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American Women Rebuilding France, 1917 – 1924

The Baldwin Wallace University Ritter Library in Berea (OH) presents American Women Rebuilding France, 1917-1924. This exhibition documents the efforts of hundreds of American women who volunteered to do humanitarian service in France during and after the conflict. The daughter of financier J.P. Morgan, Anne Morgan led these women who lived alongside the rural residents of Picardy, a region in northern France that had been ravaged by war. 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 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.