The Orphans


  • 1821 to 1840:
    • 40 orphaned Greek boys and young men.
    • The Philhellenes.
    • Physicians, Scholars, Merchants, and Political leaders.

There were 328 Greeks in America recorded in the 1860 census (according to Koken et al.). Among them (according to Moskos), there were about forty Greek orphans and young men, many from prominent families who were brought to America by philhellenes and by The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (Congregationalists).

Many philhellenes went to help Greece fight the Greek War of Independence (1821-1829) and after the war stayed to help with the relief effort and to assist in the rebuilding of the country's infrastructure where they could. They came to recognize the talent among many of the orphan boys and young men left behind, and they believed that they could benefit from an American education. Like the Congregationists, who were hoping some of their newly educated and commissioned Greek clergy would return to proselytize their brand of Christianity, they too thought they might return and help rebuild their country, and some did. However, most did stay in America and made a name for themselves in their newly adopted country.

A number entered the professions including the ministry, medicine, law, and education, or succeeded in business leaving a proud heritage among this so-called group of forty …


Skip references ]

  • Jones, Jayne Clark, The Greeks in America (Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1969), pp. 28-32.
  • Koken, Paul, Theodore N. Constant and Seraphim G. Canoutas, A History of the Greeks in the Americas, 1453-1938 (Livonia, Michigan, 1995 [2004]), pp. 44-54.
  • Moskos, Charles C., Jr., Greek Americans, Struggle and Success, 2nd ed. (New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1989), pp. 5-7.
  • Papaioannou, George, The Odyssey of Hellenism in America, Patriarchal Institute for Patristic Studies (Thessaloniki, 1985), pp. 39-46.

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