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ERIC Number: EJ961990
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Dealing with Disaster through Compassionate Giving: San Francisco Earthquake Survivors Write to President Theodore Roosevelt, January 3, 1909
Hussey, Michael
Social Education, v75 n6 p314-316 Nov-Dec 2011
On January 3, 1909, Emily Hamilton and Louis Overstreet wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt begging his "leave to work under your Committee for the relief of the sufferers of Italy." The two were engaged and were willing to rush their marriage plans if the president needed them. Their letter was prompted by the powerful earthquake that struck the Sicilian city of Messina and southern Italy at 5:20am on December 28, 1908. T.G. Balsito of Brooklyn, New York, himself an Italian immigrant, wrote to President Roosevelt that a "terrible calamity" had befallen the country of his birth. The purpose of his letter was not--or at least not only--to express his sorrow, but to "volunteer his services free of compensation" to help with relief efforts. Hamilton and Overstreet did not have the same type of connection to Italy, as did Balsito. Yet, they and many others shared a common reaction upon simply hearing of a great tragedy. They wanted somehow to be of help in relieving the suffering of the victims of a natural disaster. When teaching about natural disasters, it is easy to find data--and certainly, data helps students to make important comparisons. It is also easy to find startling images and film footage--and such materials may serve to motivate students towards preparedness. Including a letter such as the one written by Hamilton and Overstreet within a study of natural disasters may inspire students to action. Just as the young couple wanted to help, so do many students. Educators can help them find ways to do so. One of the simplest is alerting them to relief organizations such as: (1) The American Red Cross; (2) UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund); and (3) CARE. (Contains 5 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Italy; United States