The Museum of Franco-American Cooperation at Blérancourt


The Florence Gould Pavilion

The Rue Raynouard Room

Walking through the doorway past the section emblems brings you into a small vaulted room devoted to the maturity of the Field Service in WWI when it severed its ties with the American Ambulance and became the American Field Service.On the wall opposite the windows, a group of photographs, an etching, a map evoke AFS's life at its new headquarters in Paris. At the far end of the wall, just before entering the Anne Morgan Room, several military proclamations honor AFS sections with the award of the Croix de Guerre. In a long glass case under the windows, a display of books illustrates the theme of the literary American volunteers.

The principle of an ambulance service in the French Army being established, a pressing question was the finding and establishment of an appropriate base. The four sections which we were able to send out in 1915 were distributed at intervals along the French front all the way from Flanders to Alsace. Their work had no relation with the work of the American Hospital at Neuilly, which was more than two hundred miles distant from the nearest section, and which received its wounded, not by motor ambulance, but by rail from the army zone. The problems of these sections were those of motor transport as part of the Automobile Service of the French Army, and had nothing to do with surgery and medical work, as will be explained in a subsequent paragraph. The Field Service, with a quite distinct work to perform in a quite different region, with its own special funds, its own committees in America, and its own staff in France, needed space and freer opportunity to develop. Inevitably it was bound to follow the example of other American oeuvres de guerre and become a completely independent entity. The umbilical cord, which at the outset had bound it to the American Hospital, had to be cut if it was to undergo any considerable growth.

For nearly a year we continued to use as our Paris office a small room in an outhouse in the grounds of the American Hospital in Neuilly, with a small attic in the main building as a dormitory for the men en route to the front. Early in 1916, however, after months of persistent search, we found, with great good fortune, the spacious and historic property at 21 rue Raynouard in picturesque old Passy, and this estate, thanks to the munificence of the French family who owned it, the Hottinguers, was placed at our disposal gratuitously for the duration of the war. Here were not only plenty of rooms for offices and stores, but adequate dormitory and messing quarters for two or three hundred men, a separate building for an infirmary, and large grounds in which scores of cars could be parked, hundreds of men drilled, and numerous sections organized. This, with two neighboring buildings at 5 rue Lekain, temporarily loaned by the same benefactors during the period or our greatest activity in 1917, became the heart and centre of the Field Service, and continued so to serve during the remaining three years of the war. Thus was another problem of the Field Service solved. A satisfactory base was found, and indeed a veritable home established about which will ever cluster the grateful memories of several thousand members who at one time or another enjoyed its sheltering comfort. The importance of the step is indicated by the fact that although, when the change of base was made in 1916, there were only five sections in the field, a year later the number had increased to forty-seven sections serving with the French armies at the front. (A.Piatt Andrew, AFSH, I/26-27)

R.1: photograph: Galatti & Andrew in front of barracks

What is the importance of Rue Raynouard in the history of the Field Service? The move from Neuilly to Paris meant that the organization moved out of the shadow of the Ambulance ---where certain petty-minded individuals begrudged it its success and independence--- and into a place of its own.

Here is what this meant in institutional terms: the Ambulance itself was a legal extension of the American Hospital whose Board of Governors had appointed an Ambulance Committee to take care of this temporary, wartime activity. The Ambulance Committee was divided into several sub-committees, including the so-called Transportation Committee. Within the latter, the Field Service was but a "detail" under the command of the Inspector of Ambulances, A.Piatt Andrew. There were also other authorities: the Transportation Committee Chairman and the Captain of Ambulances.

Fortunately, Andrew had powerful friends: his colleague from the Taft Government, Robert Bacon, who headed the Ambulance Committee, and Mrs. W.K.Vanderbilt, who ran the nursing division.

It seems fitting to recall again something of what Mrs. Vanderbilt did for us in France. [...] The severance of the Field Service from the American Ambulance, and its consequent unhampered development, were directly due to her. I crossed in June 1916, after a two weeks return to America, on the Lafayette, on which Mrs. Vanderbilt was also returning. I had the opportunity to talk to her and she promised to meet Andrew at lunch the day after our arrival. During the three hours after that lunch, Andrew described the whole situation to her, and she quickly grasped the problems. A few days later, she accomplished what months of arguing, bickering, and continual cross-purpose had been unable to do, namely, a complete working arrangement under the liaison of Dr. Gros, which gave Andrew a free reign in the management of the Field Service and a complete demarcation of the funds contributed to it.

Stephen Galatti, AFS Bulletin June 1939 , p 16

With Dr. Edmund Gros as medical authority, the Field Service was now an institution beholden only to itself. This was a big step and one in preparation for things to come.

It should be noted that, at the same time, Dr. Gros was involved in another enterprise. As a Franco-American doctor with a prestigious French and American clientele in Paris, Dr. Gros was in an ideal position to do some effective behind-the-scenes lobbying for an unlikely cause: the forming of an all-American squadron of volunteer combat pilots. First called the American Escadrille, officially known as Escadrille Number 124, this group of hardy pioneer American Air Force pilots became the Lafayette Escadrille. Dr. Gros used his position with the Field Service to good effect: he recruited volunteers for the Escadrille from among Field Service Drivers.

R.2: American Field Service Headquarters, Rue Raynouard, Paris, 1920

Etching and drypoint, State: 11/11, 21x26.7cm. Titled in plate, 1.1.: AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE HEADQUARTERS RUE RAYNOUARD PARIS. Initialled and dated in plate, centre 1.: CHA 1920. Numbered in pencil, 1.1.: 47/100. Signed in pencil, I.r.: Caroline Armington. One print was pulled from the first state, and was then destroyed. Two states were executed. Fifty prints of the second state were not numbered, but were signed and sent to Mr. Barber for the meeting of the American Field Service in New York in October 1935. Edition of 100 planned. Total number of impressions: 110. (Armington Catalog, p 122)

Although less attention was paid in the press to Caroline's achievements, she was no less active than Frank. Throughout the war years she executed etchings of many of their favourite haunts, including the Portail de la Cour du Dragon, Paris dated 1917 (CA No. 184). The focus on a gate or portal was typical, although the strong contrasts of light and dark are unusual for Caroline. Barely evident in this work is one of Caroline's favourite techniques for suggesting distance. In the La Flèche de l'Eglise de la Clarté of 1916, she clearly utilizes differing amounts of ink to create areas of greater darkness and intensity in the foreground, with the concomitant background areas being lighter, and thus seemingly further away from the viewer. This use of atmospheric perspective, which allowed her to compact the composition, is most noticeably used in crowded depictions such as the one of the Clarté church, where linear perspective alone would not successfully have communicated the intended sense of depth.
Caroline's emphasis on the accurate depiction of her subjects was complicated by her highly unusual method of working directly on the copper plate, instead of the more common technique of first sketching the scene, and then transferring the image in a reversed form onto the plate. Without the intermediary of an initial sketch, Caroline had to etch 'in reverse' the entire scene, including all architectural details. The right to left transcription necessitated by this 'direct' method can be employed only by an artist with unerring sureness of line. (Armington Catalog, pp 47-48)

R.3: map of AFS HQ in Passy

R.4: 7 photographs

---Countess de la Villestreux in her SBM uniform (The Hottinguer family, Protestant nobility, included Auguste Bartholdi among its kin. Bartholdi came from Colmar, Alsace which, from 1870 to 1915, was in German territory. Bartholdi sculpted the Lion of Belfort, but also the Statue of Liberty Lighting the World.)

---staff in front of 21

---inside barracks at 21

---Christmas inside 21, complete with tree (21 became a kind of home away from home, a club, such as the Soldier's and Sailor's Home, but certainly more elegant...)

---pool table

---staircase w/ flag in 21

---Liberty with ambulance (1916) (This quarter-size version of the lady who was to greet visitors to New York harbor was unveiled before her big sister, on May 12, 1885.)

---unloading ambulance from ship at Bordeaux (Supplies for American volunteer activities in France transited Bordeaux through the facilities of the American Clearing House.)

on left wall, past oven, left to right, top to bottom

R.5: order for awarding croix de guerre to section 13, dated June 19, 1917

The night of May 25 was our worst moment, and the Section seems to have set a record for carrying the most wounded in the shortest time. We "rolled" with fifteen hundred of them in those twenty-four hours, over an average trip of ten kilometres---Germans, Africans, and Algerians, but mostly poilus. Two of our chaps, Thompson and Cassady, were wounded. In the early morning, our French Lieutenant, Pierre Rodocanachi, who throughout the long night had personally directed the loading of the cars, was struck by a large fragment of shell. Although seriously wounded, he insisted on continuing his task until the congestion of wounded was cleared, he being carried to the hospital with the last load. His leg was so seriously affected that it had to be amputated. About 4 A.M. when I rolled back to the poste, was the crowning moment of the night's work. A shell had gone through the roof of the dugout and exploded on the floor in the midst of the doctors, stretcher-bearers, and a few blessés waiting for a car. There was a regimental priest with me whom I had picked up on the way, and we broke in the door, blocked with débris. Pushing in, we were almost choked by the powder and smell of things burning. The priest flashed a light, and by its uncertain glow we could distinguish a terrible mess of wreckage and bodies. Two or three poor chaps were conscious and were begging for help. It was the most horrible thing I have ever seen. We got them out as best we could and laid them beside the road, and then I took down two who were still alive just as Brownlee Gauld, the chap who was working the poste with me at the time, came up.
The General Staff of the Fourth Army was evidently satisfied with Section Thirteen's little part in this great battle, for they have awarded it an Army citation---not a Divisional or Corps citation, which would have been honor enough, but a citation in the orders of the Army itself, entitling the section flag to a Croix de Guerre with palm. It is the first such award that has ever been made to any American ambulance section. (AFSH, II/78-80)

R.6:order for awarding croix de guerre to section 17, December 12, 1917

Christmas Day, 1917

This is Noel and I am still in France. The biggest surprise of the evening, and one which made me very proud and happy, was when the Major read an order of the day, citing the Section and pinned the Croix de Guerre on our flag. He also decorated our French Lieutenant, and, much to my surprise, gave me another star for mine. I am so pleased that the work into which I have put all my strength of soul and body is appreciated.
In summing up our record from the time we left Paris until now, we have received one Section citation and nine individual ones. Of course, I can't tell you the number of blessés we have carried, but will some day. We have had four cars smashed by shells, but they are still with us. To see them now lined up in a peaceful country village, so far away from the sound of shot and shell, every one showing the scars of battle, the bodies all sprinkled with éclats holes, makes one want to go up and pat them on their hoods and say, " Boys, you have earned a good rest; we are going to clean you all up and paint you, give you plenty of new grease and oil, and you can feel in your carburetor-souls that the Croix de Guerre you earned, you certainly deserved. You need not feel ashamed to have them painted on your wind-shields." This may sound conceited, but it really is true, for the old cars have stood up wonderfully, and we are all proud of them, even in their present condition. (Basel K. Neftel, SSU 8 & 17, AFSH, II/187-188)

R.7: order for awarding croix de guerre to section 14, January 7, 1917

The exposure to danger, as well as the opportunity to witness trench life first-hand, was perhaps the outstanding benefit received by the members of the unit from their work at this time. It gave us, too, a keener appreciation of the burden carried by the French soldiers, promoted respect for the men in the trenches, and altered views regarding the war's obligations. When the Section was nearing the time to retire en repos, and the first term of service was about to be completed, eight members accepted a call to join the second Stanford unit, then leaving for the Balkans to become Section Ten. On the Fourth of July, the Section was presented the Croix de Guerre with Divisional citation, for the manner of its work performed at Verdun and in the Moronvilliers sector. (Joseph H. Eastman, SSU14, AFSH, II/89)

glass case in front of left wall

R.8: Robert W. Imbrie, Behind the Wheel of a War Ambulance, New York: Robert W. McBride & Co. 1918.

This book treats most humanly of life in Section One and in Section Three in the Orient during the earlier days of the Service, giving a full and vivid impression of the work of a conducteur. The author has a pleasant straightforward style, a good eye for color, and for the significance of events. The book is well organized and hardly a phase of the ambulance life is overlooked. (AFSH, III/553)

R.9: Geneva armband

R.10: various medals

R.11: Ford manual

R.12: Alden Roger, The Hard White Road

R.13: Bronze statuette designed by a French soldier, Julien Monier, in Wesserling Alsace, 1916, as a tribute to Section Nine.

R.14: Edwin W. Morse, The Vanguard of American Volunteers. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 1918.

This book tells briefly what Americans did in the Great War before the United States entered the struggle officially. Part IV, entitled "American Ambulances in France," is largely devoted to the American Field Service. The frontispiece is a group of the early ambulance-drivers of Sections One and Two. (AFSH, III/556)

R.15: Camion Letters. Edited by Professor Martin W. Sampson, of Cornell University. New York: Henry Holt & Co 1918.

The editor of this charming little book was one of the official agents in America of the Field Service. It is made up of the home letters of a dozen college men at the front who were acting as motor-transport drivers with the French Armies during 1917. (AFSH, III/ 554)

R.16: The Harvard Volunteers. Edited by M. A. de Wolfe Howe. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 1916.

As the sub-title reads, we have here "personal records of experience in military ambulance and hospital service." A half-dozen of the chapters of this admirable story of worthy deeds are from the pens of members of the American Field Service. (AFSH, III/555)

long glass case in wall under windows
(left to right)

R.17: 6 brass ambulance nameplates

A Ford ambulance, chassis, body and equipment (including freight charges, insurance, etc.) costs approximately $1,000. Its running expenses amount to approximately $50 per month. A Ford Ambulance can be bought and maintained for one year for $1,6000.The names of the donors of such cars are inscribed on a plate attached to the car and the volunteers who drive the cars endeavor to communicate from time to time to the donors information as to the experiences through which their cars are passing. (From a brochure entitled "American Ambulance Field Service in France, 1915")

Writing about the Experience, Writing after the Experience

R.18: Henry G. Crosby, War Letters, Black Sun Press.

Harry Crosby served in AFS Section 71 before and after its militarization in 1917. He was later to cut quite a figure as a poète maudit, symbol of the "Lost Generation" which Malcolm Cowley (who served in AFS's TMU 526) described in his Exile's Return. Crosby was also said to have been the model for Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

Cowley's prologue explains the many meanings of the epithet, the "Lost Generation." What follows is an autobiographical spiritual journey answering the question why he left America. In Paris he came under the influence of Eliot, Joyce, and Pound, attended the birth and death of Dada, and met most every important writer there. Harry Crosby's suicide at the end of the 1920s had a great impact on him; it "...began to symbolize the decay from within and the suicide of a whole order with which he had been identified."

William G.Bailey, Americans in Paris, 1900-1930, A Selected Annotated Bibliography, New York: Greenwood Press, 1989,

From a wealthy Boston family, Crosby served in France as a volunteer in the American Field Service Ambulance Corps during WWI. After the war he returned to Boston, caused a divorce, then announced to his family and friends that he was going to Paris to become a poet. He married the stolen woman, Polly (later name changed to Caresse), and took her with him. While in Paris they started a publishing venture.Harry thought that a poet must be mad to write so he set about inflicting insanity on himself; he drank to excess and took drugs.Their Black Sun press published D.H.Lawrence, Hart Crane, James Joyce, and others.Harry's poetry was full of suicide images and death and decay. He wore a black cloth flower in his lapel and painted his toenails red.Finally, at age thirty-eight in a New York City apartment he shot and killed his young mistress; two hours later he killed himself, perhaps he wanted to study death firsthand.

Wolff, Goeffrey. Black Sun: The Brief Transit and Violent Eclipse of Harry Crosby. New York: Random House, 1976. pp 94-95.

R.19: Stephen Pell, War Verses, 1917-1918

R.20: A Piatt Andrew, Letters Written Home from France. By A. Piatt Andrew; edited by Henry D. Sleeper. Boston: Privately printed. 1916.

A collection of letters by A. Piatt Andrew written during the first half of 1915. "These pages," says Mr. Sleeper in his preface, "give little idea of the very difficult task their author has successfully accomplished. Largely through his perseverance against great odds the American Ambulance Field Service has become a very distinguished organization, trusted and relied upon by the Armies of France." (AFSH, III/552)

R.21: Houston Woodward, A Year for France

R.22: Kenneth Weeks, A Soldier of the Legion

R.23: Alan Seeger, Poems

In 1914, American volunteers for military service with France joined the Foreign Legion. The first among them to fall was Alan Seeger, a Harvard poet, who immediately became a martyr figure ---promoted as such by the French who were concerned that the United States join their Cause. The soldier at the top of the 1923 Memorial to the American Volunteers, Place des Etats-Unis in Paris, is supposed to represent Seeger. (On the back of that same monument are inscribed the names of fallen AFS volunteers .)

R.24: W.Y. Stevenson, From "Poilu" to "Yank", Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1918.

William Yorke Stevenson, from Philadelphia, served in Section One from March 1916 to December 1916 and from April 1917 to its militarization. "Poilu", meaning "hairy" was the affectionate term for the French soldier who sported all forms of beards and mustaches. At the time Steven published this account of the transition of his section from a "French" identity to an American one, the "Yankees" were not yet known as "Doughboys". This book is a sequel to "Flivver" (a popular term for a Ford).

R.25: W.Y. Stevenson, At the Front in a Flivver. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1917.

The author of this diary joined Section One in the Spring of 1916, and he well describes the volume, which deals with the history of the Section during that year, in these words taken from his introductory "Note": "This little book is merely a record of what one driver of a 'Tin Lizzie' happened to see during some nine months spent on the Somme, around Verdun, and in the Argonne." (AFSH, III/552)

R.26: Friends of France. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. 1916.

An interesting account of the American Field Service from its conception in 1914 up to the beginning of 1916. The stories of the work of the various sections are told by the volunteers themselves in articles letters, and diaries. The first formal history of the work of the American Field Service. (AFSH, III/552)

R.27: Philip Sidney Rice, An American Crusader at Verdun. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1918.

This little volume is made up of recollections of the work during 1917 in the Champagne region, at Verdun, and in Lorraine of Section One, of which the author was a member.The Introduction is by Major-General C.B.Dougherty, of the Pennsylvania National Guard. It appeared originally as "An Ambulance Driver in France" which was privately printed in 1918 at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. (AFSH, III/553-554)

R.28: Leslie Buswell, Ambulance No. 10. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1916

A volume of ambulance letters written from Section Two at Pont- à-Mousson during the summer of 1915. This is a duplication, somewhat augmented, of With the Ambulance Field Service in France, privately printed in 1915 (AFSH, III/552)

R.29: Captain Thenault, The Story of the LaFayette Escadrille

The French commanding officer tells the story of the American Escadrille.

R.30: Edith Wharton, Fighting France and R.31 : A Motor Flight Through France

Active in volunteer service to France and Belgium, Edith Wharton was an outstanding member of the American Colony of Paris and an established writer at the time of the outbreak of war.

R.32: André Tardieu, Devant l'obstacle. Paris: Emile Paul, 1928.

Honorary president of the CARD, André Tardieu was a keen observer and admirer of its actions, as this book clearly shows.

André Tardieu (1876-1945) held the following official positions:

High Commissioner to the United States (4/15/17 - 9/11/17; 4/17/18 - 6/19/18)
General Commissioner for Franco-American War Affairs (6/19/18 - 4/1/19)
Minister of the Liberated Regions (11/6/19 - 1/19/20)
Minister of Public Works (7/23/26 - 11/10/28)
Minister of the Interior (11/11/28 - 11/2/29)
President of Council of Ministers, Minister of the Interior
(11/3/29 - 2/20/30 ; 3/2/30 - 12/12/30)
Minister of Agriculture (1/27/31 - 1/13/32)
War Minister (1/14/32 - 2/19/32)
President of Council of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs
(2/20/32 - 6/2/32)
Minister of State (2/9/34 - 11/7/34)

R.33: large bronze eagle, "service aux armées"

Over the vaulted entrance to Rue Raynouard Room, seen from Anne Morgan Room. A fronton decoration from training quarters, May-en-Multien.



A visit to the Anne Morgan Room offers the AFS visitor the opportunity to reflect on AFS within the development of humanitarian action after the great social and economic revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

The rise of modern social humanitarianism, repudiating the idea of 'necessary evils,' prepared the ground for leadership in the mitigation of the needless sufferings and privations of active service. This social movement began to move out beyond religious institutions, adapting the methods worked out by Christian agencies to the use of the whole community in schools, orphanages, hospitals, and asylums. Under such circumstances the civilian community first came to understand its responsibility for the well-being of fighting men. The work of Florence Nightingale in the British Army during the Crimean War is rightly regarded as marking a turning-point in human experience.

W.H. Taft, ed. Service with the Fighting Men, An Account of the Work of the American Young Men's Christian Associations in the World War, New York, 1922, p 40-41.

The Anne Morgan Room stands for all American volunteer action in France during the Great War, but particularly women's action as exemplified by the CARD. As André Tardieu points out, the concept which was to shape the CARD's approach was that of the Settlement House: effective change may be accomplished through being present and participating in the lives of those facing difficult conditions. The greater context was that of the increasing influence of women's perspectives in society.

 . . . women as 'Republic Mothers' assumed a role that made their domestic domain of education and nurture unto a schoolroom for the next generation of virtuous citizens. This acknowledgment of the mother's private domain as a public trust helped to establish women---in the ideal, at least---as public persons with public responsibilities, even if exercised within the privacy of the family. At an ever-accelerating pace between 1820 and 1880---the dates are approximations---women expanded that role into what might be called 'Reformist Motherhood.' Instead of influencing the public domain indirectly through the lives of their sons, women began to extend their role as nurturer and teacher of morals from the domestic sphere into the public sphere through church, missionary, and moral reform groups. [...] Between 1880 and 1920 a new role developed that might be called 'Political Motherhood.' Increasing numbers of women joined the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA, the settlement house movement, the General Federation of Women's Clubs...

Linda Kerber and Jane S. De Hart, Women's America, New York, 1982, 3d ed p. 233.

More on American women volunteers and the context of relief work in France

 Into the Breach. American Women Overseas in World War I. Dorothy and Carl J. Schneider. New York: Viking, 1991.

As a doctor with the American Women's Hospitals wrote, "While the doctors are in the dispensaries, diagnosing and prescribing, our chauffeurs are under the cars in the wind outside, at the same occupation, and when we see how they make the old, maimed machinery work, we see they are the better M.D.'s." The lives of these "chauffeuses" were demanding. "We were a strictly feminine institution," Mrs. P. D. Lamson reported of her motor unit. "Our daily job was first to see that the particular car entrusted to each one of us was kept in running order, then to take it over across the river to the headquarters of the committee . . . find out from the order book what our deliveries were to be, look up the hospitals, etc. on our maps of Paris, get our bales and bags into the cars and start away as quickly as we could.... Saturday afternoon ... we had time in the garage to do any little odd repairs...."

 Certain Samaritans. Esther Pohl Lovejoy. MacMillan Company, New York, 1927.

The American Committee for Devastated France, with which we had worked in cordial cooperation from the beginning, was engaged in reconstruction work in the Department of the Aisne, and we had undertaken the medical end of this service. From Neufmoutiers we had moved to Luzancy, where the need for our work had been more urgent the year before, and in answer to this call from the Aisne in February, 1919, preparations were made for the removal of Hospital No. 1 to Blérancourt.

"Wellesley College. A Chronicle of the Years 1875-1938. Florence Converse. Hathaway House Bookshop: Wellesley, Mass. 1939. [excerpt]

The card catalogue of the Wellesley Roll of Honor contains the names of two hundred and fifty alumnae and faculty who served, before the United States entered the War as well as afterwards, in canteens, hospitals, libraries, munition centres; with the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A.; in War Departments and administrative offices, and at Army Headquarters; in prison-camps, famine areas, and devastated regions; in England, France, Italy, Serbia, Palestine, Roumania, Russia, Siberia, Egypt.

 Myron Herrick. Friend of France. An Autobiographical Biography. Col. T. Bentley Mott. Garden City, New York. doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc. 1929. would be unpardonable to describe Mr. Herrick's activities in 1914 and not briefly tell what the Clearing House was. For he not only conceived the plan but he threw himself into its accomplishment with an intense ardor that never diminished. He loved what he was doing. he felt competent to decide the many questions that arose; and then, as the horrible years of the war drew to a close, the memory of his wife became associated with this work as it was with that of the American Ambulance. Wherever Mrs. Herrick had trod, his heart forever lingered, and this is one of the reasons why the Ambulance and the Clearing House remained for him in after life surrounded with such tender sentiment.

Very soon after the war started, organizations of every sort were formed in America for sending aid to the suffering in Europe, civilians and soldiers alike. Most of the supplies contributed were specifically given for the Allies and a great part of them for France and Belgium. Individuals and societies sprang up, both in France and the United States, which collected funds, purchased goods, and endeavored to deliver them where needed. Very soon confusion began to threaten, and in some cases abuses and waste were visible. As the business grew and huge sums became available, the possibility that something worse might arise led Mr. Herrick to step in. He had in view the protection of those who had given their money, the interests of the sufferers for whom the supplies were intended, and the guarding of America's good name. He wished to take no chances. Much of the material as well as the money was being sent addressed to the embassy, which was in no wise equipped to receive, account for, and distribute the tons of freight arriving, and the danger of loss or peculation was evident. Mr. Herrick therefore decided that in the interest of all it was imperative that a competent body, independent of the embassy, should centralize and be responsible for this American work of rescue, and about the middle of November, 1914, he convened a meeting of Americans in Paris to discuss the matter. Those present included: Mr. H. H. Harjes, Professor J. Mark Baldwin, Mr. Whitney Warren, Mr. James Hazen Hyde, initiator of the exchange professorships between France and America; Rev. Dr. S. N. Watson, Mr. M. Percy Peixotto, Mr. Elmer Roberts; Mr. C. Inman Barnard and Mr. Henry Cachard, lawyers; Mr. Edward Tuck, philanthropist and Mæcenas of the American colony; Mr. J. Ridgeley Carter, former American Minister; Mr. Junius S. Morgan, Mr. W. S. Hilles, Mr. L. V. Twyeffort, Mr. William S. Hogan, Duc de Loubat, Mr. Randolph Mordecai, Mr. Charles Carroll, Mr. Charles R. Scott, and many others.

Mr. Herrick presided and in his opening remarks outlined the question before the meeting. America, he said, was making a powerful effort to help France. As a matter of justice and humanity the movement should be encouraged and stimulated. That could best be done by expediting the distribution of the relief supplies received from the United States. Order must be brought out of the chaos produced by unsystematized shipments. The task was too big and too delicate to be grappled with by any individual. The relief movement must be protected from possible abuses or dishonesty. The distribution of the aid must be under the control of a central organization, approved by the embassy and empowered to see to the faithful carrying out of the intentions of the donors.

He believed that the most effective safeguard and collaborator in this business would be an institution corresponding in charitable work to a clearing house in banking, and he proposed that such an organ be created and that it be called "The American Relief Clearing House." He declared that it would find plenty of work to do, but all that was necessary to success was the cooperation of business ability and public spirit. In both these respects the American colony was rich.

"American Volunteers in France at the Beginning of the War." Alan Albright. From the exhibition catalog of "1853-1947, The Americans of the Legion of Honor", 23 juin - 18 octobre 1993, Musée national de la Coopération franco-américaine, Château de Blérancourt, Véronique Wiesinger, Exhibition curator.

While the thrust of this new movement was to coordinate American volunteer efforts with the overall aims of the American military, there one organization that already began to focus on reconstruction of French civilian life as though the war was already over: the American Committee for Devastated France, an extension of the American Fund for French Wounded. Moreover, it was under the aegis of the French High Command that this small group of American women was installed in temporary barracks in an area of Upper Picardy recently evacuated by the Germans. This American committee, called the CARD after its French acronym, was led by two active members of the AFFW, Anne Murray Dike and Anne Tracy Morgan, J.P. Jr's sister; and took on a wide variety of tasks, from driving ambulances and trucks to educating young mothers, from repairing vehicles to delivering needed supplies, --all accomplished by women.

 "American Volunteerism in France. The Development of relief work, in and out of war". Alan Albright. From the exhibition catalog of "1853-1947, The Americans of the Legion of Honor", 23 juin - 18 octobre 1993, Musée national de la Coopération franco-américaine, Château de Blérancourt, Véronique Wiesinger, Exhibition curator.

The early summer mutinies of 1917 had shaken the French High Command which began to seek means to raise the morale of the troops at the front. The policy of reconstructing the Devastated Regions was thus reinforced: the reconstitution of civilian life behind the front would remind French soldiers in concrete terms of the cause for which they were fighting. Thus it was that the CARD, organized by Anne Morgan, was set up in June 1917 in the Château of Blérancourt. Anne Morgan was the sister of the celebrated financier whose bank was the intermediary between the Allies and their American suppliers. Before the war, Miss Morgan had worked in New York for women's causes and her struggle for the advancement of women is reflected in the CARD's staff where all was done by women, from repairing automobiles to medical assistance and instructing young mothers. Since the beginning of the war, she had been treasurer of the American Fund for French Wounded (AFFW). The purpose of the AFFW was to collect funds to help meet the needs of military hospitals in France. With the CARD, the AFFW was to endow itself with an instrument to adapt the principles of the settlement house to an area of rural France.

 American Women and the World War. By Ida Clyde Clarke. New York: Appelton, 1918.

One of the most important of the organizations in America which is devoted to French relief is the American Fund for French Wounded, which was established in November, 1914, in London, under the name of the French Wounded Emergency Fund. The present organization was formed in December, 1915, and the first work of relief was in Normandy and Brittany. There are more than 500 branch committees, and up to the fall of 1917 more than 15,000,000 separate articles had been shipped abroad, and a sum approximating $1,000,000 had been expended. The organization exists in practically every state in the Union, the principal branches being the New England branch in Boston, and those in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Baltimore. Each branch has more than 25 committees working under it. The Paris depot has 14 departments distributing its supplies. The headquarters are at 22 Madison Avenue, New York City. Mrs. Ethelbert Nevin,chairman, Mrs. Lewis B. Stillwell,chairman of the executive committee, Mrs. Benjamin Girault Lathrop,president, Miss Ann Morgan, treasurer, Charles Butler, vice president, and Miss Elizabeth Scarborough, secretary, Miss Elizabeth Perkins, chairman of publicity.

The original work of the American Fund for French Wounded was confined to sending supplies to the emergency hospitals in France, which at the beginning of the war were inadequately furnished. After three years the French have their methods for caring for the wounded well organized, but each month longer that the war lasts the demand for hospital supplies grows greater. With nine hundred thousand hospital beds in France continually in use, when only the French army was being considered, the number now is greatly augmented and many a French hospital will care for an American soldier.

The Civilian Committee of the American Fund for French Wounded is recognized by the French Government and cooperates with the American Red Cross as by agreement signed by Major Murphy in Paris and Mr. H. P. Davison in Washington, and members of the Executive Committee of the American Fund, whereby the Red Cross recognize the American Fund as an independent organization working in partnership with the Red Cross, and recognizing Mrs. Dike as Chairman of the Civilian Committee operating in the Aisne and the Somme.

The object of the Civilian Committee of the American Fund is to re-establish the destroyed homes of the inhabitants of the devastated region, and to reinstate the French citizen on an independent and self-supporting basis.

The first unit formed by the American Fund for French Wounded for civilian work were placed by General Petain at Blerancourt in the Aisne, in July, 1917. Ten American women settled amongst the ruins of this town and organized a community center which included the supervision of twenty-five villages.

In August, Smith College with sixteen workers affiliated themselves with the American Fund for French Wounded, and through the Chairman of the Civilian Committee were placed at Grecourt with ten villages to supervise.

The first unit established at Blerancourt accomplished through the cooperation of the French army the task of plowing and seeding four thousand acres of land and planting three thousand fruit bearing trees. They also opened a dairy consisting of seventeen cows which was put on a self-supporting basis, and the children and invalids were able to obtain fresh milk for the first time in three years.

In three months the unit completed the restoration of forty-seven houses, so that they were habitable homes for those who since the German invasion had lived in cellars, or shell torn ruins.

The unit had bought and judiciously distributed chickens and rabbits, and provided laborers with the implements of their trade, so that they very soon became wage-earners again.

With the generosity of the Red Cross the Civilian Committee were enabled to buy stoves for a number of the residents. The unit organized classes in carpentry for the boys and sewing and housekeeping for the girls under the training of a teacher of the Ecole Managers who has had long experience in teaching children.

  A Village in Picardy by Ruth Gaines with an introduction by William Allan Neilson, President of Smith College New York: E.P. Dutton & Company (1918)

The history and the work of the Smith College Relief Unit in the Somme is known wherever reconstruction work in France is spoken of. This brief account does not purport to give anything but a small cross-section, the picture of but one of the villages in our care. It is told in the first person to make the telling easier. As I have said, of all our villages, Canizy was the most beloved. All the Unit had a share in it.

 Ruth Gaines. Helping France. The Red Cross in the Devastated Area. E.P. Dutton, New York, 1919

All American relief agencies for civilians were, therefore, invited to confer informally, with the tentative idea of becoming integral parts of the American Red Cross.

This plan did not meet with success. It was perhaps undesirable that it should have done so. The other societies had their chapters, their clubs, their clientele at home, their affiliations with the French Government abroad. Their founders had been pioneers during our neutrality, giving, many of them, of their private resources, as an expression of the passionate attachment to the cause of France. Most of their leaders were women of influence and of initiative. Otherwise, in the midst of the difficulties which confronted them, their organizations would never have been born. They had succeeded, and by their success held what the American Red Cross had yet to win, the confidence of the French Government. They felt, with justice, that they had much to offer the Red Cross in the way of resources and of experience.

All this they did offer, but they were unwilling to give up their identity.

A compromise was therefore effected. In the field of civilian relief, for instance, one society, that of the American Friends---a very large group---became a department under the Red Cross, but without losing its name. Another, the Smith College Relief Unit, retained both its name and its independent financial support, but worked as a direct agent of the Red Cross. A third, the Secours Anglo-Américain at Amiens, lost both its name and its outside support, its personnel becoming Red Cross workers. Others, such as the American Fund for French Wounded, and later the American Committee for Devastated France, were loosely affiliated, retaining their complete independence, receiving a monthly stipend, cooperating in transportation, supplies and personnel. With two societies, the American Fund for French Wounded and the Friends, the Red Cross made special arrangements as to designated shipments.

In general, however, the policy of the American Red Cross crystallized into that of cooperation with existing societies, whether American, French, Canadian or British. But, as to the two latter, it is only fair to state that the relations of the American Red Cross with them are best described as neighborly, both parties, with scrupulous Anglo-Saxon independence, returning all favors received. Toward all other agencies, in the words of one of the organizers of relief in the devastated area, the Red Cross became, not an oeuvre itself, but the "Mother of OEuvres." "We have looked," he writes, "on the liberated regions of France as an experimental field in which to create a personnel and a programme for the larger piece of work, when all of the north of France is disengaged. To this end we have used, as our agents, all possible existing relief organizations already in the field. We have endeavored to federate these organizations in order to deal with them more simply, and to plan for the more important demands which will come to us from them."

In brief, the policy of the American Red Cross in France has been subordination, coordination, cooperation; subordination to the French Government, the French and allied armies, subordination always to the needs of our own army; coordination and cooperation with all existing agencies,---a policy by no means easy to attain.

 The Work of the American Red Cross during the War. A Statement of Finances and Accomplishments for the Period July 1, 1917 to February 28, 1919. Washington: American Red Cross, 1919.

Herein is contained in the form of figures a report of money contributed and expended, as well as the work done by the American Red Cross, during the period in which the War Council was in control of its affairs. It was the practice of the War Council to give complete publicity to its policies and finances, but it is only now that a picture of the war period as a whole can be presented. It is the feeling of the War Council that a report in this summarized form should be made directly to the public which provided the money and gave the effort which made the American Red Cross a success.

  June Richardson Lucas. The Children of France and the Red Cross. New York: Stokes. 1918.

In such moments I long to have you share, not the hardships of the life here, for there are many–cold for instance. The furnace broke down for our side of the château over a week ago and the cold has been terrible and some are suffering badly from chilblains; the wards are warm and the dining-room, but that is all. It will be three weeks before the damage is repaired, and in the meantime water-pipes are freezing. No, I don't want you even to think of the hardships, but I long to have you see some of the service given by the beloved A. R. C. you work so hard for at home. That scene in Albert's room–the warm, beautiful room, the little bed, the tiny patient so tenderly and splendidly cared for, plenty of warm blankets, clean linen, drugs, a competent, devoted nurse, and the good doctor, the poor pale mother in her dark shabby clothes, looking at all that service as though she had stepped into a dream-world, and oh, the gratefulness!

As they passed along, the rapatriés on the sidewalk called to them: "Don't cry, you are going to have meat!" And the boys shouted: "Meat, we are going to have meat!" as they marched. You couldn't believe it. You were looking at starving children, Belgian children. Many things flashed into my mind. "Seven cents a day feeds a Belgian baby." Do you remember our Belgian Commission cards at home? Everything we did or tried to do last year for the "C.R.B." came back to me. Here were some of the children we didn't feed, perhaps–the long, long line. It seemed to stretch out for miles before you. You seemed to see that little wavering line of starving children passing on and on over miles of devastated country. There are no words for it, my dear. Only Raemaker could picture it.

As I say, I thought of everything I had heard about Belgium and her sufferings and I realized that nothing I had ever heard had given me any conception of starving Belgian children. Some of our C.R.B. men were there; they are Red Cross men now, working like beavers, and yet they felt that sight to-day as few could. They knew what these little ones had come from. You felt glad that Mr. Hoover was not there to see that special bit of tragedy he worked so hard to prevent. I understand now that look in his face when he talked about Belgium last year, a deepening of those splendid lines about his mouth, that made you feel that he would never give up the fight to save the Belgian children.

 Public Relations of the Commission for Relief in Belgium. Documents. By George I. Gay. Commission for Relief in Belgium, with the collaboration of H.H. Fisher, Stanford University. In two volumes. Stanford: University Press, 1929.

Nothing has been said in the preceding documents of the care of the destitute in Northern France, where conditions placed this phase of relief on a different basis than in Belgium. In establishing the work in the North of France, Hoover acted on the belief, in which the French Government concurred, that the situation could not be handled by charitable contributions. The funds used to support the relief in Northern France were, therefore, entirely government subsidies, and in the application of relief every individual in occupied France was considered as destitute and was supplied with a ration. For accounting purposes the Commission accepted receipts in various forms from the communes where the ultimate distribution was made, and these it held as final records of the transactions. Thus provisions were, in fact, sold by the Commission at prices which it fixed from time to time. These sale prices, adjusted to conform to the cost of the goods, included a margin as a reserve against exchange losses and loss from deterioration or destruction of goods. The Commission periodically struck a balance, and if the extent of this reserve justified such action, a sum in local currency was applied to benevolent distribution. As the years passed the disbursements of this character increased, and on the liquidation of its operations the Commission was able to turn over to French committees large sums, which were effectively used for the relief of destitution in the devastated regions.

As has been said the Commission did not appeal to the general public for charitable aid for Northern France, but to meet the great need for clothing, it distributed in these regions a portion of the used clothing collected in the United States and England in 1917-18. In the last days of the Commission's activity in Northern France a sum of $47,515.92 was placed in the hands of the director of the Commission by generous donors for carrying out special benevolent work.

When in the summer of 1919 the French Government assumed the responsibility for provisioning the devastated areas, the Comité de Ravitaillement was dissolved. In accord with the Commission a new body, the Comité d'Assistance des Régions Libérées, was organized to carry on the relief of the destitute and especially child welfare work begun by the Commission and by the C.R. The "benevolent" funds remaining were turned over to the new committee. As soon as the Comité d'Assistance was in operation, the Commission withdrew the last of its American representatives from the North of France.

  My Crystal Ball. Elisabeth Marbury. 1932.

On May 26th, 1917 both Elsie de Wolfe and Anne Morgan determined that their field of usefulness was in France, the former to become a nurse in the unit of the Ambrine Hospital established by the Baron and Baroness Henri de Rothschild and the latter to inaugurate the society for the reconstruction of such portions of France as had been so ruthlessly destroyed by the enemy. It might be pertinent to note that this work of the American Committee for Devastated France which began about this time has been continued ever since by Anne Morgan, Mrs. A. M. Dike and such of her associates who equalled her in staying power.

That its overwhelming success has been chiefly due to her persistent zeal and to her undivided devotion is a fact of international knowledge. The best advocate which the cause of France ever enlisted has been Anne Morgan.

  88 bis and V.I.H. Letters from Two Hospitals by an American V.A.D. Boston: Atlantic Monthly Press. 1919.

I did n't stay long, as motors were arriving, large numbers of them, filled with poor, weary, suffering wounded. No amount of reading or imagination prepares one for the sight of wounded from the front. One cannot describe it; one must see it to feel it. Apart from the suffering, one's principal impression is that one has never seen so much mud caked on to human beings! And then one marvels at their great, enduring patience. What blessed relief they must find in bathing and clean linen and beds!

  "Mademoiselle Miss" Letters from an American Girl Serving with the Rank of Lieutenant in a French Army Hospital at the Front. Boston: Butterfield. 1914.

Intimate, holy, comforting things stand here and there unharmed in the wrecked villages of France and Belgium, a crucifix still erect, a sewing machine, a baby's cradle. This book tells of them. But the record, written "while the instruments are boiling in the sterilizer," is itself one of the most intimate and holy things which have been saved for our comfort out of the whirlpool of embattled Europe. We need the message to keep us sane as we face the horrors of war; even more perhaps to show us the horrors of peace, its awful, silent power to paralyze our faculties, till they are released by the fight against war, by the struggle to save life and to banish despair.

What the writer of these letters did for the wounded in France needs no retelling here. But what her loving care of the wounded did for her, and might have done for many of us, her unawakened fellow countrymen, I will venture to sum up.

Despite her fourteen hours daily labor amid the blood and anguish of the hospital she "begins for the first time in her life to feel as a normal being should. "Why? Because so much new vigor has been born in her. Under the divine pressure of necessity she becomes inventive as well as competent. The very tools of her trade are often wanting. Inspirations for constructing them "out of nothing" arise in her.

 A War Nurse's Diary. Sketches from a Belgian Field Hospital. New York: MacMillan. 1918.

The quay was a scene of heart-rending sights. It was crowded with panic-stricken refugees. They knelt down, imploring us to take them. Just as the steamer loosed her moorings some sprang over the edge, hanging on to the ship's railing; we pulled them into safety. Others fell into the water and were drowned.

Down below in the saloon the stretchers were laid side by side. Amongst the hundreds of sufferers we recognized many of the men we had nursed in Antwerp, and were hailed joyfully. De Rasquinet had been left behind in Ghent, but, to my delight, there was the little man whom I had tried to save when the first convoy started from Antwerp. A few days later we met him again in the London Hospital, when visiting the wards set aside for the Belgian wounded.

Ambulance trains, with military sisters and doctors in charge, met the steamers at Dover. In a businesslike and methodical manner they took over our boys---the men whose sufferings we had shared, with whom we had passed through the horrors of war. It was splendid to have them well provided for, but we hated parting from them.

 Wide Neighborhoods. Mary Breckinridge. (Excerpts).

"The American Committee for Devastated France was a masterpiece of organization, not only in its handling of direct relief, under baffling difficulties, but in later developments that were to be integrated into the very heart of French life. Our chief, Miss Anne Morgan, had inherited her father's ability. The conception she had of what needed to be done was matched only by her amazing capacity to put it over. In Mrs. Anne Dike, she had a colleague of ability second only to hers. My admiration for the way we handled our work was profound. During those first weeks that I spent in devastated France, I did not think that trained disaster relief people could have met the conditions better than we met them, volunteers all of us, and inexperienced."

  Gestes d'Infirmières. Croquis 1916-1917. Olga Bing.

Compagne patiente et consolatrice, vous avez passé de longues et fatigantes journées dans la douloureuse atmosphère des salles d'hopital, telle fut votre vie au cours de la guerre. Les loisirs qui vous restaient, vous les avez consacrés à dessiner des scènes pathétiques, les gestes caressants et tendres qui se penchent sur le soldat malade. Et votre main aura retracé avec un charme émouvant ce que votre âme ressentait.

L'oeuvre est donc double et complète.

 My Beloved Poilus. St. John, N.B.: Barnes & Co. 1917.

When Florence Nightingale began her great work in the hospital wards at Scutari in 1854, she little realised how far-reaching would be the effect of her noble self-sacrificing efforts. Could she today visit the war-stricken countries of Europe she would be astonished at the great developments of the work of caring for the wounded soldiers which she inaugurated so long ago. Her fine example is being emulated today by hundreds of thousands of brave women who are devoting themselves to the wounded, the sick and the dying in countless hospital wards.

All too little is known of what these devoted nurses have done and are doing. Some day the whole story will be given to the world; and the hearts of all will be thrilled by stirring deeds of love and bravery. In the meantime it is pleasing and comforting to catch fleeting glimpses of a portion of the work as depicted in this sheaf of letters, now issued under the title of "My Beloved Poilus," written from the Front by a brave Canadian nurse.


The Passage

AFS at the front

Having visited the Ambulance Room which gives an overall picture of the nature of the Field Service and its organization, and then the Rue Raynouard Room which celebrates the heyday of AFS's independence, we now move to the field itself: war, the military and the front. The symbol of the Allied resistance to German invasion is first of all the Battle of the Marne, Part One (1914) and Part Two (1918) and then Verdun. By serving on the front, AFS drivers were proud participants in the Allied cause, their militantism intermingling with military action in various forms as will be seen in the corridor display.

niche in passage wall

P.1: plaster models for elements of the large Battle of Marne memorial sculpture by the American artist Frederick MacMonnies. The monument is located in Varreddes off D405, a mile north of Meaux, and was inaugurated on July 31, 1932.


wall opposite (from right to left)

P.2: map showing location of AFS units in 1914-1918, including Verdun inset

P.3: 2 photographs

---above: section 1, Monzéville

---below: Cabaret Rouge

Cabaret Rouge, June 24, 1916

Today this picturesquely named place became our regular poste de secours. There is a diabolic fitness about the name. The house, which is halfway up the slope in a valley, is simply surrounded by the French batteries, while German shells are continually bursting in the fields around. Red signal rockets illumine the sky. Down from the trenches come the stretcher bearers with their crimson burdens. Red Cabaret, red rockets, red fire, red blood! (Malbone H. Birkhead, SSU8, AFSH I/450-451)

P.4: 2 photographs

---above: Ippécourt, ambulances by "huts"

---below: soldiers awaiting evacuation

P.5: 2 photographs

---above: "en panne" near Esnes

There is no use describing the ex-village of Esnes to those members of the Field Service who have seen it; and as a corollary, there is no use in describing it to those members of the Service who have not seen it, for they have had it described to them ad infinitum, and ad nauseam. Suffice it to say that Esnes was our poste and it lay under the Côte 304 and in full view of the Mort Homme---and the seeing was fairly good in those days. (Henry D.M. Sherrerd, SSU 2, AFSH, I/255-256)

---below: Joseph Weld in trench

P.6: military decoration of SSU1

P.7: 3 photographs

---left: Bon Abri with troops going by

Bon Abri, July 13

Last night the doctor with whom we eat seemed greatly depressed and said that he had no appetite for supper. We asked him what was the matter and he answered that he had just assisted in the burial of ten Frenchmen, all of whom he had treated and cared for. One would think that an army surgeon would have come to regard death as a matter of course, but underneath they must be just as tender-hearted as the rest of us. (Alpheus E. Shaw, AFSH I/146)

---right: La voie sacrée (with signs)

Presently the whistle blew and we moved out. Down through the sleeping city of Bar-le-Duc we went, and there, where the transparency blazoned the legend, "Verdun," we obeyed the silent injunction of the pointing arrow and turned to the left. We passed through the outskirts of the city and presently entered upon a broad, pitted road. Well might the road be pitted, for there was the Voie Sacrée---the Sacred Way---over which had passed every division of the French Army, the way over which thousands of the men of France had passed never to return. (Robert W. Imbrie, SSU 1, AFSH I/145-146)

I can shut my eyes now and see that long, long Road--- Bar-le-Duc to Verdun, Verdun to Bar-le-Duc. Fifty miles of it and more. Rising and falling, climbing and crawling, sweeping up superbly, magnificently swinging down. Up and down over moorlands---bleak, barren, treeless, dreary, desolate, wind-swept, storm-swept. Sometimes there was a little sun---like a sick child's face at a window---in a wide tremendous reach of bluish sky. Oftener the sky was thick-gray straddling over a prison-yard (it seemed to us a prison-yard, a prison-yard in a riot). Rain, ill-natured rain, ready to turn at any moment into a slant of vicious sleet. Mud, endless sleek, slimy rivers of it oozing up on one to the very hair, like a pestilent disease. Or, in a sluttish vagary, after a day of wind, turning to sheets of gritty, yellowish dust that bit boisterously into the quick of one's flesh. (Emery Pottle, SSU1, AFSH III/166-167)

---below: Dugny, SSU1

By June 28 the Section was quartered at Dugny, a tumble-down town a few miles south of Verdun, where we relieved Section Eight on the right bank of the Meuse, the postes being located at Fort de Tavannes, the Cabaret Rouge and the Mardi-Gras redoubt. The cantonment at Dugny left much to be desired. The sleeping quarters for the entire Section, including the French personnel, were in a barn loft, beneath which horses were stabled. (Roy H. Stockwell, SSU1, AFSH I/149)

P.8: wood sign, "G.B.D. Poste relai des Pyramides - Hartmansweilerskopf"

Although typical of the signs pointing to the postes de secours in the French sector, this one does not come from the Verdun area, but from much farther east, in the Vosges, where Section Three was serving in December

G.B.D.= Groupe de Brancardiers Divisionnaires = Division Stretcherbearer Group

The Corridor

The corridor display emphasizes the growth of the American Field Service within a military context, particularly after April 1917. The display begins either as an extension of AFS's recognized role (Rue Raynouard Room) or as a continuation of the ambulance driver's rites-of-passage experience at the front (the Passage). But while both are intimately connected to humanitarian, volunteer movements (Anne Morgan Room), the Corridor leads the Field Service ---American college boys driving Fords for the French Army (Ambulance Room)--- through an increasingly military experience. If we include its extensions into two small vaulted chambers, the Corridor considers the evolution of AFS's military experience in six sections:

---the military transport sections: the Réserve Mallet
---service in the air: the Lafayette Escadrille
---under the flag: militarization
---the American Expeditionary Forces: doughboy drivers
---the battle for the mind
---the revival of the service: with the French in World War II.

The Military Transport Sections: the Réserve Mallet


When, at the moment of the entrance of the United States into the war, I asked of Mr. A. Piatt Andrew the aid of the American Field Service in forming some new transport sections, I was sure I should obtain the consent of the volunteers of this Service when they knew that they could there render service of the most necessary sort to France. Our Automobile Service at that time was deficient in drivers, so seriously deficient, in fact, that it was necessary to increase, at any price, our means of transport, in order that we might be sure of responding to the needs of the armies which were about to assume the offensive.

Less than a week after my request, a group of volunteers who had left their studies in America to enlist in the ambulance sections of the American Field Service, voluntarily agreed to become camion drivers, knowing that they would be confronted with great difficulties, but that they would be immediately useful to the common cause. The first Section entered the Service in May 1917. Three months afterward, 800 American Field Service drivers formed the personnel of fourteen Sections, and our American Transport Reserve was established. (Commandant Doumenc, AFSH III/5)

C.1: poster, "Can you drive a car?"

When General John J. Pershing and his staff stepped ashore in France on June 13, 1917, there was an Andover unit serving on the Western front. As a section of the American Field Service, the Andover men were driving five-ton Pierce Arrow trucks that transported shells for the renowned French 75's. Working at night without headlights, they carried their cargoes up to the batteries defending a sector of the Chemin des Dames. This was a vital part of the defense line which barred the road to Paris against the German Crown Prince and his elite divisions.

Andover was the only preparatory school that saw service on the Western front. We had gone to France that spring to drive ambulances. When we arrived in Paris, however, we were informed that the French army needed a mobile force of fast trucks to serve their 75's. The Réserve Mallet, to be composed entirely of American volunteers, was being formed for this job. The Cornell Section was already organized and ready to leave for the front. We agreed to join the Réserve Mallet.

Henry Cutler Wolfe, In My Time, A Medley of Reminiscences, Claude Fuess, ed, p 32.

C.2: 2 photographs

--- above: drivers with flag

--- below: Ford with American soldiers

C.3: photograph: Major Mallet and Major French.

C.4: wood insignia: Groupe Hémart

Briefly, the mechanical make-up of the Réserve was as follows: A central headquarters whose function was purely administrative, under which were three units known as Groupements, and each of which in turn was comprised of three groupes, of four sections each. [...] The groupes were the units of execution: that is, the units to which the orders were finally submitted to be carried out. Each groupe also maintained an atelier, or repair shop, to attend to minor repairs. Just as the Réserve was known by the name of the commanding officer, so were the groupements and groupes ---the official military number being seldom used. (Frank O. Robinson, TMU184, AFSH III/pp 12-15)

C.5: 3 photographs

---TMU 397 between Bois Belleau and Château Thierry

As already stated, the United States Army authorities in the autumn of 1917 agreed to take over the camion sections which the Field Service had supplied to the French Army. They agreed also, after enlisting the Field Service men and commissioning the Field Service Officers, to recruit and multiply their sections by additions from the United States Army troops, and, most important of all, it was agreed that these sections would be left with the Mallet Reserve in the service of the French Army. The organization was thereafter to be officially designated as the American Mission, and Major (later Colonel) Gordon Robinson was placed in command of the American personnel.
[...]Affairs were at this point when the German offensive began, on March 21, 1918. On March 16 shells had begun falling in Soissons and the bombardment grew more intense as the date for launching the offensive approached. The camps of the companies at Soissons had to be evacuated. The headquarters of the American Mission moved from Soissons to the Ferme de Chavigny on March 5. After this move came a period of intensely hard work for all the companies in the organization. It was American drivers on the trucks of the Mallet Reserve that hauled the French troops who made their startling appearance just in time to close the hole made in the English army back of Saint-Quentin. It was also these American drivers who transported the reserves of artillery which enabled the French troops to stop the advance of the Germans toward Compiègne. [...]

The men of the American Mission, Mallet Reserve, were in all the desperate fighting that checked the German drive across the Aisne and held them at Château-Thierry. They hauled American troops, of the 26th Division and Marines, to the lines about Château-Thierry and the battles in which they won so much glory. (AFSH III/115-119)

C.6: 3 photographs: Jouaignes, July 4, 1917

---TMU parade, July 4, 1917

All was not work at the front, as can be seen from this account of a Fourth-of-July celebration in a town in the Aisne Departement. Credit for it must be given chiefly to Captain Genin, our French commander, a jolly good fellow, and one greatly interested in American customs. All during June, he had been hearing about nothing except the Fourth of July. At last, he decided that, at his own expense, we were to have a Fourth that should surpass those we had known in the States. And, after that, day by day, various articles arrived in the camp---live rabbits, narrow-gauge track, crates labelled " champagne," cigarettes, flower-pots---about all of which there was some mystery and a great deal of speculation

The programme of the day itself began with a review, which was hardly different from some peacetime reviews in the States. The ten sections present were in the bad humor common to troops on inspection. And there was some cause, too; for every camion in Jouaignes had been on the road from five in the morning until eight the night before, while, even after that, there had been a great deal of cleaning and oiling to do in preparation for the rigid inspection that would be sure to come the next morning.

Section after section marched through the little gate into the field and arranged themselves in formation for review. A sharp Gardez-vous! rang out, and Captain Mallet, head of Mallet's Reserve of American Camion Drivers, entered the field, whereupon a square was formed, of which three sides were Americans and one side Frenchmen. Why the Frenchmen were there we were to find out later.

The American flag was waving proudly in the breeze, borne by a color-bearer, who shared with every American there a thrill of patriotism as each passing French officer paused to give the emblem a graceful salute.

The ceremonies began by Captain Mallet calling for the Croix de Guerre section to come forward. So forward they came, three-sun-beaten, war-worn French camion drivers, the youngest of whom must have been forty-five. Straight and erect, they marched from their rank and faced Captain Mallet, whom they saluted, and the ceremony of presentation began.

The citations for their deeds of bravery were read in French and the medals pinned on the proud-eyed veterans, with a warm handshake from Captain Mallet, and more from every officer, French and American, whom they passed on the way back to ranks. Then came some well-chosen remarks by Captain Mallet, his simple, dignified English appealing to every hearer. Not an eye but shone a little brighter, not a chin but was tilted a little higher, after these inspiring words. Captain Mallet, then and there, won the heart and hand of every American who heard him.

Then came the review by Captain Mallet. To the time of an Algerian drum corps, the only music of the occasion, column after column of shining helmets and red faces passed by the reviewing stand at "eyes right." What those dark-faced musicians were playing, nobody knew, but it was to the tune of "Yankee Doodle" and "Dixie" that the American feet kept time. In the middle of the long khaki lines came the color squad and the Stars and Stripes, which the French officers saluted, as it passed, with the dust-covered lines passing through the gate, bound for camp. (Malcolm Cowley, TMU526, AFSH III/92-93)


Shortly afterwards a baseball game began, which must have seemed as bizarre to the Arabs as their dances were to us. About the fourth inning of the game, fencing started in as a counter-attraction, and charmed away, one must confess, almost everybody except the Americans. In this our own French Lieutenant Chalos vanquished all comers. By seven, we had all piled our mess-kits about improvised tables and were waiting for the dinner. (Malcolm Cowley, TMU526, AFSH III/95)

---peeling potatoes

C.7: photograph, Réserve Mallet

C.8: fanion w/ cor de chasse and units: CO 365, 367, 369, 370

C.9: 3 photographs

---Longpont driver training school

The part of our work which I call "automobile instruction," included, first, detailed lectures on the motor and chassis by the French lieutenants; second, work on the trucks (washing, greasing, oiling, etc.) and practical application of the points that we had learned in the lectures; several hours each morning were spent in overalls "discovering and learning the innards"; and, third, came convoy or road work, under the guidance of old, experienced French drivers. Most of the afternoon was spent on the road. It would be too much to attempt any detailed description of the convoy rules that had to be learned. Suffice it to say that they concerned French military traffic laws; distances between trucks to be observed in open country, through towns, up and down hills; methods of turning and backing by means of the signals of the second, or assistant, driver; and numerous other things which are very important on pitch-black nights near the lines, on a road carrying four lines of traffic. In addition we had to learn the simple handling of the trucks, which were five-ton Pierce-Arrows. (Frederick W.Kurth, TMU 537, AFSH III/21-25)

---below left: officers training at Meaux

---below right: officers training at Meaux (in both, second from left: Piatt Andrew)

During the spring of 1917 the Field Service was rapidly expanding. The pace of the creation of four sections a year, which had looked good in 1916 was now speeded up to a section a month; and there was every prospect that this was merely a warming-up jog around the track compared to what was to come later. The organization had to grow or be swamped. It grew; and one phase of its growth was the formation of both parts of Section Twenty. One vital need was to provide Chefs for all the new sections about to be formed, and to this end Commandant Doumenc, head of the Automobile Service of all the French armies, very courteously acceded to Mr. Andrew's suggestion and opened the French Automobile Officers' School in Meaux to members of the American Field Service.

They were a picked crowd, this first body of élèves officiers américains---all men who had proved their worth by long experience in the field, or newer comers of exceptional promise. (John R. Fisher, SSU 2, HQ & SSU20, AFSH II/499-503)

C.10: poster, "Why not drive a transport?" AFS 1917

Service in the Air
the Lafayette Escadrille Room

A spirit of adventure and an increasing identification with the French cause led a number of AFS drivers to trade the steering wheels of their ambulances for the control sticks of fragile combat aircraft. The history of American pilots ---precursors of the mighty American Air Force--- begins with a handful of volunteers who joined the French Foreign Legion in August of 1914. Among them were two wealthy young men who already knew how to pilot a plane: Norman Prince and William Thaw. It was their dream to form an all-American pursuit squadron, trading their trench life for glory in the clouds. At this time, combat aircraft were little more than motorized kites with machine guns mounted on them. They were first used for reconnaissance work. Then came the era of spectacular aerial dogfights and then the bombers and strafers.

At a time when the Field Service was trying to leave the nest of the American Ambulance after one year of official existence, the dream of an air squadron became a reality, thanks to longtime Field Service allies: Edmund L. Gros and William K. Vanderbilt.

If a crew of American Field Service ambulance drivers suddenly flew into the sky, they would form a group akin to the Lafayette Flying Corps --- for in fact this is largely what the legendary Lafayette fighter pilot squadrons were during World War One. Of approximately 175 American volunteers who served in this French Army flying corps in 1916 and 1917, at least 51 were veterans of the American Ambulance Field Service and 7 others graduated from an AFS companion service, the Norton-Harjes ambulance corps.

Jody Brinton, History of the American Field Service, unpublished typescript, AFS Archives, pp 8/45-8/47

The World War was notably a war of impersonal, uncelebrated heroism. As a result of the military policy of the Allied governments, the names of but few, except the most successful generals, found their way into print. But the rule was relaxed in the case of aviators, and so it was that the popular heroes, acclaimed in the music halls and boulevards of Paris, were boys in their twenties, who wore the insignia of wings. All that modern war could offer of romance and personal exploit was embodied in the aviators. It was the most amazing adventure upon which Youth has ever embarked, and the liberty which the French authorities gave their aces enabled them to taste the sweetness of glory before the all too usual "last combat," which ended so many gallant careers. The Frenchman in the group of the Stork Escadrille ("les Cigognes") is Lieutenant Bozon-Verduraz, the comrade of the famous Guynemer, who at the date of the picture, June 16, 1918, had eight victories to his credit. At the left of the picture is Adjutant E. C. Parsons, a successful American ace, at that time credited with five victories. At the right is Sergeant Frank Baylies, who, after serving in the Ambulance Service in France and at Salonica, where he was decorated for gallantry, went through the French aviation schools. On June 16, the day the picture was painted, he had eleven victories to his credit, heading the list of American aces at that date. The next day, the seventeenth, he was killed in aerial combat. (Bouchor Book)

Among his personal papers, Piatt Andrew preciously guarded the following letter from one of the original members of the Escadrille and former member of Section Two:

Dear Ned:

As luck would have it I found myself in same place as our old Section is stationed. Walter Lovell, Barclay, Pottle and Graham were the only old boys I have seen. I could not help but expect to see you walk in. It was all so natural --- and I took a ride in one of the poor, broken down, old cars.

I have only had one fight so far. It was that after giving him a round and dove again but a ball had hit my mitrailleuse and I was out of business. Then he turned and chased me but I got away all right.

It is terrible to look down on the trenches here and see such fire. There is a very broad, brown pond where the fighting has taken place. It is the first day I arrived. I dove at the Boche and opened up on him at 50 meters. I missed him. I could hear him shooting and see his big rear machine gun working but that does not seem to bother one. I made a move then and found myself on his level just behind. I heard the bullets going into my machine with the sound of small explosions. I moved out of several kilometers wide and nothing is left standing. Trees, villages and forts have vanished. Even the broad white roads have been effaced.

Hope you are doing well and that you are contented.

My best,


J.R. McConnell, Pilote
Escadrille N° 124, S.P. 24

More on the Lafayette Escadrille

  The Field Service Takes to the Air: The Lafayette Escadrille

  Flying for France. With the American Escadrille at Verdun. James R. McConnell. Sergeant-Pilot for the French Flying Corps Garden City, New York. Doubleday, Page & Company. 1919.

  A Poet of the Air. Letters of Jack Morris Wright. First Lieutenant of the American Aviation in France. April, 1917-January, 1918. Boston and New York. Houghton Mifflin Company. 1918.

 "The Ted Parsons Story." Dale Walk. Aviation Quarterly. 1978.[exerpt]


The Corridor

Under the Flag: Militarization

C.11: flag, SSU 552 USAAS w/ croix de guerre

C.12: 2 photographs

---USAAS 625 at Coeuvres, July 1918

---dead soldier

C.14: flag (fanion), SSU 1/625 w/ Indian head

It was with a glorious past that Section One of the American Field Service was taken over by the United States Army's Section 625 on the 30th of September, 1917, among the rolling fields and heavy woods of the Vosges at Aillianville, not so far from the home of Jeanne d'Arc. (AFSH I/188)

C.16: engraving, Caroline Armington, First American flag hoisted by the first military contingent sent to Europe, Base Hospital N°4, USA (Lakeside Unit, France), May 25, 1917.

Caroline also etched a print for Major Lower in 1917; the First American Flag depicts the raising of Old Glory on 25 May 1917 by the first American military contingent in Europe, at Base Hospital No 4.

This was the U.S.A. Lakeside unit, stationed in France. The plate was given to Dr. William Lower of Cleveland. (Etching Record Book of Caroline Armington, number 202, dated 1917.) (p 41, Armington book, and note)

The First Flag Raising

The honor of being the first Americans to actually bear the Stars and Stripes to the front belongs to the first section of American Field Service men who joined the Réserve Mallet as volunteers in the French army May 8, 1917.

General Pershing's expeditionary forces had not yet landed, and these few men of the first transport section of the American Field Service, later merged into the American Mission Réserve Mallet, were the only Americans in France outside the Lafayette Escadrille and the Foreign Legion, in a belligerent service.

During the months of May, June, and July had you visited the Ferme de Chavigny, where the transport sections got their training under the French, each morning you would have seen the Stars and Stripes hoisted to the staff in front of the Château while a little group of French officers, and the Americans, the vanguard of the forces to come, stood in formation and solemnly saluted. A similar formation was held each evening to lower the colors. (American Field Service Bulletin, Réserve Mallet, No 84, March 8, 1919)

On June 4, the Section had the signal honor of formally receiving the first Stars and Stripes to fly in France with the official sanction of the United States War Department, a gift of the Friends of France and the Union League of California, sent over to us by a special envoy, Arthur Kimber, a fellow student at Stanford University. Presentation ceremonies of a most impressive character were held on a hilltop outside of Ligny in the presence of two battalions and a regimental French band, and Colonel Colon, on behalf of the armies of France, received the colors and in turn presented them to Section Fourteen. (Joseph H. Eastman, SSU14, AFS II/88)

The militarization of the Service

Upon the entry of the United States into the conflict, there swiftly followed for us complexities great and small. Foremost, perhaps, was the question of whether our volunteers then in France might continue so to serve, and whether, at least for the present, we might continue to accept more recruits. In view of the exigencies of mobilization and conscription, it seemed best to consult at once with the Secretary of War. Although Mr. Baker had shown himself in various ways appreciative of the Field Service, he naturally had not felt at liberty to give any public expression in this regard until April 7, when he wrote as follows:

Confirming our conversation of this morning, I beg leave to say to you, as the Representative of the American Ambulance Field Service, that the War Department looks with appreciation and approval upon the splendid service being rendered by American citizens in France in association with the French Army. These young men are serving their own country in the highest way by their courageous contribution to the efficiency of the armies of those associated in interest with us in this war I, perhaps, have no right to urge that they remain in France now that the United States has entered upon active military preparation in the conflict, but, at least for the present, a substantial number of these young men will not be needed here, and the training they are securing, while a mere incident to the service they are rendering, will qualify them to be of especial value in the American Army at a later time.

(Signed) Newton D.Baker
Secretary of War

(Henry D. Sleeper, AFSH I/ 50-51)

on the wall opposite

the American Expeditionary Forces: doughboy drivers

By the end of 1917, while continuing to serve the French Army, the Field Service had been absorbed into the United States Army and been made part of its overall efforts. There was a change of scale. Over roughly three years, AFS had progressed from one to 33 sections. The United States Army Ambulance Service numbered 81.

The Great War was recorded in photographs, sketches and paintings. The small museum of the Armistice at Rethondes has an extraordinary collection of three-dimensional photographs. The Museum of Blérancourt has a large collection of the works of the French painter Jean-François Bouchor.

C.25: painting, Bouchor himself with Captain D. Gray

During the summer of 1918 the author was attached to various French commands in the capacity of liaison officer. From August 5 to January 1, 1919, he was with the Tenth French Army, commanded by the redoubtable General Charles Mangin. During September M. Bouchor was the guest of General Mangin in his capacity as official war painter for the French Government. It was his desire to complete a series of pictures of American subjects, and it was the privilege of the author to facilitate this work as regards United States units attached to the Tenth Army. Thus it came about that he witnessed the making of the preliminary sketches for a third or more of these pictures and was familiar with the scenes portrayed in most of the others.

It is for time and the critics to assign M. Bouchor his rank as a painter, but it is proper to emphasize here the debt which history already owes him. Both in spirit and detail his work portrays the scenes depicted as they actually were. It is, at the least, pictorial reporting of the highest order, and the four hundred pictures which he executed during the war comprise a document of great historical importance. Fortunately the greater part of these are available to the public in his books, "La Guerre 1914-1916," "Verdun," and this volume of Franco-American subjects.

Among the painters designated by the French Government to portray the war, he stands preeminent in the volume of his output, unsurpassed in his accuracy of portrayal and in his instinct for representative scenes and types. The author's association with the artist, beginning as it did, in more or less an official relation, not unnaturally ripened into a personal friendship over which but a single cloud has ever impended. M. Bouchor is a man who enjoyed going to places which were dangerous to get to and most unhealthy to remain in. In such spots he would sit indefinitely and sketch misguided persons, whom vanity or good nature drew from the shelters which had been provided for them, and which the military authorities wisely prescribed they should stay in whenever possible; for like Verdun the Tenth Army front was never inactive. If M. Bouchor could have gone alone, the cloud in question never would have arisen. But, as it was, the author was constantly torn between the lively apprehension that he would be responsible for the artist's annihilation and the livelier one---that he might share it. Pro arte mori has never appealed to him. Art seems rather a thing to live for. (Gray & Bouchor)

C.26: painting, Black doughboys and French poilus

In this picture M. Bouchor has sketched a characteristic scene, enacted daily wherever French and American troops were thrown together. This particular picture was made just back of the ruins of Vauxaillon, the war-shattered village on the Ailette Canal, at the door of the Mont des Singes, on the French front of the Hindenburg line. The colored troops belong to the 37th Infantry. During all that September of 1918 they were in the line at this point, with French infantry units of the 59th French Division on both sides of them. The French poilu in the sketch has stopped, possibly to suggest an exchange of cigarettes for "pinard," as his "bidon," or canteen, might suggest, possibly to ask the way, possibly only to chat gravely and amicably, as these weather-beaten French peasant soldiers loved to do. The presence of American troops with a French organization had an impressive effect on their morale. To see their allies in the flesh was much more than reading about them in the newspapers. General Mangin stated to the writer that, in his opinion, the presence of crack American divisions, like the First, Second, or Thirty-second, with his army, raised its morale fifty per cent. In a war of allies perhaps the most important thing for peoples and war departments to remember is that comradeship, team play, and friendly and generous relations, are half the battle. (Gray & Bouchor)

C.27: painting, railroad artillery piece

This picture shows the fourteen-inch gun and its train withdrawn from the open field, where it had been firing, to the shelter of a small wood half a mile to the westward. German planes were not long in locating the piece, and nightly it was shelled from the heights of the Aisne with a 30-millimeter naval gun. A fragment of shell struck the barrel, but did no damage. However, it was deemed prudent to back down at nightfall to the wood in question. A party of visiting American Congressmen carried away an impressive recollection of the blast of this great cannon. Their limousine automobiles were drawn up in the road two hundred yards from the gun and abreast of it. Then it was fired for their edification and they continued their journey in motor cars entirely innocent of window glass. If the war had lasted longer, such guns would doubtless have played a more important role than was actually allotted them. Each was supplied with two extra barrels which could be changed at the base port in a few days, thus giving each mount a potential thousand shots. Their successful operation on railway mountings was regarded by heavy artillery experts as a solution of our coast-defence problem. (Gray & Bouchor)

C.28: painting, cart pulled by horse and camel, with US and French officers

It is impossible to think of an American army without calling up a picture of the army mule. The American mule in France not only deserves the Distinguished Service Medal for labors which only the mule could have performed, but lasting gratitude for inestimable services of a spiritual nature. More than the Red Cross, Y.M.C.A., the Knights of Columbus, or the Salvation Army, the army mule made France seem " like home." And, so far as the human eye could judge, he made himself at home in France. While our horses often looked as if each day might be their last, owing, perhaps, to the theory prevalent with this gasoline-born generation that a horse could be fed every hundred miles, like a motor, the mules invariably looked fat and prospering. And as for a lame mule, it was as rare as a dead donkey; no living man ever saw one. (Gray & Bouchor)

C.29: painting, US soldiers eating in field, with tents in background

C.30: painting, "It's over"

This is a copy of a LeRoy Baldridge painting portraying the soldiers' shock at learning that the war has finally come to an end.

          November Eleventh

If you had listened then I guess you'd heard
A sort of sigh from everybody there,
But all we did was stand and stare and stare and stare,
Just stare and stand and never say a word.

C. Le Roy Baldridge
Audevelde, Belgium
Nov. 11/1918

(from Col. Smuckers, The History of the USAAC, Allentown, PA, 1976)

C.31: poster, Liberty Bond (statue of Liberty)

Just as the volunteer efforts which preceded, the American war effort was financed from the United States, but now through widespread purchase of bonds rather than outright gifts. This poster promoting the sale of Liberty Bonds introduces us to the next section of the display on the wall opposite.


The Battle for the Mind: Propaganda versus Experience

Images, slogans, stereotypes: here we enter the realm of inner wars. This is where an artist may become a soldier. Ideas can shape experience. A series of posters illustrates this aspect of the Great War, beginning with one made by the illustrious creator of the Gibson Girl which had become the ideal of so many young American women at the end of the 19th century.

C.15: poster, Groupe Genin, Charles Dana Gibson

Charles Dana Gibson, Roxbury, Mass., 1867---New York., 1944. A ferocious humorist, caricaturist of the New York high society he frequented, Gibson was the most famous American illustrator of the first 50 years of this century. He sold his first drawing to Life at the age of 19. After studying art in England and Paris, Gibson obtained a contract from Collier's in 1893, which would guarantee him national celebrity the following year, after he graced its pages with his prototype of the young American woman of fine upbringing (inspired by his own wife): the "Gibson girl ". Even though he claimed himself a follower of Daumier, Gavarni and Hogarth

Gibson was closer in spirit to Helleu who, moreover, was his friend and to whom he dedicated a full-size pastel of his "Gibson girl." However, it would seem that Gibson, who had been smothered with honors of all kinds (president of the Society of Illustrators member of the Academy of American Arts and Sciences etc.), had the lifelong ambition of be coming a painter. In 1896, he broke his contract with Collier's to return to Paris to study painting at the Julian Academy. Nonetheless, he came back to illustration, successfully publishing his work in all the fashionable magazines of the time: Life, Cosmopolitain, Harper's Bazaar, etc. After retirement in 1932, however, he devoted himself exclusively to painting society portraits and landscapes in oil, while anathematizing modern art. His best drawings, other than those done during World War I, are doubtless those where he has portrayed the encounter of two alien worlds, the poor and the rich.

V. Wiesinger, American Drawings in the French national collections from 1760 to 1945, Paris: RMN, 1991, pp 81-82

C.17: large poster, Aisne devastée

C.18: poster, Remember Belgium, "Hun" leading off little girl

C.19: poster Beat back the Hun with Liberty Bonds

C.20: poster, Buy Liberty Bonds, with Lincoln Head (from penny)

C.21:poster (British), Thousands join, but you may be the one...

C.13: 2 photographs

---Black troops (Senegalese)

---heading back in horse carts

far end of corridor

The Battle for the Mind: Education

C.32: bust of Wilson

Presiding over the entire corridor is Woodrow Wilson, former president of Princeton University ---first and foremost an educator and man of ideals. Wilson's presence here evokes the reflective side of the AFS experience ---not to mention an oblique reference to League-of-Nations internationalism. What did the ambulance drivers learn from their experience in France and where would it take them?

The war revealed a great need for education among American soldiers in general, a number of whom were illiterate. Moreover, activities of an educational nature were an alternative to less "moral" and hence less desirable soldier pastimes. Add to this the fact that large numbers of American soldiers were "stranded" in France between the Armistice of November 1918 and their demobilization and return home during the first half of 1919. In short, the authorities quickly realized that there was an educational side to soldiering beyond the continual need for military training.

Few Americans have any idea of the educational work of the American Expeditionary Forces. Before the return of the troops, Professor John Erskine of Columbia, who was chairman of the Army Education Commission, was at the head of a force of over seventy thousand teachers and nine hundred thousand students. A great American University had been started at Beaune, seven thousand American collegiate students had been enrolled in fourteen French Universities and two thousand in English universities. Nearly half of the entire force overseas enjoyed the educational advantages offered by the A. E. F. The wheelhorse in the work of creating this vast organization, and directing it when created, was the man whose portrait M. Bouchor has painted, to be placed in the gallery of the notable leaders in America's overseas effort. The success of Professor Erskine's undertaking proved much more than the profitable diversion of great bodies of men under arms not engaged in fighting. It showed the practicability of utilizing great defensive mobilizations to the end of national education, an end obviously desirable in view of the statistics of American illiteracy. In the A. E. F., two hundred and forty-nine men in every thousand were unable to read and write English. Another notable result of the attendance of large bodies of American youth at French and English institutions was the promotion of that better understanding of European life and culture, essential to the United States, if we are to fulfill our part as a great nation in the life of the world. The war has passed into history, but the ideas which Professor Erskine contributed as his part in it, have only begun to bear their fruit. (D. Gray & Bouchor)

Educating Americans in French universities had another context: that of a history of Americans coming to France to study art and of professor exchanges between the Sorbonne and Harvard University. During the war, a movement initiated by a visiting American professor to encourage more American students to come to French ---as opposed to German--- universities was encouraged by French authorities. It was tentatively called "American Fellowships in French Universities." The movement was inaugurated by the 1917 publication of Science and Learning in France, a reasoned exposé by eminent American professors.

 ... during the first year after the war, members of the AFS held many consultations to consider ways to continue the work they had begun in 1914. It was finally determined that the most practical and enduring effort would be the establishment of scholarships between French and American universities. However, on returning to the United States in the summer of 1919 they discovered that an association had already been formed for the same purpose --- the American Fellowships in French Universities, founded and sponsored by Mr. Myron T. Herrick. This organization was in every way too well established for AFS to consider duplication.

The American Fellowships in French Universities had had its beginning in 1915. Dr. John H. Wigmore, Dean of Law in the Northeastern University of Chicago, had in correspondence with Professor C.H. Grandgent, then Exchange Professor at the Sorbonne, learned that the project would be welcomed by the French authorities. [...] Mr. Herrick, having heard that the AFS was interested in a similar project, advised that an alliance of the two was possible. At the conference to consider this, Mr. Herrick and his associates of the Society for American Fellowships in French Universities, in deference to what the AFS had already accomplished for Franco-American relations, offered to give up their own identity and to rename the organization the American Field Service Fellowships for French Universities. (Rock, pp 16-17)

Thus it was that the American Field Service took its first, fledgling steps towards finding a peacetime expression for the spirit it had developed on the battlefields of France. It would now trade its partnership with the French Army for one with the National Bureau of Universities and Schools.

The Office National des Universités et Ecoles has incontestably become the center of intellectual and scientific relations with the United States.[...] Student exchanges have been entirely confided to its responsibility. In 1918 and 1919, one of its principal occupations was the sending of French scholarship holders, both men and women, to America. In a movement of admirable generosity, the Association of American Colleges [...] granted a large number of scholarships to French women --- students in university and secondary school, as well as primary-school teachers.[...] That was not all. During the winter of 1918-1919, scholarships were also granted to students who had been wounded during the war. The Office of Universities sent 34. When school resumed in the fall of 1919, 29 scholarships were granted to French university students. Some were sponsored by universities, colleges or technical institutions, others were founded by the Association of American Students who had been welcomed in French universities during the period of demobilization. [...]

To thus mix our young compatriots with American youth, of such different education and social customs, was a rather delicate operation. Precautions were taken, the necessary advice given, and as a whole, everything worked out quite well. A fine thing has been done and will be continued. It will [...] contribute towards bringing together the youths of the two countries, towards dissipating a great deal of prejudice, will open minds and unite hearts. [...]

It would neither have been cordial nor decent to fail to establish a counterpart. The Bureau of Universities has prompted the French Government to grant scholarships to American women students. [...] It should be added that the Society for American Fellowships in French Universities has sent 8 of its scholarship holders to our universities, at October's resumption of classes.

Special note should be taken, as an event belonging to the history of the war, of the studies made in our universities during the period of demobilization from March to July 1919, by 5,200 American students.

C. Petit-Dutaillis, Relations universitaires de la France avec les Etats-Unis, Cerf, Paris 1919, pp1-2

the Revival of Ambulance Service: with the French in World War II

C.33: poster, AFS battle ambulance service, WWII

C.34: poster, AFS with "chicken head" helmet

On 17 September 1942, in the teeth of rumored disapproval by Cairo HQ, the new Company's cars were painted with an insignia designed by Cliff O. Saber and chosen after a Company-wide competition---an eagle with a top hat against a red cross. From the first they were known as "chickens," which they did not wholly disresemble. When on 20 September the Company was inspected by Brigadier Walker, DDMS, there was considerable apprehension as to whether they would be allowed to remain. On first sight, the Brigadier asked Captain Geer what the design was.

"Our emblem, Sir, an American eagle."

At that he laughed outright... "My only suggestion is this... Have it on both doors, and make the red-cross background larger. That way it can serve a useful as well as a decorative purpose. I like to see units adopt emblems --- it shows they have pride in their outfits." (Rock, p 127)

the World War II Room

Its red cross proclaimed it to be a "neutral" ambulance service protected under the terms of the Geneva Convention, but the American Field Service of World War I had quickly evolved into a partisan organization whose motto, Tous et tout pour la France, was a clear statement of purpose. Its young drivers identified with the wounded they transported and "took sides," as it were, against the invading "Hun."

For the enthusiastic Francophiles of the American Field Service, the Armistice was not an end, but a "time out." They gathered "off the field" to form an Association to keep up the spirit of the good old days. They threw their weight behind the new American Field Service French Fellowships. They confided their collections of souvenirs and memorabilia to the new American Volunteer Pavilion at the Museum of Franco-American Cooperation at Blérancourt. In short, by 1939, AFS had become an active "alumni association," its members loyal "old boys" of a vast club supporting the worthy cause of French Civilization. Another club, one might add, as these men were already alumni of elite American universities, members of elite social clubs in the tradition of their British "cousins."

France's declaration of war in September 1939 signalled "time in." The American Field Service, now led by Stephen Galatti (founder A. Piatt Andrew had died in 1936), quickly spread the word to the old team throughout the United States, whose efforts to recreate a logistical infrastructure for fundraising and the recruiting of drivers began in Boston. Twenty years had gone by, however, and the boy drivers of the Great War had now become successful lawyers, bankers, financiers, much better suited to organizing and underwriting teams than playing in them ---as much as they were itching to once again see action! So they buckled down and soon, in major cities across the country, AFS committees were in action.

It might be noted that, as in 1914, the American elite of 1939 did not expect to find immediate sympathy for France among the general public. In the 1920s, public sympathy had tended to favor "positive" German reconstruction over the "negative" French call for reparations, and in the 1930s, the Great Depression had brought America's main concerns back onto itself and its own survival. Faced with this new European war, most Americans muttered "not again!", despite AFS's enthusiastic rallying cry: "let's do it again!"

They could not have done it again without their friends in France, beginning with members of the American Colony, such as lawyer Lovering Hill or Julian Allen of the Morgan Bank--- who had themselves driven ambulances in WWI--- along with their French friends in high places. It will be remembered that it was the American Colony who had originally founded the American Hospital of Paris and its wartime offshoot, the great American Ambulance ---the Field Service's parent institution. Now, once again, the Americans of Paris and their French friends would set about cutting through red tape and making the improbable happen: the attaching of a foreign ambulance service manned by neutrals ---whose American vehicles conformed to French standards--- to French military combat units.

Even with the best of connections, all this took time, so it was not until early April 1940 that Section One of the American Field Service made its triumphant return to France, arriving with due media attention at Paris' Gare de Lyon and then making its way to its new quarters at the United States House at the Cité Universitaire to await delivery of its cars. The wait was long and meanwhile Norway had been invaded, then Belgium and Holland and France itself. A formal inauguration was cancelled in favor of a brief ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier early in the morning of May 18th, before the convoy of blue-gray Chevrolet ambulances, adorned with red crosses and the name American Field Service, headed north to Beauvais and war.

Northern France had become the victim of a new school of warfare: the old technique of holding fast in fortified positions having been rendered obsolete by modern tanks and airplanes. This was a war of movement and things were moving very fast. After less than one month in the field, evacuating the wounded from aid stations or hospitals back to hospital trains, carrying over ten thousand soldiers and civilians ---and all in the midst of heavy bombing--- AFS Section One found itself, along with the 10th Army it was serving, moving farther and farther south. By the end of June, France had signed another Armistice, and by July, the drivers of the American Field Service had crossed over the International Bridge at Hendaye, leaving their vehicles behind as a gift for the American Red Cross. "Time out" had been called again.

France had been overrun, but it was not the first time. Alsace-Lorraine, Northern France had already known German occupation... and been liberated in the long run. So while the Field Service had temporarily retired from the "playing field," it was far from out of business. The infrastructure back home had been busy raising money and recruiting, aided by all the negative publicity surrounding the German invasion. By July, ten sections had been ready to sail to France. So now that "time out" had been called, everything was simply put on "hold" long enough to determine where AFS could best put its efforts.

Not one to hesitate, Stephen Galatti turned the attention of his organization to the center of resistance against the Germans: Great Britain. AFS ambulances on their way to France were rerouted to England where they would be driven by British women drivers. Henceforth, AFS sent money and supplies to England: the American Ambulance of London, the Eagle Club, medical supplies and transport for the British Colony in Kenya... Meanwhile, back in America, a pool of impatient drivers was building up, awaiting assignment to the field. But what field?

This was the major question facing the Free French Forces being formed under General de Gaulle in London. By the end of 1940, the answer was: the Middle East and North Africa. It was hoped that the regular French Army there would rally to de Gaulle's cause. When the campaign in Syria began, a singular field hospital accompanied the French forces: the Hadfield-Spears Mobile Unit, founded by an English general and his American wife and staffed by French medical personnel. The orderlies and drivers were made up of English Quaker pacificists... and some hardy AFS volunteers! This tentative return to the field was accompanied by other initiatives which resulted, by the end of 1941, in a resumption of AFS's old mission, the sending of units of drivers and ambulances, but this time to... the British 8th and 9th Armies.

From this point on, the partisan enthusiasms of the American Field Service expanded from the French Cause to the Allied Cause and, in view of the outcome, to that of the "United Nations." At the same time, with this war of movement, the AFS experience in the field changed. Its units were no longer composed of close-knit "sections" of 20-30 boys often coming from the same school or place. They were no longer assigned to sectors of a stable war front. Split up into small groups on the move, AFS more than ever became an individual experience serving people of a wide variety of background and culture: the French at Bir Hakeim, (where the small group of six drivers suffered 100% casualties: dead, wounded or captured); the British forces at the great battle of El Alamein, (where the American Field Service carried most of the wounded); General Le Clerc's "L" force and the French Foreign Legion at the end of the North African Campaign; and then on into Italy with the Allied Forces, into India and Burma with the British.

In 1944, the American Field Service finally returned to France with the French forces, now under American command, moving up the Rhone into Alsace and then over into Germany. In its way, the American Field Service would once again do "all and everything" for France but now, its enthusiasms for the Cause of Civilization having been generalized, it was ready for new fields.


History of the American Field Service in France, "Friends of France" 1914-1917, Told by its Members. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920, in three volumes. [=AFSH, volume number in Roman numerals, followed by page number]

George Rock. History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York: Platen Press, 1956. [=Rock]

James W.D.Seymour, ed. Memorial Volume of the American Field Service in France. Boston: American Field Service, 1921. [=AFSMem]

William Yorke Stevenson, At the Front in a Flivver, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1917 [=Flivver]

Janet Braide and Nancy Parke-Taylor. Caroline and Frank Armington, Canadian Painter-etchers in Paris. Peel: Art Gallery of Peel, 1990. [=Armington Book]

The American Army in France, 1917-1918. Paintings by J.-F. Bouchor, text by Captain David Gray, with an introduction by Lt-Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Boston: Leroy Phillips, 1920. [=Gray & Bouchor]