American Committee for Devastated France

American Committee for Devastated France (1919-1924) also known as CARD (American Committee for the Devastated Regions of France) , from the French translation of the name of the organization, was a small group of American women who volunteered to help the French Third Republic recover from the destruction of The Great War [1] (later Known as World War I ). [2]

The civilian volunteer organization Relief Was founded by philanthropist Anne Morgan (1873-1952) and her friend Anne Murray Dike (1879-1929).

Morgan’s commanding personality and social status helped the United States . Dike, a physician, organized field work in France. Headquarters were set up in the 17th-century Blérancourt Castle, less than 40 miles from the war’s front. [1]

The group’s efforts followed the volunteer work of the American Fund for French Wounded (1915-1919). [3]

Morgan, youngest daughter of financial John Pierpont Morgan and his second wife, the trainer Frances Louisa Tracy, used photographs to document suffering in France, a nation that provided crucial help during the American Revolution . Images of ruined communities and the French refugees highlighted the human cost of war.

Committee applicants had to speak French, hold a driver ‘s license, and most had to pay for their own expenses – $ 1,500 for a typical six – month tour of volunteer duty. Blue martial uniforms were required. They could be custom-made for $ 45, by B. Altman Company .

Anne Morgan told potential volunteers they would face hard work and devastation. “We do not want sightseers who would like to go to France,” The New York Times reported. The women lived in barracks and worked long hours.

Many female physicians in the United States – an estimated 6,000 during The Great War era – Wanted in Europe. The military body would not accept women as officers, so the committee provided an opportunity to serve.

Some 350 American Committee for Devastated France volunteers served in France. [1] Among volunteers was Mary Carson Breckinridge (1881-1965). Breckinridge gained key experience in post-war Europe helped to inspire the non-profit Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, later known as the Frontier Nursing Service . [4]

Another volunteer was Anna Lander West McDonnell (1876-1966), youngest child of Charles and Margaret Rode Lander West, of San Francisco, California. McDonnell and her husband, Hugh McDonnell had moved to Paris, France in 1907. Widowed in 1910, owning land in France and with no children, McDonnell served as a hospital auxiliary or nurse in Bordeaux until the beginning of the Great War. She returned to the United States, but went back to France in 1918 to serve the committee. [5]

Another volunteer was future diplomat Lucile Atcherson Curtis , who was finally transferred to Paris to become director of staff for the American Committee for Devastated France, and in December 1919 was given the Medal of the French Recognition for her work. [6]

Established landscape architect Mary Rutherfurd Jay would also join the ranks of the Morgan’s Committee, commanding an agricultural unit of women.

See also

  • American Students Committee of the École des Beaux-Arts Paris


  1. ^ Jump up to:c American Committee for Devastated France Records; 1919-1926, Public Policy Papers, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.
  2. Jump up^ National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, 100 W. 26th Street, Kansas City, MO 64108
  3. Jump up^
  4. Jump up^ Morgan Library and Museum archives
  5. Jump up^ of Nevada-Reno Archives
  6. Jump up^ “A Woman of the Times” . . Retrieved 2015-03-19 .

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