What alumna drove an old Ford across the Arabian Desert to save an entire population of famine-stricken children?
Alice G. Carr, Class of 1914, drove her car across the Arabian Desert while on loan to the Turkish government to rescue the children of Assyrian refugees. She was alone and her old car broke down at the edge of a precipice. For three days she was lost, wandering about the desert until rescued by a British officer and Assyrian soldiers. She then continued to her destination with the gold she had “begged” from the American Red Cross to feed, clothe, and house the refugee children.
Her overseas adventures began right after her 1914 graduation, when she became one of the first group of American nurses to serve in Europe during World War I. After the Armistice she remained in Europe with the Near East Foundation, working primarily with children, organizing clinics, schools, and vocational centers.
Her work with the children led her to undertake the upgrading of health in Greece. To conquer yellow fever there, she dug ditches to drain the swamps of Marathon, actually doing the work herself, with the help of one old Greek man. After the swamps were drained, she and her helper floated crude oil in the ditches to kill the “wigglers.”
The Greek government had thought the task impossible. It was compared to ridding the Panama Canal area of swamp-borne diseases. Her work earned her the first of three of the highest awards from the king of Greece.
She also was credited with wiping out malaria in Corinth. But her main love always was helping children and mothers. She believed women could accomplish anything, and she organized centers and taught mothers to become independent in bringing up healthy families in Greece.
She has been called “a one-woman Peace Corps to Greece,” serving there until the Germans took over in World War II.
She spent her last years in Florida “devoting her life to gardening.”
For more information visit www.medicalarchives.jhmi.edu.