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American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Photographs and Negatives

Glass-Plate Negatives

Lantern Slides

Albums



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American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection, 1910-1987 | Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs

By Cherie Acierno and Nicole Milano

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Collection Overview

Title: American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection, 1910-1987Add to your cart.View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1915-1917

ID: RG1/002

Creator: American Field Service

Extent: 6.0 Cubic Feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

The collection has been arranged at the box level, and has been partially processed into the following four series: Photographs and Negatives, Glass-plate Negatives, Lantern Slides, and Albums.

See the individual series descriptions for more information.

Languages: English, French

Abstract

The American Field Service (AFS) was a volunteer ambulance and camion corps serving with the French Army during World War I.  AFS ceased to exist as an independent entity and was absorbed by the United States military when the United States entered the war in 1917.  The American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection consists of photographs and negatives, glass-plate negatives, lantern slides, and albums depicting the activities of the American Field Service, and to a lesser degree of the French and United States militaries, during World War I.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection consists of photographs and negatives, glass-plate negatives, lantern slides, and albums depicting activities of the American Field Service (AFS), and to a lesser degree of the French and United States militaries, during World War I. Some of the photographic material appears to have been used by the organization in press releases and publications to increase awareness of the cause and to recruit volunteers, and also in fundraising efforts to encourage donation of ambulances.    Examples of public relations use include a published book entitled Friends of France (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1916), and postcards of headquarters (as seen in Series 1, Subseries 1A.) Some photographs were also used in post-war AFS commemorative publications, such as the three-volume The History of the American Field Service in France (Boston and New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1920).  The photographic material was created by professional photographers or individual AFS ambulance and camion drivers, and donated to AFS headquarters either during or after the war.  It is not always possible to determine what was donated versus what was commissioned or created by AFS during the war.

The photographic records of the American Field Service’s ambulance and camion service in World War I are useful in the study of American involvement prior to the United States’ Declaration of War in 1917.  The collection depicts the voluntary activities of AFS (including assisting injured soldiers and transporting supplies), local landscapes and civilians (including images of Paris), major events and battles in the war (including Verdun), and groups and individuals involved in the war (including ambulance and camion drivers, and members of the French military.)  While the majority of the photographic material depicts AFS activities from 1915 to 1917, there are also some images of the pre-AFS American Ambulance Hospital and of the post-AFS U.S. Army Ambulance Service, which absorbed AFS after the United States entered the war in 1917.  Other later materials include an album featuring American Expeditionary Forces World War I photographs (ca. 1917-1919), with a particularly large number of photographs of heavy artillery and of the ordinance repair shops and salvage depots in Mehun-sur-Yevre.  There are also color photographs of a restored AFS World War I ambulance, which were taken in 1987 by the Fondation de l’Automobile Marius Berliet.

See the individual series descriptions for more information.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: 25 boxes

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.  Cotton gloves are required for the handling of all photographic material. The lantern slides and glass-plate negatives are very fragile, and some have become cracked or broken over time.  These are specifically labeled “fragile” and should be handled with extreme care.   Permission to view the glass-plate negatives or lantern slides must be obtained from the AFS Archives in advance.

Use Restrictions: Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Archives. In the event that this research becomes a source for publication, a credit line indicating the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs is required. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions.

Acquisition Method: This collection was compiled by the American Field Service staff during and after World War I, and was transferred to the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs at an unknown date.

Appraisal Information: Personal collections of photographs, donated by individual drivers and/or their heirs after the war, have been removed from the American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection and separated into individual collections whenever specific donors or drivers have been identified.

Related Materials: There are many individual photographic collections in the Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs, donated to the archives by individual World War I ambulance or camion drivers and/or their heirs.  Major collections with photographic material include (but are not limited to) the following: Joseph G. Weld Collection (RG1/032); John C. Hanna Collection (RG1/031); John C.B. Moore Collection (RG1/019); Mark V. Brennan Collection (RG1/006); Frank Fiedler Collection (RG1/014); Jansen K. Hoornbeck Collection (RG1/018); Harry R. Perley Collection (RG1/029); Paul A. Rie Collection (RG1/023); Walker Family Collection (RG1/028); Berkeley Michael Collection (RG1/033); Frank H. Boyd Collection (RG1/036); Lawrence B. Cummings Collection (RG1/034); Robert Bridgers Collection (RG1/037); George Van Santvoord Collection (RG1/035); Edward Samuel Collection (RG1/043); Donald W. Searles Collection (RG1/044); John F.W. Huffer Collection (RG1/045); William A. Lowrie Collection (RG1/046); Reuben W. Lovering Collection (RG1/047); Whitney B. Wright Collection (RG1/048); Powel Fenton Collection (RG1/013.)  For photographic material related to the involvement of AFS in World War II, see the American Field Service World War II Photographic Collection (RG2/002.)

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [Date]; American Field Service World War I Photographic Collection; Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs, New York, NY.

Processing Information:

This collection was partially arranged by AFS Archives staff at an unknown date and again by Cherie Acierno and Nicole Milano in 2011.  An inventory for all but two of the photographic albums was created by William Foley at an unknown date, and updated in greater detail by Eleanora Golobic from 1988-1990 under a grant from the Florence J. Gould Foundation.  An inventory of 400 of the loose photographic prints was created by Nancy Cricco in July 1988, and updated by Eleanora Golobic in September 1988, although more than half of these prints were removed to the Powel Fenton Collection (RG1/013) in June 2011.

Preliminary finding aid written by Cherie Acierno and Nicole Milano in June 2011 and encoded in EAD by Cherie Acierno in June 2011.  This finding aid was created under the scope of the 2010-2011 National Historical Publications and Records Commission Basic Processing grant.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs and Negatives, 1910-1987 (bulk 1915-1917)],
[Series 2: Glass-Plate Negatives, ca. 1915-1917],
[Series 3: Lantern Slides, ca. 1915-1917],
[Series 4: Albums, ca. 1915-1919],
[All]

Series 4: Albums, ca. 1915-1919Add to your cart.

1.5 cubic feet (5 boxes)

This series includes ten photographic albums, including six that were credited to (and possibly compiled by) A. Piatt Andrew, one album of official French Army photographs compiled by an unknown person (possibly A. Piatt Andrew), and three compiled by anonymous individuals who served with the American Field Service (AFS) and possibly the U.S. Army in World War I.

The six albums credited to Andrew include photographs taken between 1915 and 1916 at AFS headquarters in Paris, and in the field with Sections Sanitaire [Etats-] Unis (SSU) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 8.  Images of SSU 2 and SSU 3 are especially prominent in these albums.  An item level inventory is available for all six albums.

The album of photographs taken by the French Army Photographic Section, possibly arranged and compiled by Andrew, depicts French and American soldiers, battle scenes, ruins and other landscapes (ca. 1917-1918.)  It also includes eleven images of an April 1917 ceremony in which Andrew received the Croix de la Legion d’Honneur and members of SSU 1 received the Croix de Guerre.  An item-level inventory is available for this album.

The final three albums were compiled by anonymous individuals.  There is an item-level inventory available for one of the albums, which depicts photographs of SSU 2 and SSU 3, 1916-1917.  The second album was assembled by an unknown person and contains thirty one photographs taken or collected by a driver in SSU 17 in 1917 (including SSU 17 ambulances, trenches, and soldiers.)  The third anonymous album does not depict AFS-related activities, though the donor may have been a former ambulance or camion driver. The photographs include personal images of family outings and landscape scenes along the Hudson River, in New York, Washington DC, and unknown U.S. locations.  The second half of this album depicts photographs of the American Expeditionary Forces (ca. 1917-1919), including a particularly large number of images (many credited to a photographer named Greer) of heavy artillery and of the ordinance repair shops and salvage depots in Mehun-sur-Yèvre, France.  These latter images show the operations, equipment, and laborers at the Mehun complex including American soldiers, French civilian women, and minorities including Chinese and black workers.

The photographic albums are in their original orders, as arranged by those who compiled them.

Box 22: Anonymous SSU 2-3 AlbumAdd to your cart.
This album contains photograph numbers 222-618 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 23: Album of SSU 1 French Army PhotographsAdd to your cart.
This albums contains photograph numbers 619-666 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 24: A. Piatt Andrew Albums (2), May 1915- August 1916Add to your cart.
These albums contain photograph numbers 1572-1823 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 25: A. Piatt Andrew Album, July- September 1916Add to your cart.
This album contains photograph numbers 1824-1870 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 26: A. Piatt Andrew Album, July- September 1916Add to your cart.
This album contains photograph numbers 1871-1952 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 27: A. Piatt Andrew Album: SSU 3 in Alsace, 1915-1916Add to your cart.
This album contains photograph numbers 1953-2104 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 28: A. Piatt Andrew Album: SSU 3 in Alsace, 1915-1916Add to your cart.
This album contains photograph numbers 2105-2580 in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.
Box 29: Anonymous SSU 17 and World War I AlbumsAdd to your cart.
These albums are not inventoried in the photographic inventory completed in 1990.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs and Negatives, 1910-1987 (bulk 1915-1917)],
[Series 2: Glass-Plate Negatives, ca. 1915-1917],
[Series 3: Lantern Slides, ca. 1915-1917],
[Series 4: Albums, ca. 1915-1919],
[All]


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