her father was killed by the Young Turks. She, her mother, and her sisters were subsequently deported on foot from their home in Urfa in southern Turkey, toward Rakka and the Syrian desert. Somewhere along the way, her sisters were lost. Zumroot and her mother seized an opportunity to hide themselves in a pit while the deportation caravan moved on; they found shelter in a mill, but soon afterward her mother died. Some Arabs found Zumroot and took her to their village, where one of them married her. Four months later, she was sold for five sheep to another Arab, with whom she lived for eight years. At some point, Zumroot’s face was tattooed by her captors—small, simple patterns inked into her forehead, her cheeks, her chin, and underneath her lips—a tribal custom that marked her as a woman and a wife, and also, symbolically and visually, completed her absorption into the Bedouin community. In 1923, an Armenian carriage driver who was passing through told Zumroot he would save her if she married him. She escaped with him to Rakka, but on their arrival, some Armenians told her the man was in fact a Turk, not an Armenian. She fled the same night to an Armenian family, and was sent on to the League of Nations Reception House in Aleppo. Reception House was run by Karen Jeppe, a former Danish missionary, who in 1921 was appointed to the League’s newly formed Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East. It was set up to recover Armenian women and children who had been forcibly “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin households during the genocide, and to reintegrate them into the Armenian community.2 There Zumroot joined roughly a hundred other women, girls, and boys. She attended Bible and Armenian language classes, and she was taught a trade in order to become self-supporting. She stayed a little longer than most—eighteen months—working in the sewing room to pay her way, before leaving in 1925 to marry an Armenian farmer in one of the agricultural colonies Jeppe had established to provide Armenians with the means to make a new life. Zumroot’s story is chronicled in one of the marble-bound Reception House intake registers, the 345th of what would come to number almost 1,700 stories of escape and rescue by the end of 1927, when the League ceased its financial support.3 The narrative of her deportation, capture, and multiple escapes makes no mention of her tattoos, however, and in fact the marks are hardly visible in her identification photograph pasted to the page’s top right corner. In one of Jeppe’s personal photograph albums, another image shows Zumroot standing alone in Reception House, her thick hair plaited back, her gaze steadily holding the camera, her tattoos plainly visible.4 (See Figure 1.) A third picture of her, in “traditional” ornamental clothing, appeared on the front cover of a 1927 issue of Orient im Bild, the fundraising newsletter of the Deutsche Orient Mission, for which Jeppe had once worked and which now partly funded her reconstruction projects. (See Figure 2.) The portrait is captioned “An Armenian woman tattooed by Moslems,” but Zumroot is not mentioned in any of the articles—one of which is a piece by Jeppe about refugees in Aleppo.5 The disjunctures between image and text here are more than coincidental. The absence of Zumroot’s story alongside her striking visual presence in Orient im Bild, the elision of her tattoos in the image and text of the intake register, and the more relaxed, self-assured composition of the album photograph all bespeak a particular moment in interwar humanitarianism, when the visual rhetoric conventionally used in humanitarian campaigns, of disfigured, suffering bodies, began to jar with the emerging humanitarian agendas of national reconstruction. This ambivalent portrayal, and the exclusion of the tattooed women by most other relief workers, resonates with a longer history of the troubled relationship between humanitarianism and those it finds less salvageable. Figure 1: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot Godjanian during her time working in Reception House’s sewing room, photographed standing in the doorway between old and new stone buildings. Zumroot arrived at a time of flux within Reception House: the original building that Jeppe had rented burned down (an accident) in early 1923, and by the time Zumroot arrived in August, a new compound was under construction. That was also the year in which Jeppe began pursuing her agricultural settlement scheme; the first village, Tel Samen (Tal Saman, northern Syria), was founded in spring 1924. Zumroot was among the first of Reception House’s residents to leave for Tel Samen, on February 28, 1925, to marry an Armenian farmer. Jeppe did not caption the images in her private albums; Zumroot’s identity and life story are derived from her page in the Reception House Registers. Photograph no. 100, in Karen Jeppe’s album 57 (ca. 1923–1925). Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 1: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot Godjanian during her time working in Reception House’s sewing room, photographed standing in the doorway between old and new stone buildings. Zumroot arrived at a time of flux within Reception House: the original building that Jeppe had rented burned down (an accident) in early 1923, and by the time Zumroot arrived in August, a new compound was under construction. That was also the year in which Jeppe began pursuing her agricultural settlement scheme; the first village, Tel Samen (Tal Saman, northern Syria), was founded in spring 1924. Zumroot was among the first of Reception House’s residents to leave for Tel Samen, on February 28, 1925, to marry an Armenian farmer. Jeppe did not caption the images in her private albums; Zumroot’s identity and life story are derived from her page in the Reception House Registers. Photograph no. 100, in Karen Jeppe’s album 57 (ca. 1923–1925). Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 2: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot, posed in “traditional” ornamental clothing, on the front cover of Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927). Her tattoos, especially the one in the middle of her brow, appear to have been touched up rather crudely by hand, a practice not uncommon for such publicity photographs. This photograph also appears on the front cover of Henni Forchhammer, Et besøg hos Karen Jeppe: Skildring fra en Rejse til Syrien (Copenhagen, 1926). Forchhammer was a prominent Danish social activist and League of Nations representative, and visited Jeppe in 1926. Image courtesy of the Columbia University Archives. Figure 2: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Zumroot, posed in “traditional” ornamental clothing, on the front cover of Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927). Her tattoos, especially the one in the middle of her brow, appear to have been touched up rather crudely by hand, a practice not uncommon for such publicity photographs. This photograph also appears on the front cover of Henni Forchhammer, Et besøg hos Karen Jeppe: Skildring fra en Rejse til Syrien (Copenhagen, 1926). Forchhammer was a prominent Danish social activist and League of Nations representative, and visited Jeppe in 1926. Image courtesy of the Columbia University Archives. The tensions over who was deemed recuperable and representable in these national reconstruction projects after World War I are highlighted by a focus on the worldviews and practices of the relief organizations and workers involved in the rescue of Armenian women who, like Zumroot, were recovered from Muslim households after being tattooed.6 The reclamation of these women and girls was part of a broader, almost unprecedented relief effort following the genocide of the Armenians by the Young Turks. At first emergency relief was given, where possible, to those who survived the deportation marches into the desert. One of the most important providers was the specially formed American charity Near East Relief (NER), which deployed missionaries and other skilled and semi-skilled volunteers throughout the crumbling Ottoman Empire.7 Following the Armistice in 1919, however, NER began to shift its efforts away from emergency relief toward the reconstruction of the Armenian community as a religious, cultural, and distinct national entity. The League of Nations, too, joined in this project when it created the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East in 1921. These two organizations, and their different constituencies of relief workers, held varied views on how national reconstruction could best be achieved, but none except Karen Jeppe and her backers could countenance the tattooed women as “fit” to be part of this national rejuvenation. For most missionaries working for NER, the women’s tattoos constituted a barrier to their reinclusion. Unlike the children, who were more easily reabsorbed, these women bore on their skin visible, permanent reminders of their “defilement” by non-Christian men. NER policymakers, too, focused on the orphans, as the more moldable and morally untainted “future of the race” (and a staple of philanthropic giving). Other NER workers—usually young, college-educated men and women who signed up for overseas relief in order to see the world, as well as do good in it—brought their own worldviews to the situation, tending to see the more educated, cultured Armenians, including rescued women, as the basis for national regeneration—although they still balked at the tattoos. Jeppe, on the other hand, felt that the surest basis for national reconstruction was to concentrate on those whose Armenian identity was strongest, and she did not differentiate between those with tattoos and those without. Since her operations were fulfilling the commission’s goals and were wholeheartedly supported by the Armenophile activists, who were otherwise barraging the League with calls for action, the League administrators acquiesced. These different responses were emblematic of the shifts in humanitarianism in the immediate aftermath of World War I, and particularly of the national reconstructionist projects launched in its wake. To date, scholarly work on the humanitarian efforts to recover Armenian women and children has been silent on the tattoos, including Keith David Watenpaugh’s 2010 article in this journal, despite his focus on the rescue efforts of the League and Karen Jeppe.8 Since this historiographical elision is unlikely to have arisen from the same discomfiture that affected contemporary witnesses, it seems that the tattoos have thus far been deemed a “marginal” phenomenon, unlikely to yield significant meaning about Armenian national reconstruction and the “new” humanitarian moment. However, examining the responses of relief workers to the tattooed women—and, crucially, to the question of their recuperability, not their rescue—reveals the unacknowledged but very real unbreachable constraints within which a self-proclaimedly modern and “omnipotent” new humanitarianism was operating. As an emerging historiographical consensus on interwar humanitarianism argues, this period saw a transition from the (predominantly missionary-led) “civilizing mission” of the nineteenth century to a humanitarianism that, Watenpaugh posits, was “envisioned by its participants and protagonists as a permanent, transnational, institutional, neutral, and secular regime for understanding and addressing the root causes of human suffering.”9 But it is also becoming clear that this transition was not as neat as Watenpaugh’s work implies; other scholars have depicted, more forcefully, a time of “overlapping” and “contested” change, replete with “conjunctures” and “contingencies,” and have, for example, questioned his claim of “professionalization.”10 Therefore, by expanding the analytical frame to include a wider range of humanitarian organizations and actors who were responding to the same “challenge”—not only the League, but also NER and their respective constituencies of relief workers, both “old hands” and new—we can demonstrate more fully that in this transitional moment, the policies and practices that evolved and coexisted were often contradictory and contested on the ground. None of this was neat, of course, for in this moment of change, as in any, old attitudes endured or reemerged, reconfigured and embedded in the new; and here it is precisely the tattoos that allow us to understand how the different constituencies of relief workers, as well as their employers and donors, negotiated the changes for themselves. Watenpaugh labels the “regime” that emerged from this transition (and from precisely this case of Armenian relief) as “modern” humanitarianism, a rather loosely conceptualized term he seems to use without any sense of the freight that “modern” carries, or its contestedness.11 There is a more illuminating, deeper relationship with modernity to consider here, if by “modern” we mean the utopian biopolitical projects of the twentieth century and beyond, which claim for themselves the ability and power to reshape, transform, and administer populations in the name of group “progress” and “purity.”12 In this vein, interwar humanitarian organizations such as NER and the League claimed the power to fix, transform, and “save” those affected by the world’s ills, regardless of markers such as religion, nationality, or a troublesome past.13 But as humanitarian projects of national reconstruction, these were also fear- and anxiety-driven processes of inclusion and exclusion in the name of nation-building—recognizably modern, if in a way not implied by Watenpaugh. The tensions and disjunctures here—themselves very modern—tended to be resolved on the ground: the relief workers proved themselves reluctant to see the Armenian refugees in “humanitarian” terms, as all equally recuperable. Their different responses to the women’s tattoos show that the relief workers were hardly “neutral” in the administrative “processing” of all those who came, and instead categorized and divided them along a line of moral, cultural, or national “value” and “purity.” Thus, a more revealing understanding of the humanitarian projects of Armenian rescue and reclamation can be achieved by seeing it as a fully modern nation-building exercise, characterized by redemptive and transformational visions, gendered practices of inclusion and exclusion, and the manufacture of a visual aesthetic of a “pure” and “healthy” community. And while the ideological frameworks through which humanitarians categorize refugees and displaced persons have since evolved, more recent studies of humanitarian practice on the ground suggest that humanitarians continue to divide and ostracize those they categorize as “troublesome” or “incorrigible.”14 The contradictions inherent in these modern claims to be able to remedy (logistically, legally and socially, and transformationally) these individual and collective ills, without regard for category markers, are made clearer here through a bottom-up history of relief workers in the field, rather than a purely organizational history.15 Looking afresh at well-trodden missionary archives and League papers, exploring previously unused archives of NER workers, and paying close attention to the composition of photograph albums and individual images in these collections offers suggestive results. For in the case of the tattooed women, it is the writings and photograph collections of the relief workers that open up these contradictory histories of rescue, rejection, and sometimes inclusion, in a way that the sensationalist but otherwise reticent fundraising campaigns and official histories do not. Historians of humanitarianism have thus far rarely integrated the analysis of visual sources into their research (Watenpaugh, for example, uses images largely illustratively).16 And yet the visual record is key here—not only because of the “visual” nature of the tattoos, or because photographs are useful additional sources for a fragmentary source base, but because the representation of the tattooed women and of Armenian national reconstruction in these images and albums powerfully communicates the tensions and contradictions within the humanitarian project of rescue and reclamation. Photography had been central to these humanitarian fundraising campaigns since the late nineteenth century, as Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno have recently noted, providing campaigners with an evidentiary basis for their claims and helping to generate sympathy (whether through sensationalism or more sober images).17 Here it became intrinsic to the construction of who was “recuperable,” and under what circumstances. The young historiography on humanitarian photography has thus far focused on humanitarian campaigners’ use of photographs to bolster their verbal rhetoric. A staple strategy was the use of raw images of disfigured, suffering bodies (famine-stricken victims of British policies in colonial India, for example, or the mutilated limbs of slaves on a rubber plantation in the Belgian Congo) as visual evidence that worked in tandem with their verbal indictments of imperial authorities’ treatment of colonial subjects.18 In the postwar period, such raw images of suffering continued to be a viable visual strategy for those humanitarian programs aiming at systemic change—combating the global social ills of slavery, disease, and trafficking, or improving the rights of minorities, refugees, and children. But such images of immutable violation became deeply problematic for the new strand of national reconstructionist humanitarianism, whose programs were aimed at transforming (indeed creating) a people: their goal was not just to reassemble surviving Armenians, but to mold a healthy, vigorous, and racially and culturally “pure” nation. Women, as child-bearers and custodians of domesticity, had to epitomize Armenianness. So while the old visual rhetoric—stark images of tattooed women—was still very effective in garnering attention, it locked the women into a permanent state of violation and ambiguous identity, in a way that disavowed the transformative promise of the new national reconstruction projects. This led to a shift in the visual strategies of humanitarian photography, with organizations such as NER favoring images of “the recuperable”—female and child survivors and, later, stirring images of young orphans at work building the Armenian future, which echoed the visual imagery of interwar nation-building elsewhere.19 There is no traumatic “history” in these photographs, nothing to disturb the reconstructive agenda; as in Liisa H. Malkki’s resonant phrase, “history tended to get leached out of the figure of the refugee.”20 But this was impossible for the tattooed women, whose troublesome history was indelibly written on their faces—which for most humanitarian organizations and workers anchored them elsewhere, outside the Armenian nation, as racial and cultural pariahs.21 The issue of these women’s recuperability, as well as their representability, reverberates in other gendered histories of facial marking and disfigurement—for example, the American “captivity narratives” of white women taken into Native American tribes and tattooed; the French gueules cassées, soldiers whose faces were disfigured during World War I; or the women whose bodies were mutilated and tattooed with religious and nationalist slogans during India’s Partition.22 In each of these cases, ethnic and national identity were made uncertain, with all of the attendant communal anxieties about reincorporation.23 But it is the treatment of the tattooed women by relief workers in the Near East that most powerfully signals the disconnect between modernity’s discursively proclaimed capacity to salvage human life, irrespective of categories, and the real and continued practice among humanitarians of recognizing only certain bodies, and certain “histories,” as recuperable. The Armenians were deported as part of a brutal state-building project by the Young Turks in 1915–1916.24 The foreign missionaries stationed in the Ottoman Empire were largely unable to intervene, but they sent home horrific reports of the killing of military-age males and the starvation, massacre, robbery, and extreme sexual violence that the women and children were subjected to during their deportation toward the Syrian desert.25 Along the way, thousands of women and children were abducted, sold, or rescued from the deportation columns and “absorbed” into Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin communities as wives, concubines, servants, and slaves.26 Isolated, dependent on their captors or hosts for food and protection, many were also told that there were no Armenians left, and gave up hope. Little could be done during the war years to recover these absorbed Armenians.27 Most American missionaries left Turkey in 1917, when the United States entered the war, but many Scandinavian and German missionaries remained as members of neutral or allied nations.28 Real opportunities for rescue came at the war’s end, in 1918–1919, when the terms of the Armistice mandated the release of Armenians in Muslim households. NER enlarged its operations, and on February 16, 1919, the SS Leviathan sailed from New York for Constantinople with 250 relief workers onboard. Some were missionaries of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) who had left Turkey two years before; the rest were volunteers—some with particular skills (in medicine or engineering, for example), some members of organizations such as the YWCA. NER thus represented “a wedding of missionary and philanthropic interests”; its Executive Committee was composed of notable philanthropists and religious leaders, and its head, James L. Barton, was the ABCFM’s foreign secretary, and a former missionary in Turkey himself.29 This marriage was reflected in NER’s official brief; despite the secular tone, this reconstruction would, inevitably given the tenor of contemporary American society, proceed with a Christian ethic at its core: To provide relief, and to assist in the repatriation, rehabilitation, and re-establishment of Armenians, Syrians, Greeks, Jews and other needy peoples of the Near East: to provide for the care of orphans and widows, and to conduct any schools, industrial enterprises or operations of a philanthropic character … to promote the social, economic and industrial welfare of those who through no fault of their own have been rendered destitute or dependent directly, or indirectly, by the vicissitudes of war.30 The rescue of women and children was thus integral to NER’s operations, and its workers quickly reported floods of Armenians coming forth from Muslim households. Rescue homes were organized for the women—there were sixteen such homes by January 1920—while younger children entered orphanages.31 Bible and Armenian classes were given, and industrial schools were established to teach the girls sewing and the boys carpentry or other trades, to make them self-supporting. The ABCFM missionaries were indispensable to NER’s relief operations because of their familiarity with the country, languages, and culture. Many had witnessed the genocide before they left; they returned to find a destroyed and dispersed Armenian population, the intellectual and religious leaders murdered, the remnant generally destitute and to some degree “Islamized.”32 The missionaries prioritized the reconstruction of the Armenian community in Turkey as a religious and national group, understanding Armenian identity as deriving not only from religion, but also from cultural and indeed a form of “racial” belonging, in keeping with the general assumptions of the times. Most missionaries focused on the orphans, but some in charge of rescue homes, such as Caroline Holmes in Urfa and Elizabeth Webb in Adana, threw themselves into the rehabilitation of the older girls and women. In a letter to Barton in October 1918, Webb wrote of her “strong desire to help in this matter … The girls who need a refuge will go wherever they can find one. I would like to be there among the first, to continue under more favorable circumstances the work I left a year ago.”33 When she returned to Adana in March 1919, Webb quickly established a home for rescued women and girls.34 “No work I ever did has so gripped my heart,” she reported, with buoyant descriptions of the transformations in her charges—among them a tattooed girl named Horepsime.35 But Webb and Holmes were exceptions: most recoiled from the moral and sexual impurity they perceived in these women, preferring to expend their efforts on the more moldable, more “recuperable” orphans. Figure 3: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Map of Near East Relief operations, ca. 1921. NER “updated” and reprinted versions of this map from time to time, in order to show the extent of its operations (in this case to counteract the charge that Near East Relief was bankrolling and/or under the influence of the Bolsheviks). This version was printed in the New Near East 6, no. 5 (February 1921): 16–17, and shows eleven rescue homes in operation. Box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 1, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Image courtesy of Rockefeller Archive Center. Figure 3: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Map of Near East Relief operations, ca. 1921. NER “updated” and reprinted versions of this map from time to time, in order to show the extent of its operations (in this case to counteract the charge that Near East Relief was bankrolling and/or under the influence of the Bolsheviks). This version was printed in the New Near East 6, no. 5 (February 1921): 16–17, and shows eleven rescue homes in operation. Box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 1, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Image courtesy of Rockefeller Archive Center. Other relief workers were also involved in the rescue homes. Most were taking advantage of the horizon of opportunity the Great War had opened to them to travel and to make their own mark on the world. For those who had wanted to see active service during the war but were unable to, this was their war. Five young women from Smith College, a liberal women’s college in Massachusetts, were posted to Turkey as the Smith College Relief Unit, under NER. Their letters home were full of enthusiasm and discovery, and they were keen to help in the education and rehabilitation of rescued women.36 In Aleppo, John Dunaway and Stanley Kerr were actively rescuing Armenians from the surrounding villages and towns.37 Kerr, a young chemist (whose profession had kept him on the home front), was in charge of the NER lab and dispensary in Aleppo, but he joined Dunaway on weekend rescue trips into the desert. His letters, self-confident and bursting with adventure, tell of sweeping the area around the town of Al-Bab in their truck, well-armed in case of trouble (since “we aren’t very popular ourselves in Bab”), outwitting men who lied, hid the women, and disappeared when they heard the truck: “The next time [Dunaway is] going to send the Arab interpreter by horse and follow with a machine. Well, it certainly is good sport anyhow.”38 Within a few months, they had covered “practically every village within a radius of 50 miles of Aleppo so that now over 450 girls have been rescued,” some of whom were tattooed—so that Jeppe herself later noted that this area was not important in the rescuing of Armenians, since “the work of liberation [was] largely done.”39 But the rescue homes in fact wound down relatively quickly in 1920–1921 as NER, taking stock of diminishing donations after more than five long years of campaigning, focused its efforts squarely on the orphanages and grand educational and agricultural projects in the Caucasus and Mediterranean. At roughly the same time, in 1921, the League of Nations was responding to a battery of demands from Armenian and Armenophile activists to help release the women and children still imprisoned in Muslim households.40 The First Assembly voted funds to establish the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East, with branches in Constantinople (headed by Emma Cushman, an ABCFM missionary, and William A. Kennedy, a British doctor) and Aleppo, where Jeppe was already working. The commission began active work in 1922, but the political tensions and constraints in Constantinople, as the Turkish War of Independence was concluded and the Treaty of Lausanne (1923) superseded the Treaty of Sèvres (1919), meant that active rescue was largely impossible there.41 The rescue methods that Jeppe pursued were very different from those of Kerr and Dunaway. “I could obtain far better results in numbers if I rushed around in an automobile with soldiers and pulled out the Armenians from the houses,” she wrote in 1922, but rescue by force during the current situation—with Syria under an unpopular French mandate, factional fighting, and limited resources—would risk opening up an “Armenian question” in Syria.42 Instead, she employed agents to spread the word quietly that a place of safety existed in Aleppo, and to aid escapees in reaching Reception House. This was also the soundest basis for the task of national reconstruction, Jeppe felt: if only those who wanted to come were reclaimed, only “the far best and most vigorous elements” would be rescued, those who answered “the call” “because their own world has the strongest hold [on] them.”43 Jeppe, too, instituted language and trade classes, taking particular pride in her revival of the art of Armenian embroidery, and she managed to trace the families of many who came. Others, like Zumroot, went to live in the agricultural colonies she established. Between 1921 and 1927, Jeppe rescued 1,484 Armenians and helped over 200 more to escape directly to their families. A third were women and girls, many of whom bore tattoos upon their faces, but unlike most NER workers, Jeppe treated these women no differently.44 Although the League ceased to financially support Reception House in 1927, Jeppe continued her work with funding from other organizations until her death in 1935. Women who had been tattooed were therefore not unknown to the relief workers and organizations in the Near East. The cultural practice of tattooing was well established among the Bedouin and Kurdish tribes in what is today eastern Turkey, Iraq, and the desert regions of northern Syria—the area most Armenians were deported through and to, and now a focus of relief efforts.45 Workers there were more likely to encounter women with tattoos—indeed, Holmes, in southeastern Turkey, mentioned that tattooing “was the case with most of the girls.”46 But a measure of the unease the vast majority of relief workers felt about the tattoos is discernible not least from how infrequently they are mentioned. For something so striking and taboo, there is very little comment scattered across the correspondence, reports, and diaries in the archives.47 The same is true of the photographic record: these women appear only infrequently in organizational fundraising materials, and then usually in stark, sensationalist portraits like that of Zumroot in Orient im Bild, with little or no editorial comment.48 They are also absent from the missionaries’ and most other relief workers’ photograph collections. Kerr, for example, was a keen photographer, but none of the tattooed women and girls he rescued appear in his photographs.49 Only in Jeppe’s collections do they appear with any frequency. Of the minority of workers who did write about tattoos, most merely described the sighting of a tattooed woman or girl. For example, volunteer Florence Billings near Constantinople wrote home: “We visited one of the Relief Orphanages—160 girls, Armenian, some very young to 14–15 … One girl about 12 came from an Arab’s tent, had had two husbands and had been tattooed on the chin.”50 Alice Keep Clark, a missionary in Hadjin, noted one day that “there have been so many pitiful cases today—one was a girl frightfully disfigured by tattoo marks on her face, put on when she was held by the Arabs.”51 Notably, these brief mentions tend to pause or break off afterward, the authors perhaps uncomfortable about discussing the issue further. Billings begins a new paragraph with “Later—All the school has just been vaccinated,” while Clark follows her entry with “I must go to the kitchen now.” This absence or glossing over has something to do with the contemporary cultural unease in Western society regarding tattoos. In the social and semiotic world of the middling, bourgeois families that most of the relief workers came from, tattoos were a sign of primitive, backward, savage “civilizations,” or else the mark of a convict. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Europe and its colonies often tattooed or branded their convicts, usually on the face, as a permanent punitive mark—in what Jane Caplan argues was a vicious reappropriation of the primitive in order to mark the European outsider, also deliberately reminiscent of slave-branding.52 Tattoos were also found on the bodies of sailors, soldiers, and, in the case of women, prostitutes—those already on society’s margins, whose tattoos served to further mark their difference. During the nineteenth century, as Caplan shows, tattoos were increasingly pathologized within European society via the efforts of criminologists, so that by the century’s end, tattoos were interpreted almost everywhere as the mark of the deviant and degenerate.53 For white Americans, tattoos were further associated with the atavism of the internal “other,” Native American tribes, and recalled the horror of their own “captivity narratives” of young white women taken into tribes and tattooed—which had raised similar questions about how far these women were racially, culturally, and visually recuperable.54 The facial tattooing of these Armenian women was thus, for Americans and Europeans, an extreme social transgression. Unable to countenance the ambiguities, most rescuers shrank from the women—suspicious also that the tattoos indicated an individual’s transculturation, and thus divided national loyalties. This unease was reflected in their explanations of what the tattoos meant: they were commonly interpreted as a device for preventing the women from running away, either because they would be too ashamed to return or “with the intention of marking them as slaves of their owners and making it impossible for them, thus marked, to escape the vigilance of their captors.”55 All of these suspicions and explanations placed the women in a semiotic space outside both Armenian and Bedouin society.56 Bedouin tattooing practices, like all tattooing practices linked with tribal identity, beautification, and gender, were obviously more complex than this. Research is sparse, especially in this geographic region, with much of it dated and orientalist, and tattooing is now far less common.57 However, anthropologists noted that tattooing occurred only in nomadic (not urban) populations, and while both sexes engaged in medicinal tattooing, only women were “adorned” in this way (as one historian has drily observed, in male-dominated societies “female tattooing is not likely to be simply decorative”).58 Tattooing happened mostly around the time of puberty, marriage, or other rites of passage—birth, pregnancy, childbirth, death.59 As Hanne Schönig more recently argued, these tattoos thus “mark the stages of life that accompany the transition from one social group to another, from one state to another, from one occupation to another,” stages that place women in a modified relationship to the male world.60 The tattooing of these Armenian women literally marked the moment of their inclusion, integration, and absorption into the Bedouin community, simultaneously defining their status and belonging. It was, according to Jeppe, physically quite a painful procedure.61 The skin was pierced with a small bunch of needles, then rubbed with pigment, usually lamp black or indigo. A scab would form, and when it healed, a bluish coloring was set underneath the skin.62 “As for the designs employed,” wrote anthropologist Winifred Smeaton in 1930, “a great deal could be written on the subject”: The designs are geometrical or stylized. Generally they consist of combinations of dots and lines, especially zigzag and cross-hatched lines, circles, crescents, chevrons, triangles, stars, and crosses … most women have some tattooing on the face, especially on the chin, and dots between the eyes and above the upper lip.63 Only a few of the relief workers’ descriptions of tattoos acknowledge them as “supposed to beautify.”64 Instead, responding to their sense of transgression, relief workers and the European and American press described them as “disfiguring,” as scars, or as the “marks” or “brands” of slavery. This latter showed principled outrage at the Muslim ownership of Christian women, suggestive also of sexual slavery (especially when the orientalist and eroticized specter of “the harem” was conjured)—and the singeing word “brand” hammered home the horror of what the English newsletter the Slave Market News called “this crowning atrocity.”65 The Slave Market News first appeared in 1924, campaigning against white slavery, and regularly published rather hysterical stories about the captivity and rescue of Armenian women and girls, accompanied by stark studio portraits. (See Figure 4.) In December 1924, for example, a piece entitled “The Brand of Slavery” claimed “to comment as calmly as possible”: It is foul inhumanity to enslave the helpless but it is the torture of hell to brand with tattoo marks the fair and innocent faces of white girls with their Moslem owner’s mark. Cattle are branded in England lest they should stray and escape but in Asia Minor they brand white flesh and blood for the same reason … WE CONSIDER THE FACT THAT WHITE WOMEN AND CHILDREN ARE BRANDED, TORTURED, OUTRAGED, ENSLAVED, BOUGHT AND SOLD IN THE LANDS WHERE CHRISTIANITY FIRST TOOK ROOT TO BE THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY AND A CRIME AGAINST THE CIVILISATION OF THE AGE.66 Figure 4: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. A postcard printed and sold by the Slave Market News in the mid-1920s. The photograph was also featured on the front page of Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925), and with 1, no. 11 (1926), alongside an appeal for funds. The Slave Market News had links with Jeppe, via other British organizations, and most of the images it printed were from Reception House. Standing in the center of this image is Zumroot, who would leave for Tel Samen within the week; conversely, Victoria (standing, left) and Eliza (seated, right) had only just arrived. Mariam (standing, right) and Haiganoosh (seated, left) had been at Reception House a little over six months, and would stay another year. Zumroot, August 16, 1923; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Mariam, June 6, 1924; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. The photograph was also featured on the front cover of Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925), and inside Der Orient (the forerunner to Orient im Bild) 4–5 (1925): 37. None of the publications names the women or details their stories: they remain symbols of disfigurement and violation. Postcard archived in ALON 12/4365/4631. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. Figure 4: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. A postcard printed and sold by the Slave Market News in the mid-1920s. The photograph was also featured on the front page of Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925), and with 1, no. 11 (1926), alongside an appeal for funds. The Slave Market News had links with Jeppe, via other British organizations, and most of the images it printed were from Reception House. Standing in the center of this image is Zumroot, who would leave for Tel Samen within the week; conversely, Victoria (standing, left) and Eliza (seated, right) had only just arrived. Mariam (standing, right) and Haiganoosh (seated, left) had been at Reception House a little over six months, and would stay another year. Zumroot, August 16, 1923; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Mariam, June 6, 1924; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. The photograph was also featured on the front cover of Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925), and inside Der Orient (the forerunner to Orient im Bild) 4–5 (1925): 37. None of the publications names the women or details their stories: they remain symbols of disfigurement and violation. Postcard archived in ALON 12/4365/4631. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. The emphasis in fundraising materials on the women’s “whiteness” was designed to forge racial solidarity among potential donors and allay any fears over transculturation—an insistence upon their recuperability.67 But for the rescuers, particularly the missionaries, the women’s time in captivity raised questions about the lasting moral and racial effects of this “degrading slavery.”68 For them, the image of sexual subjection evoked by the tattoos was intolerable, and also a symbol that the women’s innocence and purity had been corrupted. It is telling, too, that the relief workers responded to their own unease by defining the tattoos as marks of shame. And as Jeppe observed, “the poor girls have a feeling of carrying a stigma for life on their faces, and in fact it often prevents them from coming home; they simply dare not expose themselves to the eyes of their compatriots.”69 The responses of other Armenians were in fact mixed, and here, too, the issue of the women’s “recuperability” revolved around the female body as the repository of the nation. Vahé Tachjian argues that rescued women were taboo among the remaining Middle East Armenian elite, whose main goal was national regeneration—and who thus wanted a pure community, “cleansed” of the last vestiges of “turkification,” and indeed of “blemishes.”70 Other refugees also shunned the rescued women, and many were forced to become prostitutes to survive—compounding the stigma.71 On the other hand, as Lerna Ekmekçioğlu has shown, other members of the Turkish Armenian elite actively reincorporated these women because, whatever their experiences, as women they were a vital resource for national rebirth.72 Reception House’s records also show many cases in which, like Zumroot, the women were soon married to Armenian men—who, one relief worker reported, regarded the tattoos merely as “battle scars.”73 Although neither Tachjian nor Ekmekçioğlu examines tattooed women specifically, as Ekmekçioğlu rightly says, rescued women certainly anticipated stigmatization—and doubly so, we can presume, for those with tattoos.74 Thus, while some relief workers were sympathetic, their characterizations of the tattoos—disfigurement, scars, slavery, shame, stigma—delineated the rescued women as an outcast group. The tattoos were visible reminders of their “degradation,” but more unsettlingly, they also threw the women’s identities into doubt: as “captives,” held in “slavery” by these marks, they were not fully part of Bedouin society, but neither could they fully rejoin the Armenian community.75 Hence the dismay at the permanence of the marks, frequently expressed and reported by the relief workers. As Jeppe’s doctor put it, “they are all tattooed to their great despair … because it is the ineffaceable sign of their time with the Arabs.”76 The tattoos are described as ineradicable, indelible, permanent: “Blueing was injected under the skin of her lower lip, and blue it will be to the end of her days,” wrote Holmes—suggestive of how, after rescue, the tattoos were treated as the women’s primary mark of identification, and a barrier to their reclamation.77 The other side of this particular coin was an obsession with surgical removal. NER’s only article on tattooing in its newsletter, the New Near East, accompanied by a photograph of a tattooed woman that was captioned “Marks Hard to Erase,” suggested that “[t]he main object of many of the girls in coming to the Rescue Home is to get rid of the mark of her slavehood.”78 In Adana, Webb and several other workers wrote of another girl, who “feels this ‘brand’ so keenly that she tries in vain to comb the coarse black hair down far enough to cover it and even asked the American doctor by sign language if he could remove it.”79 Various doctors wrote to medical journals and newspapers asking for advice on tattoo removal, and the New Near East noted that one medical missionary was successfully removing some tattoos “by operations.”80 “Occasionally a girl would disappear for a few days,” reported the Slave Market News, “and then would re-appear with a smile partly of pleasure and partly of embarrassment while a few healing wounds showed where the doctor’s knife had removed the record of her past life, and restored her so far as possible to self respect and to her place among her friends.”81 A full-page illustrated article that appeared in several U.S. newspapers proclaimed the triumph of Western scientific knowledge over the “unknown Oriental inks” in gruesome detail through the story of Nargig Abakiam, who was taken to tattoo experts in New York. A series of drawings illustrated the poultice treatment that would draw out the “secret inks,” leaving Nargig “as beautiful as ever—more beautiful, perhaps, for the little lines and wrinkles that had gathered also as the natural marks of her sufferings will have disappeared and her fresh bloom of youth will have been restored.”82 (See Figure 5.) A YWCA newsletter printed “before and after” photographs, one showing a raggedly dressed young woman with “patches on her face cover[ing] freshly made tattoos,” the second showing her “after she had been in the emergency home a few weeks,” posed in a white Western-style dress, her tattoos almost invisible. (See Figure 6.) The emphasis in each success story was that the woman, now able to show her face, could return to the Armenian community: in a reversal process that mirrored the original tattooing, the doctor’s knife would replace the marks of captivity with the scars of removal, or would draw out the inks under white bandages, culminating in a chrysalis-like restoration. This unmarking was thus a condition for reclamation, and for the woman to be reassigned an unambiguous Armenian, Christian, white identity—as if the success of her moral and national rescue were contingent upon her visual rescue. As with the contemporary case of the French gueules cassées, whose troubling appearance was “cured” via reconstructive surgery or sculpted masks, modern medical intervention was able to “solve” the “problem” of the rescued women’s recuperability.83 Crucially, then, when fundraisers did write of tattooed women, it was to assure donors that they could “become Armenian” again: “history” could, indeed, be “leached out.” Figure 5: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk's Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. Near East Relief’s press office circulated a number of stories about tattooed women to the American press (largely between 1919 and 1923), alongside more staple stories of relief workers, orphans, and continuing need. Local newspapers sometimes adapted or rewrote these stories; different versions of Nargig’s story (a misspelling of Nargis) appeared, for example, in the New York Times on April 4, 1920, 18 (without images), and in the Sandusky Register on October 4, 1920, 2 (with a more formal portrait). Most shorter NER news reports merely tended to note that many thousands of Armenian “slaves” were being (or needed to be) rescued, but like the Ogden Standard Examiner, some indulged in lurid description and sexualizing images, including the Pittsburgh Press, January 24, 1926, 88. Image courtesy of Utah Digital Newspapers, J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Figure 5: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk's Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. Near East Relief’s press office circulated a number of stories about tattooed women to the American press (largely between 1919 and 1923), alongside more staple stories of relief workers, orphans, and continuing need. Local newspapers sometimes adapted or rewrote these stories; different versions of Nargig’s story (a misspelling of Nargis) appeared, for example, in the New York Times on April 4, 1920, 18 (without images), and in the Sandusky Register on October 4, 1920, 2 (with a more formal portrait). Most shorter NER news reports merely tended to note that many thousands of Armenian “slaves” were being (or needed to be) rescued, but like the Ogden Standard Examiner, some indulged in lurid description and sexualizing images, including the Pittsburgh Press, January 24, 1926, 88. Image courtesy of Utah Digital Newspapers, J. Willard Marriott Digital Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City. Figure 6: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “Foreign Reconstruction,” Blue Triangle News, January 16, 1920, 2. This piece was published at a time when the YWCA was seeking extra funds to expand its work in the “emergency homes” (a term the association preferred to “rescue homes”), as NER sought to withdraw from that work. These two photographs were also published around the same time (1919) on the front cover of and inside a YWCA booklet entitled The Aftermath, which sought to raise funds for its work in the Near East. Copy in YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 337, folder 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Near East Relief also frequently used “before and after” images in its publicity material at this time—but of orphans and others merely labeled “refugees,” not of tattooed girls and women. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 6: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “Foreign Reconstruction,” Blue Triangle News, January 16, 1920, 2. This piece was published at a time when the YWCA was seeking extra funds to expand its work in the “emergency homes” (a term the association preferred to “rescue homes”), as NER sought to withdraw from that work. These two photographs were also published around the same time (1919) on the front cover of and inside a YWCA booklet entitled The Aftermath, which sought to raise funds for its work in the Near East. Copy in YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 337, folder 14, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. Near East Relief also frequently used “before and after” images in its publicity material at this time—but of orphans and others merely labeled “refugees,” not of tattooed girls and women. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. In the field, though, far from the fundraising rhetoric, “history” was not so easily disregarded, and the very modern transformative claims of this humanitarianism remained unrealized. Instead, those engaged in humanitarian projects of national reconstruction continued to exclude those they deemed threatening to their vision of national renewal. Once the issue progressed from the women’s rescue to the question of their rehabilitation, their “history”—as signified by their tattoos—determined how the different humanitarian organizations and workers judged their ultimate viability as components of the new nation.84 When NER began to shift decisively away from emergency relief in 1920, it launched large agricultural, medical, and educational projects for the orphans under its care.85 NER executives made a policy decision to emphasize “the child” over “the orphan,” likely because this suggested moldable “raw material” rather than the baggage the word “orphan” carried.86 From then on, fundraising letters and articles in the New Near East referred to the children as “the hope of the future.”87 An April 1922 center spread, entitled “The Resurrection of a Race,” declared that “Armenia’s hope is in her children. Through them, and them only, can she hope to rise again.” As NER shifted its policies, so too did it shift its visual strategies. Increasingly, the photographs in the New Near East were of neat, healthy orphans busy in NER’s workshops, fields, and schools; there were never any tattooed girls or women to disturb the visual coherence of national renewal. (See Figure 7.) By 1922, only seven of the sixteen rescue homes were still operating, and support for the rescued women had petered out with little comment.88 Figure 7: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “On the Threshold of the Work-a-Day World,” New Near East 7, no. 9 (1922): 10–11. In its initial years of publication, the New Near East favored images of destitution and suffering, to provide evidence of need and provoke pity. This center spread is typical of the imagery NER deployed once it shifted fully from emergency relief to national reconstruction: the collage and accompanying captions emphasize industriousness, craft, self-sufficiency, and collective endeavor—thereby presenting donors with a vision of NER’s humanitarian goal of national reconstruction already successfully under way, and its completion—crucially— within reach. Image courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Figure 7: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. “On the Threshold of the Work-a-Day World,” New Near East 7, no. 9 (1922): 10–11. In its initial years of publication, the New Near East favored images of destitution and suffering, to provide evidence of need and provoke pity. This center spread is typical of the imagery NER deployed once it shifted fully from emergency relief to national reconstruction: the collage and accompanying captions emphasize industriousness, craft, self-sufficiency, and collective endeavor—thereby presenting donors with a vision of NER’s humanitarian goal of national reconstruction already successfully under way, and its completion—crucially— within reach. Image courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Given the women’s invisibility in NER’s campaigns, only the writings of missionary and other relief workers running the rescue homes open a window onto their treatment. As Henry Riggs in Harpoot noted, the missionaries were faced with the task of rebuilding the last century’s work among the Armenians from the “shivering remnant” who had returned from exile or had survived in Muslim homes, which, Riggs admitted, was a picture “far from reassuring.”89 The missionaries, too, focused on the orphans, who predominate in the swaths of correspondence and reports, where they are consistently prioritized and imbued with hope for the future: “The work for orphans is in many ways the most important of all,” wrote Emma Cushman in October 1916.90 Few actually contested the drive to rescue the women coming from Turkish houses—indeed, some devoted themselves to it, like Webb and Holmes, while others were wholly supportive, including longstanding missionaries William Chambers and Henry Riggs, the latter of whom told stories of defending Armenian women from disgruntled former husbands with great relish.91 But the general response among missionaries was grudging and reluctant. In Aintab, the rescued women were placed seventh on the list of eleven reconstruction tasks (below “publications”); in Harpoot, Mary Riggs wrote, rather grumpily, that “[t]hey turn up at all times of day and every day of the week and claim they have just run away and have no place to spend the coming night and are in danger of being caught. So I have to take them in. One day last week I took in 46.”92 The running of the rescue homes was left to female missionaries and relief workers, and here, too, the sparseness and tone of their comments indicates both disinterest and growing reservations about the project of rescue. For the missionaries, it was impossible that these women—who had “chosen” to “sacrifice” their moral, religious, and sexual purity by living among the Muslims for four years or more—could participate in the spiritual rebirth of the Armenian nation.93 They represented the failure not just of the missions’ work over the past eighty years, but specifically of female missionaries’ efforts in the realm of “woman’s work for woman”—a missionary endeavor that focused on championing women’s education and trying to replace “primitive” housekeeping and medical practices with “modern” methods, in the hope that women would then exercise a “civilizing influence” within the domestic sphere.94 In the missionaries’ eyes, the rescued women had “proven” themselves unfit for the responsibility of bringing up new families—their key gendered role in national reconstruction. The religious and racial filters through which the missionaries viewed the fact of the rescued women’s—often forced—relationships with Muslim men labeled the women problematic, and diseased, in a metaphorical as well as sometimes literal sense. Ruth Parmelee, a medical doctor in Harpoot, found that only around 15 percent had some form of sexually transmitted disease, but the missionaries’ general suspicion was that most were untreatably “diseased,” and the idea of their being irremediably vitiated as an entire group, and thus “irrecuperable,” is clearly present.95 In a continuation of the disease metaphor, they were frequently described as “mentally unstable.” “One girl had become partially insane from her treatment in a harem,” wrote one missionary. “Her face was disfigured by four tattoo marks … She looked at us in a wild, frightened sort of way as she sat spinning and weaving.”96 This, it was acknowledged, was usually because the rescued women’s “worse-than-death experiences … had robbed [them] of reason,” and while some were undoubtedly traumatized by brutal experiences, there hovers over these descriptions a more general implication of the cultural “damage” done to them as a group.97 “Trouble” around the issue of active sexuality, or sexual impurity, also explains at least in part the missionaries’ division of rescued women and girls by age: girls under thirteen were usually absorbed into the orphanages, blending into the nurtured category of “the orphan.”98 Rescued women, by contrast, were regarded with suspicion—they were not given new clothes for a month, in case they ran back to their Turkish husbands—and they appear in missionary writings as slow-witted, somehow more intractable in nature, more difficult to redeem.99 “Some of them formerly had good homes and still show the result of that training, but for the most part they have had to learn the first essentials of how to live,” wrote one. “In some ways it has been harder to teach them because they are so [much older] and have become so accustomed to their bad ways of doing things.”100 A YWCA worker in Harpoot agreed: “there seems to be more promise for the future in these [younger] girls than in the women of the Refuge Home, many of whom are mature women.”101 In Harpoot, Parmelee housed the mothers separately in a “nursery.” While this was partly a practical measure—the women could work during the day—it was also clearly driven by the sense of their needing “better supervision,” as Parmelee put it.102 This quarantining was also presumably connected to the unease many missionaries felt when confronted with children who were the product of this “sexual impurity” (or indeed a kind of “miscegenation”): Parmelee called them “Armeno-Turkish babies”; others referred to them as “Turk babies.”103 None of these missionaries envisaged the women, sometimes rather cruelly labeled “Turkish brides,” as being able to marry and have a “normal” life.104 In this, the missionaries’ conviction that the orphans represented the best hope for Armenian regeneration dovetailed with NER’s, albeit for slightly different reasons. For women with tattoos, their marks provided a definite indicator of what was otherwise only an invisible potential for impurity, transculturation, and disease. Yet there were others—both missionaries and other NER workers—who did not completely ostracize the rescued women, bringing different perspectives to the question of how, and how far, they could be rehabilitated. These individuals invested time and emotion in caring for the women, and running through their writings is a concern for the women’s individual futures, and indeed their present happiness. At the simplest level, this is evident from the way these relief workers refer to their charges by name, and as girls, not women. Helen Jones and Elsie Tanner, two YWCA workers stationed at Harpoot by NER, shared many of the missionaries’ misgivings about the rescued women. However, approaching them from within a YWCA framework of strengthening individual (and thus global) Christianity through recreation, they sought to “hold out to the freed captives some hope in life.”105 “Up to the present time they have been looked upon from the standpoint of self support rather than self development,” reported Tanner.106 As well as planning “more systematic and supervised industrial work,” they hoped to “reach” the women through supper groups, including the mothers, and took the young woman in charge of the rescue home under their wing: “she has the most tragic look on her face and Elsie and I have resolved that we will try to help Vartanoosh forget.”107 The YWCA workers brought about a marked difference in the rescue home’s atmosphere, as the missionaries themselves reported with an air of surprise, and they were sad to leave some months later for work elsewhere: “It seems hardly possible to have become as interested as I have in many of the girls in so short a time and it is going to be a pull to leave it all.”108 However, the two who invested most in the rescued women and girls were in fact missionaries, Caroline Holmes and Elizabeth Webb. Holmes’s memoir is full of tales of the Armenians she took in, of defending them against false “relatives” looking for servants, and of family reunions—including her cook, who recognized her young daughter among the arrivals one day, and Hirepsomy, a tattooed girl who recognized her brother Hagop in the marketplace: “Their joy was so great that the Turks turned away their faces from the sight and to wipe away their tears.”109 The most dedicated, though, was Webb, a missionary of long standing whose successes were held in high regard by the other Adana missionaries.110 “The life of each one of these twenty-nine girls has its own tragedy,” she noted, describing some of the lengths they had gone to in order to escape, and the transformation in their personalities.111 “How shall I tell you of this Rosa, our first child,” she wrote, “so bold and wilful! Sometimes I almost despaired of doing anything with her. But how can I ever make you see the change that has come over her in the past six weeks? Bright in mind, quick and capable, she is a born leader.”112 And their second girl, Horepsime: After losing father and mother, she spent four years among the Arabs. Here she was obliged to milk 150 sheep every day, besides going to the mountains and cutting wood for fuel, carrying it home on her back. To keep from having her face tattooed, according to the custom of the Arabs, she threw herself into a shallow well. Finally, finding she would be left there to starve, she managed to climb out, and submitted. Her face is now disfigured with a pattern in black spots which will remain till death, except, as possible, they may be cut or burnt out.113 In addition to recording the forlorn girls’ first smiles and organizing day trips, Webb concentrated on teaching them to knit, embroider, and make rugs.114 She was circumspect about the fact that these young women would never be fully reintegrated into Armenian society, but she was resolved, with empathy, to give them the best chance in life: We do not call our home an “orphanage” or a “refugee” [sic], but a “Trade School,” as this is what we plan to make it … Many of these girls can probably never have homes of their own. The right thing is to teach them trades that they may be independent and able to earn a living for themselves. They have been grievously sinned against, and many will suffer through life for it.115 Webb, Holmes, and the YWCA workers thus shared the dominant perspective among relief workers, that the rescued women were not “recuperable” for the nation—but they were determined that the women could be rehabilitated as individuals, and should be given the chance of a happy and fulfilling life: part of the Armenian community, but not part of national regeneration. The five women from Smith College projected a different set of cultural assumptions onto the problem of recuperation. Although they came, like many of the missionaries, from a broadly New England Protestant background, they did not see the rescued women’s experiences per se as a barrier to inclusion in this national project; rather, they based their ideas about regeneration and social progress on their own experience and belief in the transformative power of education. Each was enthusiastic about the rescue work; Esther Greene, in particular, included in her long, intense letters home many stories of taking in women and girls, mediating between them and their Turkish husbands through the home’s door, and accompanying Miss Graffam, a famous missionary, on a quest to retrieve a former pupil from a Kurdish chief’s house.116 But the Smith women, perhaps unsurprisingly, related to those Armenian women most like themselves—those usually of higher social standing who had been educated in the missionary colleges, who spoke English, and who were “extremely attractive, lady-like and well bred.” These they saw as the “leaven in the lump”—“it is to them to whom the country looks for leaders,” wrote Greene.117 Justine Hill, stationed as Stanley Kerr’s lab assistant in Aleppo, argued that once political tensions had subsided, the best among the Armenians should take over reconstruction: “I firmly believe that if given a fair chance to exist, they would soon do their own scrambling, with an occasional hand.”118 Mabel Elliott, a doctor seconded to NER by the service organization American Women’s Hospitals, likewise warmed to this social class of women. The beginning of her memoir recounts her first weeks treating women in the Constantinople Rescue Home, “all from the best class of Armenian homes; carefully reared, well educated, charming girls, much like a group of young American college women.”119 Her tone here is compassionate and affectionate, in marked contrast to her description of a tattooed woman who came to an NER orphanage to claim her child: “There was nothing bright or gay about her stooped figure … Her face was wrinkled and brown as leather, her teeth were decaying, and between the bright dark eyes was the blue tattoo mark of the Turkish-Armenian woman who has known slavery to the Arabs … when the baby understood that she was to go away with this woman she clung to Miss MacKaye’s neck in silent desperation.”120 Elliott does not mention any tattooed women at Constantinople (although other sources do), and neither do any of the Smith women.121 It seems that for these relief workers, too, the rescued women’s tattoos were a visual barrier to their ever being able to be like “young American college women.” Karen Jeppe’s approach to the question of who was “fit” to participate in national regeneration owed less to notions of purity or malleability than to currents of European thinking on national identity and belonging. As Matthias Bjørnlund argues, Jeppe saw herself not as a missionary but “as an aid worker and rescue worker, and, increasingly, as an activist working for national self-determination for the oppressed and dispelled Armenians.”122 Jeppe was deeply rooted in Grundtvigianism, an influential Danish Lutheran movement that emphasized personal freedom, education, and human nature as inhering in one’s own ethnic and cultural nation—and thus she saw her task as supporting and strengthening Armenian group coherence, not undermining it by attempting to convert Armenians to Protestantism.123 Her focus on restoring Armenian cultural heritage, crafts, and language was in this vein. She sought to rescue and reclaim only those whose Armenian identity had remained firm, “whose yearning for their people is so strong that they brave everything and fly. Those are the ones we must get hold of.”124 This, as she intended, required a “special effort” on their part; “they had to decide for themselves whether they would leave the houses where they were detained or not, and they often ran a considerable risk in doing so.”125 For Jeppe, thus, seeking out and seizing Armenians in Muslim households risked not only the emergence of a new “Armenian question” amid the political tensions of French Mandate Syria, but also the possibility of bringing in the “wrong sort.” Early on, she made a very specific appraisal of who the most recuperable Armenians were—an appraisal in which her later agricultural settlement schemes were also prefigured. Unlike those living in villages, where life was “moral and pure” and work the “natural condition of life,” those living in the cities, both boys and girls, were “the victims of an unlimited licentiousness, and have mentally and physically been infected and spoiled”: We have only too many corrupted Armenians, both men and women, and a great number are so turkified that they are no good. The Oriental woman sinks rapidly, and it is difficult to raise her again. A wholesale gathering in of them would bring too many of that kind; in the other way they would not come. Those who would come are the Armenian young men who come with the definite purpose to remain Armenians. They have only one thought, to return to their people and to succeed.126 Jeppe estimated that more than half the Armenian women in Muslim houses had resigned themselves to settling down and “trying to forget their own people,” and accepted that for many, “natural love” for the children born to them would “bind them firmly to the home.”127 These women were “lost” forever, “but on the other hand hundreds of women sigh for liberation. If they could find the means of flight and knew a place, where they would not be entirely abandoned, they would not tarry one moment.”128 While Jeppe managed to trace family members of fully three-quarters of those she rescued—an impressive feat given the geographical spread and continual movement of the ravaged diaspora—others, like Zumroot, settled in Jeppe’s expanding agricultural colonies.129 She established the first, Tel Armen, in 1924, to provide a living for those more used to farming than the city, and also to help mitigate the expenses of Reception House.130 In her report to the League, Jeppe linked rescue with a reconstruction that would forge an “organic link between the Arab and the Armenian world”: The colony would tend to make our refugees much more useful to the country in which they live … No element could ever be more suited to colonisation in this country than these young Armenians with all the energy of their race tingling in their veins … The colony would attract them in thousands and enable them to become Armenians again.131 Accordingly, Jeppe’s criteria for who was “recuperable” diverged significantly from those of the NER workers, missionary or other, in that she judged “purity” and therefore suitability not by morality or “disease,” but on strength of national feeling, as evidenced by their “risking all” to escape. She was therefore little interested in the tattoos marking the faces of some of the women who came to Reception House; it was their inner identity that concerned her, not their outward appearance. In the intake registers, tattoos are visible on at least forty-seven of the women’s faces (see Figure 8), but only three of the personal stories mention tattoos, each time in a case where the extent of the tattooing resulted in medical or psychological difficulties and clearly horrified the staff.132 In general, these photographs do not accentuate the tattoos. Indeed, they bear little resemblance to the mug shots increasingly being used across Europe and America, but instead are in the style of classic late-nineteenth-century portrait photography, using the Victorian technique of an oval frame, thought to flatter and accentuate the shape of the face: these portraits were an act of recuperation in themselves.133 Figure 8: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. The intake photograph of Victoria Boghossian, from Adiaman (Adıyaman) in southeastern Turkey, who arrived at Reception House on February 16, 1925, at the age of twenty-three. The intake register records that she was deported with her mother, three sisters, and two brothers; her mother and at least two of her sisters died along the way. One day when she left the caravan to drink at a river, some Arabs surrounded her, and although she threw herself into the water, they caught her. She lived with one of them for a year; after he died, she lived with another Arab at Tel Samen for eight years. When some Armenians came to the village, she heard that some of her relatives were alive, and fled to Reception House’s new orphanage in Tel Samen. She was sent on to Reception House in Aleppo, but left after five months to join her brother in Beirut. The intake register makes no mention of her tattoos. Victoria, February 16, 1925, Reception House Registers. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. Figure 8: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. The intake photograph of Victoria Boghossian, from Adiaman (Adıyaman) in southeastern Turkey, who arrived at Reception House on February 16, 1925, at the age of twenty-three. The intake register records that she was deported with her mother, three sisters, and two brothers; her mother and at least two of her sisters died along the way. One day when she left the caravan to drink at a river, some Arabs surrounded her, and although she threw herself into the water, they caught her. She lived with one of them for a year; after he died, she lived with another Arab at Tel Samen for eight years. When some Armenians came to the village, she heard that some of her relatives were alive, and fled to Reception House’s new orphanage in Tel Samen. She was sent on to Reception House in Aleppo, but left after five months to join her brother in Beirut. The intake register makes no mention of her tattoos. Victoria, February 16, 1925, Reception House Registers. Image courtesy of the Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva. It is the photographs in Jeppe’s six personal albums that are most revealing of her attitudes toward the tattooed women, and their inclusion in her vision of national reconstruction. (See, for example, Figures 1, 9, and 10.) Scattered among the everyday scenes of life at Reception House, in the trade workshops, and in the expanding desert villages are several photographs of tattooed women, including the image of Zumroot standing in Reception House. One woman stands alone, in the doorway to her house in the compound; a group of four women, just rescued, stand in front of Reception House, formal in one photograph, relaxing into smiles in a second.134 In one of the workshops at Reception House, Mariam is shown refining embroidery designs with two workers. (See Figure 9.) Another woman, Jeghsa, stands between two newly built houses in the compound, the whitewash fresh and the trees still young, her quiet, direct gaze holding the camera. (See Figure 10.) None of these photographs sensationalize the women, or reduce them to the “problem” of their tattoos. Rather, they depict the women as Jeppe saw them: getting on with their new lives, as Armenians—both recuperable and representable, if only within the confines of her own albums. Figure 9: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Mariam (right) discussing sewing designs with two of Jeppe’s overseers, ca. 1926. Mariam was seven during the genocide; her father and brother were taken into the Ottoman army, and her mother took Mariam and her sister to stay with their grandparents. The family was deported from there. A Kurd took Mariam and kept her for eight years as his daughter. Eventually a young Armenian man passing through told Mariam’s mistress that her relatives were alive and seeking her, and took her to Malatia. From there, the intake register records, “she came with a caravan of emigrants to this city. Having no relatives, she came to us.” Mariam stayed in Reception House for eighteen months, leaving in January 1926, self-employed as an embroiderer. Mariam, June 6, 1924, Reception House Registers. This photograph was published in “Karen Jeppes Virksomhed i Aleppo: Brev fra Henni Forchhammer,” Armeniervennen 6, no. 7–8 (1926): 29–30, here 29, part of a letter from Henni Forchhammer about Karen Jeppe’s activities in Aleppo. It is noteworthy that in this picture Jeppe includes a tattooed woman who is neither alone nor grouped solely with other tattooed women: she is fully “integrated” into the life of Reception House. Photograph no. 66, in Karen Jeppe’s album 56. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 9: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Mariam (right) discussing sewing designs with two of Jeppe’s overseers, ca. 1926. Mariam was seven during the genocide; her father and brother were taken into the Ottoman army, and her mother took Mariam and her sister to stay with their grandparents. The family was deported from there. A Kurd took Mariam and kept her for eight years as his daughter. Eventually a young Armenian man passing through told Mariam’s mistress that her relatives were alive and seeking her, and took her to Malatia. From there, the intake register records, “she came with a caravan of emigrants to this city. Having no relatives, she came to us.” Mariam stayed in Reception House for eighteen months, leaving in January 1926, self-employed as an embroiderer. Mariam, June 6, 1924, Reception House Registers. This photograph was published in “Karen Jeppes Virksomhed i Aleppo: Brev fra Henni Forchhammer,” Armeniervennen 6, no. 7–8 (1926): 29–30, here 29, part of a letter from Henni Forchhammer about Karen Jeppe’s activities in Aleppo. It is noteworthy that in this picture Jeppe includes a tattooed woman who is neither alone nor grouped solely with other tattooed women: she is fully “integrated” into the life of Reception House. Photograph no. 66, in Karen Jeppe’s album 56. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Jeppe did make strategic use of the tattooed women in her fundraising drives, thus including those not conventionally considered “recuperable” in her visualization of her reconstruction work. She commissioned a set of portraits, including Zumroot’s Orient im Bild frontispiece, which accentuated and exhibited their marks. The Slave Market News was the most avid publisher of these images, printing them alongside sensationalist stories, and also offering postcard reproductions for sale.135 Its campaign style, while more lurid than most, utilized the well-established humanitarian convention of depicting human suffering in order to argue for the abolition of the system that produced it—here, white slavery. But those fundraising for national reconstruction—Orient im Bild and Armeniervennen (the newsletter of the Danish Friends of Armenia, Jeppe’s closest supporters)—were more guarded in their use of these photographs and accompanying captions, perhaps not trusting that their subscribers would also believe that the tattooed women were “recuperable.”136 More often, they published long articles from Jeppe detailing her successes and the progress in the construction of the new colonies—accompanied by images that, cumulatively, chart the transformations in the “recuperated” and the land. Here, as in the New Near East, the new agendas of national reconstruction demanded a new visual aesthetic—not the orderly, sanitized aura that suffused prewar missionary photographs, but a more vigorous, organic aesthetic of struggle and rejuvenation that chimed with the dreams of the interwar period. Jeppe found support for her activities from a number of Armenophile societies and private individuals across the globe.137 In their overriding concern to reestablish the Armenian nation as a cultural and ethnoreligious entity, Jeppe and her funders saw the task of rescue and rehabilitation slightly differently than the League did. In the Near East, the League aimed to construct social peace through a combination of minority protection laws, French and British mandates (an evolution of the “civilizing project”), and social justice and social reform projects.138 Back in Geneva, the focus was on rescue—conceived as the “saving” of Armenian women and children from slavery and forced concubinage, and the reversal of the wartime process that saw national minorities mixed and absorbed into others.139 But for Jeppe, rescue had to be accompanied by rehabilitation, if the nation was to be “saved.”140 She thus had a deeper and more emotional investment in rebuilding the Armenian nation than the League did, but her modus operandi for rescue and rehabilitation fitted their agendas well; even her agricultural settlement project, which in some ways went beyond her original brief, was perfectly in tune with the League’s ideals, in its logic of the economically productive social integration of a national minority into the surrounding majority. As she argued, settling them in her colonies in fact “utilis[ed] that which seemed their greatest obstacle, their ‘arabisation,’ to build up a strong and thriving peasantry fit to understand and to be understood by the native population.”141 Following Jeppe’s lead, her heterogeneous mix of funders became advocates of the reabsorption of the tattooed women into the Armenian community; the League, pleased with Jeppe’s work (and to appease the activists among them), raised no objections. Figure 10: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Jeghsa Hairabedian standing in the Reception House compound, ca. 1929. Jeghsa was eight during the genocide. She was deported from Adiaman with her parents and sister; her father was killed, and then her sister was lost. A Kurd dragged her mother away, and shortly thereafter, Jeghsa herself was taken by another Kurd to a neighboring village. Some years later, mother and daughter met while out gathering fuel, and made their escape. Jeghsa, November 25, 1929, Reception House Registers. Jeghsa’s story was printed in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 29–30, with a photograph that displayed her tattoos more prominently (indeed, they appear to have been touched up); the same image is printed on one of the glass slides that Jeppe and the Danish Friends of Armenia used to illustrate fundraising lectures (Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn). Another studio portrait of Jeghsa, her tattoos prominent, appears in Jeppe’s private albums; but as with Zumroot, the composition of this image—and Jeppe’s inclusion of it in her albums—suggests a more caring, human relationship outside the confines of the fundraising imperative. Photograph no. 395, in Karen Jeppe’s album 59. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. Figure 10: Compliance with permission from the rights holder to display this image online prohibits further enlargement or copying. Jeghsa Hairabedian standing in the Reception House compound, ca. 1929. Jeghsa was eight during the genocide. She was deported from Adiaman with her parents and sister; her father was killed, and then her sister was lost. A Kurd dragged her mother away, and shortly thereafter, Jeghsa herself was taken by another Kurd to a neighboring village. Some years later, mother and daughter met while out gathering fuel, and made their escape. Jeghsa, November 25, 1929, Reception House Registers. Jeghsa’s story was printed in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 29–30, with a photograph that displayed her tattoos more prominently (indeed, they appear to have been touched up); the same image is printed on one of the glass slides that Jeppe and the Danish Friends of Armenia used to illustrate fundraising lectures (Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn). Another studio portrait of Jeghsa, her tattoos prominent, appears in Jeppe’s private albums; but as with Zumroot, the composition of this image—and Jeppe’s inclusion of it in her albums—suggests a more caring, human relationship outside the confines of the fundraising imperative. Photograph no. 395, in Karen Jeppe’s album 59. Image courtesy of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute. The seductive new visualizations of national reconstruction within fundraising materials provided a distraction that helped organizations and donors overlook the problems of “history,” even when they were marked so very visibly on the women’s faces. But for most relief workers on the ground, the women’s tattoos were too significant to be overlooked, and rendered them too problematic to be included in the new nation. Jeppe, too, divided and categorized the surviving Armenian population—not along lines of “history,” but on strength of national feeling. Thus, the treatment of the tattooed women lays bare the contradictions between this “new” humanitarianism’s claims to be able to remedy and transform, and its enduring reluctance to treat all as equally “recuperable.” What makes this interwar humanitarianism truly “modern” is not its (uneven and contested) transition from “old” to “new” personnel and practices; it is these sweeping projects for the remolding of societies and peoples, the attendant gendered biopolitics of inclusion and exclusion, and the construction of a visual aesthetic that would mobilize audiences and donors through uplifting depictions of transformed, recuperated bodies. By putting under the same lens the intricacies of these different visions of national reconstruction, particularly as they related to the tattooed women, we bring into clearer focus both the complex processes of change in humanitarian practices during the interwar period and also their insuperable limits. Crucially, these are best captured by exploring the thoughts and initiatives of ordinary relief workers on the ground, since they themselves frequently embodied, and were agents of, these changes, and directly imposed the limits. And crucially, too, it is in the writings and photograph albums of these relief workers that we find the otherwise hidden stories of the tattooed women and their fates. Zumroot, as the intake registers note, moved to Jeppe’s second agricultural colony and married an Armenian farmer. The four other women on the Slave Market News’s frontispiece and postcard in Figure 4 also found homes: Mariam (standing, right, and Figure 9) became self-supporting as an embroiderer; Eliza (seated, right) supported herself as a servant, living with relatives; Victoria (standing, left, and Figure 8) went to Beirut to live with her brother; and Haiganoosh (seated, left) found work as an embroiderer, living with her brother and father.142 Jeghsa’s story appeared in Armeniervennen in 1930; there are four photographs of her in total, suggesting that she remained at Reception House a while.143 As Caroline Holmes reported from Urfa, Hirepsomy and Hagob were reunited as brother and sister in a chance meeting in the marketplace. And while the ending of Elizabeth Webb’s story in Adana would suggest that Rosa and Horepsime, her first two girls, would have gone on to lead independent and relatively happy lives, we cannot know. Adana was the scene of fighting between French and Turkish troops at the end of 1921, as the Kemalists expelled the French from Cilicia—events that many Armenians did not survive. Webb arrived in Beirut in 1921; her personnel card simply reads “among refugees.”144 Many of the rescued women and girls were swept up in the Turkish military campaigns in the southeastern provinces of Turkey between 1921 and 1923, and many—as Jeppe found—decided to return to Muslim households. Once again, they joined the thousands who became permanently absorbed into the Turkish national community, as Turkish wives, mothers, and grandmothers—whose fate as “hidden Armenians” is only now being recognized in contemporary Turkey, as thousands of Turks hunt through their family histories to see if they, too, have an “Armenian grandmother.”145 Rebecca Jinks is Lecturer in Holocaust Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of Representing Genocide: The Holocaust as Paradigm? (Bloomsbury, 2016). She is currently working on a social history of humanitarianism during and after the First World War. This article was begun while I held the first Raphael Lemkin Scholarship at the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Yerevan, in 2011. Grants from the Rockefeller Archive Center (2013) and the Friendly Hand (2013) enabled me to complete archival research. I would like to thank the staff at AGMI, the RAC, the League of Nations Archives (Geneva), the Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the Hoover Institution Archives, the Smith College Archives, the Mount Holyoke College Archives, the Yale Divinity School Library, and the Burke Library at Columbia University, as well as Raymond Kévorkian, Matthias Bjørnlund, Mogens Højmark, Rebecca Wennberg, and Piers Rawson, for their archival help and immense wealth of knowledge. I would also like to thank Helen Graham, Dan Stone, Cathie Carmichael, Abraham D. Krikorian and Eugene L. Taylor, Jessica Wright, Melanie Webb, Mathura Umachandran, John Boopalan, Edna Bonhomme, and the AHR’s editors and reviewers for their insightful discussions, suggestions, and support. Notes 1Zumroot, August 16, 1923, Reception House Registers, C1601–1603, Archives of the League of Nations, Geneva [hereafter ALON]. The life stories recounted in the Reception House Registers are very brief, and highly stylized. Understandably, given the nature of the survivors’ experiences, the texts often lack detail and clarity. 2The terms used contemporaneously and in later scholarship to describe these processes are extremely loaded. Campaigners often used “kidnapped,” “abducted,” and “taken into slavery.” Historian Ara Sarafian’s “absorption” is more neutral. Sarafian, “The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households as a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide,” in Omer Bartov and Phyllis Mack, eds., In God’s Name: Genocide and Religion in the Twentieth Century (New York, 2001), 209–221. “Rescue,” “recovery,” and (especially) “repatriation” all presuppose the “correctness” of these actions. None is sufficient to capture the range of the women’s experiences (see also n. 26); I use these terms as necessary to convey the worldviews of those involved, but I am analyzing these as Western projects of “reclamation,” “reconstruction,” and “recuperability.” 3The registers were called the “Protocols” by the Aleppo staff. Most of the surviving registers (three are missing) are in the League of Nations Archives, which labels them “Reception House Registers.” Another is held in the Danish State Archives, De Danske Armeniervenners Arkiv, 10158, “1919–1949,” Forhandlingsprotokol, pakke 1. I call them “intake registers” since it is smoother, more idiomatic English. See Dicle Akar Bilgin, Matthias Bjørnlund, and Taner Akçam’s project to digitize the “Aleppo Protocols,” The League of Nations in Aleppo: Armenian Women and Children Survivors, 1921–1927, http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/orphan-children.nsf!OpenDatabase, with a critical introduction by Bjørnlund. 4There are six albums, held in the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute archives in Yerevan, numbered (by the archive) 56–61. The photographs in albums 56–60 were numbered consecutively by Jeppe. This is photograph no. 100 from album 57. The photographs are uncaptioned; significant correlative work has been necessary to identify persons, places, and approximate dates. 5K. Jeppe, “Im Flüchtlingslager von Aleppo,” Orient im Bild, no. 3 (1927): 20–22. 6The women’s own perspectives are largely absent here. It is in the nature of their lives and experiences that few would have had the opportunity, or wish, to tell their stories in their own words at the time. In the sources I use, their words are always filtered by third parties, whether relief workers or journalists abroad. There are some oral testimonies, mostly dating from the 1960s and 1970s; see Gayané Adourian, Barouhi Chorekian, and Barouhi Silian’s brief testimonies of being tattooed in Verzhine Svazlian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: Testimonies of the Eye-Witness Survivors (Yerevan, 2011), 444–445, 413–414. (Doris Melkonian is working on UCLA’s Armenian survivor testimony collection; others are available via the Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive.) But the circumstances under which the women gave their testimony (with the need to maintain and underline their reassumed Armenian identity) and the filtering of their memories through their subsequent life experiences—which include starting families of their own, and therefore denote acceptance/inclusion—make them less reliable as testimonies of their feelings in the early 1920s. One published memoir discusses tattooing in some detail: Mae M. Derdarian, Vergeen: A Survivor of the Armenian Genocide (Los Angeles, 1997). It confirms my analysis below, especially in its discussion of Vergeen’s “shame,” her desire for surgical removal of her tattoos, and her fear of non-acceptance by the Armenian community, but it is likewise filtered through her post-genocide family life in America. Moreover, the text itself was written by the daughter of Vergeen’s closest friend, based on Vergeen’s unpublished manuscript. While I would have preferred my critical perspective to be informed by the women’s, I have tried to retain a sense of their independent agency where possible (for example, the choice Zumroot and others made to stay or leave). 7The charity went through various mergers and name changes before becoming Near East Relief upon its incorporation by an Act of Congress in 1919. For a brief critical history, see Davide Rodogno, “Beyond Relief: A Sketch of the Near East Relief’s Humanitarian Operations, 1918–1929,” Monde(s) 6, no. 2 (2014): 45–64. Armenian communities also mounted significant relief efforts, but these lie outside the scope of this article. See Vahé Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion: The Reintegration Process of Female Survivors of the Armenian Genocide,” Nations and Nationalism 15, no. 1 (2009): 60–80; Raymond Kévorkian, Levon Nordiguian, and Vahé Tachjian, Les Arméniens, 1917–1939: La quête d’un refuge (Paris, 2007); and Anna Aleksanyan’s paper “The Issue of Identity of Surviving Armenian Women and Children after WWI,” Aid to Armenia: Armenia and Armenians in International History workshop, Birkbeck College, London, June 3, 2016. 8Keith David Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism, 1920–1927,” American Historical Review 115, no. 5 (December 2010): 1315–1339; Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones: The Middle East and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism (Oakland, Calif., 2015); Matthias Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians: National Survival in Imperial and Colonial Settings,” Haigazian Armenological Review 28 (2008): 9–43; Inger Marie Okkenhaug, “Religion, Relief and Humanitarian Work among Armenian Women Refugees in Mandatory Syria, 1927–1934,” Scandinavian Journal of History 40, no. 3 (2015): 432–454; Vahram L. Shemmassian, “The League of Nations and the Reclamation of Armenian Genocide Survivors,” in Richard G. Hovannisian, ed., Looking Backward, Moving Forward: Confronting the Armenian Genocide (New Brunswick, N.J., 2003), 81–112; Victoria Rowe, “Armenian Women Refugees at the End of Empire: Strategies of Survival,” in Panikos Panayi and Pippa Virdee, eds., Refugees and the End of Empire: Imperial Collapse and Forced Migration in the Twentieth Century (New York, 2011), 152–172. Two other historians who focus on Armenian debates over reclamation also largely elide the tattoos: Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion”; Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption: The Politics of Inclusion during and after the Armenian Genocide,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 55, no. 3 (2013): 522–553. Suzanne Khardalian’s film about her own family, Grandma’s Tattoos (Cinema Guild, 2011), is the only real treatment thus far, but it is a personal history. 9Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1319; Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 5. 10Johannes Paulmann, “Conjunctures in the History of International Humanitarian Aid during the Twentieth Century,” Humanity 4, no. 2 (2013): 215–238 (“overlapping,” “conjunctures,” and “contingencies”). Others have written of a “subtle and contested realignment”: Rob Skinner and Alan Lester, “Humanitarianism and Empire: New Research Agendas,” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 40, no. 5 (2012): 729–747, here 737; and of “moments of acceleration”: Kevin O’Sullivan, Matthew Hilton, and Juliano Fiori, “Humanitarianisms in Context,” European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no. 1–2 (2016): 1–15. Other works that explore this transition include Bruno Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, 1918–1924 (Cambridge, 2014); Eric D. Weitz, “From the Vienna to the Paris System: International Politics and the Entangled History of Human Rights, Forced Deportations, and Civilizing Missions,” American Historical Review 113, no. 5 (December 2008): 1313–1343; Humanitarianism in the Era of the First World War, Special Issue, First World War Studies 5, no. 1 (2014); Empire and Humanitarianism, Special Issue, Journal of Commonwealth and Imperial History 40, no. 5 (2012); Humanitarianisms in Context: Histories of Non-State Actors, from the Local to the Global, Special Issue, European Review of History: Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no. 1–2 (2016); Magaly Rodríguez García, Davide Rodogno, and Liat Kozma, eds., The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues: Visions, Endeavours and Experiments (Geneva, 2016). Francesca Piana neatly problematizes “professionalization” in “The Dangers of ‘Going Native’: George Montandon in Siberia and the International Committee of the Red Cross, 1919–1922,” Contemporary European History 25, no. 2 (2016): 253–274. 11See Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1319–1322; Watenpaugh, Bread From Stones, 4–9. 12Seminal works linking modernity and exclusionary violence include Zygmunt Bauman, Modernity and the Holocaust (Cambridge, 1989), and Amir Weiner, ed., Landscaping the Human Garden: Twentieth-Century Population Management in a Comparative Framework (Stanford, Calif., 2003). See also Mark Mazower, “Violence and the State in the Twentieth Century,” Review Essay, American Historical Review 107, no. 4 (October 2002): 1158–1178; and Weitz, “From the Vienna to the Paris System.” “Modernity” is of course still a highly contested sociological, intellectual, and historical concept. 13See Magaly Rodríguez García, Davide Rodogno, and Liat Kozma, “Introduction,” in Rodríguez García, Rodogno, and Kozma, The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues, 13–30, here 14. 14Suggestive examples include Liisa H. Malkki’s discussion, in her seminal “Speechless Emissaries: Refugees, Humanitarianism, and Dehistoricization,” Cultural Anthropology 11, no. 3 (1996): 377–404, of relief workers’ discomfort toward Hutu refugees on the Tanzanian border who did not conform to normative humanitarian definitions and expectations of “the refugee.” The result, she argues, was a “depoliticization” of the refugee category—which also speaks to other cases where the political claims of refugees or their unwillingness to accept certain sorts of aid made them “troublesome” for humanitarian workers. See, for example, Nell Gabiam, “When ‘Humanitarianism’ Becomes ‘Development’: The Politics of International Aid in Syria’s Palestinian Refugee Camps,” American Anthropologist 114, no. 1 (2012): 95–107; Ilana Feldman, “Difficult Distinctions: Refugee Law, Humanitarian Practice, and Political Identification in Gaza,” Cultural Anthropology 22, no. 1 (2007): 129–169. In a different vein, and one that resonates interestingly with surgical efforts to remove the Armenian women’s tattoos (see below), Didier Fassin and Estelle D’Halluin, “The Truth from the Body: Medical Certificates as Ultimate Evidence for Asylum Seekers,” American Anthropologist 107, no. 4 (2005): 597–608, and Miriam Ticktin, Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France (Berkeley, Calif., 2011), have explored how the French state views immigration and asylum through a medical lens: the politics of care means that refugees with medical conditions such as HIV or cancer, or with particular experiences of sexual violence or torture, are accepted, while the “merely” impoverished are not. 15See Piana, “The Dangers of ‘Going Native,’” 258. 16Significant exceptions include Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno, eds., Humanitarian Photography: A History (Cambridge, 2015); Kevin Grant, “Anti-Slavery, Refugee Relief, and the Missionary Origins of Humanitarian Photography ca. 1900–1960,” History Compass 15, no. 5 (2017), https://doi.org/10.1111/hic3.12383. 17Heide Fehrenbach and Davide Rodogno, “Introduction: The Morality of Sight,” in Fehrenbach and Rodogno, Humanitarian Photography, 1–21, here 1. This is the first historical collection on this topic. As they note, the theoretical literature on “regarding the pain of others” is well-developed, but thus far not always grounded in empirical research (2). Certainly, many interwar humanitarian organizations made good use of the evolving mass media technologies available—including film—and developed well-oiled publicity machines. See Peter Balakian, “Photography, Visual Culture, and the Armenian Genocide,” ibid., 89–114; Kevin Rozario, “‘Delicious Horrors’: Mass Culture, the Red Cross, and the Appeal of Modern American Humanitarianism,” American Quarterly 55, no. 3 (2003): 417–455; Cabanes, The Great War and the Origins of Humanitarianism, chap. 5. NER and Jeppe used film as well as photography. 18Christina Twomey, “Framing Atrocity: Photography and Humanitarianism,” History of Photography 36, no. 3 (2012): 255–264; Zahid R. Chaudhary, Afterimage of Empire: Photography in Nineteenth-Century India (Minneapolis, 2012), chap. 4. 19On NER’s use of images of women and children, see Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 83–84; and Balakian, “Photography, Visual Culture, and the Armenian Genocide,” 104–109. Laura Briggs’s discussion of NGOs’ use of “Madonna and waif” images in the 1950s to “mobili[ze] ideologies of ‘rescue,’ while pointing away from addressing causes,” is pertinent here. Briggs, “Mother, Child, Race, Nation: The Visual Iconography of Rescue and the Politics of Transnational and Transracial Adoption,” Gender & History 15, no. 2 (2003): 179–200, here 192, 180. On images of nation-building/national rebirth, see Eric Michaud, The Cult of Art in Nazi Germany, trans. Janet Lloyd (Stanford, Calif., 2004); Claudia Koonz, “‘More Masculine Men, More Feminine Women’: The Iconography of Nazi Racial Hatreds,” in Weiner, Landscaping the Human Garden, 102–134; Susan Buck-Morss, Dreamworld and Catastrophe: The Passing of Mass Utopia in East and West (Cambridge, Mass., 2000); Boaz Neumann, Land and Desire in Early Zionism, trans. Haim Watzman (Waltham, Mass., 2011). 20Malkki, “Speechless Emissaries,” 385. 21This visibility raises the issue of how knowledge and concealment operate in the aftermath of mass sexual violence, and their role in the reacceptance of raped women. Nayanika Mookherjee argues that memories of rape during the Bangladesh War of 1971 today operate as a “public secret,” whereby those who are known to have been raped may retain their “honour” as long as this fact remains, in practice, concealed in public. Mookherjee, “‘Remembering to Forget’: Public Secrecy and Memory of Sexual Violence in the Bangladesh War of 1971,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 12, no. 2 (2006): 433–450. A similar situation seems to have been at play for at least some of those Armenian women reabsorbed into the Armenian community—but since this concealment depends on a lack of visible differentiation, such “public secrecy” was hardly possible for tattooed women. For other contexts where the idea of “public secrecy” resonates, see Urvashi Batalia, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (Durham, N.C., 2000); Jennie E. Burnet, Genocide Lives in Us: Women, Memory, and Silence in Rwanda (Madison, Wis., 2012). 22On the American “captivity narrative” of the most famous of these, Olive Oatman, see Margot Mifflin, The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (London, 2009); Jennifer Putzi, Identifying Marks: Race, Gender and the Marked Body in Nineteenth-Century America (Athens, Ga., 2006); and Brian McGinty, The Oatman Massacre: A Tale of Desert Captivity and Survival (Norman, Okla., 2004). On the gueules cassées, see Julie M. Powell, “About-Face: Gender, Disfigurement and the Politics of French Reconstruction, 1918–24,” Gender & History 28, no. 3 (2016): 604–622; and Marjorie Gehrhardt, “Gueules Cassées: The Men behind the Masks,” Journal of War & Culture Studies 6, no. 4 (2013): 267–281. On Partition, see “Honourably Dead: Permissible Violence against Women,” in Ritu Menon and Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition (New Brunswick, N.J., 1998), 31–64; and Sujala Singh, “Nationalism’s Brandings: Women’s Bodies and Narratives of the Partition,” in Ashok Bery and Patricia Murray, eds., Comparing Postcolonial Literatures: Dislocations (Basingstoke, 2000), 122–133. 23Arjun Appadurai, “Dead Certainty: Ethnic Violence in the Era of Globalization,” Public Culture 10, no. 2 (1998): 225–247. 24Uğur Ümit Üngör, “Seeing Like a Nation-State: Young Turk Social Engineering in Eastern Turkey, 1913–50,” Journal of Genocide Research 10, no. 1 (2008): 15–39. 25See James Bryce and Arnold Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 1915–1916: Documents Presented to Viscount Grey of Fallodon by Viscount Bryce, Uncensored Edition, ed. and intro. Ara Sarafian (Princeton, N.J., 2000; originally published 1916). The most recent and detailed historical accounts are Raymond Kévorkian, The Armenian Genocide: A Complete History (London, 2011); and Ronald Grigor Suny, “They Can Live in the Desert but Nowhere Else”: A History of the Armenian Genocide (Princeton, N.J., 2015). 26On sexual violence, see Matthias Bjørnlund, “‘A Fate Worse Than Dying’: Sexual Violence during the Armenian Genocide,” in Dagmar Herzog, ed., Brutality and Desire: War and Sexuality in Europe’s Twentieth Century (London, 2008), 16–58. Most contemporary accounts use “Bedouin” synonymously with “Arab,” but the Armenians I discuss here were largely absorbed into nomadic (Bedouin) rather than urban (Arab) households; thus I use “Arab” only when quoting the original. The motivations behind Turkish, Kurdish, and Bedouin people’s actions were always complex: all benefited structurally and economically from those they took in (from their labor, whether domestic or sexual, and/or from not having to pay a dowry, a major expense in a family’s life cycle), but altruism also played a role, and the situation as a whole cannot simply be reduced to one of violent and self-interested exploitation. See Sarafian, “The Absorption of Armenian Women and Children into Muslim Households as a Structural Component of the Armenian Genocide”; and Richard G. Hovannisian, “Intervention and Shades of Altruism during the Armenian Genocide,” in Hovannisian, ed., The Armenian Genocide: History, Politics, Ethics (Basingstoke, 1992), 173–207. 27Missionaries in Turkey were reliant on their powers of persuasion and relationships with local officials to protect even the few Armenians they employed as staff. The Armenian community and some Protestant missionaries in Syria managed to organize help and rescue clandestinely. Arakel K. Tchakirian, “The Romance of Recovering Armenian Orphans from the Turks,” n.d., ALON 12/9640/4631; John Minassian, Many Hills Yet to Climb: Memoirs of an Armenian Deportee (Santa Barbara, Calif., 1986); Hilmar Kaiser, At the Crossroads of Der Zor: Death, Survival, and Humanitarian Resistance in Aleppo, 1915–1917 (Reading, 2002); Hans-Lukas Kieser, “Beatrice Rohner’s Work in the Death Camps of Armenians in 1916,” in Jacques Semelin, Claire Andrieu, and Sarah Gensburger, eds., Resisting Genocide: The Multiple Forms of Rescue, trans. Emma Bentley and Cynthia Schoch (New York, 2010), 367–382. 28On Scandinavian missionaries’ relief efforts, see Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians”; and Inger Marie Okkenhaug, “Scandinavian Missionaries, Gender and Armenian Refugees during World War I: Crisis and Reshaping of Vocation,” Social Sciences and Missions 23, no. 1 (2010): 63–93. 29Flora A. Keshgegian, “‘Starving Armenians’: The Politics and Ideology of Humanitarian Aid in the First Decades of the Twentieth Century,” in Richard Ashby Wilson and Richard D. Brown, eds., Humanitarianism and Suffering: The Mobilization of Empathy (Cambridge, 2009), 140–155, here 144. See Rodogno, “Beyond Relief,” 5–6, for further details on the committee. 30American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief: Minutes, 1915–1919, box 1, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 2, Rockefeller Archive Center, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. [hereafter RAC]. 31“Inventory January, 1920, Near East Relief,” New Near East 4, no. 7 (1920): 11. 32A sanguine contemporary assessment is Henry H. Riggs, “The Period of Disaster,” in “A.B.C.F.M. History, 1910–1942: Section on the Turkey Missions” (unpublished ms., 1944), American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Archives, 1810–1961, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. [hereafter ABC], series ABC 88. 33Elizabeth S. Webb to James L. Barton, October 5, 1918, ABC 16.9.5. 34Amerikan Bord Heyeti (American Board), Istanbul, “Personnel Records for Elizabeth S. Webb,” American Research Institute in Turkey, Istanbul Center Library, item #15784, http://www.dlir.org/archive/items/show/15784. 35Elizabeth S. Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” Life and Light for Woman 49, no. 12 (1919): 524–528, here 527. 36Near East Relief Unit, 1918–1920, boxes 30–32, War Service Collection, WWI, 1914–1918, Smith College Archives, Northampton, Mass. [hereafter SCRU]. I will discuss the SCRU in more detail in “‘Making Good’ in the Near East: The Smith College Relief Unit, Near East Relief, and Visions of Armenian Reconstruction, 1919–1921,” which will appear in Jo Laycock and Francesca Piana, eds., Aid to Armenia (forthcoming). Kathleen Sheldon’s account of a Red Cross nurse working for NER resonates with this idea of seizing opportunities: “‘No More Cookies or Cake Now, “C’est la guerre”’: An American Nurse in Turkey, 1919 to 1920,” Social Sciences and Missions 23, no. 1 (2010): 94–123. 37Kerr’s career trajectory is also exemplary of someone who seized the opportunities offered by the social shifts the Great War engendered: he returned to Lebanon as a lab chemist after his first NER stint, later becoming president of the American University of Beirut. On Kerr, see Watenpaugh, Bread from Stones, 91–106. 38Stanley Kerr to family, July 18, 1919, Stanley E. Kerr Archives 94, Zoryan Institute, Toronto [hereafter SKA]. 39Kerr to Marion, September 28, 1919, SKA 99; Kerr to family, Aleppo, July 18, 1919, SKA 94; Karen Jeppe, “Rapport annuel de la Commission de la Société des Nations, pour la protection des femmes et des enfants dans le Proche-Orient: Section d’Alep,” February 21, 1927 [draft], ALON 12/16489/4631. 40E.g., ALON 12/4631/4631, 12/9640/4631, 12/10589/4631. 41See the correspondence in ALON 12/24391/4631. The branch continued to operate, arbitrating disputes between the Armenian, Turkish, and Greek communities over the “national identity” of orphans, running a large orphanage, and helping refugees to trace their families and emigrate. On the minority provisions of Sèvres and Lausanne and the contemporary political climate relating to minorities, see Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, “Republic of Paradox: The League of Nations Minority Protection Regime and the New Turkey’s Step-Citizens,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 46, no. 4 (2014): 657–679. 42Karen Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them from the 1st of May until the 1st of September 1922,” August 24, 1922, ALON 12/30066/4631. 43Ibid. 44For statistics, see Karen Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East, Aleppo, July 1, 1926–June 30, 1927,” July 28, 1927, ALON 12/6075/4631. The exact number or proportion is difficult to determine. Although I can discern tattoos on 47 of the 463 women and girls helped by Jeppe (from the surviving sixteen of nineteen registers), I strongly suspect that there were more than the 10 percent this represents. In some cases, a woman’s tattoos stand out strongly in one photograph yet are invisible in a second (see n. 132). This is most likely due to the film emulsion and developing techniques used at the time (my thanks to Piers Rawson for his help here). Relief workers commented that “most of the girls” were tattooed: Mary Caroline Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor (New York, 1923), 47; or that they were tattooed “without exception,” as Jenny Jensen, Jeppe’s helper, wrote: Jensen, “Brev fra Aleppo,” Armeniervennen 5, no. 5–6 (1925): 17–18, here 18. While they were probably exaggerating for the purposes of advocacy, it seems certain that the proportion tattooed was far greater than 10 percent. 45Jeppe recorded that there was no custom of tattooing among the Turks. Jeppe, “Annual Report of the League of Nations Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” January 31, 1926, ALON 12/16489/4631. Separate here is medicinal or pilgrimage tattooing (never facial), sometimes practiced by the Armenian community. 46Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47. 47These comments are based on work in NER (and associated) collections at the Rockefeller Archive Center, the Houghton Library, the Hoover Institution Archives, and the Burke Library, in the ABCFM collection at ARIT Istanbul, and in the writings of a number of NER workers. It is likely that tattooed women would have sought refuge at other relief stations near Holmes in Urfa—Hadjin, Adana, Aintab, Tarsus, Mardin, Marash, Aleppo—but there are very few archival references to them. Beyond Elizabeth Webb’s description of Horepsime at Adana (n. 35) and Kerr’s single mention from Aleppo (n. 39), only Alice Keep Clark at Hadjin briefly mentions one woman in her memoir Letters from Cilicia (Chicago, 1924), 47. Elsewhere, the records are even sparser: NER’s newsletter mentioned tattooed women at Marsovan in the north (“News Notes,” New Near East 6, no. 3 [1920]: 29), but I found no discussion by the workers there; and despite the strong set of archival records for Harpoot (in the interior), the only mention found was on the reverse of a photograph in the collection of the station’s doctor, Ruth Parmelee, who wrote of one of the mothers depicted: “tattoo marks do not show—done by the Arabs during deportations.” Untitled photograph, box 6, folder 3, Ruth A. Parmelee Papers, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. [hereafter Parmelee Papers]. 48Just one issue of NER’s newsletter—New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920)—included images of tattooed women and girls. A photograph on page 13, taken by the American archaeologist Francis W. Kelsey during his Near East trip in 1919–1920, shows five tattooed girls in Aleppo (probably rescued by Kerr and Dunaway). NER cropped out the background, focusing attention even more on the tattoos, and printed it as a space-filler underneath completely unrelated articles, with the caption “Girls Rescued from Harems—Thousands Are Still in Captivity.” The original is at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Accession no. 7.197. The second image, “Marks Hard to Erase,” was printed on the “News Notes” pages (29–30) with a short accompanying paragraph; I discuss this below. In Orient im Bild, besides the image of Zumroot, only two other photographs of tattooed women appear (in no. 9 [1927]: 65 and no. 5 [1929]: 38), with very short comments or captions. Two other publications, the Slave Market News and Armeniervennen (“Friend of Armenia”), are discussed below. 49Part of Kerr’s collection is held by the Zoryan Institute, and part by Joyce Chorbajian. 50Florence Billings to friends, Brusa, December 8, 1919, Florence Billings Papers, box 1, series 1, folder 1.4, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Libraries, Northampton, Mass.. 51Clark, Letters from Cilicia, 35. 52Jane Caplan, “Introduction,” in Caplan, ed., Written on the Body: The Tattoo in European and American History (Princeton, N.J., 2000), xi–xxiii, here xvi. 53Jane Caplan, “‘National Tattooing’: Traditions of Tattooing in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” ibid., 156–173; Caplan, “Educating the Eye: The Tattooed Prostitute,” in Lucy Bland and Laura Doan, eds., Sexology in Culture: Labelling Bodies and Desires, 1890–1940 (Cambridge, 1998), 100–115. 54Beyond the references cited in n. 22, see, inter alia, June Namias, White Captives: Gender and Ethnicity on the American Frontier (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1993); and Alan Govenar, “The Changing Image of Tattooing in American Culture, 1846–1966,” in Caplan, Written on the Body, 212–233. Bruce Grant’s The Captive and the Gift: Cultural Histories of Sovereignty in Russia and the Caucasus (Ithaca, N.Y., 2009) is a compelling reading of captivity narratives in a different imperial context. It is worth noting that at this time, tattoos—though never facial tattoos—were becoming fashionable among European and American upper classes. See Jordanna Bailkin’s investigation of the interplay between fashionable and forcible colonial tattoos in “Making Faces: Tattooed Women and Colonial Regimes,” History Workshop Journal, no. 59 (Spring 2005): 33–56. 55William N. Chambers to Herbert E. Case, Adana, May 14, 1919, William Nesbitt Chambers Papers, box 36, folder 7, Miscellaneous Personal Papers Collection (Record Group 30), Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conn. 56Again, it is difficult to determine how the women themselves saw this “transculturation.” Those who later rejoined the Armenian community often emphasize their unease and discomfort with the Bedouin way of life, their hatred of their tattoos, and their desire to escape, but again, the circumstances and constraints of telling filter their testimony (see n. 6). It is suggestive that many were not “absorbed” alone, but alongside other Armenians, meaning that an earlier identity could be maintained to some extent. Fethiye Çetin, in her memoir of her Turkish-Armenian grandmother, recounts a childhood memory of her grandmother and certain other women of the (Turkish) village baking unfamiliar cakes in spring: they were celebrating Easter. Çetin, My Grandmother: A Memoir, trans. Maureen Freely (London, 2008), 101–102. It is reasonable to assume that when they moved communities, the women’s identities became to some degree liminal or bifurcated, but that in practical terms most adapted themselves to their new households’ way of life. 57Winifred Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” American Anthropologist 39, no. 1 (1937): 53–61; Henry Field, Body-Marking in Southwestern Asia (Cambridge, Mass., 1958); A. T. Sinclair, “Tattooing—Oriental and Gypsy,” American Anthropologist 10, no. 3 (1908): 361–386. 58C. P. Jones, “Stigma and Tattoo,” in Caplan, Written on the Body, 1–16, here 5. 59Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 57. 60Hanne Schönig, “Le corps et les rites de passage chez les femmes du Yémen,” Revue des mondes musulmans et de la Méditerranée 113–114 (2006): 167–177, here 168. 61Jeppe, “Rapport annuel,” February 21, 1927. 62Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 59; Schönig, “Le corps et les rites de passage chez les femmes du Yémen,” 170. 63Smeaton, “Tattooing among the Arabs of Iraq,” 60–61. Importantly, then, the designs have nothing to do with Islam, either (which in fact forbids tattooing, even as it continues in practice), contrary to the claims that Western newspapers sometimes made: e.g., “How Science Cleansed Her of the Cruel Turk’s Brand of Shame,” Ogden Standard Examiner, September 5, 1920, 2. See Göran Larsson, “Islam and Tattooing: An Old Question, a New Research Topic,” Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis 23 (2011): 237–256. As far as I can establish, the patterns marked on Armenian women’s bodies were not substantially different from those normally used, confirming my point that these tattoos signified absorption, not captivity. 64New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29; Karen Jeppe to A. Lancaster Smith (Slave Market News editor), May 22, 1925, as reported in a letter from Lancaster Smith to Sir Frederick Lugard, June 4, 1925, ALON 12/43565/4631. 65“The Iniquitous Branding of Women and Girls,” Slave Market News 1, no. 5 (1925): 3. On the harem, see İrvin Cemil Schick, “The Women of Turkey as Sexual Personae: Images from Western Literature,” in Zehra F. Arat, ed., Deconstructing Images of “the Turkish Woman” (New York, 1998), 83–100. Both Sinclair and Field’s research and anecdotal evidence suggest that it was in fact not men but women (usually from outside the group) who performed the tattooing—so the slippage between tattooing and sex was also an orientalist fantasy. See Figure 5. 66“The Brand of Slavery,” Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 2. 67At the time, American courts were “fretfully” accepting Armenians as legally white, as David R. Roediger puts it in Working toward Whiteness: How America’s Immigrants Became White (New York, 2006), 96, but socially and culturally they were often labeled (and treated) as “Asiatics.” The fundraising literature therefore worked hard to “whiten” Armenians and demarcate them from other Near Eastern populations. See Janice Okoomian, “Becoming White: Contested History, Armenian American Women, and Racialized Bodies,” MELUS 27, no. 1 (2002): 213–237; Brian Donovan, White Slave Crusades: Race, Gender, and Anti-Vice Activism, 1887–1917 (Urbana, Ill., 2006); Daniel Gorman, “Empire, Internationalism, and the Campaign against the Traffic in Women and Children in the 1920s,” 20th Century British History 19, no. 2 (2008): 186–216. 68Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; “Statement with Regard to the Deportation of Women and Children in Turkey and the Neighbouring Countries: Mademoiselle Vacaresco, Romanian Delegate,” September 21, 1921, A.V/7, 1921, ALON 12/15946/4631; Mark Ward to U.S. Secretary of State Charles E. Hughes, May 3, 1922, archived in box 3, folder 11, Parmelee Papers. 69Jeppe, “Annual Report of the League of Nations Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” January 31, 1926. 70Tachjian, “Gender, Nationalism, Exclusion,” quotes from 66, 68. 71Uğur Ümit Üngör, “Orphans, Converts, and Prostitutes: Social Consequences of War and Persecution in the Ottoman Empire, 1914–1923,” War in History 19, no. 2 (2012): 173–192. 72Lerna Ekmekçioğlu, Recovering Armenia: The Limits of Belonging in Post-Genocide Turkey (Stanford, Calif., 2015); Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption.” Tachjian and Ekmekçioğlu disagree strongly on whether this was a politics of exclusion or a “climate for redemption”: Vahé Tachjian, “Mixed Marriage, Prostitution, Survival: Reintegrating Armenian Women into Post-Ottoman Cities,” in Nazan Maksudyan, ed., Women and the City, Women in the City: A Gendered Perspective on Ottoman Urban History (London, 2014), 86–106, here 104 n. 20 and 105 n. 30; Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption,” 525 n. 6. In part this derives from their differing source bases and emphases, but the point here is that there was no single response among the varied Armenian communities and survivors, just as there was not among relief workers. 73Alice Moore to Miss Lewis, May 25, 1919, Derindje, box 30, SCRU. See also the testimonies of Karapet Tozlian, Nouritza Kyukdjian, and Suren Aram Alajajian in Svazlian, The Armenian Genocide. When Vergeen arrives in America, her husband asks her not to hide her tattoos, and calls them “symbols of your valor and honor.” Derdarian, Vergeen, 249. 74Ekmekçioğlu, “A Climate for Abduction, a Climate for Redemption,” 525 n. 6. Derdarian bears out this point; Vergeen, 142, 160, 249. 75Caplan’s observation that “[t]he tattoo occupies a kind of boundary status on the skin, and this is paralleled by its cultural use as a marker of difference, an index of inclusion and exclusion,” resonates here; “Introduction,” xiv. 76Vartan Katchperouni, “Rapport médical de la Maison de Réception de la Ligue des Nations a Alep, 1925–1926 [sic],” ALON 12/49505/4631. 77Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47. 78New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29. The gueules cassées felt a similar overriding desire for surgical intervention; Powell, “About-Face,” 609–612. 79Elsie Greene Dewey, manuscript, Adana, May 29, 1919, Albert Dewey Papers, box 2, folder 80, Record Group 161, Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library [hereafter Dewey Papers], 2; Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana.” 80New Near East 6, no. 3 (1920): 29. Among those who wrote for advice were Dr. M. Hovneriar in Aleppo: “Removal of Tattoo Marks,” Journal of the American Medical Association 74, no. 10 (1920): 691–692; and Dr. Wilfred M. Post, Fort Wayne Sentinel, December 19, 1919, 2. The two most commonly used techniques, it seems, were removal by surgical means and by chemical poultice: Marvin D. Shie, “A Study of Tattooing and Methods of Its Removal,” Journal of the American Medical Association 90, no. 2 (1928): 94–99. 81“The Brutal Mark of Slavery,” Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 7. 82“Nargig Abakiam” appears to be a misspelling of “Nargis Avakian.” 83Powell, “About-Face”; Gehrhardt, “Gueules Cassées.” As Powell notes (610), the masks, which were inflexible and “evoked a quality of pastness … central to their … appeal,” were part of a profoundly conservative attempt “to co-opt and embody a traditional, French masculinity.” In a period when France was coming to terms with modernity and the pace of change, the masks were comfortingly “‘out of step’ with the ‘modernist spirit’”: they “erased a vision of destructive change.” 84The balance of power within an organization or individual relief station could be key. As I show, workers could sometimes take small initiatives to help the women, or forceful individuals could sway others, and thus shape practices at a local or organizational level. 85Rodogno, “Beyond Relief.” 86Near East Relief: Minutes, 1919–1920, box 1, Near East Foundation records (FA1305), Accession 2010:002, Record Group 2, RAC. 87Executive Committee to Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial, n.d. [1921], Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial records (FA061), series 3: Appropriations, box 9, folder 104, RAC, 3. 88“Report of the Near East Relief to Congress, December 31, 1921,” box 134, Near East Foundation records (FA406), Accession 2009:104, Record Group 1, RAC. 89Riggs, “The Period of Disaster,” 9, 29. For the American missionaries, the years immediately following World War I were precarious. Since the mission’s beginning in the 1840s, they had concentrated on the empire’s Armenian population, partly because of the Muslim elite’s objections to their working among Muslims, partly because they hoped to inspire a Christian “revival” among the Armenians, which included drawing them away from their supposedly sloppy Orthodox practices into Protestantism. This revival was supposed to function as a lever for Ottoman society as a whole, encouraging the Muslim and Jewish populations to convert, too. After the genocide, it therefore “began to look as though the whole educational and medical work of the missions might be blotted out” (ibid., 1). At the same time, the missionaries—their confidence bolstered by the hope of an American mandate or at least social reform—began to hope that the Muslim populations, their “old confidence” shaken by the tumult of war, might now be “open as never before” to Christianity (ibid., 32). The general feeling, as before, was that the Armenians were central. The missionaries’ goal was thus not an independent Armenian nation, but a reconstructed and integrated national religious group within Turkey. As Hans-Lukas Kieser notes, the missionaries variously supported federalism, the return of Armenian and Kurdish refugees, an American mandate, and the installation of a new liberal government. Kieser, Nearest East: American Millennialism and Mission to the Middle East (Philadelphia, 2010), 93–97. It is not irrelevant that many missionaries stationed in Turkey were born there, in (if also apart from) a religiously and ethnically heterogeneous society. 90Emma Cushman and Wilfred Post, “Armenian Relief Work in Konia,” October 1916, ABC 16.5 v.1. 91Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919; Henry H. Riggs to family, July 18, 1920, ABC 16.9.7 v.26. 92John Merrill to Mr. Bell, Aintab, February 22, 1919, ABC 16.9.5 v.25.v.5; Mary W. Riggs to family, August 10, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 93The missionaries repeatedly expressed a preference during the deportations that Armenian women commit suicide rather than “turn” and renounce Christianity. See, for example, “Story of the Girls of the Talas Girls’ School in the Year of the Deportation,” n.d., ABC 16.9.4 v.6; Bryce and Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, 161, 337. See also Bjørnlund, “A Fate Worse Than Dying,” 27–28. 94See Barbara Reeves-Ellington, Domestic Frontiers: Gender, Reform, and American Interventions in the Ottoman Balkans and the Near East (Amherst, Mass., 2013); Heleen Murre-van den Berg, “Nineteenth-Century Protestant Missions and Middle Eastern Women: An Overview,” in Inger Marie Okkenhaug and Ingvild Flaskerud, eds., Gender, Religion and Change in the Middle East: Two Hundred Years of History (Oxford, 2005), 103–122. 95Typed statistics archived in box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. “All such were victims of disease,” wrote Caroline Holmes, “and not a few died as a result, in spite of care and nursing and up-to-date methods in the treatment of venereal diseases”; Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 29, emphasis in the original. See also Ward to Hughes, May 3, 1922. 96Elsie M. Kimball to family, July 24, 1919, Elsie M. Kimball Papers, box 1, folder 1, Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, Mass. 97Mrs. Howard B. McAfee, “Sob-Stuff from Syria: A Story of the Near East,” n.d., Howard B. MacAfee Papers, box 1, Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. 98Susan W. Orvis to Miss Lamson, Talas, January 3, 1920, ABC 16.9.4 v.7. Ruth Parmelee also mandated examination for STDs for all those age thirteen and above. Medical statistics list, box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. 99YWCA worker Helen Jones noted that the women “sometimes” ran away, later giving the figure of “one or two.” Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919, YWCA of the U.S.A. Records, box 708, folder 6, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, Mass. [hereafter YWCA U.S.A.]. 100Susan W. Orvis to Miss Lamson, Talas, January 3, 1920, ABC 16.9.4 v.7. Agnes Fenenga in Mardin concurred: “[They] need so much watching.” Fenenga to Women’s Board of Missions, October 19, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 101Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919. 102“Relief Work at Harpoot, 1919–1922,” n.d., box 1, folder 1.2, Parmelee Papers. 103Parmelee’s comment was inscribed on the back of a photograph; box 6, folder 6.2, Parmelee Papers. For “Turk babies,” see Elsie Tanner, “Report, October 1 to November 1, 1919,” box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 104Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, August 30, 1919, box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 105Helen Hendricks, ed., Report of the Overseas Committee of the War Work Council of the Young Women's Christian Association, 1917–1920 (New York, 1920), 149. 106Elsie Tanner, “Report of E. K. Tanner to the War Work Council—July 1st to Sept 1, 1919,” box 708, folder 6, YWCA U.S.A. 107Ibid., and Helen Jones to Miss Lyon, October 1, 1919. 108Tanner, “Report, October 1 to November 1, 1919.” Mary Riggs noted the different atmosphere in a letter to the Women’s Board of Missions, October 17, 1919, ABC 16.9.8 v.2. 109Holmes, Between the Lines in Asia Minor, 47–48. 110“After these months of slavery these girls are responding well to the care and attention which is being bestowed upon them to bring back an appreciation of what Christianity is.” Chambers to Case, May 14, 1919. Albert Dewey’s wife also took an active interest in their care (Dewey himself seems to have ignored them entirely); see untitled manuscripts dated May 29, 1919, and 1919 in box 2, folder 80, Dewey Papers. 111Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” 526–527. 112Ibid., 524. 113Ibid., 525. 114Elizabeth S. Webb, “Our Happiness Factory: A Refuge for Abused and Helpless Girls,” ABC 16.9.5 v.23.v3. 115Webb, “A ‘Trade School’ in Adana,” 528. 116See Esther Greene’s letters to family, September 2, 1919, September 28, 1919, November 20, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 117Esther Greene to Mother, July 12, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 118Justine Hill to Miss Lewis, October 17, 1919, box 30, SCRU. 119Mabel Evelyn Elliott, Beginning Again at Ararat (New York, 1924), chap. 2, quote from 21. 120Ibid., 185, 186. 121Florence Billings described tattooed women in Constantinople. Billings to friends, Brusa, December 8, 1919. 122Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians,” 1. See also Jonas Kauffeldt’s critical introduction to his translation of Jeppe’s serialized “biography” of her adopted Armenian son, Misak: An Armenian Life (London, 2016), ix–lxxvii. 123Bjørnlund, “Karen Jeppe, Aage Meyer Benedictsen, and the Ottoman Armenians,” 17–18. Grundtvig (1783–1872) was a theologian, historian, and teacher, and had a deep influence on the course of Danish nationalism well into the twentieth century. Ove Korsgaard, N.F.S. Grundtvig—as a Political Thinker (Copenhagen, 2014). 124Archived translation of a letter from Karen Jeppe dated July 13, 1921, ALON S146, “Deported Women and Children in Turkey to June 30th 1924.” 125Karen Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East,” July 28, 1927. Jeppe thus valued the agency of the refugees in a way that American missionaries typically did not (since it threatened to disrupt hierarchies of power and obedience). 126Archived translation of a letter from Karen Jeppe, July 13, 1921, ALON S146, “Deported Women and Children in Turkey to June 30th 1924.” 127Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them.” 128Karen Jeppe to League of Nations Secretary-General, Aleppo, January 31, 1922, ALON 12/19111/4631. 129Jeppe, “Report of the Commission for the Protection of Women and Children in the Near East.” 130Jeppe to League of Nations Secretary-General, January 31, 1922. I am currently preparing an article on Jeppe’s colonies for a forthcoming issue of History, titled “‘An Organic Link between the Arab and Armenian World’: Karen Jeppe’s Agricultural Colonisation Scheme in Northern Syria, 1920–1935.” 131“Protection of Women and Children in the Near East: Extract from the Minutes of the Thirtieth Session of the Council, September 1, 1924,” ALON A.46.1924.IV. 132Loucia, August 5, 1925; Maritza, September 26, 1925; Aghonie, October 8, 1925, Reception House Registers. Loucia’s records note, for example, that she was tattooed “in an awful manner, not [only] the whole face and chest, but also the hands and fingers. Those [sic] are almost paralysed from this treatment. We are doing our best to help her.” (Loucia’s right hand eventually had to be amputated, and she was still unwell at Reception House in 1931.) However, like Zumroot’s, Loucia’s tattoos are completely invisible in her intake photograph—confirming my point that the proportion of tattooed women and girls is much higher than the intake registers themselves will confirm. 133Although some Armenians had been able to afford studio portraits before the war, it was still unusual. The returnees may well have felt a sense of self-worth sitting for their portrait in an Armenian studio, having just rejoined the Armenian community. On local Armenian portraiture and its meanings, see David Low, “Photography and the Empty Landscape: Excavating the Ottoman Armenian Image World,” Towards Inclusive Art Histories: Ottoman Armenian Voices Speak Back, Special Issue, Études arméniennes contemporaines 6 (2015): 31–69. 134No. 495, album 60; nos. 209–212, album 57. The caption for the latter photographs, “Fire kvinder ankommet til redningshjemmet,” is from a copy of one image found in Jeppe’s collections in the Lokalhistorisk Arkiv for Gylling og Omegn Odder, Denmark [hereafter LAG]. 135See Figure 4; other examples can be found in ALON 12/4365/4631. The Danish Friends of Armenia also produced postcards of Jeppe’s activities, some showing tattooed women (examples in LAG). Ironically, the Slave Market News also occasionally retouched the photographs to make the tattoos even more visible, although rather heavy-handedly—prompting some, including a British Foreign Office official resisting appeals for the government to involve itself in the rescues, to doubt that the tattoos were real: ministerial briefing note, March 10, 1925, FO 1490/228/44, Foreign Office Records, The National Archives, Kew. One retouched Slave Market News postcard is archived in ALON 12/43565/1631, and was also printed in Slave Market News 1, no. 3 (1924): 4. The image is of a girl named Mariam (June 18, 1924, Reception House Registers), who clearly has tattoos in her intake photograph, although they are less visible there than in the Slave Market News’s image. 136As noted above, Orient im Bild published a few such photographs, with very short comments and captions. Jeppe’s influence was more evident with Armeniervennen, which published these photographs to shock and attract attention, but also often “normalized” the women by printing their life stories alongside their photos, just as they did with other rescued Armenians. See, for example, Jeghsa’s story in Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 36–37. But in both publications, images of national renewal far outnumber and outweigh the images of tattooed women. 137Her annual reports to the League detail funders from America, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia, some of whom had originally lobbied the League to set up the commission. 138On the mandate system, see Susan Pedersen, The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire (Oxford, 2015); on social reform, see Rodríguez Garcia, Rodogno, and Kozma, The League of Nations’ Work on Social Issues. 139See Watenpaugh, “The League of Nations’ Rescue of Armenian Genocide Survivors and the Making of Modern Humanitarianism,” 1321. 140Jeppe, “Account of the Situation of the Armenians in Syria and of My Work amongst Them.” 141“Protection of Women and Children in the Near East: Extract from the Minutes of the Thirtieth Session of the Council, September 1, 1924,” ALON A.46.1924.IV. 142Mariam, June 6, 1924; Eliza, February 20, 1925; Victoria, February 16, 1925; Haiganoosh, July 22, 1924, Reception House Registers. 143Armeniervennen 10, no. 9–10 (1930): 36–37. Two photographs are in Jeppe’s private albums, one a glass slide held by LAG. 144“Personnel Records for Elizabeth S. Webb.” 145Ayşe Gül Altınay and Yektan Türkyılmaz, “Unravelling Layers of Gendered Silencing: Converted Armenian Survivors of the 1915 Catastrophe,” in Amy Singer, Christoph K. Neumann, and Selçuk Akşin Somel, eds., Untold Histories of the Middle East: Recovering Voices from the 19th and 20th Centuries (New York, 2011), 25–53; Çetin, My Grandmother. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Historical Association. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail journals.permissions@oup.com.

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