American Women Rebuilding France, 1917 - 1924 | Newberry

American Women Rebuilding France, 1917 - 1924

"Baking resumes after the war, Mons-en-Laonnois, 1919"; Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt

“Baking resumes after the war, Mons-en-Laonnois, 1919”; Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt

Presented by the Newberry and the Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt
Wednesday, September 17, 2014Saturday, January 3, 2015

Hermon Dunlap Smith Gallery


The Newberry is marking the centennial of the start of World War I with two linked exhibitions and a series of related public programs.

American Women Rebuilding France, 1917-1924 documents the work of hundreds of American women who left comfortable lives in the United States to volunteer humanitarian service in France during and after the conflict. Led by Anne Morgan, the daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, the women lived alongside rural residents of Picardy, a region in northern France that had been ravaged by war. The exhibition features modern prints of vintage photographs and rare silent film footage of the women at the wheels of Ford trucks; directing the reconstruction of buildings and agricultural production; staffing a network of visiting nurses, libraries, social centers, and kindergartens; organizing sports and scouting activities; and creating festive gatherings to help rebuild social ties. Morgan commissioned the photography and filming of the work of her organization, the American Committee for Devastated France, to document the destruction of the war and to rally support for her cause.

The Franco-American Museum, Château de Blérancourt, in Picardy, created the exhibition, which is drawn from their collections. Anne Morgan established the museum, and today it is a French national museum devoted to the history of collaborations between the United States and France.

Also visit Chicago, Europe, and the Great War, a companion exhibition featuring material from the Newberry collection, which is installed in the adjacent gallery.

The Newberry is offering a series of guided public tours of thes exhibitions. If you are interested in attending one of these tours, or in scheduling a private group tour of your own, please see our Visit an Exhibition page for more information. Admission into Newberry exhibitions is free; please consult our Hours while planning your visit.

Under the high patronage of the Ambassador to France in the U.S., Monsieur Gérard Araud, American Women Rebuilding France, 1914-1917 is made possible in part through the support of: The American Friends of Blérancourt, La Délégation des Alliances Françaises USA, The Federation of the Alliances Françaises USA, The Florence Gould Foundation, The French Ministry of Culture and Communication, and RMN l’Agence Photographique de France.

Cost and Registration Information 

Free and open to the public.