The majority of the Ralph S. Munger collection contains material related to Munger’s service with AFS unit FR 40 (also referred to as the “First Section”) in France in 1940, including an AFS recruitment booklet, correspondence from Roswell Miller documenting Munger’s initial interest in the organization, passport documentation, a booklet of passengers (including 16 other AFS volunteers) who boarded the S.S. Manhattan from New York to Genoa, Italy on March 23, 1940, among other documentation. The collection includes several items from Stephen Galatti, including a letter to the 17 AFS men on board the S.S. Manhattan, a letter to Mrs. Ralph Munger regarding her husband’s service, an August 1940 letter to members of FR 40 regarding an effort to compile the history of their work in France, and a recommendation to the AFS men to purchase FR 40 section leader Peter Muir’s book titled War Without Music. There is also an AFS press release about the arrival of the first unit of American volunteers in France, which includes a list of AFS volunteers and short biographies about the AFS officers in France, as well as a promotional booklet about the organization.
Also within the collection are clippings from 1939 and 1940 issues of The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, La Petite Gironde, and Waterbury Republican that speak about the recruitment, training, and arrival of ambulance drivers volunteering for AFS and other United States ambulance services that served alongside the French Army, including the Volunteers Ambulance Corps and the Iroquois American Unit. Only one these articles mentions Munger directly, and these articles, like the other materials within the collection, do not document the daily tasks and harsh conditions under which Munger would have worked. However, after reading about Munger in the Paris newspaper paper Le Jour, former Williams College classmate Gilbert Poncet contacted Munger directly. Poncet’s two letters, one from April 6, 1940 and the other from April 24, 1940, describe in some detail his service with the French military, and these letters, along with an incomplete copy of La Petite Gironde from June 30, 1940 in the collection, provide some context for Munger’s service.
The collection also includes one 3” x 2.5” black and white framed portrait of Munger, which, was taken in Washington D.C. on September 15, 1939, as well as a document related to his train travel in Spain.