- Collection ID:
American Relief Administration. European Children's Fund
1919 - 1921
Collection is in
. Some materials in
- Physical Description:
0.3 Cubic feet
1 box, 1 oversize folder
The collection consists of photographs and printed materials (almost exclusively in German), documenting the relief efforts of the American Relief Administration (A.R.A.), European Children's Fund (E.C.F.) (Mission to Austria), 1920-1921, to feed malnourished children in Europe in the post-World War I era. The photographs, publications and charts in this collection specifically relate to children in Vienna and other Austrian cities.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection consists of photographs and printed materials (all in German), documenting the efforts of the American Relief Administration, European Children's Fund (Mission to Austria), to feed malnourished children in Europe in the post-World War I era. The photographs, publications and charts in this collection specifically relate to children in Vienna and other Austrian cities.
Series 1, Photographs, 1920-1921, consists of black and white copy prints documenting children being fed or playing, kitchen scenes, and dormitory scenes throughout Austria. There are two images depicting the Pedilisi score for two unidentified boys. Some of the prints are captioned.
Series 2, Printed Materials and Charts, 1919-1921, includes writings by Clemens Peter Freiherr von Pirquet (1874--929) an Austrian scientist and pediatrician best known for his contributions to the fields of bacteriology and immunology. Pirquet worked with the American Relief Administration, European Children's Fund in Austria and developed the Pedilisi method of determining a child's level of malnourishment.
The collection is divided into two series.
Series 1, Photographs, 1920-1921
Series 2, Printed Materials and Charts, 1919-1921
Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The American Relief Administration (A.R.A.) was formed by the United States Congress in 1919 as a relief mission to Europe after World War I. Herbert Hoover, future president of the United States, was the program director. A humanitarian organization, A.R.A. was tasked with alleviating the suffering of European children in the years after World War I.
In 1919, a special Children's Relief Bureau was organized within the A.R.A. Many European children being cared for were orphans, and many had suffered malnourishment during the war. Hoover insisted that aid be provided to them. Although the new A.R.A. European Children's Fund (E.C.F) was an outgrowth of the A.R.A. which acted as an agent of the United States government, the European Children's Fund was a private volunteer organization for the promotion of charitable causes. While the E.C.F. did not have a formal charter, the food supplies were donated from the Congressional appropriation and the president's National Security and Defense Fund. The E.C.F. operated for five years, from 1919 to 1924. It was headquartered in New York City with a branch office in London and began operations in August, 1919. Field missions were located in Finland, Estonia, northwest Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Yugoslavia. The E.C.F. relied heavily upon the assistance and cooperation of other organizations such as the European Relief Council, Red Cross, American Friends Service Committee, and the Y.M.C.A. A system of central and regional warehouses was maintained . Children needing aid met the following requirements: registration through a school, investigation by a local committee, and a physical examination by a local physician. All feeding of children was done in special kitchens setup at institutions, orphanages, or hospitals. In most countries a noonday meal was served and every child was issued a card which was punched for each meal received.
Child-feeding programs in Austria began on May 5, 1919. The method for feeding and selecting children in Austria was developed by Dr. Clemens von Pirquet (1874-1929) of Vienna University Children's Hospital. Pirquent's method was known as the Pelidisi formula which is the ratio between the sitting height and the weight of the child. The Pelidisi norm was expressed as 100, but with children it was 94.5 since they did not carry as much fat. Children with a Pelidisi of 94 were considered underfed and those under 93 were admitted to a feeding center immediately. Examinations of children were repeated at frequent intervals.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated to the United States National Museum by the American Relief Administration, through Mr. Messerole on February 6, 1922.
Originally housed in the United States National Museum, Arts and Industries Building, Division of Foods. The original accession number was 67854. The collection was transferred to the Archives Center in 2010 by the Division of Work and Industry.
Processed by Alison Oswald, archivist, 2012.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
American Relief Administration, European Children's Fund Collection, 1919-1921, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Materials at Other Organizations
Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University
Register of the American Relief Administration. European Operations Records, 1919-1923
- Hoover, Herbert. An American Epic. Volume: 3. Chicago: H. Regnery Company, 1959.
- Surface, Frank M. and Raymond l. Bland. American Food in the World War and Reconstruction Period. Operations of the the Organizations under the Direction of Herbert Hoover, 1914 to 1924. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1931.
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012