Emma D. Cushman

First Name Emma D.

Last Name Cushman

Died While Serving? no

Photo string(4) "3821"

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Emma Darling Cushman was born in Burlington, NY in 1869. She graduated from Kansas State College and studied Nursing in Paterson, NJ. Miss Cushman traveled to Talas Hospital in Turkey to work as a nurse with the ABCFM in 1899. When her term ended in 1907 she worked in hospitals throughout Turkey, including the city of Konia in central Turkey. In 1917, Miss Cushman turned down the Turkish government’s offer of safe passage from Konia to Constantinople because the government would not agree to protect Konia’s refugee population in her absence. She was particularly devoted to the young girls in her care.

Miss Cushman began working with Near East Relief in 1919She served as Director of relief activities at Konia, an area with which she was already familiar. Miss Cushman was then placed in charge of one thousand children in the Boyadjikeuy and Yenikuey Orphanages in Constantinople.  

In July 1921 Miss Cushman addressed the secretariat of the League of Nations with a letter explaining the difficulties of rescuing women and children, many of whom had sustained physical and psychological trauma, from Turkish harems after years of captivity. In response, the League of Nations opened Neutral Houses for rescued women and children in Constantinople and Aleppo. After the Smyrna Disaster, Miss Cushman accompanied her young charges to Corinth, Greece, where she supervised the new Near East Relief orphanage in a converted army barracks. 

Miss Cushman received the Gold Cross of Jerusalem in April 1921 and was named a Knight of the French Legion of Honor in December 1921. Emma D. Cushman devoted more than 30 years of her life to service in the Near East. She died in Cairo, Egypt in 1931.