RELIEF FOR FRANCE
American Ice Flotilla Committee raised more than $100,000 in 1917---American Field Service in France--- Appui aux Artistes---Mrs. Stuyvesant raises more than $20,000 through "One Dollar Fund"---Duryea Relief---Franco-American Committee---American Branch French Actors' Fund---French Bureau---French Tuberculosis War Victims' Fund-Hospital Under Three Flags---Lafayette Fund---Le Bien-Etre du Blessé- --Secours de Guerre---Secours National.
No more beautiful charity has emanated from America than that known as the American Ice Flotilla Committee, of which Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith, chairman and Miss Anne Morgan, treasurer. The first work of this committee was in 1916, when $70,000 was raised for supplying and equipping surgical automobile ambulances on the Western Front. In 1917 more than $100,000 was raised for Ice Flotillas-automobiles and ice-making machines for the purpose of supplying the field hospitals with the daily supply of ice for the wounded. The work has not only had the indorsement of the Service de Santé and of the leading officials of the French Government, but has been indorsed by representative surgeons of the United States, who see in the adequate supply of ice the opportunity for the saving of many lives and the amelioration of the sufferings of soldiers wounded in battle, or victims of fevers and other diseases incidental to service at the front. Committees have been formed in various cities and the Ice Flotillas are distinguished at the front by the name of the city whose contribution made the individual unit possible.
The American Field Service in France was formed to supply ambulances to the French Army, and sections of ambulances driven by American volunteers have figured notably on the Yser, the Aisne, the Somme, in Champagne, Argonne, at Verdun, the Woevre, in Lorraine and in reconquered Alsace, and the Field Service has two ambulances with the French Armies in the Balkans. Eighteen of these sections had been formed by the summer of 1917 and seven more were in process of formation.
After the entrance of the United States into the war the Field Service formed a new Transport Branch, for the purpose of providing automobile sections to be used for the transport of munitions at the front. Within a few months after this country had entered the war four sections of forty-five men each had gone to the front and others were rapidly being formed. The American Field Service aims to obtain 10,000 young men, and the various sections they will constitute will be organized on the same basis as ambulance sections. A training camp for men entering the transport work was organized at the Front by the French Army, and a school for officers of the American Field Service was also organized. It is estimated that the expenses of the transport sections amount to $10,000 a year per section. The personnel of the sections are wholly American.
At an annual expenditure of about $720,000 the American Field Service aims to offer to the French Army the whole personnel for a munition transport reserve. When the American Field Service had been in Paris little more than two years it had received ninety-nine citations from the French Army. It is difficult to estimate the contributions to the Fund, which have been received from all parts of the United States, together with the donors of ambulances, but the sum is a very large one. In all, about 1,000 ambulances have been donated by individuals, university graduates and organizations. In the first two years of its existence the American Field Service cared for more than 500,000 wounded and many of the volunteers who have served with it have been university men. A separate activity of the Field Service is moving pictures taken of the soldiers abroad, which are shown in America to raise money to maintain the field ambulance service. The activities of this splendid committee are directed from 432 Fourth Avenue, New York City.
The Appui aux Artistes is organized to provide meals for workers in the arts and their families deprived of employment by the war. Since its formation in August, 1914, it has served more than 500,000 meals. For the benefit of the artists and their families five canteens are maintained and a clothing station is also provided which has distributed more than 6,000 articles of clothing. A villa loaned for the purpose has also been maintained for artists whose health necessitated a stay in the country. The organization is the only one doing work of this kind in Paris, and the demands upon it have been steadily increased with the continued duration of the war. The executive committee for America has headquarters in the Fine Arts Building, 215 West 57th Street, New York City. Mrs. Edward Rowland,chairman of the organization committee, Ernest Peixotto,secretary and Miss Malvina Hoffman,treasurer.
Mrs. Rutherford Stuyvesant,interested herself in raising in America a "One-Dollar Fund" which had reached by the end of 1917 more than $20,000 Mrs. Stuyvesant,assisting the French organization known as the Charité Maternelle de Paris, though she has not organized an American committee. The French organization of this Society is one of the oldest institutions in France, having been founded in 1784 to help the infants of poor women in the city of Paris. Its first president was Queen Marie Antoinette. The needs created by the strain of war increased daily. The objects of the Society are; the adoption of children of the poor at birth and during the first year of their infancy, together with direct supervision of their care in the homes of the poor.
Mrs. Nina Larrey Duryea organized at Dinard, France, in 1914 the Duryea War Relief. This work was begun upon the arrival of the first refugees, and since that time more than 70,000 persons have been assisted. The committee made its appeal for both money and clothing and other supplies, which are sent to the stricken and destitute in the villages behind the firing line. Up to the summer of 1917 approximately $70,000 had been collected in the United States, together with clothing and supplies valued at $100,000. Officers of the Association are Mrs. Nina Larrey Duryea, president; Mrs. Seth Barton French, vice president; Mrs. J. Borden Harriman, vice president; Mrs. Charles H. Ditson, secretary; Mr. Charles Elliot Warren, treasurer; Mrs. Frances Seaver, assistant treasurer; David Willard, chairman of the executive committee. Headquarters, 259 Fifth Ave., New York City.
The Franco-American Committee for the Protection of the Children of the Frontier was organized to aid the destitute children of France, Belgium, and the reconquered villages of France. Mrs. Peter Cooper Hewitt,honorary president; August F. Jaccaci, president and secretary; Mrs. Robert W. Bliss, vice president, and Frederick R. Coudert, treasurer. A number of homes and sanitariums have been established, and money and supplies of clothing have been sent to the destitute children. The work of the Committee has been carried on at small cost and every dollar contributed has gone to the support of helpless children.
The American Branch of the French Actors' Fund has for its president Mrs. James H. Kidder. The closing of many theaters in Paris, incident to the war, left many lesser employees of the playhouses in a deplorable condition. Many of the men went to the front leaving destitute wives and children behind them. Many actors and actresses likewise were badly in need of assistance, and the French Actors' Fund was formed to do this work. The public who enjoyed the theater in France and who are lovers of the drama, together with the theatrical profession, were asked to aid their fellow-craftsmen of the French theater. The funds collected are distributed through the Association des Directeurs de Théâtre à Paris.
Madam Charles Le Veerier is president and Mrs. Daniel Gregory Mason, manager of the French Bureau, which has for its object the sale of toys and novelties made in France in seven workrooms maintained by wounded and maimed soldiers. The New York advisory board consists of Mrs. William Adams Delano, Mrs. William Astor Chanler, Mrs. William Greenough, Mrs. Victor Morawetz, Mrs. Edith Parsons Morgan, Miss Gertrude Watson, and Mrs. Maurice Kozminski. The toys and novelties, it is believed, will ultimately replace upon the American market the toys of German manufacture sold here prior to the war, thus creating a permanent industry for a large part of the French people incapacitated for other work. The proceeds from the sales go to aid both the makers of the toys and the destitute women and children of France. At the shop in New York in which these articles are sold something more than $27,000 was received in 1917.
The French Tuberculosis War Victims' Fund is working in connection with the French Ministry of War and was founded in Paris in October, 1916, with the Honorable W. . Sharp, American ambassador to France as an honorary president, together with many well-known French and American men and women. A very broad appeal was made for the purpose of saving France from the ravages of tuberculosis. Twenty-five patients are received at a time at a receiving hospital at Auteuil, who are later sent to the sanatorium maintained by the fund in Switzerland. Arrangements for the care of a much larger number of patients are under way. The tuberculosis soldiers are sent to the Château de la Fontaine at Yerres and other sanatoria. Discharged soldiers are sent to Mardor, women and children to Saussy, and boys to La Chaumette, where a school of agriculture is maintained. The medical work is done chiefly by American physicians who are specialists in tuberculosis.
Since the founding of the Hospital Under Three Flags in the spring of 1915 at Ris-Orangis, near Paris, more than 1,020 cases have been treated, and notwithstanding the severity of the cases there were only 21 deaths, a mortality rate of about two per cent. This splendid institution was founded by Lady Johnstone, formerly Miss Antoinette Pinchot, New York, the wife of Sir Allan Johnstone, late British ambassador at The Hague, and by Mr. Harold Reckitt, an English manufacturer. The American headquarters are at 360 Madison Avenue, New York City. Mrs. Arthur Woods,secretary and Mrs. E. R. Beckwith, executive secretary.
Gratitude for the assistance of France to the American Colonists in revolutionary days resulted in the formation of the Lafayette Fund in December 1914. The idea of the organization was conceived by Mrs. William Astor Chanler,Miss Emily Sloane, now Baronne de La Grange. The purpose of the Lafayette Fund is to send comfort kits to ameliorate the hardships of the French soldiers in the trenches, and since its organization more than 100,000 kits, valued at $2.00 each, have been sent. Up to June, 1917, more than $212,000 has been raised for this purpose. Postal cards addressed to the contributors were inclosed with each kit enabling the soldier who receives the kit to communicate his appreciation to the donor. The executive committee of the fund guaranteed all expenses of administration, so that the whole of each contribution goes for the purpose for which it is intended. Headquarters of the Fund are at the Vanderbilt Hotel, New York City, and Francis Roache, secretary and treasurer. The executive committee includes Mrs. Edmund L. Baylies, Mrs. William Astor Chanler, Mrs. John Jay Chapman, Mrs. William K. Dick, Mrs. James B. Duke, Mrs. Newbold Le Roy Edgar, Mrs. Archer M. Huntington, Mrs. P. Cooper Hewitt, Baronne de La Grange, Mrs. Philip M. Lydig, Miss Janet Scudder, Mrs. Lee Thomas, Miss Jane B. Wallach, Mrs. M. Orme Wilson, and Mrs. Henry Rogers Winthrop.
Le Bien-Etre du Blessé was founded in May, 1916, at the request of the French Government. Its purpose is to provide the wounded in the hospitals in the war zones, cut off from relatives and friends, with food and delicacies necessary to their more speedy recovery. The lives of thousands of men have been saved by providing them with food from the Le Bien-Etre kitchens, which the hospitals themselves could not supply. The American Committee of which Mrs. Gertrude Atherton, president, seeks to maintain, as a minimum, contributions of $5,000 a month. Five dollars per soldier is estimated as the entire cost of giving the wounded what is required during his stay in the war zone hospital. Thousands of tons of these supplies have been shipped to France. Monthly shipments have been contributed by Mrs. Ives Goddard, Providence, Rhode Island, and Mrs. Hamilton Fish Webster, Newport, and the Boston committee contributed about $2,000. Approximately 450,000 francs in money and food stuffs have been sent to France for the kitchens.
Mrs. John A. Logan, Jr., is chairman for America of the Secours de Guerre. This Franco-Belgian charity for refugees and the homeless and soldiers of the invaded districts on leave, provides shelter in the form of a seminary at Saint Sulpice, with 650 rooms, of which 520 are occupied by families of from four to eight members. There are 42 dormitories, containing 18 to 50 beds, and from 1,200 to 2,200 persons are lodged in the building. On an average 4,000 meals are served daily. Clothes are given to the needy and work is provided for the refugees. The charity is subsidized by the Ministers of War and Finance and by the city of Paris.
Contributions and other receipts totaling nearly $400,000 have been received by the New York Committee of the Secours National, which is the principal organization in France for the relief of noncombatant sufferers from the war. This organization provides immediate relief for the inhabitants of places destroyed by the enemy and provides for funds for the reconstruction of their homes. It maintains workshops for the unemployed, supports shelters and restaurants for French and Belgian refugees, makes provision for the care of orphaned or lost children and of the aged, and assists in the relief of civilians made prisoners by the Germans and later sent back to France through Switzerland, usually in a destitute and pitiful condition. The committee cooperates with the American Relief Clearing House of France and acts without charge as a purchasing and forwarding agent for organizations and individuals wishing to contribute funds or supplies. There is no deduction from contributions for operating expenses, which are met privately. The New York committee consists of Mrs. Frederick H. Allen, Mrs. Robert Bacon, Mrs. W. Bayard Cutting, Mrs. William Greenough, Mrs. F. Gray Griswold, Mrs. Walter Maynard, Mrs.. Ogden Mills, Mrs. Francis K. Pendleton, Mrs. Nathaniel Thayer, Mrs. Edward M. Townsend, Mrs. Harry P. Whitney,Mrs. Whitney Warren.
Chapter XXXVI. Relief for Great Britain
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