Dear Friends

Dear Friends: Volume VIII: Number 643-649In July 1924, roughly a year and a half after the termination of the newspaper The Orient, the American Board missionaries in Turkey launched a new publication, “Dear Friends,” to report local Mission news. Less ambitious than the former paper, which had also covered national and international events and circulated beyond Turkey’s borders, Dear Friends was a single-page circular that focused specifically on American Board institutions and personnel. In the second issue (11 August 1924), Editor Charles T. Riggs noted that if the bulletin were to achieve its purpose, “to keep us in touch with each other,” members of the Mission should feel obliged to contribute items of interest. “News ought not to be manufactured, but should grow like the pile of stones, each contributing a share.”

For the next four decades, Dear Friends retained its one-page format and summarized noteworthy happenings in the American Board’s mission to Turkey often on a weekly but sometimes on an irregular basis. It reported arrivals and departures of missionaries; marriages, births, and deaths; furlough plans; visits of friends and relatives from abroad; school events; recent publications from the mission press; and any items of import for local residents—such as the latest time for mail deliveries to Istanbul’s central Turkish post office to make Sunday and Thursday westbound Pan-American flights to New York.

In the 1960s, especially under the editorship of Anna Edmonds, Dear Friends broadened its scope to include commentaries on Turkish culture, society, and contemporary affairs. Articles about the emergence of shanty town (gecekondu) settlements in Istanbul; stringing lights between the minarets of mosques (mahya) during the month of Ramazan; traditional knitting designs among village womenfolk; Turkish classical music; and many other diverse topics appeared together with announcements of personnel appointments. Along with fresh content, the format was changed, pages were added, and the number of readers rose. By 1975, Dear Friends had a circulation of 500 and was being distributed outside the mission field. The initial pile of stones had become a mountain, or at least a hill.

Dear Friends continued to be issued into the 1990s, but as the American Board’s activities in Turkey dwindled, it became more sporadic, particularly after Anna Edmonds’ retirement in 1991.

ARIT is digitizing this important bulletin for American Board history in Turkey during the twentieth century and making it available on the worldwide web with funding and support from the United States Department of State.


Dear Friends Volume I
Dear Friends Volume II
Dear Friends Volume III
Dear Friends Volume IV
Dear Friends Volume V
Dear Friends Volume VI
Dear Friends Volume VII
Dear Friends Volume VIII
Dear Friends Volume IX
Dear Friends Volume X