** Anne Morgan French aiding Picardy Comittee for Devestated France

Anne Morgan: Aiding France--Comittee for Devestated France

Figure 1.--This is a scene in America at a Committee fund raising event. Notice the Boy Scouts in the background at left. We believe the girls are dressed iup in ytheir idea of French fashiions.

AnnevMorgan's work in Picardy is one of the most successful philantrophic undertakings in history. Anne Morgan and Canadian physcian Anne Murray Dike together decided to work together to refugees abd created a new section within the American Fund for French Wounded (AFFW) to aid refugees. They called it the Committee for Desestated France. They are set up in a chateau at Blérancourt. Here men were hired to do the heavy work. Marshal Pétain, the French Army Commander, threw his support behind the effort. Morgan helped raise some $5 million, a comsiderable sum at the time, for food, medicine, and other war relief work to begin the restoration of Picardy. They managed to relocated more than 50,000 French villagers who left homeless by the war. They built orphanages, kindergartens, and clinics; and had helped restock and reequip farms. Morgan recruited young American women help the people of Picardy. And she with her vsociety connections played a key role in obtaining the needed donations on speaking tours across the United States. The money was vital. But also very important was Morgan's approach to the mammoth task that France faced. She understod from the beginning that it was not just a question of money. Vital to the sucess of the effort was restoring the sense of self-reliance and self-sufficiency to a demoralizzed and destitute population. She expressed this in a letter to her mother, Frances Louisa Tracy (July 8, 1917). "There is a very interesting point of view among French people that Americans do not seem to in the least understand the desire not to let their own people feel that Americans are the only ones that are doing anything for them.' From the outset, Morgan and her teamn worked with the French people and French institutions to get the refugees back to being producrive people. And there was a special interest in the children. The Committe worked with the schools that were being restblished. She wrote about the first sewing and carpentry classes at a school, in part because of tools the Committee provided. "The whole future is the question of the children in this country – of the very old and the very young." Anew name came about when the Germans launched their final offensive. They came very close to breaking through. The crisis was such that AFFW had to suspebd civilian support activities. Morgan and Dike refuused to abandon their refugees,. They formned a new group independent of AFFW. Thery formed the Comité Américain pour les Régions Dévastées de France (CARD), the American Committee for Deveststed France--usually just called the American Committee. And this time the American Expeditionary Force was added to the Allied side. The Germans were stopped and driven back, finally forced to ask for an Armistice (November 1918). Morgan, Dike, and their volunteers were able to return to Picardy and purchase what was left of Blérancourt and resume their work in Picardy.


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Created: 12:02 AM 3/5/2021
Last updated: 2:21 PM 3/5/2021