Anatolia College in Merzifon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Anatolia College of Marsovan

The Anatolia College in Merzifon or American College of Mersovan (Turkish: Merzifon Amerikan Koleji) was a coeducational high school located in the town of Merzifon in the Rûm Province of the Ottoman Empire (in modern-day Amasya Province, Turkey) established and directed by American missionaries between 1886 and 1924.

Theological seminary[edit]

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions established the school in 1864 as a theological seminary after the American college in Bebek, İstanbul, the later Robert College, abandoned its theological training and concentrated in only general education due to growing number of young people interested in English language. The school in Merzifon served in the beginning to educate the children of the Greek and Armenian community in Anatolia, who wanted to become pastors or preachers.


In 1886, as more and more young people wanted a general education, the program at the theological seminary in Merzifon was expanded to include a four-year liberal arts college. The institution was named Anatolia College, and Charles Tracy became the first president, serving until 1912. The college's motto was "The Morning Cometh" referring to the ancient Greek word for dawn, as well as the region "Anatolia". The college seal showed the sun rising over lofty Akdağ at the eastern end of the Merzifon Plain. The over 100 students, principally Greek and Armenian, came most from outside of Merzifon and boarded at the school. The faculty was Greek, Armenian, and American. The half-German J. J. Manissadijan was Professor of Botany and also founded a college museum.[1]

When Armenian activists posted broadsides in 1893, Ottoman troops jailed many Armenians and damaged some college buildings; accusing Armenian students and teachers of being in contact with the rebels. The damage was rebuilt later with compensation paid by the Ottoman Government. The college was incorporated under the laws of the State of Massachusetts in 1894.

After the end of the WWI, the facilities of the college at the campus consisted of a kindergarten, a school for the Deaf, a college-level program, one of the largest hospitals in Asia Minor, and an orphanage for 2,000 orphans in addition to the theological seminary and high schools for boys and girls, all housed in more than 40 buildings of New England style. The activities of the American missionaries came de facto to an end with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.

In 1921 the Turkish nationalists under Mustafa Kemal hanged in Amaseia three teachers and several students of the college. The latter were charged with plotting armed rebellion.[2]

Relocation to Greece[edit]

After the Greco-Turkish War (1919–1922) and subsequent population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the college was closed in Merzifon to be reopened in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1924, as Anatolia College.

Book about the College[edit]

American missionary George E. White, who was a teacher from 1890 and president from 1913 until 1921 at the school in Merzifon, wrote his memories in a book Adventuring With Anatolia College.

See also[edit]


  • Bir Amerikan Misyonerinin Merzifon Amerikan Koleji Hatiralari (Memories of an American Missionary at the Merzifon American College), George E. White, Translated by Cem Tarık Yüksel, Enderun Kitapevi, İstanbul-1995. (Turkish)
  • Adventuring With Anatolia College, George E. White, Herald-Register Publishing Company, Grinnell, Iowa, March 1940

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Brian Mathew, Turhan Baytop 1984. The bulbous Plants of Turkey. London, Batsford, p. 12.
  2. ^ Hovannisian, ed. by Richard G. (2004). Armenian Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia. Costa Mesa, Calif.: Mazda Publ. p. 223. ISBN 9781568591520. Retrieved 20 May 2014. Professors Ch. Evstathiades, G. Lamprianos, and D. Theocharides, all former college faculty, and several students were charged with plotting armed rebellion against the Nationalist government of Turkey and were executed in Amasia in August.