History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972
Chapter Four: The Years 1929 - 1931
The Seventh Supreme Convention
August 26 to 31, 1929 - Kansas City, Missouri
The Seventh Supreme Convention of the Order of Ahepa was held in Kansas City, Missouri, August 26-31, 1929, at the Ararat Temple. Besides the Supreme Lodge officers, and 5 Mother Lodge members present, there were 152 Chapter Delegates in attendance representing their Chapters, as follows:
Augustus E. Constantine, Atlanta; Peter Demas, Tampa; Tony Crystal and V.W. Birbilis, Tulsa, Okla.; John Theophiles, Miami; Theo. J. Dimas, St. Petersburg, Fla:; John K. Douglas, Tarpon Springs, Fla.; George A. Rousse, Ft. Worth, Tex.; Harris J. Booras, Boston; James D. Jameson and George D. Cordes, New York City; Phokion Sober, Philadelphia; John Mandis, Asheville, N.C.; Nicholas Sakelos, Baltimore; Peter L. Dounis, Washington, D.C.; Arthur A. Karkalas, Pittsburgh; Constantine A. Poulides, Cleveland; Nicholas Anagnostopoulos, Syracuse, N.Y.; Angelo Colocousis, Haverhill, Mass.; Anthony C. Lingon, Detroit; Thomas S. Themelis, Brooklyn; George A. Stathes and Nicholas J. Garis, New York City; Charles Stefan, Milwaukee; George S. Porikos and D. Parry, Chicago; Nicholas Anastos, Waterbury, Conn.; C.J. Critzas, Yonkers, N.Y.; J. A. Givas, Newark; Chris Johanides and C. Theodorou, St. Louis; Samuel Aros, Paterson, N.J.; Thomas Alexander, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; James Tzimoulis, Hartford, Conn.; Peter Nickas, Allentown, Pennsylvania; C. H. Contos, Reading, Pennsylvania; Nicholas Economou, Akron, Ohio; Thomas J. Christie, Minneapolis; William Essaris, Wheeling, W. Va.; Soterios Lagges, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Michael J. Konomos, Kansas City, Mo.; John G. Skourlas, New Brunswick, N.J.: Andrew P. Vassos, Binghamton, N.Y.; John Lincoln and James Michos, Gary, Ind.; E.P. Christaki, Chester, Pennsylvania; Tom Valassopoulos, Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Rev. S.S. Spathey, Richmond, Va.; P.A. Chakeres, Scranton, Pennsylvania; John G. Michalaros, Springfield, Mass.; Nicholas Lampadakis, Jamaica, N.Y.; Nick Askounis, New Castle, Pennsylvania; Basil Aronis, Warren, Ohio; C.G. Economou, Youngstown, Ohio; Paul K. Condrell, Buffalo; Arthur H. Peponis and Stelianos Reckas, Chicago; G.A. Kyriakopoulos and Harry Boolookos, Chicago; Thomas Thomas, Wilmington, Del.; James Theofan, Queensboro, N.Y.; William Chaltas, New Haven, Conn.; William S. Thomson, Stamford, Conn.; N.A. Kandis, South Bend, Ind.; William G. Annas, Weirton, W. Va.; Aristotle Collias, Oak Park, Ill.; James A. Chakona, Erie, Pennsylvania; Gust Morris, Jersey City, N.J.; John Catsambas, Pottsville, Pennsylvania; John Tragakis, Norwich, Conn; A. A. Adams, Toledo, Ohio; J.N. Kotsovolos, Moline, Ill.; Sam Skufakis and Henry J. Tamparry, Hammond, Ind.; J. J. Manos, Schenectady, N.Y.; John P. Harritos, Cincinnati, Ohio; Louis P. Maniatis, Louisville, Kentucky; Michael Mallouchos, Joliet, Ill.; C. G. Paris, Lynchburg, Va.; Milton Vasilakos, Pontiac, Mich.; Nick Bozion, Flint Mich.; Takis Kekesis, Lansing, Mich.; Harry Zaharas, Elyria, Ohio; James G. Dikeou, Denver.
George N. Strike and N. J. Cutromanes, Salt Lake City; C. C. Harvalis and N. E. Payne, Omaha, Nebraska; William Petros, San Francisco; Tom J. Andrews, Los Angeles; Joseph N. Kovell, Sacramento; Dr. N. S. Checkos, Portland, Oregon; Louis K. Tsaros, Indiana Harbor, Ind.; Nicholas Argyr, Pueblo, Colo.; James A. Demopoulos, Detroit; Anton G. Kochikas, Beloit, Wisconsin; A.A. Andros, Lincoln, Nebraska; Nicholas D. Nitsos, Oakland, Cal.; Anthony Pappadakis, Seattle; C. J. Kavadis, Tacoma, Wash.; Nick Voures, Spokane, Wash.; Bill Karoulis, Green River, Wyoming; Peter Pitchios and Chris Pappasoteriou, Bingham Canyon, Utah; George Karasoulos, Price, Utah; W. J. Koonan and V. I. Chebithes, New York City; Christ Stathes, Wichita, Kansas; Dr. P. G. Kokenes, Springfield, Ill.; George A. Stephano, Sioux Falls, S.D.; G. Kokenes, Springfield, Ill.; George A. Stephano, Sioux Falls, S.D.; George M. Paradise, Sioux City, la.; Gust Neofotist, Des Moines, la.; James Colliopoulos, Hagerstown, Md.; Paul M. Costas, Cedar Rapids, la.; Charles Preketes, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Thomas Kouchoukos, Grand Rapids, Mich.; John Lambros, Anderson, Ind.; Peter A. Magas, Kalamazoo, Mich.; Michael Saytanides, Brooklyn, N. Y.; B.C. Katsinas and Gus Sotter, Champaign, Ill.; D.G. Michalopoulos, Chicago; John Dayantis, Chicago; A.A. Pantelis, Evanston, Ill.; Frank Pofanti, Chicago; Gust Marinos, Butte, Mont.; James Woonas, Mason City, la.; James George Rorris, Muncie, Ind.; P. T. Kisciras, Cheyenne, Wyoming; George K. Stavron, Muskegon, Mich.; Peter Stamates and Sam Poulos, Saginaw, Mich.; George Manos, Waukegan, Ill.; Louis D. Alexakis, Ventura, Cal.; George P. Mavrellis, Waterloo, la.; Chris Devatenos, Chicago, Ill.; Christopher S. Stephano, Philadelphia; James Mallios, Kokomo, Ind.; George N. Geranios, Great Falls, Mont.; John Marellas and Gus Bakalaros, Rochester, Minnesota; Andrew Kostas, Indianapolis; George Baseleon, Peoria, Ill.; Theodore Andronicos, San Francisco; Charles Costas,· Oklahoma City, Okla.
Convention officers elected for the business sessions were: George C. Vournas, Chairman; A. A. Pantelis, Vice Chairman; and C. G. Economou, Secretary.
The following legislation and action was taken by this 1929 convention:
Established a set procedure for the future selection of Supreme Convention sites; Created two more offices of Supreme Governors, making a total of 18 Supreme Lodge offices; Recommended that Chapters program more lectures for the education of members, establish chapter charity funds; Appropriated Scholarships for the coming year; That The Ahepa Magazine be continued in its new form, and that members be charged $1.00 per year for the magazine; Appropriated $500 for the Sons of Pericles; Approved a 1930 Excursion to Greece; Appropriated $1,000 for the National Museum at Athens, Greece for the proper housing of the war relics of the Greek Revolutionary War of 1821; Selected Boston, Mass., as the site of the 1930 Supreme Convention.
1929-1930 Supreme Lodge
The officers of the new Supreme Lodge elected by the convention for the fiscal year of 1929-30 were:
George E. Phillies, Supreme President;
Peter G. Sikokis, Supreme Vice President;
Achilles Catsonis, Supreme Secretary;
John Govatos, Supreme Treasurer;
George C. Vournas, Supreme Counsellor;
And the following Supreme Governors: Harris J. Booras, John J. Manos, Arthur A. Karkalas, Rev. S. S. Spathey, John Theophiles, Constantine Pellias, P.J. Stamos, Parasco E. Volo, Stelianos Reckas, Michael D. Konomos, P.S. Marthakis, P.J. Andrews, and Dr. N.S. Checkos.
During the next 12 months, this administration established 26 new Ahepa Chapters.
Shortly after the Kansas City convention, the country and the world entered the era of the great depression, and the Ahepa, along with the business world, could look forward to some lean years for more than a decade.
The Greek Language
On the subject of "Ahepa and the Greek Language" Supreme President George E. Phillies wrote:
Much has been written and said these days concerning our attitude towards the Mother language. Once more, and in the most categorical manner, we are declaring that writings tending to show that we are neglectful or antagonistic to our Mother language, either in practice, fact or form, are completely unfounded. Our avowed policy has been to teach the Greek language to those who need it and the English language to those who need it.
Supreme President Phillies was answering certain critics who still cast accusations at the Ahepa on the subject of the Greek language. Throughout the pages of this Ahepa History, the reader will find numerous mention of specific instances where Ahepa Chapters gave financial support to their local Greek Schools, for the sake of the perpetuation of the Greek language in America. The instances cited are by no means complete, since space does not allow a full report of the activities of all Ahepa Chapters in this area of educational assistance.
"The Teaching of Greek in our High Schools, Colleges and Universities is Absolutely Necessary" … , this is the title of an article published in The Ahepa Magazine in 1929, written by Professor Roy Flickinger, Head of the Classical Department of the University of Iowa, and formerly with Northwestern University. Professor Flickinger writes the article in the manner of a Socratic discourse, of a father and son, discussing future college subjects. He points out the need of knowledge of the Greek language in most areas of life.
Dr. George Mylonas lectured on archaeology in Greece. Dr. M. Joanides lectured on lung research and Theodore Paulides lectured on the evolution of music, to Chicago Ahepans in several meetings … . Chicago No. 94 initiated its 500th member. … Oakland, Cal. presented awards to the outstanding students of the Greek school. … The Ahepa magazine adopted a policy of presenting articles each issue dealing with American governmental operations and affairs for the benefit of its members … . in various issues the names of the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, and other informative material on their duties and responsibilities were published, as well as other governmental agencies.
The South Bend, Indiana Tribune declared:
It is time that the American people became fully acquainted with the Order of Ahepa The Order of Ahepa is dedicated to the Americanization of natives of Greece who have become important economically to this country and who can benefit themselves and the United States by becoming affiliated with the body politic. All Americans ought lend every help to the Ahepa movement. It is the only organization that is impressing upon Greeks who have come to America that they have serious responsibilities which can be discharged only by seeking naturalization at the first opportunity and make the most of citizenship when it is acquired.
Dr. Oscar Waldemar Junek, Professor of Anthropology wrote:
The last beneficial developments of popular education reached such ethnic groups as are islanded in America. Of these our Greek immigration is one and the Ahepa, organized seven years ago, is their intellectual mother. We do not need militant Philhellenes such as Lord Byron, Lord Erskine and Cam Hobhouse were a hundred years ago. We need educators such as the patient scholar Korais, or, better still, men like Mavrokordatos and Marko Bozzaris who would fight with a pen instead of a sword. We need such men on this side of the Atlantic that greediness for learning and intellectual hunger may grip our members and make them ethnically conscious of what our adoptive country needs. And she needs educated sons. To keep the American branch of Greek ethnic genius fresh and green we must use the only dignified method of proving our worth. Politics and economics are of great credit but they cannot last long, for their laws are ever-changing. Intellectual freedom IS the all-inclusive philosophy of the Ahepa -- it is her Life's object and the outstanding feature of her great program in behalf of her many sons and daughters … . To make this object strongly functional, the existing membership must grow till every Greek in America shall become a member of the Ahepa-till every member of this organization becomes actively engaged in the pursuit of knowledge and of learning.
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The Maine and New Hampshire chapters announced essay contests and prizes on the subject "Greece's Contribution to Civilization." ... The Trianon Ballroom in Chicago was the scene of a benefit for the Greek schools of Chicago, given by the Ahepa Chapters of Chicago ... Cincinnati, Ohio Ahepa Chapter sponsored a dinner and reception for 97 newly naturalized citizens in the Bloom School Auditorium.
An International Ahepa picnic was held at Queenston Heights, Ont., with American and Canadian Ahepans attending from both sides of the border ... George Rallis' "Ahepa Farm" was the scene of the Sioux City, la. Ahepa picnic … Picnics and outings at Salt Lake City, Norwich, Conn., Anderson, Ind., Muskegon, Mich., Kalamazoo, Mich., Peabody-Salem, Mass., South Bend, Ind., Pittsfield, Mass., Pawtucket, R.I., with attendances ranging from 200 to 2,000 … Supreme Counsellor George C. Vournas chaired and presided over a banquet at the National Press Club in Washington, hosted by the Washington, D.C. chapter, honoring Greek scholars George Streit, Michael Kepetzes and St. Seferiades, members of the International Law Institute … Supreme Secretary Catsonis addressed the congregation of the First Congregational Church in Washington on the subject of the Greeks of America, and the work of the Ahepa … Cleveland, Ohio Ahepa's banquet featured 25 of the city's most prominent citizens, and one nonAhepa speaker proclaimed: "Don't worship the achievements of the past but contribute what the ages have stored up in you. America needs the Greek in you. It needs the Jew in me. It needs the Welsh in City Manager Hopkins, and it needs the German in Councilman John M Sulzmann. It needs to tap the cultural resources in all of us and pool them to give new life to the present and to the future." The speaker was Rabbi Barnett R. Brickner of Cleveland.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Chapter held a benefit dance on November 14 at the Fort Pitt Hotel, with all proceeds given to the Greek Schools of Pittsburgh. The program stated: "We have the dance for the benefit of the Greek Schools because Ahepa stands for education and in this instance of the Greek youth in our mother language. We wish to assist as much as we can the parents, the church and the community in their efforts to teach our youth our mother language which they cannot learn from the city public schools which they attend. Ahepa, fostering education, progress and true Hellenism, it is fitting that it should do this." The chapter also donated similar proceeds the previous two years
Supreme Governor S. J. Stamos (Mother Lodge Member) visited the Wichita, Kansas chapter … Baltimore, Md., was congratulated by the mayor for its part in the celebration of the city's 200th anniversary … The Omaha, Nebr. Ahepa Patrol of 200 marched with an Ahepa float in the Nebraska Diamond Jubilee celebration, and received nationwide coverage through Pathe News Reel shown in theatres throughout the country … Lowell, Mass. donated proceeds from its annual ball to the Greek Schools of Lowell … Past Supreme Archon Megistan of the Sons of Pericles, Peter D. Clainos, was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point … Supreme Secretary Achilles Catsonis was guest speaker at the Washington, D.C. Civitan Club, and spoke on the Greek in America and the Order of Ahepa
The December, 1929, issue of The Ahepa magazine carried a chapter from the book of the Hon. Henry Morgenthau, formerly U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, and formerly Chairman of the League of Nations Refugee Settlement Commission. His book relates the story of his work as Chairman of the League of Nations Commission for the reconstruction of Greece. As Chairman, Mr. Morgenthau succeeded in raising the necessary funds to save a million and a quarter starving refugees, who were expelled by the Turks from Asia Minor, where they had lived for centuries. The refugees fled to Greece, which was already overpopulated, and created a situation which could have turned into tragedy. For his services to the refugees, Mr. Morgenthau was made a Citizen of Athens, an honor that only 31 foreigners had received in all history. The title of his book is "I Was Sent to Athens."
Some extracts from the book are the following:
The greatness of any nation lies in its people, not in its possessions. Greece is a poor country hut the Greeks are a valuable people. The wealth of Greece lies in their courage, their energy, their lively minds, and their physical virility. The amazing progress that has been made in six years in absorbing a 25 per cent increase in population speaks volumes for the character of the absorbed and the absorber.
I think it worth while, therefore, to devote a Chapter to a study of the Greeks themselves. It may help the Western World to better understand and better appreciate these worthy descendants of a glorious race. When the Greeks are mentioned in Europe and America it is too much the habit to dismiss them mentally as only another of "those hopeless Balkan peoples.' The Greeks are, however, very different from the other peoples of the Balkans, and it is a grievous injustice to misunderstand these differences.
First of all, the Greek has a passion for excellence and progress unique in that part of the world. Whenever he is poor or ignorant or backward he is so against his will. Education is a passion universal among the Greeks, and parents there, as in America, will make every sacrifice to provide schooling for their children … Democracy is ingrained in the Greek. From the most ancient historic times, ever since the decline of the tiny monarchies of the heroic age described by Homer, the Greek has resented, and has refused to accept when every possible any political system in which he did not share on an equality with every other Greek. So far did he carry this individualistic democracy in ancient historic times that even his military organizations were built on this principle. Some historian has pointed out that the immortal Ten Thousand, whose successful retreat from the Indus River to the shores of the Black Sea is described by Xenophon in the Anahasis, was more like a debating society than an army.
Surrounded as it was by enemies, harried by day and by night, in a strange and difficult country, it continued in its darkest hours the practice of taking common counsel, deciding its strategy and changing its commanders by popular vote. Nevertheless it won its way hack to Greece.
Exactly this quality, and very largely, these methods, characterized the refugee mass when it arrived in Greece in 1922 – seven years ago. The refugees welcomed the organized help of the Greek Government and of the international Refugee Settlement Commission, but they did not wait for these outside agencies to help them.
Every Greek instantly set about helping himself. Instinctively he sought his old acquaintances and tried to reorganize his old social groups. Once gathered together again, these groups at once set up their familiar processes of self-government. Like the American, nearly every Greek is intensely ambitious to succeed in business. When he succeeds he gains honor (again as in America) by the lavishness of his gifts or money to the public welfare. From immemorial times preeminence in Greek communities has been given chiefly to the poet, the artist, the teacher, and the public benefactor. This is as true today in Greece as it was in the days of Sappho. The arts have declined in modern Greece (probably due to the centuries of foreign oppression) but the instinct for learning and for commerce is as strong as ever. In both fields the modern Greek excels.
The Greek has suffered in Western eyes also by his enforced association with inferior peoples. His destiny has been wrapped up for centuries, against his will, with those of the backward Turks, and with the relatively backward Serbs and Bulgarians. To a marvelous degree the sturdy Greek has resisted the superstitions and vices of the Orientals and barbarians about him. With anything like a fair chance in the world, he will again demonstrate the possibilities of his virtues … Moodiness and melancholy, as well as despair, are alien to the Greek temperament. The air is too clear, the sunlight too intense, the colors of the landscape too vivid to breed that grayness of the mind which broods in duller climates. Everything in his natural surroundings tends to stimulate the Greek rather than depress him.
Such a climate, in another setting, would tend strongly to produce a frivolous people. The Greek is saved from this result by the effect of the scenery in which he lives and which powerfully affects his psychology. A famous historian has said that when he was writing about Greece his readers must assume that any place he mentioned was mountainous unless a plain were specifically expressed. Mountains surround the Greek on every hand. They are bold and massive, impressing the beholder with a sense of the majesty and power of nature. A highly intelligent Greek has recently said: 'The Greek is not morbid, but neither is he gay nor light-hearted. He loves life but reflects emotionally the climate and the scenery. The latter is rugged, difficult, and unsmiling, its every harsh outline made clear and naked by the pitiless sunlight. It is not a joyous scene nor a joyous people. We accept life as it comes, and relieve its grimness with merrymaking.'
The simplicity of Greek life impresses every stranger, and deceives many. It is not the simplicity of shiftlessness but the simplicity of an inevitable poverty. The humble homes characteristic of the country are nevertheless clean and neat and orderly within. Industrious as he is, the Greek values some things above the material returns of industry. Above all else he is a social being, and he will pay almost any necessary price to gain the few hours in the evening when he foregathers with his fellows for social purposes and the exercise of his mental powers by matching them against those of his neighbors. Politics is the favorite theme of conversation, and there is in Greece no day laborer too humble to be well informed upon the facts of the current 'situation', and to have his own independent opinion upon it. The democracy of the Greeks, to which I have constantly alluded, is no mere phrase that is bandied about to conceal something quite different. If the word 'democracy' did not exist in Greece it would have to he coined to express the universal fact.
Out of this political equality and this perfect freedom of expression comes afresh every day a consensus of opinion probably more complete than is arrived at in any other country in the world. It explains, too, the sudden and violent fluctuations in government that so perplex and irritate many foreign observers. As the Greek is an individualist, and as almost every individual Greek is a person of thought and ideas, the political results are hound to he very different from those arrived at in America. For example: in America, team play is as instinctive as breathing, and politics occupies a very small part of anybody's time or thought. The American gives his loyalty to organizations and institutions. He tends strongly to think of himself as a member of a party, and to follow his party right or wrong. The Greek's loyalty, on the other hand, is to his ideas. He follows the leader, who at the moment, most nearly embodies those ideas. The moment the Greek's idea changes, he shifts to another leader. The practical results is an endless variety of leaders, factions, and coalitions. The political line-up shifts from day to day, almost from hour to hour. The American views with impatience what seems to him the resultant chaos. Nevertheless, it is not chaos. Kaleidoscopic as are the changes in the political instruments of government, the eventual aims of Greek policy are as clearly defined and as steadfastly pursued as are, for example, our Monroe Doctrine and our protective tariff. It is idle to criticize their system simply because it is different. Also, it is a mistake to confuse the frequent 'revolutions' in Greece with the frequent revolutions in Central America. In the first place, they are usually simply short cuts to constitutional changes in a nation highly intelligent and exceedingly conscious of what it is about, politically. It may he granted that some of these revolutions are comic affairs hut even those are harmless and transitory.
Hospitality is a universal virtue among the Greeks. No home is so poor hut that the welcome stranger is offered, at the least, a cup of Turkish coffee and cigarettes, or the sweetmeat accompanied by a glass of water, which are the characteristic between-meals refreshment. In the isolated settlements in Epirus the stranger is a welcomed contact with the outer world, and his entertainment has been worked out by custom into an elaborate and time-consuming ritual that is sometimes embarrassing to a hurried traveler. The guest must go through with the whole program of his reception, however, or his host will be so offended that he will set the wolf-like dogs upon him as he leaves. The Greek is warlike; he has to be. He has lived for five thousand years and longer in the presence of hostile tribes. Of his nearest neighbors, the one that requires the closest watching is the Turk, while the Serbs and Bulgarians are always potential, and frequently active enemies. If the Greek's attitude toward war is different from an American's, it is only natural. To him, war is as inevitable as sunrise, and he looks forward to the next war with perfect calmness, with neither elation over its fictitious glory nor any morbid forebodings over its inevitable tragedies. To him, war is simply another of the facts of life.
Nothing has revealed the essential soundness of Greek character more vividly than his conduct in the last seven years, during the greatest emergency of his recent history. The tremendous migration of a million and a quarter people to new surroundings under the most trying conditions has been accomplished with amazingly little disorder. The suffering, of his race have not unnerved him. Tragedy has been another familiar fact of life down through all the ages of his history. He has always been acutely conscious of it but has never yielded to despair.
It would be hard to overstate the emotional strain upon the refugees. What the Psalmist meant when he said: 'I cannot sing the Lord's song in a strange land' has afflicted every one of them. This almost unbearable homesickness is revealed in many touching forms. Natives of Macedonia were astonished to see refugees, newly arrived from Pontus, wandering through the oak forests, almost distraught, wildly searching for walnuts, as they had done for centuries in their native land, and to see them smitten with a heartbreaking sense of loss when they discovered that walnuts do not grow in Greece. Some of the refugees had lived for centuries in pleasant dry caves along the seashOregon Their neighbors in Attica were dumbfounded to see them abandon the houses to which they had been assigned on their arrival in Greece, and, finding no caves available, proceed to dig them.
Such incidents reveal the strength and tenacity of these people's rootage in the old soil, and suggest the violence of the emotional break with the continuity of life involved in their dispersion. Examples could be multiplied. Imagine having to get your olive oil out of a single bottle when you had been used, all your life, to having it out of a barrel; or having to buy olives and wine at a store, when the idea had simply never occurred to you or your neighbors that these things should not come off your own lands, by your own hands, and endeared by the annual practice of an immemorial art. Even the everyday utensils were strange. The clothes were different. The local dialect was hard to understand. The church one attended was some new, raw structure, not the mellowed and hallowed little edifice, eight hundred years old, to which one and one's ancestors had beaten a timeless path.
The work that Henry Morgenthau accomplished for the people of Greece, as well as for the refugees from Asia Minor, who practically inundated the country with their stream of hundreds of thousands of humanity, men, women and children, must never be forgotten. Nor can we forget the humaneness of the people of Greece themselves, as they welcomed those unfortunates from Asia Minor, and did what they could to make them comfortable and find new homes. The impact of a million and a quarter refugees, suddenly thrust upon a nation of only a little more than six million in all, is almost beyond comprehension, especially when one considers that this all took place within a very short period of time. The people of Greece deprived themselves of many of their own comforts, and underwent hardships, but they proved themselves the best of Good Samaritans in those early 1920's. I am sure that it is the final consensus of Greeks today that their openhearted welcome to the refugees of 1922 paid off in the long run, for the new additions to the country proved to be an asset to the future economy of Greece, after the long period of adjustment was over.
AHEPA Chapter Activities – 1929-1930
In 1929-30, the chapters continued their activities … the first interstate convention of West Coast chapters was held in Fresno, California ... Syracuse, N.Y. was the scene of inter-chapter meetings of northern New York chapters … Danbury, Conn. held a benefit for the Greek school … as did Seattle, Wash., and Elyria, Ohio, and many others … Past Supreme President V.I. Chebithes was guest speaker at the Gary, Indiana Rotary Club luncheon … Bingham Canyon, Ogden and Price, Utah chapters combined to organize a Boys' Band … More than 5,000 attended the combined New York City Chapters sixth annual entertainment and ball, with Don Avlon's orchestra featured, and many Broadway acts … Hartford Conn. chapter reported that 26 Ahepans donated $1,100 to the local church to pay off the mortgage installment … New York City Chapter #42 organized an Ahepa Patrol … Most chapters gave Christmas parties with gifts for community children.
Epaminondas J. Demas, member of Washington, D.C.#31, had the distinction of being with Admiral Richard E. Byrd, Jr. on both of Byrd's flights and expeditions to the North Pole and the South Pole, and Byrd says of him: "You came along and volunteered for this work, making personal sacrifices, and the spirit of patriotism which prompted you to do this has been evidenced throughout. Early in the expeditions you stood out as a splendid sport and an ideal man for arctic expeditions and that, I believe, is a great test of a man." Brother Demas was born in Greece, and came to America at the age of 10 to live with his brother Nicholas Demas in Washington, D.C.
Supreme Lodge Visits President Hoover
On February 5, 1930, the entire Supreme Lodge visited President Herbert Hoover at the White House, and was photographed with the President after the visit, on the steps of the White House East Gate.
Those making the visit were: George C. Vournas, Achilles Catsonis, George E. Phillies, P. G. Sikokis, John Govatos, H. J. Booras, Parasco E. Volo, Dr. N. S. Checkos, P. S. Marthakis, Rev. S. S. Spathey, John J. Manos, S. J. Stamos, Michael D. Konomos, A. A. Karkalas, S. J. Reckas, Constantine Pelias
U.S. Senator Henry J. Allen of Kansas became a member of Ahepa in the Wichita, Kansas Chapter #187. Senator Allen was a former special commissioner of the Near East Relief. Twenty-one Ahepa Scholarships were awarded in 1929 to: Nicholas Argyr, William Vasselliew, James Sarkus, James A. Mitchell, Charles T. Tumazos, N. George Pulos, Joanna Jennie Gellas, Demosthenes Panagopoulos, Manuel N. Zarna, Christos D. Bratiotis, Constantine Pananicles, William D. Belroy, Xenophon Tripodes, Peter G. Levathes, Louis P. Koutsouris, August C. Pavlatos, George K. Giannoukos, Thomas G. Smyrnios, Harry Lofther, Nick Mars, Arthur S. Kanaracus ... Manchester N. H. Chapter's essay contest winners on the subject "What Has Greece Contributed to Civilization?" were: Richard L. Emerson, Sarah Mullen, Eleanor F. Chaney and the awards were made at their high school assemblies.
The play "Children of Two Worlds" written by P.G. Vynios, member of Washington, D.C. #31 was presented at the National Theatre in Washington on February 2, 1930 as a benefit for the Greek schools of Washington. The Supreme Lodge attended as guests of honor. The play portrayed the early life of the Greek immigrant in America, and the cast was entirely made up of Ahepans.
Chief Justice Carrington T. Marshall of the Supreme Court of Ohio joined Ahepa Chapter #209, Middletown, Ohio, following a banquet of the chapter at which the Chief Justice spoke, and said: "We welcome you as builders of better citizenship. We have need of you."
1930 Excursion to Greece
The 1930 Ahepa Excursion to Greece sailed on hoard the S.S. Saturnia from New York City, and New York Sun writer Dorothy Dayton had this to say about the occasion:
Helen launched a thousand ships, hut it takes 1,000 Penelopes to launch the good ship Saturnia of the Cosulich Line, on which 1,000 modern Ulysses sailed for the fair land of Hellas. Nevertheless, not the beauteous Helen remains the national ideal of the young men of Greece. Ah, no, but rather the home-keeping Penelope who had learned the gift of waiting.
At least so say the young men who were standing in line these days at 59 Washington Street to receive passports and tickets for the Third Annual Excursion of the Order of Ahepa One thousand bachelors are making the trip. If every one of them doesn't return with a bride it's not because he isn't open-minded. N. Lamhadakis, chairman of the excursion farewell committee, fully expects the trip to result in five hundred weddings, and five hundred wide-eyed brides returning to New York sometime this spring and summer. Ask any of the young men waiting there, investing ten years of savings in the excursion, with a neat sum set aside for setting up housekeeping later, and he'll tell you the reason that he is going to travel 4,000 miles isn't because there aren't plenty of Helens in America, hut because Penelope is found only across the seas.
John Panopolous, for instance, a fine, upstanding young man who at the age of 15 years came here Alger-fashion to seek fame and fortune. He has worked and saved, and he has met many American girls, and many Americanized girls. But in a little Hellenic province waits Hera, and although he is a bit vague about what she looks like now (she was only 12 when he left) he carries a photograph of her in his breast pocket-the one nearest his heart. 'She has been waiting for me ten years,' he said, the buttons of his vest straining a little.
You won't find an American girl who would do that. Not many. But Hera waits for me, and she has turned fine young men down too. She will stick to me when money is· plenty, but if the fruit business not so good-she sticks anyhow.'
Another event that means more to the Greek than any other is to spend Easter in Greece. For Easter is the most revered of all holidays, particularly when, as is nearly always the case, the Greek retains his devotion to the Greek Orthodox Church. And to spend Easter at home -- that is the realization of a cherished dream. 'It is hard for Americans to understand the closeness of our family ties,' Mr. Lambakakis continued. 'Greek young men in this country will work, and live in great poverty to send money to fathers and mothers, and even to provide dowries for sisters, so they can make better marriages. (New York Sun, 1930)
The S. S. Saturnia sailed for Greece on March 22, 1930, and with the excursionists were honored guests U.S. Senator William King and Mrs. King, and the Honorable Henry Morgenthau, former Ambassador to Turkey and former Chairman of the League of Nations Refugees Commission. Commanding the Excursion were Supreme President George E. Phillies, Supreme Secretary Achilles Catsonis, Supreme Treasurer John Govatos, Supreme Counsellor George Parasco Volo, Supreme Governor and Mother Lodge Member S. J. Stamos, and Supreme Governor Const. Pelias.
The newspapers of New York City, The Times, the World, The Evening Post, Evening Journal, Brooklyn Standard Union, Bronx Home News, Atlantis, National Herald, Herald-Tribune and the Daily News, called the sailing "a potent embassy of good will from America to Greece."
The standard greeting after arrival in Greece was "Long live America, long live Greece, and glory and honor to the Ahepa"
Premier Eleutherios Venizelos of Greece, Athens Mayor Patsis, Piraeus Mayor Panayotopoulos, all greeted the Ahepans on their arrival. The Ahepa excursionists donated $4,000 to the war orphans fund of Greece, and to the National Museum.
Juan de Fuca Chapter #177 of Seattle, Wash. (named after the Greek explorer who sailed the Pacific in the 1500s and discovered the Straits of Juan de Fuca in the State of Washington) gave a "Children's Soiree" party, with the pronouncement: "The world of children should be the most absorbing interest of our lives, because it embodies our highest ideals, our most tender feelings, our noblest hopes and aspirations; it contains the promise of a greater and brighter tomorrow." ... Springfield, Mass. annual ball was given as a benefit for the churches of Springfield, Chicopee Falls, and Holyoke, Mass
The minstrel show given by Albany, N. Y. was for the benefit of the Greek school … Mayor Abbott of Grand Island,Nebraska. spoke at the chapter installation and said: "The Greeks lead almost any other race in their desire to obtain citizenship papers, and to become citizens. During the World War there were over 60,000 Greeks who fought under the American colors." ... The Greek school of Joliet, Ill. received all proceeds from the Ahepa chapter's play given at the high school auditorium ... Judges Greenwald and Bremmer of Gary, Ind., Mayor Martin of Bakersfield, Cal., Mayor Holliday of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Judge Gadola of Flint, Mich., all attended and spoke at Ahepa functions in their cities. Chief Justice Carrington T. Marshall of the Supreme Court of Ohio authored an article in The Ahepa magazine: "The Order of Ahepa as an Agency of Better Citizenship."
V. I. Chebithes
The April, 1930 issue of The Ahepa magazine carried on its cover the picture of Past Supreme President V. I. Chebithes, and on the inside pages had this to say of him:
On the front of this issue appears the picture of V. I. Chebithes, three times Supreme President of the Order of Ahepa There probably is not a Greek in the United States, and but very few others, who do not know what the initials 'V.I.' represent. But they are more easily recognized, more keenly appreciated and more clearly understood by the Ahepans than by any other class of people. 'V.I.' come nearer to being synonymous to AHEPA than any other two letters in any language. Vasilios Isidorou Chebithes, is the one man who has continually thought of, dreamed of, planned for, worked for and loved Ahepa twenty-four hours each day from the time he became a member, in July, 1924, until now. If indeed, there be a heart on which the word Ahepa is deeply carved, that heart beats under the shirt of V. I. Chebithes.
Brother Chebithes has been the best loved and best criticized man in the Order of Ahepa But no matter whether you love or hate him, once you meet him you never forget him. Fate itself has something to yield to a man who can smile in the face of disappointment. Such a man is 'V.I.' He can ridicule an unsurmountable difficulty into oblivion. No other man has had as much storm and wrath beat about him, and no other but he has stood his ground until the storm spends it force and fury leaving him the sole master of the situation.
V. I. Chebithes was born on the Island of lcaria, Greece, on the 15th of November, 1891. His father is the Reverend Isidor Chebithes, who still lives in lcaria and his mother was Stamatoula Raptis who died in 1904. V. I. went through the 4th grade in the public school of Karavostamou, lcaria, and came to this country the 23rd of April, 1906. He went to his uncle, Nicholas Raptis, who was then working at Somerset, Kentucky, and who now lives in Birmingham, Ala.
In Kentucky, Brother Chebithes made his home with a family of Kentucky farmers, Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Gragg. They, having no children, took a liking to the young Greek and became interested in his education. From this home he attended the public schools of Pulaski County, Kentucky, going to school and working on the farm in seasons. When he finished the common schools he entered the Somerset, Kentucky, High School, from which he graduated with high honors after four years of study. In his high school days he distinguished himself with exceptionally high marks and was the winner of several medals for debating and oratory. Following his graduation from the high school he entered the famous Centre College at Danville, Kentucky, from which he graduated with the degree of A.B. He was one of the most active leaders Centre College ever had, taking active part in athletics, especially football. In college he was a member of the Chamberlain Literary Society, serving as its president for one term; member of 'Ye Round Table' an honor society; was member of the Athletic Council; member of the College Publicity Board; Business Manager of the College Newspaper for two years; winner of the Inter-Society and Kentucky Intercollegiate debating and oratorical prizes and was elected the orator of his class.
It was at Centre College that he met and formed a lasting friendship with Dr. W. A. Ganfield, who was then President of the college. After he graduated from Centre he entered the service of the U.S. Army and served overseas during the World War. He was top sergeant of his company. Brother Chebithes took active part in the political campaigns in Kentucky, having stumped the state for Taft, Roosevelt, Hughes, Congressman King Swope and Governor Edwin P. Morrow. During his entire time in Kentucky from 1906 to 1919 he scarcely ever saw or talked with a Greek. In 1919 he went to Washington, D.C. where he secured a position at the U.S. Patent Office as examiner of patents and studied law at George Washington University Law School. In 1922 he was admitted to the bar and began the practice of law.
In September, 1924, he was elected Supreme President of the Order of Ahepa and served until November, 1927, when he refused to become a candidate for a fourth term. When Brother Chebithes became our Supreme President, the Order of Ahepa had about 1,500 active members, and 39 chapters. The Order was $13,500.00 in debt and had about $500 in its treasury. It had no office equipment and only one stenographer. Brother Chebithes set about to build up the Order. He abandoned his position and practice and devoted all of his time to the service of the Order.
When he relinquished the leadership of the Order, (1927) the Ahepa had 13,500 members, 152 chapters, no debts and $31,000 in its treasury.
Perhaps no other individual has done more to place the Order in the high position of influence and responsibility which it occupies today than V.I. Chebithes. It was his policy that the Ahepa should be an organization dedicated to the purpose of cooperating with Governmental authorities in the enforcement of the laws, and in the promotion of better citizenship. He was the first real missionary for the principles and ideals of the Order of Ahepa and was responsible for their firm establishment throughout every section of the country, which he visited during his administration. Under his leadership the Order of Ahepa grew Westward from its confines east of the Mississippi and gained its strong foothold in practically every state in the Union.
Even after retiring as Supreme President, his interest in the progress of the Ahepa continued with undiminished zeal and taking advantage of every opportunity presented, he has willingly served in the further development of a larger and more useful Ahepa It was always the dream of V.I. Chebithes to establish a more effective publication organ, and The Ahepa national magazine today is largely the result of his long and untiring efforts.
More than 20 city officials attended the Saginaw, Mich. first annual banquet … $4,470 was donated to the Chicago Greek Schools by the Chicago Ahepa Chapters, net proceeds from their benefit grand ball in the winter of 1929 … Dinners, banquets, initiations, installations continued with great enthusiasm at San Jose, Cal., Muskegon, Mich., Salinas, Cal., Oakland, Cal., New York City, Milwaukee, Denver, Palm Beach, Spokane, Rock Springs, Wyoming, Norfolk, Va., Ely, Nev., Camden, N.J., San Francisco, Houston, Mason City, la. Rutland, Vt., Elmira, N.Y., Price, Utah, Vallejo, California
Jack Dempsey’s Initiation into the Order of AHEPA
On April 21, 1930, Jack Dempsey, former heavyweight champion of the world, and his trainer, Jerry Luvadis, known as "Jerry the Greek" were initiated into the Order of Ahepa, at Chicago before 2,000 Ahepans at the Southmoor Hotel in Chicago. Sponsor of the new members was Frank E. Pofanti of Chapter #205, Chicago.
"The Greeks have a word for it." Jack Dempsey wants to find out all about it. The popular fighter and his bosom friend and trainer Jerry Luvadis, known in the sporting circles as "Jerry the Greek," have become Ahepans.
The ceremony of the initiation was witnessed by 2,000 Ahepans who gathered at the Southmoor Hotel to inaugurate the two new members into the mysteries of the Order. Stylianos Rekas, Grand Commander of the 9th circuit officiated at the event.
Mr. Dempsey said, I believe in noble ideals. I'm certain I will find them in Ahepa" "Jerry the Greek" spoke in Greek expressing his appreciation for his entry into the Order of Ahepa
The American fighter Jack Dempsey, and his Greek friend, after the initiation … admitted that indeed "The Greeks have a word for it." A curious reporter asked Dempsey what it was all about and the famous fighter with a smile said, "Join the [AHEPA] lodge."
Saloniki-Greek Press -- April 12, 1930
Ahepan Andrew J. Vlachos, attorney of Chicago, was appointed Assistant States Attorney of Cook County … Past Supreme Counsellor Nicholas G. Psaki, Brooklyn, N. Y. was appointed Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn … U.S. Senator William H. King, member of the Ahepa excursion to Greece, spoke before the Greek Senate in Athens, Greece. Of the Senator's speech at the Ahepa banquet in Athens, the Greek newspaper "Ethnos" reported: "Senator King contradicted most effectively the current opinion that Americans are only practical men who never react to idealism. He showed conclusively Americans triumph exactly because above all things they place the Idea, any beautiful Idea which they know how to serve and serve by deeds and not by words."
An important part of the 1930 Excursion to Greece was the noted Boston Ahepa Patrol, which had a strong representation in Greece, and which performed at various functions … Supreme Secretary Achilles Catsonis was guest speaker at the Middletown, Ohio Rotary Club … Mayor Metzger of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Mayor O'Hara and Worcester Polytechnic President Earle of Worcester, Mass., Judge MacDonell of Savannah, Ga., Mayor Metcalf of Omaha, Mayor Tully of New Haven, Conn., all spoke at Ahepa functions in their respective cities.
… Past Supreme President Dean Alfange of New York City, spoke on the subject of the Order of Ahepa over radio station WGBS of New York City, which went over a network of stations reaching 10 million listeners, on Memorial Day … Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd of North and South Pole fame became a member of Ahepa on July 14th … Clarence Darrow, internationally known attorney, lectured before Chicago Chapter #93.
Members of Ahepa from the New England area placed a wreath at the statue of Daniel Webster on Memorial Day, in commemoration of his strong support of Greece in speeches in Congress during that country's Greek Revolutionary War of 1821-1830. The ceremonies were held at the statue of Webster at Concord, N.H., and were followed by addresses on Webster's contributions to Greece … St. Louis, Mo. Chapter held its first annual May Day Festival, with the crowning of "Miss Ahepa", an affair that has been held annually since 1930 … All during the spring and summer of 1930, Ahepa chapters throughout the country held celebrations commemorating the 100th anniversary of freedom of Greece from foreign rule … Governor Frank G. Allen of Massachusetts said: "I am convinced that your organization, the Order of Ahepa, is due in large measure the splendid type of citizenship manifested by our Greek Americans. The object of Ahepa -- to teach the principles of American democracy and at the same time to perpetuate the ideals of Hellenism-cannot fail to produce a type of citizenship which is greatly needed and sincerely appreciated."
The New Bedford, Massachusetts Times, July 30, 1930:
Marching in another section of the parade, this writer did not have an opportunity Monday evening to see the Ahepa in formation. Enthusiastic descriptions of their appearance was quickly forthcoming from many quarters immediately after the divisions were dismissed. We were by no means surprised, therefore to hear of the selection of the Ahepa for first prize as the best appearing civic organization. The point in the numerous descriptions Monday evening of Ahepa's performance which impressed us most directly was the remark that they were 'so serious about it.' We warmly admire seriousness as displayed to such good advantage in public demonstrations. It betokens to our mind an underlying firmness, depth and grave purpose such as America needs more and more in its every citizen."
The Santa Barbara, California Evening News: "Santa Barbara, like every other community, needs more of the Ahepa spirit."
"The New Wrestling Champion of the World" headlines a photo of Jim Londos, in The Ahepa magazine in August, 1930. After 14 years of wrestling, Jim Londos, member of the Ahepa, met and defeated Dick Shikat at the Philadelphia Ball Park to become wrestling's heavyweight champion. Londos, a popular wrestler, only 5-feet-8-inches tall, won the match after almost an hour and a half struggle against his taller opponent.
He now lives in retirement on his ranch near San Diego, but wrestled for years on the 'circuit' in all parts of the country, where his style was popular with wrestling fans. I can personally recall his visit to Wichita, Kansas, for a match, in the 1930s and the opportunity to seem him in action at the local Forum. His rapidity of action, and fluid grace impressed this teen-ager, and practically every Ahepan with his family for miles around came to see their idol. A reception was held for him, and that was an occasion to remember -- meeting Jim Londos.
The Utah State Ahepa Outing in Ogden, Utah attracted 2,000 Ahepans and their friends, with a full program for the family, including selection of Mary Cairo as Queen of Ahepa … Buffalo's outing was an international affair with Americans and Canadians taking part … Marlboro, Mass. benefit for the Greek church and school … Santa Barbara, California Chapter took first place honors in the city's 4th of July parade with a float representing the theme of Greece presenting Ahepa to America … Governor Young of California was the speaker at the Oakland, California banquet … More than 1,500 Ahepans from New England gathered in Manchester, N.H. to help the Chapter celebrate New Hampshire Day … Several hundred attended the Wichita, Kansas annual picnic … New Bedford, Mass. Chapter won first place as the best appearing civic organization in the city's Tercentenary Parade.
The Eighth Supreme Convention
August 25 - September 1, 1930 - Boston, Massachusetts
The 8th Supreme Convention was held in Boston, August 25 through September 1, 1930, and rivalled the Detroit Convention in its activity, and surpassed the delegate representation of the 1927 meeting. There were 18 Supreme Lodge officers present, five Mother Lodge members, two Past Supreme Presidents (the Constitution gave these past officers a vote at Supreme Conventions for five years after retiring from the Supreme Presidency), and 192 Chapter Delegates, for a total of 217 delegates at the convention.
Convention officers elected were: V.I. Chebithes, Chairman; Constantine G. Economou, Vice Chairman; and James Chaconas, Secretary.
Chapter Delegates were:
C. H. Poole and James Chiflakos, Atlanta; George M. Cassimus, Birmingham; Dr. G. M. Saliba, Savannah; C. R. Nixon and Theodore Zuppas, Tulsa; Jerry Bakalis, Tampa; John K. Douglas, Tarpon Springs; James Triphon, West Palm Beach; Peter G. Booth, Ft. Worth; Demos Kakridas and John G. Chambers, Boston; Arthur G. Syran and Jason Kokinatos, New York City; Earnest Giores, Philadelphia; C. H. Rodopoulos and John Mandes, Asheville, N.C.; Nick Brown, Baltimore; William A. Revis, Washington, D.C.; P. W. Katsafanas, Pittsburgh; Philip Stylianos, Nashua, N.H.; Nicholas Copanos and N.K. Stephanides, Cleveland; Peter Zaharis, Syracuse; Andrew Jarvis, Brookline, Mass.; Michael Loris, Brooklyn; Nicholas J. Garis and George Papaelias, New York City; P. P. Stathas, Milwaukee; Dr. Alexander Cambadhis and Chris J. Agrafiotis, Manchester, N.H.; James A. Poulakis and George N. Spannon, Chicago;
John C. Mathew, Lawrence, Mass.; Louis Chronis and Peter Stavros, Waterbury, Conn.; Lucas Margarites and Andrew C. Milton, Lynn, Mass.; Constantine J. Critzas and Tom B. Pappas, Yonkers, N.Y. Cyriaque A. Kypreos, Newark; Dr. C. B. Johannides, St. Louis; Andrew C. Angelson and Alexander Collis, Paterson, N.J.; Athanasios Petropoulos, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; Peter S. Stavropoulos, Brockton, Mass.; James J. Starr, Hartford, Conn.; James P. Manos and Peter L. Adams, Canton, Ohio; Peter Nicas, Allentown, Pennsylvania; C. Th. Mantis, Reading, Pennsylvania; Dr. Spero G. Vryonis and Orestes Regas, Bridgeport, Conn.; James Thomas and John Petrou, Akron, Ohio; E. J. Lagouros, Bethelehem, Pennsylvania; Christie N. Geankoplis and Spear A. Zacher, Minneapolis; Nicholas Katsampes, Rochester, N. Y.; William Essaris, Wheeling, W. Va.; Thomas Shissias, Camden, N.J.; Soterios Lagges, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Adamantios Vafeas, Trenton, N.J.; Gus Dagres, Massillon, Ohio; George Lagakos, New Brunswick, N.J.; Louis Costas, Binghamton, N.Y.; Alex Eliopoulos, Gary, Ind.; George Maravell and James Anderson, Worcester, Mass.; N. D. Diakoumakos, Chester, Pennsylvania; Louis K. Constantine, Portland, Me.; James Veras and John Pappas, Sranton, Pennsylvania; James Mazarakos, Springfield, Mass.; Nicholas Lambadakis, Jamaica, N.Y.; William Lestas, New Castle, Pennsylvania; Basile C. Aronis, Warren, Ohio; Constantine G. Economou and Peter G. Parthenos, Youngstown, Ohio; M. C. Nicholson and Sarantos Sakelarakis, Danbury, Conn.; S. H. Marcopoulos, Buffalo; Louis Fronistas, Steubenville, Ohio; Arthur H. Peponis and Louis George, Chicago; Demosthenes G. Panteles and Peter Matsoukas, Chicago; Thomas Thomas, Wilmington, Del.; John D. Pappas, Clarksburg, W. Va.; James Stathis, Astoria, N.Y.; Seraphim Pappas and James S. Carson, New Haven, Conn.; John Nestor, Stamford, Conn.; Stephen Johnson and James Jorvas, New Bedford, Mass.; George C. Eliades and Dr. Theodore A. Stamas, Lowell, Mass; J. H. DeMetro, Weirton, W. Va.; A. N. Collias, Oak Park, Ill.; J. T. Tsigaridas and Cleanthis Granitsas, Marlboro, Mass.; T. S. Josephson and John Koufoudakis, Providence, R.I.; James Chakona, Erie, Pennsylvania; Astor J. Tsibikas, Jersey City; John Vayianos, Pottsville, Pennsylvania; Theo. Phillipacopoulos, Norwich, Conn.; Peter G. Giftos, Pittsfield, Mass.; James T. Leakas, Dayton, Ohio; E. G. Vaffeus, Plainfield, N.J.; Stephen Contos, Newburgh, N.Y.; George A. Karras, Uniontown, Pennsylvania; Andrew Peterson, New Britain, Conn; Helga Kagin, Toledo. Sotter Calichy and Alexander Papouleas, Peabody-Salem, Mass.; Savas Savides, Pawtucket, R. I.; Anthony Votsis, Norfolk, Va.; Steve Grammas, Hammond, Ind.; James Caravassos, Morgantown, W. Va.; John Grotos and Demetrios E. Djimas, Schenectady, N.Y.; Peter Sallos, Meriden, Conn.; George Beam, Cincinnati, Ohio; Nicholas Harithas, and Nick Kessaris, Lewiston, Maine; Louis P. Maniatis, Louisville, Kentucky; C. G. Paris, Lynchburg, Va.; Evans Johnson, Pontiac, Mich.; Peter Zafiriades, Watertown, N.Y.; John P. Tatalias, Fall River, Mass.; Manuel Ermides, Albany, N.Y.; Bill Mantjos, Flint, Mich.; Takis Kekessis, Lansing, Mich.; Basil Brown and Harry A. Morris, Utica, N.Y.; Harry Zahars, Elyria, Ohio; Gus D. Baines, Denver;
Chris E. Athas, Salt Lake City; Tom Kademenos, Yorkville, Ohio; William Petros, San Francisco; John G. Papageorge, Los Angeles; John D. Damis, Portland, Oregon; Louis P. Sollon, Washington, Pennsylvania; Louis K. Tsaros, Indiana Harbor, Ind.; Louis Kustas, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Peter Blackpool, Bridgeton, N.J.; James D. Papajohn, Detroit; Nicholas Boolookos and Costas Chingos, Freeport, N.Y.; Nicholas D. Nitsos, Oakland; George Giakas, Bronx, N.Y.; Vranas Varetjidis and George Galinos, Woburn, Mass.; Peter G. Chingos and Peter Zervas, New York City; Steve Cusulos, Sioux Falls, S.D.; George M. Paradise, Sioux City Ia.; Tom Ralles, Des Moines, Ia. Mike Bellas, Cedar Rapids, Ia.; Charles Preketes, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Chris Agon, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Peter A. Magas, Kalamazoo, Mich.; George Gibas, Brooklyn; George D. Vaky, Champaign, Ill.; D. G. Michalopoulos, Chicago; Phillip A. Mikes, Chicago; A. A. Pantelis, Evanston, Ill.; Theodore Daldakis, Butte, Mont.; Stavros T. V radelis, Middletown, Ohio; Peter D. Herakis, Battle Creek, Mich.; John Condominas, Portsmouth, N.H.; Chris D. Gregory, Chicago Heights, Ill.; Christopher Stephanos, Philadelphia; Andrew Kostas and John Zazas, Indianapolis, Ind.; Chris Beres, Peoria, Ill; Theodore C. Andronicos, San Francisco; Asimakis D. Sioris and Chris James, Washington, D.C.; Harry Nikols, Newport News, Va.; George Cassimatis and Apostolos B. Cascambas, Newport, R. I.; Nicholas F. Colovos, Dover, N.H.; Peter Mitchell and T. J. Constantine, New London, Conn.; Peter Victor, Biddeford-Saco, Me.; Theodore Antonakos, Greenboro, N.C.
Boston Convention Mandates
The Boston Convention discussed the question of a death benefit fund, but could not agree on proposed plans, and none was accepted. The Constitution was amended so that the question of expansion of the Ahepa into Canada became official, although the matter had been voted down in previous conventions. The question of an Ahepa hospital at Saranac Lake, N.Y. was discussed and the Supreme Lodge instructed to appoint a committee to study the matter. An Ahepa memorial plaque at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was approved; and Ahepa Veterans Unit was to be studied and put into action; San Francisco was honored as first place winner in the membership drive, and Lowell, Massachusetts was given second prize. The sum of $3,500 was appropriated for Scholarships, and $1,500 for Sons of Pericles.
The following were elected as the Supreme Lodge for the fiscal year of 1930-31:
George E. Phillies, Supreme President;
P.S. Marthakis, Supreme Vice President;
Achilles Catsonis, Supreme Secretary;
Andrew Jarvis, Supreme Treasurer;
Harris J. Booras, Supreme Counsellor;
And the following Supreme Governors: George C. Eliades, George A. Stathes, Constantine G. Poulakos, Rev. S. S. Spathey, Dr. G. M. Saliba, Nicholas D. Chotas (Mother Lodge Member), C. R. Nixon, James T. Lekas, A. George N. Spannon, Michael D. Konomos, C. E. Athas, P. J. Andrews, and Dr. N. S. Checkos.
(Continued on page 260)
(Continued from page 258)
The second administration of Supreme President George E. Phillies resulted in the addition of 30 new Ahepa Chapters. Supreme President Phillies visited about 60 cities during this year, travelling almost 35,000 miles.
At the following Supreme Convention in San Francisco in 1931, Supreme President Phillies strongly recommended the creation of a "Field Secretary" office whose duty would be to travel for the Ahepa, organizing new chapters, reviving inactive chapters (which was becoming a problem), and working with the chapters in their programs and activities. The Convention did not accept the recommendation.
In later years, Past Supreme President V. I. Chebithes said of this recommendation: "Unfortunately, the convention did not adopt his (Phillies') recommendation. It was a wise recommendation and the convention acted thoughtlessly in not adopting it. Had it done so, the Order would today probably be in better condition than it is."
The George Dilboy Monument
A feature of the 1930 Boston convention was the dedication of the George Dilboy Monument at Somerville, Mass. on August 26th, with 50,000 people watching the ceremony in front of the City Hall, as Ahepa dedicated the monument to the Greek immigrant who was one of America's war heroes.
Supreme President Phillies delivered the dedicatory address and United States Senator David I. Walsh of Massachusetts delivered an oration on the memory of George Dilboy.
Dilboy received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in World War I, and he is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Ahepa Patrols from all parts of New England, as well as members of Ahepa, took part in the parade preceding the ceremonies, as well as a Navy band, Army and Marines, American Legion, V.F.W., and other groups.
President Herbert Hoover sent a telegram of congratulations to the Boston convention delegates which read: "Please extend my cordial greetings to the members of the Ahepa convention and my warm appreciation of the contribution made to American life by our citizens of Greek origin who have brought to this country the high ideals of democracy and their passion for education and human progress."
U. S. Representative Lucas Miltiades Miller and Col. Jonathan P. Miller
The Rutland, Vermont AHEPA Chapter laid a wreath at the grave of Col. Jonathan P. Miller at Montpelier, Vermont. Miller went to Greece in 1824 and fought with the Greeks against the Turks during the Greek Revolutionary War. He was called "The American Daredevil" by his Greek friends, and earned their respect and admiration for his bravery.
Colonel Miller brought back a Greek war orphan when he returned to America, adopted him, and the Greek orphan, named Lucas Miltiades Miller became the first American Congressman of Greek descent at his election to Congress in 1891. He was a U.S. Representative from the State of Wisconsin, and served only one term in Congress. In another section of this book, more detailed information on both Col. Jonathan P. Miller and U. S. Representative Lucas Miltiades Miller will be found.
The Allentown, Pennsylvania Morning Call, on September 7, 1930, paid tribute to the city's Ahepa Chapter:
The recent action of Lehigh Chapter of the Order of Ahepa of Allentown in offering $300 in prizes to students of Cedar Crest College for the best work next year in the study of the Greek language and of the dramas of Sophocles and Euripides, is typical of the modern spirit which has begun to re-emphasize the classics. In this local expression there is the additional motive of interest and pride in racial background and traditions which have been one of the greatest glories of the world's civilization.
During the first quarter of the Twentieth Century there was a decided reaction against the study of Greek and Latin, with a corresponding emphasis upon modern literature, modern languages and vocational subjects. Now, in many quarters the pendulum is swinging back to the classics, local indications of which are the emphasis upon Latin in the High School under Prof. J. Warren Fritsch, the production of Greek plays at Cedar Crest and the work of the department of Greek at Muehlenburg College under Dr. Robert C. Horn. In the Experimental College at Wisconsin, those famous educators, Dr. Alexander Meiklejohn and Dr. Glenn Frank, have given up the entire Freshman year to the study of Greek civilization -- Greek religion, Greek philosophy, Greek scientific methods, Greek literature, Greek art and the economics of ancient Greece. It is a common criticism that we are superficial in many things. We owe this superficiality in many cases, these educators believe, to our lack of information about the past, information which Americans for over a hundred years secured from the education in the classics."
Henry S. Sweeney, Grand Master of the International Order of Oddfellows of Michigan sent this message to the Ahepa: "My hope is that your Order may not only strive to 'excel in a knowledge of what is good,' but that you may fully comprehend and know that ideals alone survive, worthy sentiments alone persist. You have started along the right lines. Your outlined course is toward the attainment of a beautiful living not only for yourselves but for all people in that neighborhood wherein your Order may carry on its activities. Ever cling to those ideals and sentiments to the end that the influence of Ahepa may ever be a dominant, living power for right and justice to all men everywhere."
The presentation of Euripides' "Electra" at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania attracted 600 people, among which were representatives of five Ahepa chapters … Springfield, Mass. donated $1,000 to local Greek schools … Seattle, Wash., sponsored a series of eight lectures on Greece … Judge Will P. Stephenson of Middletown, Ohio was initiated into the Ahepa … Chicago Chapter #205 donated its dance proceeds to the Greek school. ... World wrestling champion, Ahepan Jim Londos defeated Chief White Feathers in Washington, D.C., and was now called the "Apollo of the Mat." … Charles Demas, of an Ahepa family in New Castle, Pennsylvania, was playing professional football with the Homewood Club of Pittsburgh, Pa .
Washington, D.C. Ahepans honored E.J. Demas with a dinner at the National Press Club. He accompanied Admiral Byrd on two polar expeditions.
"Our Relief Work" is the title of a short editorial in The Ahepa Magazine of December 1930, a time when the great depression was taking strong hold of the country:
What a grand, good work we are doing. Ahepans feed 15,000 needy each day. How? Well, many restaurant proprietors are Greeks, and a true Ahepan is his brother's keeper, and this is signally true now when our country feels the pressure of economic depression. To mention one instance: In Chicago a Grand Charity Ball is to be given December 29th when ten Ahepa Chapters, and many Greek societies unite with an objective to raise $50,000, stirred to action by the fact that in that city alone 400 destitute Greek families ask assistance. Thanks to the Ahepans who set forth the idea -- let each restaurant feed a certain number. The torch has been passed on, and all over our land our Greeks are feeding the needy, irrespective of nationality. We salute you-many of whom are naturalized citizens. You are showing the true American spirit.
Ahepan S. Gregory Taylor of New York City, opened his new 10 million dollar hotel, The St. Moritz, in October, 1930. At the ceremonies were the mayors of New York City and St. Moritz, Switzerland, the Governor of New York State, and many others. The St. Moritz was the fifth hotel opened by Brother Taylor within two years. Besides being President and General Manager of the 5 New York hotels, he was also President of the Transcontinental Chain of 29 hotels throughout the country, a cooperative group of hotels.
Judge Nields of Wilmington, Delaware praised Ahepa for its citizenship program at a granting of citizenship papers to new citizens.
In Great Falls, Montana, a member of the Ahepa chapter went before the District Judge to take his final citizenship papers. The judge, seeing the Ahepa emblem on the member's coat label, asked him what it represented, and the member replied that it was an Ahepa emblem. The judge, who knew all about the Ahepa and its work, began to praise the organization, congratulated him for being a member, and immediately granted citizenship papers to him
The Cincinnati, Ohio Ahepa chapter started a campaign collecting clothing and monies for the Cincinnati Welfare Department … The Children of members of the Salt Lake City chapter, formed an Ahepa Band, and marched in the city's Armistice Day parade … The Kalamazoo Michigan Ahepa Chapter members who owned restaurants donated meal tickets for 5,000 meals for needy of the city through the Civic League … The Woburn, Massachusetts Ahepa chapter won the McCraft Cup for having the best appearing marching unit in the Armistice Day parade … Rudy Vallee's singing and Don Avlon's orchestra featured the Combined Chapter Ball of New York City on December 8th, enjoyed by more than 6,000 people, with proceeds going to charitable causes … Detroit, Michigan charity ball for needy families … Mayor King addressed the Greensboro, N.C. banquet.
The New Orleans chapter presented Jim Londos with a purple robe at his match with Garibaldi, whom he defeated … Londos states that he will defend his title every week, if he can find sufficient opponents … Londos said that he received his inspiration to become a wrestler while a schoolboy in Patras, Greece, when he spent hours admiring the famous marble statue of Milo of Croton, who was the most successful wrestler of ancient Greece, winning six Olympic crowns.
Savannah, Ga. organized a new chapter of the Sons of Pericles, the Junior Order of Ahepa … Renaissance Chapter of the Sons of New York City had a basketball team, and a track team, both in active competition
The Seattle, Washington Post-Intelligencer, in an editorial on Nov. 27, 1930 said of Ahepa:
We lightly refer to America as a 'melting pot' with little thought about the processes which melt and fuse and refine the product-American citizenship. Its (Ahepa's) principal object is to improve and perfect Greeks in American citizenship. No immigrants have a better background for fitting into our national ideals. Unemployment in America has engendered much loose thought about immigration. The undesirable and unassimilable alien ought to be deported and the class from which he sprang must be turned back at our gates. But there is plenty of room in this vast land for the type of citizens turned out of the crucible by the Order of Ahepa, the 'paramount purpose' of which is to teach its members loyalty to America, obedience to its laws, respect for its traditions, and the sacred responsibility of citizenship.
President Herbert Hoover sent a message of congratulations to the Ahepa Banquet in Seattle on Nov. 22nd: "I will be obliged if you will express my cordial greetings to those present at the banquet of the Washington Chapters of the Order of Ahepa and my deep appreciation of the high ideals of citizenship brought to their new American loyalty by our citizens of Greek origin." Eight Ahepa Chapters of the area took part in the banquet, at which Supreme President Phillies was main speaker. … Eureka, California held a Christmas Fund dance for the needy … Ahepa Chapters in Chicago organized "Chicago United Greek Charities" with a goal of $100,000 to help the needy … Washington, D.C. #31 started its own scholarship loan fund … South Bend Ind. #100 started a program to donate 77 meals daily for at least 60 days to the city's hungry, with the program to be further expanded. The twenty-two restaurants and lunch rooms owned by Ahepans in the city all participated … This "Ahepa Meal Ticket" plan began widening in scope as the idea caught on with other Ahepa chapters throughout the country, and The Ahepa magazine estimated then, in January 1931, that about 1,000,000 meals would be given to the hungry and needy by Ahepans in America.
Six of the Sons of Pericles Mother Lodge members, founders of the Junior Order of Ahepa, were initiated into the Order of Ahepa by Manchester, N.H. #44, and were honored at a dinner following the ceremony. They were: Peter Clainos, attending West Point Military Academy; William Vasiliou, senior at the University of New Hampshire; Peter Kourides, student at Columbia University; Arthur Hasiotis, senior at the University of New Hampshire; Gregory Papagiotas, and James Demetriadis.
President George Pahno of Norfolk, Va. #122 was installed as Chancellor Commander of Lodge #10 of the Knights of Pythias … The U.S. Secretary of Labor instructed employment agencies to refuse help to those who are not American citizens, but the Order of Ahepa, through its members' restaurants "meal ticket" program, instructed its members to feed all those who were hungry, whether they were American citizens or not. The only questions asked were if the person was hungry, and if he was unemployed.
Nicholas Lukatus of Gary, Indiana, made the Notre Dame football team … James G. Doyle, Publisher of the Seattle, Wash. Post-Intelligencer was initiated into the Ahepa … Dunbar's Weekly editorialized about the Ahepa in Phoenix, Arizona
Few foreign countries supply citizens to America of the type equal to those who come from Greece. These people should be an inspiration to native Americans. They readily adapt themselves to their new surroundings, and as a rule become citizens as soon as they are legally qualified. They vote, but never in 'gang' fashion. Peace officers throughout America know that Greeks are among the most law-abiding people on earth. Greeks are trained in business and industry, rather than in crime. We heartily commend the ideals of the Order of Ahepa and trust that Mr. Phillies may be able to visit Phoenix again in the near future. His visit here did much to inform the public of what Greek citizens of America are doing.
The Kalamazoo, Michigan newspaper wrote:
Yet it is altogether fitting to note that these sons of Hellas have every reason in the world to be proud of their extraction, of the contributions which their mother country has made to civilization, and of the exemplary honesty and industriousness of the vast majority of Greeks who have made their home within our country's borders. Ahepa has had a chapter in Kalamazoo for three years. Quietly, without any taste for ballyhoo or display, the members of the Order have been working for better citizenship and advancing their common interest as Americans. Kalamazoo residents of all national and racial descents are certain to applaud their movement and place full confidence in its progress.
Supreme Counsellor Harris J. Booras_ gave a series of talks on the Order of Ahepa over Boston radio station WEEI. … Supreme Secretary Catsonis was guest speaker at the Exchange Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan. … Governor Phillips of Arizona attended the Phoenix banquet honoring Supreme President Phillies. … Ahepan Anthony A. Trupis of Detroit was appointed Deputy Commissioner of Labor and Industry of Michigan. … Mayor Russell Wilson of Cincinnati was initiated a member, and then spoke at the banquet following the ceremony.
The Ahepa magazine reported at length on the presentation of the State Flags of the United States to the government of Greece on that country's 100th anniversary of its independence from Turkey. American Legionnaires carried the State Flags to Greece, and all States of the Union were represented. Maude Howe Elliott, daughter of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, was Honorary Chairman of the Excursion of the American Legion to Greece which left for Greece on August 15, 1930. Dr. Howe was Surgeon-General of the Greek armed forces in the 1820s during their War of Independence.
This was also the occasion of the unveiling of a monument in Athens in honor of those Americans who helped Greece during that War of Independence, and the Greek government also donated land in Athens to the American Legion for its American Legion Memorial and Community Center. The cornerstone for the building was laid during the ceremonies in Athens.
The Tampa, Florida Daily Times editorialized:
It is not customary for local banquets to be referred to on this page. But there was held one on Wednesday night which was so notable that it deserves preferential treatment. It was the one given by the Ahepa Chapters of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Tarpon Springs in honor of George E. Phillies, Supreme President of Ahepa This banquet was everything that good banquets are -- good fellowship, good dinner, good music, good speaking. But it was different. The speaking was notably different. It was all with a definite purpose … President Phillies' speech was a gem. It was eloquent, educational, inspirational. This would be a much better country could some group of citizens listen to it or one of its character every night. It is a pity that thousands could not have heard it, instead of the hundreds that did. It was calculated to give a better understanding and deeper appreciation of our Greek citizens.
Luther Weedin, U.S. Immigration Commissioner for the district of Seattle, became a member of Ahepa
Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd said in an interview to Louis P. Maniatis of the Louisville, Kentucky, chapter:
Does the Supreme President of Ahepa write to all the chapters to extend me such cordial greetings and welcomes that I have received from the Ahepans in almost every city I have visited, or is it that the Greeks are so firmly united and their cooperations so evident, they have swept me off my feet? Their welcomes are so cordial and sincere, that I cannot but admire them and predict success for their every undertaking in this country. They are remarkably well suited to reach the heights of their ambitions. In my tour of the United States and observations from other fraternities and organizations, I have yet to find the equal of the Ahepans. They are considerate beyond the average, inasmuch as they take less of my time and require of me less than other organizations. I find the Ahepa is closely knit, well established and ever ready to promote good fellowship throughout the country. Will you write the Supreme President and tell him I am in debt to the Ahepans throughout the United States and that I have nothing but words of praise for them?
Mayor Saussy of Savannah, Bishop Gailor and Federal Judge Anderson of Memphis, Mayor Bidwell of Sacramento, Mayor Watkins and Judge Haley of Tulsa, Okla., Senator Bulow and Judge Dougherty of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, President Crane of the University of Wyoming, Mayor Holliday of Cheyenne, -- all were featured speakers at Ahepa dinners in their cities … His Eminence Archbishop Athenagoras of the Greek Orthodox Church arrived to take over the Greek Archdiocese of North and South America in New York City … he is now His Holiness Patriarch Athenagoras, ecumenical head of the Greek Orthodox Church, at the Patriarchate in Constantinople
Domenicos Theotocopoulos (El Greco) is featured in The Ahepa Magazine, with a brief biography of this famous Greek painter who was born on the island of Crete about 1540, went to Venice then Spain, where he remained in Toledo and painted his best works. El Greco stands today as one of art's greatest figures, receiving just recognition only in the last seventy-five years.
Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt Joins Ahepa
On March 11, 1931, New York State Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt became a member of the Order of Ahepa, with membership in Delphi Chapter #25, New York City
Over 300 Ahepans from New Jersey marched in the Newark Armistice Day Parade … Paterson, N.J. distributed $500 to needy families, and other New Jersey chapters followed suit … Judge Haas joined Chicago Chapter #46 … County Attorney Kepler was chairman of Ahepa's Washington's Birthday celebration in Bridgeport, Nebraska .… Butte, Montana had Governor Erickson of Montana as speaker at its banquet. … Omaha, Lincoln, and Grand Island, Nebraska chapters installed officers at Omaha with Judge Radke, Attorney General Sorenson, Lt. Governor Metcalf, Mayor R. Metcalf of Omaha, Mayor Love of Lincoln, and twenty other state and local officials present. … Great Falls, Montana, held an oratorical contest with prizes to winners … Lt. Governor Mcfarlane of Iowa, Judges Meyer and Powers and many others attended the Des Moines banquet … Many of the banquets were in honor of Supreme President Phillies who spent most of the year in chapter visits from one end of the country to the other … The daughter of Peter Crist of Salinas, California was christened Elaine Ahepa Crist … The Lewiston, Maine Ahepa basketball team defeated a Greek team from Biddeford, Maine. The score: 24 to 12!
The Greek Republic sent 48 Greek Flags to the United States, and asked Ahepa to present them to the 48 U.S. State Governors in appreciation of the U.S. State Flags sent to Greece in 1930, commemorating her 100th anniversary of final freedom … In honor of Flag Day (June 14) the magazine carried a complete article on the history, law and regulations governing the use of the United States Flag … Congressman Peter G. Holmes of Massachusetts became a member of the Worcester, Mass. Chapter #80 … The New York City Charity Ball of Ahepa Chapters netted $10,000 and was used to help needy families and the unemployed … 3,000 attended the installattions of San Francisco chapter officers.
On December 11th 1930, the first convention of the Canadian chapters was held at Toronto with many officials present … Prof. Brackett of Clark University lectured on Euripides at the Worcester, Mass. meeting … the comment was made in the magazine that practically every Ahepa chapter had celebrated Greek Independence Day on March 25 … and that Ahepa chapters made special visits to visit Admiral Byrd wherever he stopped on his nationwide tour
Wichita, Kansas, organized a chapter of the Order of Sons of Pericles, with John Apostol doing the major work. (As a charter member of that Sons Chapter in Wichita, at age 14, this was my first baptism into the work of Ahepa) … On October 25, 1930, the Beloit, Wisconsin Chapter presented a life-size bust of the late Prof. Theodore Lyman Wright to Beloit College, for the new art hall of the school named in honor of Prof. Wright. The Ahepa chapter in Beloit was named for Prof. Wright in appreciation of the many hours he donated in the evenings teaching the young Greek immigrants of Beloit how to read and write English, after completing his daytime task as Professor of Greek and Greek art and literature at Beloit College. In making the presentation, James Leeson of the Ahepa chapter said: "It would not be possible in a life time to do as much in memory of Professor Wright as he has done for us. The presentation of this bust expresses in a small way our great appreciation of his friendship."
The Ahepa Magazine carried an article on Eleutherios Venizelos, Premier of Greece, and outstanding worker for world peace. When Woodrow Wilson was asked on his return from the Peace Conference after World War I, which statesman in Europe impressed him the most, he quickly replied: "Eleutherios Venizelos, Premier of Greece."
The Greek Language
An article by A. Virginia Rowley, "The Children of American Greek Parents" explains:
These children are usually taught to speak the Greek language in the home, along with the English. This gives them an enviable advantage -- they become bilingual. It is very useful to be bilingual, but more important is the fact that one of the languages is Greek, because from the Greek we can derive a large percentage of the words in any language. The children, with a thorough knowledge of modern Greek, learn the classical Greek with ease because the dissimilarity between the literary modern language and the ancient form is small. Realize then, the tremendous advantage that these children have over an ordinary child whose parents speak only English! Their education is already well begun before they are old enough to go to school. The foundation is already laid -- they have a magnificent groundwork-they already know what other people spend years to learn, and know it better than those people can ever hope to know it.
To illustrate: I have three small nephews, their parents are both American Greeks. The youngest of these three had not yet gone to school. Often, I sit and listen to him talk in Greek. I marvel at his fluency, his choice of words, his lack of hesitancy. I envy him, this baby of five! But while the children may have astounding advantages we must not overlook the profits that other children reap from playing with them. Children of only English speaking parents learn from these children an untold wealth of information. They learn about Hellenic mythology and stories. Greece becomes real to them instead of a vague country on a map thousands of miles away. They feel an intimate personal interest in that strangely wonderful country from which the parents of their playmates came. In school then, when the teacher mentions Greece, they become all eager attention instead of being bored with just another European country about which they must learn a set of standard facts, for, do they not have a direct personal contact with this Greece through their fellow playmates?
We see then, that the children of American Greek parentage do not keep all the benefits to themselves. They give them freely to all the other children, producing in those other children a desire and incentive to learn, without which a child can never accomplish a lesson. There is a striking parallel between these little boys of Greek descent who give their knowledge to their playmates, and those great Hellenes who gave the world their art and government. These children are, in their own small way, carrying on the traditions of their famous forebears whose culture and accomplishments we can never hope to equal.
(Commenting on the article above, the same experience has happened to anyone whose parents taught him or her Greek while growing up at home, and later in the afternoon Greek school classes. Although we are not certain as to what is taught today in our public schools, a knowledge of Greek was of tremendous help in the public schools of the 1920s and 1930s. Even as early as the fourth or fifth grade, teachers threw new, long words at students. Philosophy, geometry, geography. The list is almost endless. What did they mean? The student with Greek language background very soon grasped their meaning, and was able on his own, to know the meanings of most of these English words with Greek backgrounds.)
On Memorial Day, May 30, 1931, Supreme President Phillies presented a bronze Ahepa memorial wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery at Washington. The ceremony had a military escort, and the bronze wreath is now displayed in the Hall of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Dayton, Ohio devoted a meeting to talks by Police Chief Wurstner and his lieutenants, and music and songs by the Police Quartet. … Washington, D.C. Chapter #236 held a real Greek dinner at Pythian Hall, with more than 600 attending, with a menu of entirely Greek food … Phoenix, Arizona donated $400 to the Greek school. … Mrs. Maude Howe Elliott, daughter of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe was guest of honor, and Mayor Sullivan attended, the Newport, R. I. second annual ball … Henry Clay Chapter of Lexington, Kentucky, held a banquet on the 154th anniversary of the birth of Henry Clay, whose speeches in Congress in the 1820s helped spur American assistance to Greece in her Revolutionary War; the chapter also placed a wreath at his tomb in Lexington …
Ahepa Chapters in Michigan held a ceremony on Memorial Day at the General Demetrius Ypsilanti monument (erected by the Order of AHEPA in 1928) at Ypsilanti, Michigan
… Archbishop Athenagoras dedicated the new church at New Castle, Pennsylvania, with 1,500 present from surrounding areas; and noted that the New Castle Ahepa Chapter made the dedication possible with its $10,000 contribution to the building of the church … Judge Fred Starck of Louisville, Kentucky, became a member of the Ahepa chapter.
An article in The Ahepa Magazine titled "American Press Deplores Laxity of Classical Studies in Colleges" by M.E. Axearly takes issue with the action of Yale University in reducing its requirements for the bachelor of arts degree without requiring Greek and Latin. Some of the criticisms from the press were:
"grave cause for regret if the rattle of the typewriter is ever to mean the doom of the stylus" … "Well, let them play football at Yale!" … "if many universities by their emphasis upon 'practical' studies have come to resemble apprentice schools, that is the dictate of the times." … "these languages supplied the heart blood of our own tongue" … "virtually no literary background for a literary diploma" … "We have no objection to colleges and universities admitting the rank and file of idlers for a good time under the elms, provided the public doesn't pay the bills. But these should be given some kind of a special, second-rate degree-with the A.B. reserved for those who really have made something of an art of learning."
… "It is futile to resist the modern tendency to put the emphasis upon the immediately practical." … "Explanations of Yale's action in eliminating the requirements of Latin and Greek for any undergraduate degree seem to us to be inadequate. The real reason the classic languages are disappearing from the plan of study in American universities is that they never found a place in American politics. Nothing that is not useful in politics can survive, which is why almost everything has ceased to serve in that art except money. There was a time, as late as the last century, when a member of the British House of Commons, hesitating over a word in a classical quotation, underwent the humiliating experience of having the whole house rise to give it to him. We suppose the delinquent member was defeated at the next election. But if any member of the American Congress has any Latin or Greek he is careful to conceal the fact." … "Our universities are admitting so many young people who have no interest in learning that they must lower their requirements, with the result that even the more earnest students do not receive the education and training which were formerly the mark of a college man." … "Such a general course in itself bespeaks the great weakness of modern education, aside from the study of the sciences and the technical professions. In endeavoring to comprehend all, it is in danger of becoming superficial." … "In youth, Latin and Greek brightened us and we'll endorse them now. What goes on in the Pennsylvania college (the University of Pennsylvania also lowered its standards on Latin and Greek) is nothing about which we can conscientiously kick as we are not a contributing alumnus; but it gives us pause just the same. We would think it would give old Pa alumni pause, too. Just what seems to be the matter with Latin and Greek? They've stood up pretty well all these years, making the grade at Oxford and elsewhere where the thinking is good. They certainly train the mind if you have a mind to train. They are to culture what a ground floor is to a building.
They may not be as romantic as French and Spanish or as impressive as German, but they are more invigorating. If they are dead languages, then practically all education is ossified because it began yesterday. Our idea of mental height is a man who is on speaking terms with Latin and Greek. Allowing college students to decide if they want to take these subjects is like asking children if they want to take cod liver oil."
San Diego, California won second prize with its float in the Fiesta de San Diego celebrations … U.S. Senator James J. Davis of Pennsylvania, and former Secretary of Labor, joined the Order of Ahepa … Christ Divos and N. Pappas, of the Pottsville, Pennsylvania Ahepa chapter, and owners of the Arcadia Restaurant in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, gave out 2,600 free dinners to needy persons of the town, the majority being school children. Five hundred of the dinners were served on Christmas Day alone. The rest were given over a period of three months … Waterbury, Conn. donated $50 each month to the Greek school. … Santa Barbara, California won first place in the 4th of July parade … Throughout the year, Ahepa Chapters made presentations of official Greek Flags from Greece to the Governor of every state of the Union, until all had been presented … The New York Ahepan, a bi-monthly issued by the New York City chapters, made its first appearance in July.
The Pocatello Tribune of Pocatello, Idaho, on July 2, 1931:
Recently the Tribune published an item from its Blackfoot correspondent stating a warrant had been issued for a man named Campanella, 'a Greek,' on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Shades of ancient Athens, who ever heard of a Greek named Campanella? Every time an individual with swarthy skin is arrested on some charge there is a tendency among certain people to speak of them as Greeks. No wonder that those of Greek descent in this country get disgusted. In Pocatello some of our best citizens are men and women who were born in Greece. We know many of them personally and find that they differ in no respect from the good citizens of any other country. Professor P.S. Marthakis, Supreme Vice President of the Order of Ahepa from Salt Lake City, Utah, visited the Tribune last Friday, being en route from Boise, where he presented Governor C. Ben Ross with a Greek national flag, to his home in Utah. He was accompanied by George Karaboyas, President of the Pocatello Greek-American society. They both discussed with us this evident discrimination which is going on in certain sections in the use of the adjective Greek behind the name of men, especially when they have come in contact with the law. They pointed out the fact that this discrimination is not usually made if the name of an individual of Scottish, English, French or other descent is published. Their point was well taken and we confess that in many instances a grave injustice has been done."
© Copyright Order of AHEPA
George J. Leber's book is copyright protected. However, any portions of this book may be quoted at length, provided that proper credit & acknowledgement is given to the book, author, publisher, and pages.
Leber, George J. History of the Order of AHEPA 1922 - 1972. Washigton DC, Order of AHEPA, 1972.