The Slaughterhouse Province: An American Diplomat’s Report on the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1917

by Leslie A. Davis
Edited, with an introduction and notes by Susan K. Blair

Grade Level: Adult
A searing indictment of the Ottoman Turkish government for its brutal massacre and deportation of its Armenian population in 1915-1923 by Leslie Davis who as the U. S. consul in Harput from 1915 to 1917 was an eyewitness to the atrocities committed upon Armenians.

Much of what he saw could scarcely be told in ways that would be palatable to western sensibilities, for as he wrote: ” It is hard for one living in a civilized country to believe that such things are possible; yet, as Lord Bryce has said, `Things which we find scarcely credible excite little surprise in Turkey.”‘ Nevertheless, his report survived to comprise “The Slaughterhouse Province”.

Davis, who realized the need for a detailed record of the atrocities, had brought along a doctor with him in his forays who determined and described the causes of death of the victims. Davis photographed many of the victims and his pictures are included in the appendix. So damning was Davis’ report that the editor who embarked on compiling the book in 1985 was threatened repeatedly by sources unknown to her and her family and eventually was forced to move to an undisclosed location for safety. On June 16, 1991 The Washington Post, in an article “An Author Living in Hiding” reported these threats in detail while examining the importance of Davis’ report that was sent to the U.S. State Department in 1918, where it was classified and lay hidden for seven decades until it was published in 1991.