The Arthur J. Putnam Collection includes photographs, official service documents, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, art prints, and other items relating to his experience with the American Field Service (AFS) and United States Army Ambulance Service (USAAS) during World War I.
The collection includes thirteenphotographs of Putnam and others serving in World War I, including several pictures of Putnam with French friends as well as fellow ambulance drivers in the AFS and USAAS. These men include Walter Winthrop Gores (Sous Chef of SSU 70), Louis Sicard (SSU 636), A. P. Andrew (founder of the AFS) speaking with a group of French officers, members of the Polish Legion in the French Army, and recuperating poilus (French infantrymen) at a base hospital. Additionally, the collection includes five souvenir photographic reproductions of Kaiser Wilhelm, the German Crown Prince, and Paul von Hindenburg.
The collection also includes official service documents , including a citation from the 38th French Division of Infantry dated October 1917 to Lt. Putnam, Commander of SSU 70, for courage under fire in the evacuation of wounded in a highly exposed area, and a letter presenting Putnam with the American Field Service Medal (dated January 3, 1919.) There is also a letter of thanks from Petain to all men of the Automobile Service of the French Army for their outstanding efforts from March to July 1918, as well as Captain Putnam’s discharge order from the USAAS, dated April 14, 1919.
Unofficial documents and records include four letters written in French from Putnam’s French comrades (including the Director of Health Services of the French 7th Military Region from 1925, and Captain Aubrun, dated 1919) sent to him after the war, as well as newsprint photographs of the Cornell University American Field Service unit ready to embark for France in April 1917, two issues of an AFS SSU 69 publication (Soixante-Neuf), and a menu parody from SSU 26.
Additional materials include several reproductions of art prints by an unknown artist ( which depict scenes involving AFS ambulance drivers and others in France), as well as a postcard depicting a drawing of French statesman Georges Clemenceau, an undated map of transatlantic boat routes, and an undated French piece of writing in verse relating to serving as an ambulance driver in France.