Madame Anna Guérin’s voyage to the USA, in October 1914, was her first Atlantic Sea crossing. The ship docked in New York on 09 October 1914 and the Passenger List gave Madame Guérin’s destination address as ‘The St. Regis Hotel’, New York.
Characteristically, Anna wasted no time in introducing herself to a new country. In a hastily written Synopsis (1941), Anna Guérin described her position at that time[sic]:
“As the U. S. were neutral I could not call myself a WAR LECTURER and could not speak about the War in public places, but I lectured in Universities : YALE, HARVARD, CHAMPAIGN – Ill, ATHENS – Georgia – etc etc in many Colleges : Bryn maur, Wellesley, Vassar, Mount Hollyoke etc and many private schools and Seminaries and Convents. After the French lecture I was making an appeal for the French and Belgium refugies and the money collected for them was sent directly to THE SECOURS DE FANCE in Paris . But when the U. S. entered the War, I became a War lecturer, and lectured for the Red Cross throughout the Country.”
Right from the word “go”, Anna Guérin was raising funds for victims of the war.
23 November 1914 is the earliest date discovered for a lecture given by Madame Guérin in the U.S.A. (so far). Madame Guérin was in Wilmington, Delaware. She was there to speak at the Misses Hebb’s School – at a meeting of the Alliance Française, held at 3.30 p.m. The Evening Journal of Wilmington, Delaware enlightened its readers on 19 November [sic]:
“TO ADDRESS FRENCH ALLIANCE. Madame Guerin (Sarah Granier) will speak on the life of Marie Antoinette and of Charlotte Corday and Madam Roland at a meeting of the Alliance Francaise on Monday afternoon at 3.3. o’clock. The meeting will be held at the Misses Hebbs’ School. Madame Guerin will dress in the costumes of the period.”
The next day, Madame Guérin’s lecture was reviewed. The review confirms what Madame Guérin wrote in her 1941 Synopsis about not being able to call herself a “War Lecturer” when she first arrived in the U.S.A. – as quoted above. Here is the review from the Wilmington’s Evening Journal, 24 November 1914 [sic]:
“CHILDREN OF BRITTANY TOO, SUFFER BY WAR.
At the second meeting of the Wilmington group of the Alliance Francaise held yesterday afternoon at the Misses Hebbs’ School, the lecturer was Madame Guerin, nee Sarah Granier, who spoke on Marie Antoinette, Madame Roland and Charlotte Corday.
An interesting feature of the lecture consisted of Mme. Guerin’s wearing the various costumes of the characters of which she was speaking, appearing successively as Marie Antoinette in her coronation robes, in her shepherdess costumes at Petit Trianon and lastly in the plain black gown worn by the “Widow Capet” during the last days of imprisonment at the Conciergerie.
At the conclusion of the lecture, Mme. Guerin spoke concerning the fishermen and their families of Brittany, for whom she always devotes half the proceeds of her lecture receipts. It was especially distressing, said Mme. Guerin, that these fishermen, whose wives and children were mainly dependent on the “catches” made by their husbands, should be deprived of their livelihood on account of the present war. She brought out how the fishermen, after an especially splendid catch, arrived home only to be told of the outbreak of the war and of the necessity of their leaving everything to join the ranks. They did not even have time to market their heavy catch of fish and were forced to throw the fish back into the sea.
Though not herself a Breton, Mme. Guerin comes from a little village in the Cevennes, where her children now are with their grandparents. In order to send some Christmas cheer to the poor children in the village Mme. Guerin asked for any old toys or children’s clothes that those in the audience could spare, adding that she would be very glad to use them for that purpose. Mrs. William C. Speakman of No. 1201 Delaware avenue, will gladly forward anything that is donated to this cause.”
The Misses Hebb’s School was a private Day and Resident School for Girls in Wilmington, Delaware. – in 1922, the school advertised “… continuing to prepare girls thoroughly for college, and to provide a liberal education for those who do not wish to pursue a college course …”. The school was opened in 1880 as a Boarding School, by the Misses Ruth and Elizabeth Hebb. The first school was located at Ninth and West Sts. In 1887, it moved to a building at Pennsylvania Ave. and Franklin St. It was one of the most fashionable institutions in the State of Delaware, as it was the only school maintained exclusively for the children of the rich.
The Misses Hebb’s School appears to have been connected with a lot of charity work throughout the whole of the First World War. The school shut at the end of the 1930 Summer Term.
On 01 December 1914, Madame Guérin gave her first lecture in New York which was linked to New York’s ‘Joan of Arc Statue Committee’. Just before the First World War began, a committee was formed to honour the ‘Franco-American Alliance’. A statue of the French heroine Joan of Arc was commissioned and the committee set about fund-raising. Madame Guérin’s lecture was probably one of the Committee’s important fund-raising events.
The Courier-News of Bridgewater, New Jersey (30 Nov. 1914), printed the following article about the event which was to occur the next evening [sic]:
“JEANNE D’ARC” LECTURE TOMORROW NIGHT.
The Committee on lectures of the Museum of French Art, 402 Madison avenue, New York City, and the Joan of Arc Statue Committee, has announced a joint lecture in French to be delivered at Rumford Hall, 50 East Forty-first street, tomorrow night at 8.15 o’clock. Madame E. Guerin will lecture on “Jeanne D’Arc,” for the first time in New York. She will wear armor and costumes similar to those worn by Joan of Arc. There will also be lantern slides.”
On 07 December 1914, Madame Guérin gave another lecture. On that day, during the afternoon, Madame Anna Guérin “appeared” at the Waldorf Hotel in New York. It may have been a lecture on Jeanne d’Arc …
On 14 December 1914, the New York Tribune printed a large feature article about Anna. It was an article entitled “The Women Of France Have Always Been Feminists” and appears to have been written after a critic had attended a lecture about Jeanne d’Arc, given by Anna. It may have been reviewing a lecture given in the afternoon of Monday, 07 December 1914 – it does not give the venue.
The review documents how Jeanne d’Arc is portrayed as the young shepherdess; as the warrior in armour; and, finally, the sack-clothed Maid being led to the stake. Such is the riveting description of the performance and the sympathetic interview afterwards, that it suggests a total captivation of the critic. Much is learnt about Anna the woman and lecturer that it is worth documenting.
Anna made many bold statements in the interview:“The women of France have always been feminists”; “As wives and mistresses of Kings, they ruled France”; “Today the real officers of the French Republic are the wives of the ministers. Anna hailed the French heroine Jeanne d’Arc as the greatest feminist of France …. of the world. Anna spoke of her French country-women taking the places of their husbands, who had gone off to fight. The same situation faced women from all the countries at war, of course, but the USA was not yet at war so that statement would not refer to America.
It was stated that Madame Guérin was on the Légion d’honneur waiting list but no proof of this has been discovered – perhaps the reporter was mistaken, perhaps it was her husband who was on the list!? The subject of her costumes was discussed – apparently, Anna had studied many vintage engravings and read hundreds of books, seeking the most authenticity. Her Jeanne d’Arc suit of armour was claimed to be 500 years old and was possibly worn in the ‘Hundred Years’ War’ between France and England – if this fact was true, it does appear that Anna’s costumes were very authentic indeed.
This all led on to mentioning the impending erection of a New York statue of Jeanne d’Arc. Anna explained that she was glad the city was to get this … “women are now beginning to have the courage in obeying the voices that come to them … ” she said. Anna was asked if she believed Jeanne d’Arc really did hear voices, Anna answered “Indeed, I do. There are always voices hovering about us trying to be heard, trying to advise us and direct us.”
The above shown image of Madame Guérin, portraying Jeanne d’Arc, accompanied that New York Tribune article and the full transcription follows here [sic]:
“The Women Of France Have Always been Feminists” – Mme. Guerin, Candidate for the Legion d’Honneur. Distinguished French Woman Points to Women in Past and Present France as the Real Rulers of That Land.
The women of France have always been feminists. French history is replete with their achievements. In their salons they ruled over the world of arts and letters. As wives and mistresses of kings they ruled France. To-day the real officers of the French Republic are the wives of its ministers – so says Mme. Sarah Guerin, wife of a distinguished French statesman. She has herself won distinction from the government. She is a lecturer, an officer of the Académie Française and of the Instruction Publique, and her name is on the waiting list of the Legion d’Honneur.
It is because men and women have worked together that there is no really distinct “feminist” movement in France, as there is in England, Mme. Guerin believes.
“French women have always been the equals of their husbands,” she declared. “They work together for the support of the family and they have common interests. Here the husbands must make the money for the women to spend. Their interests are not one.”
Greatest Feminist Jeanne d’Arc.
The greatest feminist of France, or, as Mme. Guerin says, the greatest in the world, was Jeanne d’Arc.
“The influence of the peasant girl of Domremy is still felt in France,” she said, speaking apropos of the statue of Jeanne d’Arc which is to be erected in New York. “No other country has in its annals a figure comparable to her – heroine, saint and martyr. She was the angel of the Renaissance, the messenger of a free and better humanity. Her virtue, her religion and her patriotism called forth purity, courage and sacrifice. We are merely at the dawn of a day which will see accomplished her unfinished mission.”
Because of this visionary peasant girl, the women of France to-day are more noble and more sacrificing, Mme. Guerin believes.
Countrywomen Giving All but Lives.
“Every French woman is working for her country to-day. They have taken the places of their husbands in the fields and in the shops, and they saw and knit and bandage for the soldiers at the front. It is the women, of course, who give in all wars. They give the sons and the fathers and husbands. And now my countrywomen are giving everything but their lives.
Lectures in Costume.
To make more vivid her representation of Jeanne d’Arc in her lectures Mme. Guerin appears in costumes similar to those worn by the inspired shepherdess-soldier 500 years ago. First she appears as the simple little “bergarette” who tended her father’s flocks on the outskirts of Domremy-sure-Meuse. Then she pictures the child listening to the voices that tell her: “It is you, Jeanne, whom Heaven has chosen to place King Charles upon his throne again. You, yourself, shall take arms and drive the English out of France.”
Later Mme. Guerin shows herself in armor, portraying the exalted girl-warrior; then as she spun and prayed in her prison at Rouen, and finally in the sackcloth gown worn by the Maid of Orleans when she was led to the stake.
Mme. Guerin studied old engravings and searched through hundreds of books in her search for authentic costumes. The suit of armor she wears as the warrior Joan was made in ‘France 500 years ago, and was probably worn by a soldier in the Hundred Years’ War.
“I am glad New York is to have a statue of Jeanne d’Arc,” Mme. Guerin said. “Women now are beginning to have her courage in obeying the voices that come to them, the voices that are unseen and unheard by others.
Voices Hover About Us Too.
“Do I believe Jeanne d’Arc really heard voices? Indeed, I do. There are always voices hovering about us trying to be heard, trying to advise us and direct us. But few of us lead such pure, simple lives as did Jeanne d’Arc, and that is why we do not hear them. Then there are some who do, and who are afraid of ridicule and dare not let the world know they have heart.”
The statue of Jeanne d’Arc now being made for New York is the work of a woman, Miss Anna Vaughn Hyatt. It is a life-sized model and portrays Jeanne after her finding the consecrated sword. She is holding it up to her God and praying for guidance
“Miss Hyatt’s conception portrays Jean d’Arc from a spiritual rather than from a warlike point of view. Her sword is ready to smite, but her face is upraised as if seeking guidance from the voices. The details of the armor are strikingly correct. They tell me that the stones which form the base were brought from the prison in Rouen where Jeanne spent her last days. It will be an inspiring figure for your city.
The reporter was curious to know how Mme. Guerin had gained the honor that the title “officier” of the French Academy brings.
Saved Madagascar Slave Girls.
“I won my appointment to the Academy through work in behalf of the slave girls of Madagascar,” she explained. “Girls were reared there with no other aim than to be the mistress of some man. They were brought in from the provinces when they are thirteen or fourteen and sold like animals in the streets of Madagascar. I helped to establish schools where they were taught sewing and housework and various occupations that would enable them to earn a living.”
Did Anna Guérin think of herself as a feminist? Would she be considered one today? Certainly, she appears to have been equal to her husband Eugéne – who did not stand in her way, as she heeded her voices. It was in this interview that Anna described her work with the girls of Madagascar. Anna’s work with these girls surely demonstrated her feminist determination to have all girls educated and have them play a rightful and useful role in society.
In the evening of that same aforementioned 07 December 1914, Madame Guérin gave (what might have been) her second lecture in the United States of America. The lecture was given at the Glen Eden School for Girls, at Poughkcepsie, New York State. The next day, the Poughkeepsie Eagle News printed a review of that lecture:
“MME. GUERIN AT GLEN EDEN.
Mme. E. Guerin, one of the foremost French lecturers in this country, presented a lecture on the life of Marie Antoinette at Glen Eden on Monday evening, which was listened to by the student body and proved one of the most interesting affairs in the fall work at the school.
The lecture depicted five periods in the life of Marie Antoinette. In each of the periods costumes appropriate were worn by Mme. Guerin. The lecturer’s dramatic technique was wonderful and although the lecture was given in French and primarily for the French students, the lecture was executed in such form as to be of absorbing interest to the entire student body.
Mme. Guerin is lecturing at the foremost girls school in this county for the benefit of the orphans in France. Monday afternoon she appeared at the Waldorf in New York and today she will be at a prominent girls school at Ossining.”
The above transcription states that Madame Guérin was to be at a “prominent girls school at Ossining” (New York State) on 08 December 1914 but it does not name the specific school in question. Perhaps it was the private ‘Girls High School’?
… and so 1915 arrived …
During the first week of February 1915, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the College of St. Elizabeth, in Morristown, New Jersey. On Friday 12 February 1915, The Madison Eagle of New Jersey mentioned it [sic]:
“PRE-LENTEN ACTIVITY AT ST. ELIZABETH’S COLLEGE.
A schedule of pre-Lenten entertainments has been arranged for and by the students of the College of St. Elizabeth. It began last week with a dramatic presentation of Marie Antoinette and the Court of Louis XV, by Madame E. Guerin. The lecture, under the auspices of the Fenelon and the Deutscher Verein, the French and the German clubs of the college, was illustrated by pictures of the Court of Louis. Miss Anna Ferris, president of the Fenelon, and a member of the class of 1915, explained the various slides. The lecture proper by Madame Guerin was given entirely in French. … …”
On 05 February 1915, Madame Guérin lectured at the Splinters Rogers Hall School in Lowell, Massachusetts. Anna gave a lecture on Marie Antoinette – this was the review [sic]:
“MADAME GUÉRIN’S LECTURE. February 5th –
We all accepted Miss Parson’s invitation in French to attend a lecture on Marie Antoinette, given by Madame Guérin. In spite of the fact that many of the girls could not understand much French, the lecture proved very interesting, as Madame Guérin spoke slowly and clearly, and with the help of her gestures, it was not hard to understand her.
She appeared on the stage in the charming costume of a young girl, with powdered curls, large black hat, and a yellow bodice. The girlhood of Marie Antoinette formed the first topic of her talk, which told how the young Princess was taken from the Austrian Court to become the wife of the French Dauphin, later Louis XVI. She was gay and frivolous, and Madame Guérin, in royal robes, with a beautiful cape of blue, told of the young Queen’s hatred of court ceremonial. She tried in many ways to evade it, sometimes rising early to escape the three ladies-in-waiting who came to dress her.
The third costume was that of a shepherdess, showing how Marie Antoinette satisfied her whims, and loved to play in her model dairy near the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Meanwhile the poor people, oppressed and starved, had no voice in the government. At last, angered by all that they had suffered from the royal family and the nobility, they would stand it no longer, and the Revolution broke out.
Madam Guérin, in a black dress, told of the imprisonment of the royal family; of how, after a while, Marie Antoinette was separated from her children and put into a cell alone; of the agony of mind she underwent, while thus torn away from her dear ones. She was mocked at by the guards, and yet she always remained calm, even at the trial where she was condemned to the guillotine.
Finally came the last morning of her life, and Marie Antoinette, in a dark dress and wearing the tricolor cockade, which had been thrust upon her, was led out to be executed, courageous even to the end.
At intervals, between the changes of costume, we enjoyed seeing lantern slides of historical places, relating to Marie Antoinette and the Revolution, and the portraits of most of the people whom Madame Guérin had mentioned. She was very cordial in thanking us for our attention, but we felt that we were indebted to her, because of the pleasure that her interesting talk had given us. ELEANOR B. GOODRICH”
On 08 February 1915, Madame Guérin lectured at the High School in Boston. The Boston Daily Globe printed a short review the following day: “Madame E. Guerin, officer of the Academy of Public Instruction in France, lectured before the members of the French Club of the High School yesterday afternoon. The entire program was in French, and the lecturer took for her subject, “Marie Antoinette,” illustrating the life of the queen with appropriate costumes.”
Ahead of a lecture to be given on Wednesday, 16 February 1915, the Lawrence Daily Journal World of Lawrence, Kansas (15 February) printed this article:
“LECTURE ON JOAN OF ARC. Mme. E. Guerin Will Speak At University Tomorrow.
Tomorrow afternoon Lawrence people will have an opportunity to hear a speaker tell a story in a foreign tongue, and yet understand. The speaker will be Mme. E. Guerin, described as one of the greatest dramatic readers. She will portray in vivid manner the life of Joan of Arc in a recital to be given at 4:30 o’clock in Fraser Hall. Because of Mme. Guerin’s ability as an actress, members of the faculty of the Romance language department of the university have issued a general invitation to the public to attend.
Students of history say that no other woman has ever led a life which equals that of the French heroine in thrilling episodes. Mme. Guerin will picture for her audience this life from the time Joan of Arc was a peasant girl, to her assuming leadership of an army which defeated the English, and finally her tragic death at the stake in 1431.”
On 12 March 1915, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Their ‘Abbot Courant’ reported on it – “Impersonation of Marie Antoinette by Mme. E. Guérin, in costume.”:
“On Friday afternoon, March the twelfth, we had the unusual privilege of hearing of the life of that famous queen of France, Marie Antoinette, from the lips of a Frenchwoman of great charm, Mme. Guerin. Through her delightfully clear and simple French and from the beautiful costumes which she wore in impersonating the ill-fated queen, she gave to us an impression and an understanding of her life which we shall not soon forget. Throughout her talk we felt the influence of Mme. Guerin’s peculiarly charming personality.”
On Saturday 20 March 1915, the Bridgeport Evening Farmer (Connecticut) announced that Madame Guérin was going to give impersonations – in aid of the Red Cross. This was written, in the ‘SOCIAL AND PERSONAL’ column [sic]:
“A most unique meeting of the Alliance Francaise will be held on Monday evening in the Hotel Stratfield with Mme. Guerin, an accomplished reader who will give impersonations of Marie Antoinette. For the impersonations she will wear a number of historically correct court gowns. Her entertainment is said to be most interesting and instruction. She will present the ill fated queen at various phases of her life showing her in her happiest moods and in her sorrow.
Mme. Guerin’s voice is said to be of exquisite quality. Her French is so perfect that those with but little knowledge of the language can follow her readily while the impersonation are said to be so good that even those who did not understand French have been able to follow and to enjoy them.
Mrs. H. A. Dorsey, contralto, will assist in the entertainment by contributing three French songs. Stereopticon views of the palaces in which Marie Antoinette lived, loved and suffered will be shown in connection with Mme. Guerin’s impersonations.
The entertainment is being given for the benefit of the Red Cross society and tickets may be purchased at the door. Jonathan Godfrey is president of the local groupe of the Alliance Francaise, Miss Margaret Somerset, vice president and Miss Nan Fay, secretary.”
A 22 March 1915 lecture by Madame Anna Guérin was announced on 04 March 1915, in The Bridgeport Evening Farmer (Connecticut). She would appear under the auspices of the ‘Alliance Française’. This was (is still) a literary society dating back to 1883 – when it was founded in Paris under patronage of Paul Cambon & Pierre Foncin. It centred around well-known figures Ferdinand de Lessops, Louis Pasteur and Jules Verne). The society exists to promote the French language and the French culture across the world. During Anna’s era, the society’s main activities were the lectures – with limelight illustrations. The ‘Alliance Française’ exists in 136 countries today.
This is the article which appeared in the Bridgeport Evening Farmer (04 March 1915) [sic]: “FAMOUS FRENCH IMPERSONATOR TO BE HERE MONDAY.
Madame Sarah Guerin the celebrated “French impersonator, who has appeared before most of the royal families, and before hundreds of critical and cultured audiences in Europe, is to appear in Bridgeport, Monday evening, March 22, at the Hotel Stratfield under the auspices of the ‘Alliance Francaise for the benefit of the Red Cross.
Madame Guerin is to present the life of Marie Antoinette in a very novel and striking manner.
She will appear first in the costume of the Dauphine then as the young queen; next” as the Shepherdess of the petit Trianon, then as the prisoner in the Conciergerie and last as the
victim on the scaffold.
The personality of Madame Guerin is charming, her acting is superb, while her French is the exquisite French of the Conservatoire and of the Comedie Francaise.
While Madame Guerin is changing her costumes the mise en scene will be supplied by stereopticon views of the palaces in which ‘Marie Antoinette lived. These pictures are unusually fine, especially those of the Petit Trianon where the young queen is shown playing the role of a paysanne in Arcadie.
The diction of Madame Guerin is so perfect, the wonderful play of emotions in her countenance so expressive, her costumes so beautiful and the stereopticon views so lifelike that everyone with any knowledge of, French, or even without it, will be able to enjoy the artistic charm of the presentation.”
Importantly, this article stated that Anna’s performance would benefit the Red Cross. It sets the scene for the following few years, whereby Anna travelled around the USA lecturing initially under ‘Alliance Française’ but, additionally, helping to raise funds for the orphans of France plus the French and US war efforts – making several voyages across the Atlantic during those dangerous years.
On 23 March 1915, the Bridgeport Evening Farmer (Conn.) reviewed the Red Cross benefit event the evening before – again under ‘SOCIAL AND PERSONAL’ [sic]:
“The Red Cross benefit last evening at the Hotel Stratfield under the auspices of the Alliance Francaise, was entirely a success. The lecturer and personator, Madame E. Guerin, took for her subject, Marie Antoinette, portraying the attractive but ill-fated queen first in the costume of the Dauphine, then the young queen, next as the shepherdess of the Petit Trianon, then as the prisoner in the Conclergerie, and last as the victim on the scaffold.
Mme. Guerin’s charming personality, added to her splendid acting and exquisite French, made the entertainment exceedingly delightful.
During the intermissions when Mme. Guerin was changing her costumes, stereopticon views of the places themselves in which Marie Antoinette spent her life, were shown.
Mrs. H. A. Dorsey, contralto, contributed three French songs, “Mon Desir,” Nevin; “Elegie,” Massonet, and “Le Ciel Est Pardessus le Tait,” Williams, which were much enjoyed.”
On 13 April 1915, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the Catherine Strong Hall in Rochester, New York State. It had been announced by The Democrat and Chronicle on 11 April:
“FRENCH HEROINES THEME. Mme. Guerin to Give Monologues before French Alliance. Madame M. Guerin, officer de l’instruction publique in Paris, will appear before the Alliance Francaise on Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock in Catherine Strong Hall. She will give a group of monologues in costume, entitled “Les Trois Heroines – Victims de la Revolution, Charlotte Corday.” It will be illustrated with lantern slides.
Madame Guerin is giving the proceeds of her lecture recitals to the funds for the assistance of widows and orphans in France. She is an experienced lecturer and has toured England, Scotland and Ireland, appearing before societies, colleges and schools.”
The Friends Intelligencer (published in Philadelphia, 05 June 1915) reported on a lecture given by Madame Guérin earlier in the year, at the ?Earlham College:
“Among the interesting events of the year in the French department has been the illustrated lecture, in French, given by Madame E. Guerin, a distinguished educator and government official from France. Her subject was Marie Antoinette, and during the course of the lecture she appeared in five different costumes, illustrative of the different periods in the life of the French Queen. Madame Guerin is in the country to raise a fund for the benefit of French widows and orphans. The fifty dollars necessary to secure her at the college were a part of seventy dollars obtained for her fund by the thirteen Senior students majoring in French. It is expected that she will return next year to give us her celebrated representation of Joan of Arc.”
A Port Arthur News Chronicle article (Canada, 1921) reported that Anna had lectured in the USA from October 1914 until May 1915, after which she returned to France. It also stated that, during that stay in France, Anna had helped the people of her district and “… lived near the trenches, in order … … to renew her courage at the real source – by the unquenchable courage of the poilus”.
Regarding the aforementioned French war orphans, the existence of the newly formed ‘Fatherless Children of France’ charity – also referred to as ‘Orphelinat des Armées’ (later known as ‘Fraternité Franco-Américaine’) – created some confusion for Anna Guérin in the years to come, whereby it was thought that she was an official representative of the charity when, in essence, she raised funds for fatherless children of France in general.
The ‘Fatherless Children of France’ organisation held, at its heart, the welfare of children of French soldiers who had been killed during the war – as did Madame Anna Guérin. France was worried that, if these children did not prosper, a generation would be lost and France would be the poorer for it. They needed these suffering children to thrive because they were the future of France. It was imperative that France’s culture and language survive beyond the war.
The people of the USA were asked to “adopt” a French child for at least 10¢ a day, as the pin below illustrates. Basically, those who “adopted” were committing to sponsor a child or children. At the core of the cause was: that French orphans should be brought up in France; in their fathers’ religion; and with their mothers and siblings, if possible. In the absence of a family member, qualified guardians were appointed. ‘Fatherless Children of France’ committees in villages, towns and cities were formed to administer funds, in order that these orphaned children’s lives were sustained for as long as need be. Fund raising occurred right from the start of the war, before the USA entered it.
Consciences must have been pricked when articles appeared in US newspapers, such as one in 1917 for Marin County Branch (California, est. April 1916): when a list of the adopters was printed, along with the number of children adopted. Occasionally, people adopted 2; 3; or 4 children but the norm was one. Donation amounts were listed (along with donors’ names) and these questions were asked: “Is your name amongst those on the following list? If it is not, there is a little French child whose name and address you may have, patiently waiting for more to eat. Will you give it? Ten cents a day for two years is all that is necessary”. Such articles must have made awkward reading for those who hadn’t given or couldn’t give.
The ‘Fatherless Children of France’ charity was an ‘umbrella’ organisation for the numerous other French orphan societies to become affiliated to. In November 1917, it re-organised under the title of ‘Fraternite Franco-Americaine’ (known to English speakers as ‘Fraternal League for the Children of France’) and Marshall Joffre became its President. By 21 May 1918, it had 54 of these orphan societies under its wing plus 180 associated committees in the USA.
It was reported in newspapers that Anna was a delegate or representative for the ‘Fatherless Children of France’, in the USA. That said, in a Kansas city (June 1918), there was a very slight misunderstanding as to whether Anna was authorised to fund-raise for the ‘F.C. of F.’ organisation per se. This issue was soon resolved and it can be said with certainty that Anna was a genuine and trust-worthy fund-raiser for the widows and fatherless children of France (in the devastated areas of France) and many other war-related good causes.
The simple pieces of ephemera shown below illustrate the poignant situation of the First World War French refugees. After identifying widows & orphans in need, the ‘Fatherless Children of France’ charity would send a widow monetary coupons in the post. The back of each coupon reads: “American Society of assistance to war orphans – Thanks to the generosity of the American benefactor whose name was sent to you, this payment is being sent to you. We encourage you to write without delay to the Benefactor if you want the continuation of his benefits beyond the adoption period which you have been advised. Do not acknowledge receipt of this mandate to our Paris office. Do not send us any certificate of life.”
Sold in France, the rear of the following promotional card gives interesting, comprehensive information about how the French charity ‘L’Association des Orphelins de la Guerre’ (The Association of Orphans of War) operated. A translation follows after the original French text:
LES ORPHELINS DE LA GUERRE — A St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.
“L’Association des Orphelins de la Guerre, créé dès le 2 août 1914 par un grand movement de solidarite populair venu des Faubourgs de Paris, recueille immediatement, sans formalities, quels que soient leur nombre et leur âge, sur tous les points du territoire, tous les enfants dont les père sont tombés au champ d’honneur, et les élève, à ses frais, dans ses colonies, jusqu’à leur majorité, au moyen de groupements familiaux confiés aux veuves de la guerre et aux mutilés de la guerre.
Depuis le 2 août 1914, elle a poursuivi sans relâche ce double but; assurer aux pères combatant la sécurité que, quoi qu’il arrive, leurs enfants, privés de mere, ne seraient pas abandonnés au vice et à la misère, et sauvegarder l’avenir de la race dans ce qu’il a de plus précieux.
L’Association, dont les statuts furent déposés le 16 novembre 1914, se ramifie sur tout le territoire. Ses Sections regionales sont en plein fonctionnement, avec leurs pouponnières où des mères nourricières, veuves de la guerre, allaitent outre leur enfant un orphelin de la guerre; avec leurs innombrables familles adoptives où des veuves de la guerre, d’un dévouement admirable, entourent les dix enfants qui leur sont confiés des soins les plus tenders et les plus vigilants; avec leurs maternelles, leurs écoles primaries, leurs écoles de plein air; avec leurs ateliers familiaux d’apprentissage où les mutilés de la guerre enseigneront aux petits orphelins de la guerre les métiers qu’ils ne peuvent plus exercer.
EXTRAIT DES STATUTS. — ARTICLE VI. — Sont Membres donateurs, les associations, les syndicats, les particuliers faisant à l’Œuvre, une fois pour toutes, un don d’au moins cent cinquante francs. —
ARTICLE VII. — Sont Membres adherents toutes les personnes qui contribueront à l’Œuvre commune par une souscription annuelle de douze francs au moins, soit en une fois, soit par versements mensuels.”
The Orphans of the War – at St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. (Nice, Alpes-Maritimes)
“The Association of Orphans of War created since August 2, 1914 by a great movement of popular solidarity on the outskirts of Paris, immediately gathered, without formalities, whatever their number and age on all points of the territory, all children whose father fell in battle, and students, at its expense, in its colonies, until their majority/legal age, entrusted to family groups to war widows and to the mutilated of the war.
Since August 2, 1914, it has relentlessly pursued this dual purpose; to assure the fighting fathers of the security that, whatever happens, their children, deprived of mother, would not be abandoned to vice and misery, and to safeguard the future of the race of that which is most precious.
The Association, whose statutes were filed November 16, 1914, has branches throughout the country. Its regional Sections are in full operation, with their nurseries where foster mothers, war widows, furthermore breastfeeding their child an orphan of war; with their countless adoptive families where widows of war, with an admirable dedication, surround the ten children entrusted in their most vigilant care; with their mothers, their primaries schools, their outdoor schools; with their family learning workshops where the mutilated of war will teach the orphans of the war the trades they can no longer exercise.
EXTRACT OF THE STATUTES. — ARTICLE VI. — Members are donors, associations, unions, individuals doing the Work, once and for all, at least a hundred and fifty francs donation.
Above: One of the many charity flag days in France during 1914-1918 Great War, 14 July 1916, Bastille Day – French girls and Scottish soldiers: “Le 14 Juillet Paris en 1916” – Journée de Paris.
Returning to 1915 in the U.S.A. … it is not known exactly when Madame Anna Guérin arrived back in the U.S.A., with daughter Raymonde.
On 30 September 1915, however, Anna’s other daughter Renée was found arriving in New York – to join her. Renée had sailed from Bordeaux on 19 September, on the S.S. Espagne. The Passenger List information documented that Renée would join her “mother Mrs. Guerin, Waldorf Astoria, New York city”. Renée’s stated age was “13” … no other passenger’s name was recognised as being her companion/chaperone.
In the November, Anna was found lecturing yet again. The Bridgeport Evening Farmer, Connecticut (30 October 1915) informed its readers of a forthcoming event in November, in its column “SOCIAL AND PERSONAL”:
“Madame E. Guerin, whose artistic dramatic presentation of the life of Marie Antoinette was so much enjoyed by the members of the Alliance Francaise, Groupe de Bridgeport, last spring, will be the speaker at the first meeting of the season of that society to be held on Monday evening, Nov, 15 at the Hotel Stratfleld. The hour of meeting will be 8:15. Madame Guerin’s “Conference, Artistique” is entitled “Le Salon de Mme. de Rambouillet la cour de Louis XIV”.
The Bridgeport Group of the Alliance Francaise extends a most cordial invitation to its membership to all persons interested in French. This society is part of a national, or rather international federation. It is thus able to give its members the benefits of hearing, eminent scholars from abroad and from the universities of this country, and to put them in touch with a world-wide circle interested in things French.
The advantages offered to those interested in French as advanced students are practically those of a university extension. For those interested merely for pleasure, the Alliance offers entertaining lectures with views, opportunities to hear French music, French poems and readings, and to see and take part in French plays. For those who speak French well it give many occasions for, practice with native speakers, for perfecting accent and idiom. For those who are learning the language either in school or with private teachers it gives the same benefit that concerts and operas do to the music student; it in no way competes with or duplicates the study but supplements it.”
On Sunday 24 October 1915, Madame Guerin gave a lecture at Mount Saint Mary’s College, in Watchung, New Jersey on Joan of Arc/Jeanne d’Arc. Three days before (22 Oct), The Courier-News of Bridgewater, New Jersey, reported on the forthcoming event [sic]:
“WILL LECTURE ON JEANNE D’ARC.
Madame L. Guerin, an officer of the Academy of Public Instruction, will deliver a lecture in French and English on Jeanne D’Arc at Mt. St. Mary’s College on Sunday afternoon. Madame Guerin will lecture with armor and costumes similar to those worn by Jeanne D’Arc.”
On Wednesday 27 October 1915, the Hartford Courant (of Hartford, Connecticut) printed a press release from the Boys’ High School there. Part of it related to Madame Guérin [sic]:
“PRESS CLUB FOR HIGH SCHOOL BOYS. …
MADAME GUERIN TO PLAY FRENCH PART. …
Madame Guerin in French Part.
Madame Guerin, the celebrated French impersonator, is expected to pay a visit in the school in the near future. She will present a character part from some French play, for the upperclass members of the school who are taking French as one of their studies. Her appearance at the school is being looked forward to eagerly by both teachers and students.”
On 01 November 1915, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at an Alliance Française meeting, held at the Misses Hebb’s school in Wilmington, Delaware. In the 14 October issue of The Morning News (Wilmington) a short article made reader aware – although the date was changed in the interim [sic]:
“ALLIANCE FRANCAISE. Two Lectures of Interest to be Given Next Month. The Alliance Francaise will hold to meetings next month and both will be at the Misses Hebb’s school. At the first meeting, November 3 at 3.30 o’clock in the afternoon, Madame Guerin, who is well known here, will speak on “The Salon of Madame de Rambouillet and the Court of Louis XIV. She will wear a reproduction of a costume of Mlle. de la Valleri. … …”
The Evening Journal of Wilmington, on 2 November 1915, printed a short review of the lecture held the day before [sic]:
“ALLIANCE FRANCIASE BEGINS WORK.
With Madame Guerin as lecturer, the first meeting of the fall of the Alliance Franciase was held yesterday afternoon at the Misses Hebb School. The subject was “Anecdotes of the Salon of Mme. de Rambouillet and the Court of Louis XIV.” To add the touch of realism to her lecture, Madame Guerin was attired in a gown which was an exact reproduction of the court dress of that period, once worn by Mlle. de la Valliere.
Announcement was made that the Alliance Francaise would send a Christmas box to the French soldiers at the front. Articles of clothing, caps, stockings, etc., knitted goods and chocolate will be gladly received by the secretary, Mrs. William C. Speakman, No. 1201 Delaware avenue, or gifts of money for the purpose of such articles as may be needed. All such gifts must be received before November 15.”
On 06 November 1915, Anna Guérin lectured at the famous Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania. Their NEWS FROM THE CAMPUS reported: “Meeting of the History Club. Dramatic Lecture before the College by Madame E. Guerin (Sarah Granier) of Lyon, France. Subject: “Marie Antoinette.” The lecture was delivered in French and illustrated with stereopticon slides, costumes of the period being worn.”
On 12 November 1915, an “illustrated lecture” was given by Madame E. Guérin. It was given a very short mention in the 14 November edition of The Washington Post – but at least it gave another date to the Guérin diary [sic]: “Mme. E. Guerin gave an illustrated lecture on France Friday evening, at 1710 I street. Her subject was Jeanne d’Arc.” N.B. This may, in fact, be 1710 H street in Washington D.C.; may have been the home of one Dr. J. Gartell (?).
On 15 November 1915, Anna Guérin gave a ‘Conference, Artistique’ entitled ‘Le Salon de Mme. de Rambouillet la cour de Louis XIV’ at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Ahead of the lecture, The Bridgeport Evening Farmer (12 November) printed this article:
“FRENCH ACTRESS WILL TELL STORY OF FAMED RAMBOUILLET SALON.
At the opening meeting of the Alliance Francaise, which will be held at the Stratford next Monday evening, Madame E. Guerin, the celebrated French actress, will tell in her inimitable fashion the picturesque story of the salon, which the famous mistress of the Hotel de Rambouillet maintained for half a century, and its relations with all that was fairest, wisest, wittiest, and bravest in the court of Louis XIV.
The salon of Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet, represented all that was most charmingly fantastic in seventeenth century feminism. It drew to the stately mansion poets and men of letters who constitute to this day the chief literary glory of France. Scarcely the name of any splendid man or woman is missing from Madame’s visiting list. If the ambitious life, with its somewhat stilted code of manners, found itself unduly emphasized by imitators who drew down upon it the laughing satire of Moliere’s “Precienses Ridicules.” It was also in many respects a gracious manifestation of feminine charm.
Those members of the Alliance and their friends who had the great pleasure of witnessing Madame Guerin’s exquisite Impersonation of Marie Antoinette last winter will look forward eagerly to her rendering of a character which offers even wider scope for her genius. There is a delightful certainty that the woman who had power to sway the most fascinating age France has ever known will live again before the audience filled with the old charm, persuading beauty to follow things more lasting than itself, coaxing great writers to produce the flower poems which made up the “Guiiande de Julie,” as a gift to her young daughter, and teaching Paris modes of thought and speech.
No lover of French literature or dramatic presentation of history should miss this unusual entertainment.”
On 03 December 1915, Madame Guérin gave another lecture at the Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Their ‘Abbot Courant’ reported on it – the last sentence may bring a smile to the reader’s face: “Lecture and impersonation in French of Jeanne d’Arc, by Mme. Guérin and Mlle. Raymonde.”
“All those who had heard and seen Mme. Guerin as Marie Antoinette last year, were very glad to welcome her on the evening of December third in the charming costumes of Jeanne d’Arc. She was accompanied by her young daughter who helped her in her impersonation. Madame Guerin represented Jeanne in four costumes. Her first dress was that of a young girl tending sheep; her second, a rich dark blue dress; her third represented Jeanne in armor. She appeared the last time dressed as a prisoner in a rudely-made dress of sackcloth. Throughout her lecture, Madame Guerin was so dramatic, her gestures so expressive, that she was easily understood and the interest of her audience was kept to the end. Indeed, a Phillips youth was heard to say that she spoke so entertainingly that he hardly glanced at the fair Abbot girls, whom he at first intended to watch.”
On 06 December 1915, Madame Guérin found herself at the Rogers Hall School in Lowell, Massachusetts again. Within the Splinters Archive, an entry for the Rogers Hall School reads:
“The Rogers Hall School in Lowell, Massachusetts noted for “December 6th–The French lecture, given by Madame Guérin, was anticipated with pleasure by those who had heard her last year. This time we enjoyed a talk on the life of Jeanne D’Arc. Madame Guérin impersonated the Maid of Orleans in costume, and her daughter acted as her page. The lecture, and the accompanying stereopticon pictures, gave us a clear idea of the life of this famous French heroine. ELEANOR B. GOODRICH.”
It appears highly probably that all these articles were arranged through ‘Alliance Française’ contacts but with charity fund-raising connotations.
1915 cannot be signed off without mentioning the poem which would become known as ‘In Flanders Fields’. So much has already been written about this event that I shall not devote many lines to it but it would be remiss of me to omit it from Anna’s story, especially as she used its sentiments whilst fund-raising and encouraging people to accept her poppy emblem.
In short, it is documented that Canadian Physician Major John McCrae (from Guelph in Ontario) wrote his now-famous war poem on 03 May 1915, whilst serving in Belguim with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It is reported that McCrae was not happy with the poem and threw it away. However, John’s fellow Canadian comrade Cyril Allinson retrieved the poem and handed it to his commanding officer. Having survived WWI, Cyril would sit at the ‘Bullshit Table’ at his Legion Branch and recall the story behind the poem and the role he played in it. One version of events in publications goes on to state that the officer posted it off to England. After ‘The Spectator’ rejected the poem, the magazine ‘Punch’ published it on 08 December 1915 – anonymously.
The poem slowly became known, especially after newspapers began to reproduce it. Once authorship was known, Canada used some of the poem’s lines (with a poignant illustration) for recruitment. Anna was known to quote from the poem and, in 1920, she stated that “the verses in translated form are read in every school of France.”
Slowly but surely, the symbol of the poppy began being absorbed into the subconscious of all those who would not “break faith” when the time came.
… and so 1916 dawned …
Madame Anna Guérin continued with her lecturing in the USA – in the mid-western states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.
On 02 February 1916, the ‘Daily Northwestern’ publication notified its readers that Madame Guérin would be giving a lecture at the Normal school auditorium in Oshkosh (Winsconsin) the next day [sic]:
“ENROLLMENT AT NORMAL. Number of Students for the Second Semester’s Work Was 541 up to Last Evening. … … Tomorrow afternoon Madame E. Guerin, a well-known French lyceum artist, will lecture and impersonate at the Normal school auditorium. She will lecture in French on “Marie Antoinette,” and will impersonate the queen. The speaker will wear five different costumes characteristic of that period of history and will be assisted by illustrations and lantern slides.”
On 03 February 1916, Anna Guérin’s lecture at the Normal School Oshkosh (Wisconsin) took place. The Daily Northwestern of Oshkosh (05 Feb) printed a very long review about it:
“Lecture at Normal School.
The impersonation of Marie Antoinette, queen of France, by Madame Guerin at the Normal school Thursday afternoon was attended by a crowd of students and others which taxed the capacity of the auditorium to its limit.
The entire performance of this well known speaker, which lasted over an hour, consisted of a lecture on the life of the French queen, of lantern slides showing the scenes and places connected with the events of her life, and of dramatic impersonations on famous occasions.
Though the French language was used throughout, clear enunciation and careful articulation made it comparatively easy for many who had acquired only the rudiments of that language to comprehend the situation. The performance was divided into five parts, portraying an equal number of celebrated epoch-making periods in the queen’s life. For each of these Madame Guerin impersonated the mannerisms and wore the dress of the occasion.
The lecture opened with the speaker in the custom of the Dauphine Marie Antoinette, told of her early life, marriage to the French Dauphin and her subsequent dislike for the formality of court life. It told of her gay frivolities and contrasted her vivacity with the life of the care-worn phelgmatic king.
The second part dealt with the coronation scenes, the extravagance and benevolent nature of the queen and showed the discontent of the people already arrested under her mad prodigality. In this the costume of the coronation was worn.
The third exhibit was one of the freaks of the queen’s fancy in her efforts to escape the rigid ceremonies of court life. This was her life at the palace of the Trianon which was transformed by Marie Antoinette into a rural village with farm and cattle. Here her guests, dressed as shepherds and shepherdesses, gave themselves up to merrymaking. In this scene the speaker wore the dress of the shepherdess in impersonation of the queen. Then followed the rapid succession of events which culminated in the overthrow of the royalty.
The fourth scene showed the queen in prison and later nobly and proudly answering the questions asked her by the hostile inquisitors of the revolutionary tribunal. Here the simple prison costume was worn.
Part five was the description of the tragic trip to the guillotine with the frenzied mob about the cart which conveyed the queen to the scaffold. Here were heard the scoffs and jeers of the maddened populace ending with the shout of “Viva la Republique” as the executioner completed his work.
Madame Guerin has lectured chiefly before English speaking audiences of colleges throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and the United States.”
On 09 February 1916, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at Fraser Hall, Lawrence, Kansas. The Lawrence Daily Journal World (05 Feb) informed its readers: “At Fraser Hall. Madame Guerin will give a lecture on Joan of Arc in Fraser hall Wednesday at 4:30, February 16. The lecture will be illustrated by lantern slides and will be very interesting. All are invited to attend. Madame Guerin is making a tour of the universities of the west.”
On 10 February 1916, Madame Guérin lectured at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
On 11 February 1916, Madame Guérin would give a lecture in Columbia, Missouri. The ‘University Missourian’ (Columbia) ran two articles ahead of it. This is the article of the 2nd February [sic]:
“WILL GIVE LECTURE IN FRENCH. Madame E. Guerin will Talk to University Auditorium February 11.
Madame E. Guerin, officier d’Academie et de l’Instruction Publique, and membre de I’Ordre du Nichan (el Anwar/Order of Lights), will give a lecture on the three heroines of the French Revolution – Madame Boland and Charlotte Corday — in the University Auditorium Friday, February 11. Madame Guerin will wear costumes of the represented, and the lecture will be illustrated with lantern slides of persons and scenes of the period. Madame Guerin will be accompanied by her daughter, who act as page and assistant in the presentation. The lecture will be given under auspices the Romance language department the University and will be in French.
Dr. Chester Murray said, “Madame Guerin speaks French slowly and distinctly for a beginner in French to understand her, but this in no way interferes with the beauty of her pronunciation.” Madame Guerin has made more than 1,400 lectures in Europe and the United States. She is now making a tour across the continent. She will lecture at the University of Illinois before coming here and later at the University of Kansas.”
… and within the one on the 10th February: “HAS GIVEN 1,200 LECTURES. Madame E. Guerin, Who Speaks Here Tomorrow, Is Well Known.
… Madame Guerin has given 1,200 lectures during the last three years for members of the royal families, literary societies, and 650 colleges, schools and convents. She presented an interpretation of “Jean d’Arc” for the first time in New York City.
In her lecture here Madame Guerin will wear five different costumes, which will be as nearly as possible like those worn by the three characters represented. She will be accompanied by her 14 Year old daughter, who will act as page and assist with the lantern slides. The lecture is given under the auspices of the Romance language department of the University.”
A daughter of Anna’s is mentioned as acting as a page and assistant in several of the presentations and lectures. Analysing all the newspaper reports, they suggested that Anna had given between 1,200 and 1,400 lectures to members of royal families; literary societies; colleges; schools; & convents chiefly within Great Britain and the United States up until then.
On 13 February 1916, the University Missourian publication treated their French speaking readers to this stand-alone Front Page article [sic]:
“TROIS HEROINES INTERPRETEES. Madame Guerin Parle des Victimes de la Revolution Francaise.
“Ce n’est pas une etude d’histoire que je vous apporte ce soir, mais je veux simplement evoquer pour vous les trios heroines de cette époque lugubre,” dit Madame Guerin vendredi soir quand elle apparu devant une audience, petitie ,mais enthousiaste. Dans sa premiere representation, dans laquelle elle portrait une robe a queue, avec ses cheveux boucles et poudres, elle a montre Marie Antoinette a l’age de quatorze ans, a l’epoque ou elle est venue a Paris pour devenir la dauphine de France.
“Quand le dauphin etait couronne Louis Sieze, roi de France,” dit Mme. Guerin, en robe de cour, en parlant de la coronation. “Marie Antoinette avancait parmi le people, qui l’acclamait, criant, “Vive Marie Antoinette, vive la reine,” et toute la France semblait sourire. La jeune roine se jetait dans le plaisir, mais ce plaisir lui a coute cher.
“Elle etait la reine des fetes,” dit Mme. Guerin, cette fois en costume Watteau de bergere avec une houlette, “elle jouait le role de bergere a Trianon – Trianon, qui etait la ville de fetes no – Trianon, qui etait la ville de fetes et le peuple de France mourait de faim.”
“Les mots liberte, egalite et fraternite etaient entendu de tout cote, et la haine de l’Autrichienne grandissalt. Elle dit “Je sais qu’ils viennent cher-cher ma tete, et n’ai pas peur.”
“La famille royale fut conduit a Paris a prison,” dit Mme. Guerin, qui portrait dans cette scene une robe noire de prison. “Le roi fut condamne, et fut separe de sa famille-separe pour toujours. Quelques jours après, le petit dauphin fut arrache des bras de sa mere. Et a Paris la Terreur regnait.
“Apres une semaine d’agonie, Marie Antoinette fut demandait si elle voulait dirs quelquechose pour se justifier. “Je ne regdetterai rien” dit elle, “si la France est heureuse. Vous m’avez enleve tout – j’etais reine, et vous m’avez pris mon frone – j’etais femme, et vous m’avez pris mon mari – et j’etais mere, at vous m’avez pris mes enfants. Il n’y a plus que ma vie. Prenez-la!”
“Charlotte Corday aimait braucoup les heros de Corneille, le Cid, Polyeute, Horace et les heroes Grecques d’Homere – tous ceux qui s’etaient sacrefies pour une idée,” continua Mme. Guerin.
“Quand elle a vu la tyrannie de Danton, de Robespierre et de Marat, elle a dit “Ce n’est pas la liberte, c’est l’anarchie.” Et elle s’est sterefia [?] pour la France en tuant Marat, et trios jours après, elle monta sur l’echafaud.
“Mme. Roland est celebre non seulement par ses beaux memoirs, mais aussi parce qu’elle a soufert le martyr et est morte comme une heroine. Monte sure l’echafaud, elle s’est jetee a la mort, disant ‘Liberte, que de crimes on a commis en ton nom.’
Pendant les changes de costumes on a montre des clichés de Versailles, les jardins des Tuileries, Notre Dame de Paris, le Louvre, des scenes et des personages de la Revolution.”
This is an English translation of the above article in French (translate.google.co.uk duly acknowledged) … just one word cannot be deciphered, it appears bold as it is spelt as it was in the original article:-
“ IMPERSONATION OF THREE HEROINES. Madame Guerin Speaks on Victims of the French Revolution.
This is not a historical study that I bring you tonight, but I just want you to evoke the dismal period of these three heroines,” said Mme Guerin on Friday night when she appeared before a small but enthusiastic audience. In her first representation, in which she wore a basque dress, with her hair curled and powdered, she portrayed Marie Antoinette at the age of fourteen years, the age when she came to Paris to become the dauphine of France.
“When the dauphin was crowned Louis sixteenth, King of France,” said Mme. Guerin, in court dress, spoke of the coronation. “Marie Antoinette walked among the people, who cheered, shouting, “Long live Marie Antoinette, Long live the queen,” and all of France seemed to smile. The young queen threw herself into pleasure, but this pleasure cost her dear.
“She was the queen of the festivities,” says Mme. Guerin, this time in a shepherdess costume with a crook, “she played the role of shepherdess at Trianon. – Trianon, which was the town of festivals and the people of France were starving.”
“The words liberty, equality and fraternity were heard from all sides, and hatred of the Austrian was growing. She said “I know they hunt for my head and am not afraid.”
“The royal family was brought to a Paris prison,” said Mme. Guerin, who in the prison scene wore a black dress.” The king was condemned, and was separated from his family — separated forever. A few days later, the little dauphin was firm the arms of his mother. And Paris Terror reigned.
After a week of agony, Marie Antoinette was asked if she wanted something to justify herself. “I regret nothing” she said, “if France is happy. You removed all from me – I was queen, and you took away my throne – I was a woman, and you have taken my husband – and I was a mother, and you have taken my children. There is no more life. Take that!”
“Charlotte Corday loved the many heroes of Corneille, Le Cid, Polyeucte, Horace and Greek heroes of Homer – all those who were sacrificed for an idea,” continued Mme. Guerin., continued Madame Guerin.
“When she saw the tyranny of Danton, Robespierre and Marat, she said “This is not freedom, it’s anarchy. “And she sterefia[?] for France by killing Marat and three days later she mounts the scaffold.
“Mme. Roland is famous not only for her beautiful memoirs, but also because she suffered martyrdom and died as a heroine. Mounted on the scaffold, she threw herself to death, saying ‘Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name.’
During the change of costumes, snapshots of Versailles, the Tuileries gardens, Notre Dame de Paris, the Louvre, the scenes and personalities of the Revolution were shown.”
On 16 February 1916, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the University of Kansas. The Lawrence Daily Journal World of Lawrence, Kansas informed its readers about the forthcoming event – on two occasions:
05 February 1916 edition: “At Fraser Hall. Madame Guerin will give a lecture on Joan of Arc in Fraser hall Wednesday at 4:30, February 16. The lecture will be illustrated by lantern slides and will be very interesting. All are invited to attend. Madame Guerin is making a tour of the universities of the west.”
08 February 1916 edition: “MEMORIAL SERVICE HEAR FRENCH SPEAKER. Mme. E. Guerin Will Make Address at K. U. February 16. Is Actress as Well as Speaker and Will Portray Life of Joan of Arc.
There is another language besides that which employs the lips and the tongue, or writing and the printed page. It is the language of acting, through which Madame E. Guerin, a noted French speaker, expects to make herself understood before an audience largely English speaking, at Fraser Hall at 4:00 o’clock Wednesday afternoon, February 16. Madame Guerin who has toured extensively through the United States and England delivering addresses in French, has been advertised as a lecturer. She is more than that according to Miss Elsie N. Schwander, associate professor of Romance languages at K.U.
“I can understand French, to follow her in her impersonation of Joan of Arc or Jeanne l’Arc as the French say. It is because of this that we are inviting the public generally to attend; the number given by Madame Guerin. It will be an opportunity for Lawrence people to gain a real understanding of the French heroine.” Madame Guerin will deliver her talk in costume. Because of this, she will talk in “acts” so that she can change her garments. Between these “acts” pictures depicting the scenes of the dramatic events of Joan of Arc’s life will be thrown upon the screen. These will give the necessary atmosphere to Madame Guerin’s talk.”
On 15 February 1916, The Daily Gazette of Lawrence (Kansas) also enlightened its readers:
“WILL TALK IN FRENCH. Paris Woman Will Tell of Jean d’Arc at K.U. Madame Guerin, of Paris, will give a lecture and impersonation of Jean d’Arc in Fraser hall chapel room at 4:30 o’clock tomorrow afternoon, to which all University students and townspeople are invited.
The lecture will be given in French and the speaker will appear in the costumes of the period in which the talk will be explained in English, so that the audience will lose nothing of what is said.
Mme. Guerin is known as an interesting speaker, with an attractive personality and her lecture should prove very entertaining to those who are fortunate enough to hear her.”
After the Kansas University lecture, the Jeffersonian Gazette and The Daily Gazette (of Lawrence) both gave the same short review on 16 February 1916 [sic]:
“APPEARED IN COSTUME. Madame Guerin Spoke to the French Students at K.U. Madame Guerin, a Parisienne gave a lecture and impersonation of Jean d’Arc in the University chapel at 4:30 o’clock this afternoon, before a large and appreciative audience of students and townspeople.
The lecture was given in French, and the speaker appeared in the costumes of the period with which she dealt, but the talk was fully explained in English so that the auditors lost nothing of Mme. Guerins expression nor of her meaning.”
On 17 February 1916, Madame Guérin gave a dramatic reading at the University of Illinois: An entry in The ‘Annual Register, University of Illinois, 1916-17’ reads “DRAMATIC READING: MADAME GUERIN (under the auspices of the Alliance Francaise) “Three victims of the French Revolution: Madame Roland, Marie Antoinette and Charlotte Corday.”” (Mocavo)
On 01 March 1916, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the Pennsylvania College for Women in Pittsburgh – a daughter accompanied her. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette printed a review the next day:
“ENTERTAINMENT AT P.C.W. French Woman Gives Impersonations of Marie Antoinette. Mme. E. Guerin of Paris, France, presented impersonations of Marie Antoinette at the Pennsylvania College for Women yesterday morning, appearing in costumes. She spoke in French, and so eloquent was she in voice, gesture and facial expression that those with no knowledge of the language received her wonderful interpretations with understanding. The costumes included four of great beauty, while the fifth was the simple black toilet of the guillotine. Mme. Guerin’s young daughter acted as her page.”
On 02 March 1916, Madame Guérin and a daughter were in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to give a lecture at the Winchester School. The Pittsburgh Daily Post had announced the forthcoming lecture on 27 February:
“French Woman Will Impersonate Martyr. Madame E. Guerin, Officer d’Academie et de l’Instruction Publique, will impersonate Marie Antoinette Thursday evening and give incidents from the French revolution in the auditorium of the Winchester school. She will be assisted by her little daughter as page.
Lantern slides will be used to show the points of Paris and its environments connected with the story, and persons and scenes in the period of the French revolution will be shown in the same way.
“The profits from the lecture will be given to the fund which is being raised by the pupils of the Winchester school for the “Orphelins de la Guerre.”
The next day (28 February), The Pittsburgh Daily Post gave its readers a short review of her lecture – basically, it confirmed the points noted in the previous day’s article.
On 03 March 1916, Madame Guérin gave a lecture in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Altoona Tribune of Pennsylvania (26 February 1916) alerted its readers. Anna Guérin was to give one of two “very delightful entertainments”, which would take place at Miss Cowles’ school at Highland hall, in Hollidaysburg. During the evening of 03 March, Anna would “appear in an impersonation of that most tragic and appealing character, Marie Antoinette”.
On the actual day of the lecture (03 March), Miss Cowles must have initiated the following piece in the Altoona Tribune: “All those who are interested in French are invited by Miss Cowles to see Mme. Guerin this evening at 8 o’clock, Highland hall, in her impersonation of Marie Antoinette. She will appear in five different costumes and will be assisted by her daughter, also in costume. Accompanying the impersonation will be stereopticon views of the period Louis XVI.”
The day after (04 March), the Altoona Tribune printed: “Mme. Guerin gave an interesting and dramatic impersonation of Marie Antoinette at Highland hall last evening. Her lecture was delivered in beautiful French, so simply and slowly that even the beginning students were able to understand. Her account of that gay and melancholy queen and the slides of the period of the French revolution were an effective edition to the lecture.”
It is not known when Madame Anna Guérin and her daughter Renée left the U.S.A., after that tour of lectures, but leave they did because Anna arrived back in New York on 26 September 1916. She had embarked at Bordeaux, France on the ship ‘Rochambeau’.
Anna Guérin (aged “38”) arrived with her other daughter Raymonde (stated age of “16”). Passenger List details gave Anna’s occupation as “Lecturer” and her nearest relative as “husband Guerin, Interpreter, Camp des Prisonniers Alsacien-Lorraine à Saint-Rambert” [sur-Loire]. Mother and daughter were heading to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York – to ready themselves for another tour of lectures.
On 04 December 1916, Madame Guérin found herself lecturing in Pittsburgh again. ‘The Sorosis’ publication of the Pennsylvania College for Women (October 1916-May/June 1917, Volume-23, page 158), published this paragraph about it: “On December 4th, Madame de Guerin, assisted by her daughter, presented the life of Jeanne D’Arc before the faculty, students and several guests of the College. We have all known and always remembered Jeanne D’Arc as a true heroine, but on this occasion we realized more fully how dramatic her life of self-sacrifice and persecution had been. The fascinating, antique costumes, which Madame de Guerin wore, were an additional attraction, and the beautiful French, which both she and her daughter spoke, was a pleasure to all who listened.”
On 08 December 1916, Madame Guérin was back in Pennsylvania at Miss Cowle’s school, in Hollidaysburg – this time, with daughter Raymonde. The Altoona Tribune kept their readers informed [sic]:
05 December: “On Friday evening, December 8, Mme. Guerin will lecture in Miss Cowle’s school, Highland Hall, on Jeanne d’Arc. Last year Mme. Guerin delighted those who heard her Marie Antoinette. Her talk will be in French, so slowly and so carefully given that even a beginner in the language can understand it; while there will be some fifty lantern slides, explained in English, and faithful and artistic reproductions of Jeanne d’Arc costumes that will appeal to all. Mme. Guerin will be assisted by her daughter. There will be no charge for admission.”
08 December: “Miss Cowles will be glad to see any of the friends of the school at the French lecture upon Jeanne d’Arc to be given at Highland Hall this evening at 8 o’clock. Mme. Guerin is so deliberate, so nice in her enunciation that one who knows very little French leaves the hall with the flattering feeling that he is quite conversant with the language; while her impersonation in costume, together with the lantern slides, gives an amazingly vivid idea of the character represented. So valuable is this lecture considered by those best qualified to judge that it was one of the features in the course given by the Joan of Arc statue committee in New York. There will be no charge for admission.”
09 December: “The lecture on “Joan of Arc” by Mme. Guerin last evening at Miss Cowles’ school, Highland Hall, was pleasingly given in simple French. The speaker’s impersonation in costume, assisted by her daughter, gave the spectators a vivid idea both of French peasant dress and of French armor of the fifteenth century.”
… and so 1917 dawned …
On 24 January 1917, Madame E. Guérin delivered a lecture in the concert hall of the St. Cecilia Academy, in Nashville, Tennessee. The Academy was (and still is) a private Roman Catholic girls school. The Tennessean newspaper included this quote from Anna Guérin – “My aim is not to teach . . . it is to create enthusiasm among the students for their French lessons in showing them how well they can understand me.” and the forthcoming event was promoted:
“Mme. E. Guerin at St. Cecilia.
On Wednesday, January 24, at 3 p. m., in the concert hall of the academy, Mme. E, Guerin, the French artistic lecturer, assisted by her daughter, will lecture in French and impersonate Jeanne d’Arc.
She will appear in five different costumes, with stereopticon views of the persons and scenes of the period.
Mme. Guerin lectures only in French, but during changes of costumes, the slides will be shown and explained in English.
During the past two years Mme. Guerin has given her lectures in practically all of the leading institutions of the United States, and those who have heard her say that it is a revelation to every French student to see how easy it is to understand and enjoy these unique impersonations, made so brilliant by the costumes, so vivid by the accompanying views.
Mme. Guerin herself says: “My aim is not to teach . . . it is to create enthusiasm among the students for their French lessons in showing them how well they can understand me.” A rare treat is expected and the members of the Alumnae association of the academy are cordially invited.”
Probably between Monday, 12 February 1917 and Wednesday 14th, Madame Guérin gave a lecture at the Sophie Newcombe College in New Orleans, Louisiana.
On Friday, 16 February 1917, Madame E. Guerin gave an “artistic impersonation” in Decatur, Atlanta, Georgia. Again, a newspaper printed a very informative article ahead of the event – the Atlanta Constitution newspaper alerted its readers the day before, 15 February [sic]:
“Mme. Guerin at Agnes Scott.
Mme. E. Guerin, of Paris, officier d’Academie, et de l’Instruction Publique, officier de l’ordre du Nichan, reaches Atlanta Friday to give St. Agnes Scott College an artistic impersonation of scenes from the life of Marie Antoinette. Mme. Guerin is accompanied by her daughter, who impersonates the Princess de Lamballe. The costumes worn are from the shops of Paquin, Paris, and Kayser, Lyon, and are not only beautiful but historically correct. Between acts the vividness of the setting is enhanced by stereopticon views.
In 1914-15 Mme. Guerin gave 1,200 of her lecture impersonations in England for members of the royal family, literary societies and clubs, universities, convents and schools. Last year Mme. Guerin visited the eastern colleges of America and this winter she is making her farewell tour of the southern colleges. Mme. Guerin arrives from New Orleans, where she has visited Sophie Newcombe College.
The French department of Agnes Scott College cordially invites all its friends, especially its alumnae, members of the Alliance Francaise, French faculties and students of the schools to attend the lecture of Mme. Guerin, at 8 o’clock Friday evening, in the college chapel.
As reported above, on this occasion, Anna’s daughter Raymonde impersonated the Princess de Lamballe, confidante of Marie Antoinette – both of whom were murdered in Paris, during the French Revolution.
N.B. The Paris-based Maison Paquin/Madame Paquin fashion house, founded by Jeanne Paquin, was well-known for its eighteenth century-inspired dresses/costumes. It is logically assumed that “Kayser” was an equivalent fashion house in Lyon, the second largest city in France.
On 19 February 1917, Madame Guérin gave a lecture in Asheville, North Carolina. The Asheville Citizen newspaper (18 February) announced (along with an advertisement on another page):
“MME. GUERIN TO SPEAK AT SAINT GENEVIEVE’S. Famous French Lecturer Will Discuss “Marie Antoinette”. Before the Student Body and the Public.
Madame E. Guerin (Sarah Granier), the well known Parisian platform artist, will deliver a lecture at St. Genevieve’s College at 8 o’clock tomorrow.
Although the lecture was scheduled primarily for the student body of St. Genevieve’s, the public generally is invited to attend. Mme. Guerin’s subject will be “Marie Antoinette”. The speaker will use both the French and English tongues, the lecture proper being in French.
The lecture will be divided into five parts, each dealing with the queen’s life. Different costumes will be used for each portion of the lecture which will be illustrated with 145 views.
It was originally announced that Mme. Guerin’s subject would be “Joan of Arc” but this has been changed to “Marie Antoinette”.
Mme. Guerin has delivered lectures in all the larger cities of the world and enjoys an international reputation.”
‘Le Flambeau’ 1917 Year Book of the St. Genevieve of The Pines, (Asheville, North Carolina) printed this review of two lectures by Madame Guérin, after the event of 19 February 1917:
“The Faculty and students of St. Genevieve’s had the pleasure on February 19 of hearing Madame E. Guérin, the remarkable French artiste. She gave two performances, one in the afternoon, and the other at 8:30 p. m., “Jeanne d’Arc,” being the subject of the afternoon, and “Marie Antoinette” that of the evening seance. It is difficult to give any adequate idea of Madame Guérin’s perfect impersonation of the characters she represented.
The extraordinary delicacy and accuracy of her interpretation was heightened by the wonderful charm of delivery and by her quick transition from one phase to another in the lives which she brought so realistically before her audience.
She is marked off from lecturers and readers by the originality of her technique. Gorgeous costumes lent their aid to the spoken words, so that, in truth, one seemed to be assisting at an entire drama. One of the cloaks worn in “Jeanne d’Arc” was four hundred years old.
At the conclusion of the last performance, Madame Guérin warmly expressed her appreciation of the welcome given her at St. Genevieve’s, and of the intelligent interest shown by the audience.”
The Asheville Citizen Times, on 21 February, printed this short review [sic]:
“MME. GUERIN LECTURE AT ST. GENEVIEVE’S.
Mme. E. Guerin, the French platform artist, who was secured by the faculty of St. Genevieve’s, gave two lectures there Monday. The subject of the first lecture, at noon, was “Jeanne D’Arc” and that of the evening, at 8:30 o’clock, was “Marie Antoinette.” The lectures were well attended by many townspeople as well as the student body of the college. The portrayal of the characters in the lectures was faithful and much attention was given by Mme. Guerin to her costumes. One cloak worn at the “Jeanne D’Arc” lecture was said to be 400 years old.
Mme. Guerin is now on her second tour of the United States, which started last October, and she will soon return to her country. She expressed her appreciation of the warm reception received at St. Genevieve’s and throughout the country and announced that she will return to the United States.”
On 06 April 1917, America declared war on Germany and joined the existing Allies in the fighting. Madame Guérin could now “go public” with her war effort fund-raising.
On an unknown date, Anna had joined a list of speakers who toured the USA: fund raising for the Liberty Loan/Bond; Red Cross; Y.W. & Y.M. C.A. War Fund; National League for Service; ‘Food for France’ organisation; the French war orphans; etc. All appear to have gathered together fraternally sometimes, for the sake of jointly raising funds. Patriotism was running high and many speakers, including Anna, built their speeches around the reasoning that France had helped America when it was fighting for its independence and now it was time for America to give aid to France in her hour of need.
On Monday 9 April 1917, The Star Gazette (of Elmira, New York) printed a paragraph about Madame Guérin’s lecture to be given on the 12th April [sic]:
“To Give Impersonation At the College Thursday. Madame Guerin will give in French an impersonation of Marie Antoinette, in the Elmira College chapel, on Thursday evening, April 12, at 8 o’clock. Madame Guerin has given over six hundred of these impersonations in the colleges and schools of the United States, and is well known as an eloquent speaker and a talented dramatist. She will speak in French, but will present slides explained in English, to illustrate parts of her lecture.”
Madame Guérin was found on a 1917 & 1918 Annual Catalogue and Circular list of ‘Speakers and Lecturers’ for the Elmira College in New York:
Madame Guérin was also found on the list of “Principal Speakers Who Made Addresses in Missouri Under the Direction of the Patriotic Speakers’ Bureau, State Council of Defense”. The Patriotic Speakers’ Bureau of the Missouri Council of Defense was formed in August 1917 – to mobilize public opinion and stimulate patriotic service by the people of Missouri.
Evidence of exactly where else Anna Guérin was lecturing during the early part of 1917 has yet to be found.
AT SOME POINT, Madame Guérin left the U.S.A. It has not been discovered exactly when she did leave but leave she did. She returned to France to bring herself up-to-date with the situation France found itself in.
On 25 October 1917, Madame Guérin WAS BACK IN THE U.S.A. She had sailed from Bordeaux on the ship ‘La Touraine’ and was going to join her sister Juliette, at Washington Hotel, New York City. Travelling on the same ship was French Adjutant Robert Arbour – who would accompany Anna Guérin on some lectures, at least until beginning of April 1918.
It is deduced that Anna Guérin used the rest of the 1917 to prepare for the 1918 lecture tour.
By the time 1918 arrived, the significance of the poppy had increased. Already, throughout the war years, men serving in France and Flanders had been sending picked poppies back to loved ones, within letters from the battlefields.
Published articles were mentioning poppies:
“Sidelights on the War … … Garden of Sleep. … “I have just been over a battlefield I knew well,” a soldierman writes me, “and I was amazed to see how nature had striven to hide the ghastliness of it all by a riotous growth of grass and wild flowers. The wild red poppy was predominant–a garden of sleep in very truth. Poppies had covered up all except the pathetic little wooden crosses dotted all over to show where our brave hearts are resting –oh, the pity of it all!”—“Blanche” in “The Bystander.”” (The Aberdeen Evening Express, Scotland. 29 August 1917)
“SEVENOAKS RESIDENT’S VISIT TO THE FRONT. FROM YPRES TO BAPAUME. SOME IMPRESSIONS IN THE TRAIL OF THE WAR. By NEWMAN FLOWER. … … …
ON THE SOMME.
The tide of war has been changing the face of France for three years. So that to-day those places on the Somme which were featured on the old peace map are foreign geography.
Clear away to the horizon no hedge or tree appears, all land-marks have gone, hills have been planed level by the sheet blast of shells. Here is a rubble heap no higher than one’s shoulder, where a church has stood, and the graves have opened beneath the pits of fire to make new graves for the living. …
THE POPPIES OF DEATH.
But in spite of this havoc on the Somme a brand new road runs in a straight line across the waste where the shell-ploughed road has been re-made of such bricks as remained intact from the razed villages. … …
the Germans were driven out of Warlencourt—just two miles from Bapaume—last November, they exploded a mine in the main road, and made a hole so big that you could have put the Tower of London into it. … …
Last winter the deluge of steel broke over the Butte of Warlencourt, and for a fortnight it became the object of the fire of countless guns. … … On the summit are three wooden crosses, the largest erected to the memory of a North Country Regiment that soaked the sand with its blood. … …
When I came to it that day there was about it, as far as the eye could reach, a sea of colour—of gold and red—where wild mustard and poppies blended. One could never forget those poppies and their significance. I remember wading through them and stumbling over the dead, wet things that lay in the shell-holes. … …
Verily they were the poppies of Death that covered the grim things that lurked in the shell-holes and hid the wounds of the earth, that spoke of life—new life—which not all the upheaval of half Europe could wipe out of destroy.” (Kent & Sussex Courier, England. 31 August 1917. Full article transcribed and available)
THROUGHOUT 1918, Anna continued her fund-raising – speeches; lectures; appeals have been found for the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Montana & Nebraska. Anna spoke on behalf of the Liberty Loan/Bond, fatherless children of France; the Red Cross; and French invalided soldiers etc. Anna has also been quoted as appealing for the ‘Food for France’ & ‘Food Fund’ charities. It may be the case that these two organisations were one of the same, however.
Fundraising for the French orphans/widows and invalided French soldiers was reported to be “… under the direction of the French government …” … with the aid for the French orphans and widows being administered “… through the American Red Cross society.”
On 06 February 1918, the Vicksburg Evening Post (Vicksburg, Mississippi) notified its readers of an up and coming event – Madame Guérin, accompanied by Mr. Robert Arbour, was to give a lecture in two days’ time [sic]:
“TWO FRENCH LECTURERS TO SPEAK HERE FRIDAY.
Major Joseph Buddecke, of New Orleans, is in the city arranging for the appearance here of two noted French lecturers who are to be heard here on next Friday night.
The two speakers are Madame E. Guerin and Mr. Robert Arbour. The following from the advance notices of the lectures tells something of the achievements to date of Madame Guerin.
The great patriotic and famous speaker, Made E. Guerin, officer of public instruction, wife of a judge of the French court, gave before the war 1,200 lectures in England, Scotland and Ireland; and 600 lectures in the United States since October 1914, in 22 states east of the Mississippi river.
Just arrived from France Mme. E. Guerin tells about the conditions over there. She quickens the morale of her auditors, she illuminates and strengthens the ties between France and America.
The place for the lectures has not yet been decided upon.”
It would appear that this fund-raising lecture tour, undertaken by Madame Guérin and Mr. Arbour, began in New Orleans.
On 07 February 1918, the Vicksburg Evening Post printed a promotional advertisement [sic]: “Patriotic Lectures BY Madame E. Guerin (Officere de l’Instruction Publique) and Mr. Robert Oliveau (Adjutant of the Ninth Regiment of Tirailleurs). Officially appointed by the French authorities to speak for the benefit of FRENCH INVALIDS, Class No. 2. …” “Robert Arbour” was a pen name for one “Robert Oliveau” and more is written about this interesting character further into this chapter.
On 08 February 1918, the Vicksburg Evening Post enlightened its readers about that evening’s lectures and gave some background about Frenchman Robert Oliveau [sic]:
“FRENCH LECTURERS WILL TELL OF WAR HERE TODAY.
The people of Vicksburg who are interested in hearing at first hand of the actual experiences of the French soldiers in the war and especially those who would like to contribute to the relief of French soldiers, who are incapacitated by wounds from further service will have an opportunity this evening. Madame Guerin and M. Robert Oliveau, both appointed by the French authorities to speak for the benefit of the invalid fund for French soldiers will deliver addresses at the Bijous Dream theatre. Adjutant Oliveau, has the following record:
“Twenty-seven years old, a typical French gentleman, has travelled around the world. He lived five years in America before the war, and was in British Columbia when the war broke out. At first call to colours, he joined his regiment in France. He has been fighting with nine different regiments of Algerian tirailleurs in the Battle of La Marne, and in the battles of Aisne, Ypres and La Somme. As a recognition of his bravery, he has been awarded from the French General Staff the two following citations: “In the night of Nov. 3rd to 4th, in front of the Canal of Ypres, R. Oliveau went singly near the German trenches to spy the movements of the enemy. During the attack next day, he remained alone in the conquered trench, giving the greatest example of spirit and courage.” “In the night of April 20th to 21st, R. Oliveau gave proof of remarkable coolness and courage in advancing to the first line of the German trenches and carrying away, in spite of enemy fire, two flags surrounded by enemy barbed wire entanglements.” On account of a change in his health, Mr. R. Oleveau has been honourably discharged after three years’ service in the French army. Mr. Oleveau will tell of his experiences, illustrating them with slides taken at the front; he will recount the incalculable result in morale caused by the American army in France: he will picture the good which assistance and relief work have, can and will do both in the war zone and behind the lines. He will tell you the personal ideas of our soldiers over there.”
Madame Guerin is the wife of a French judge and has already given over 600 lectures for the benefit of the wounded soldiers.”
On 09 February 1918, The Vicksburg Herald (Vicksburg, Mississippi) wrote about the two visiting French lecturers [sic]:
“WILL ADDRESS CITIZENS AT LIBRARY TONIGHT.
Madame Guerin and Adjutant M. Robert Arbour, noted French lecturers, will again address the citizens of Vicksburg at the Carnegie Library tonight at 8 o’clock. At 11 o’clock Madame Guerin will address the school children at the Library.
The noted lecturers addressed an appreciative audience at the Bijou Dream yesterday afternoon, postponing their lectures which were to have been delivered last night, so as to avoid conflicting with and through courtesy to Sergeant Verne Marshall who spoke at the Walnut Street Theatre.
Madame Guerin was introduced yesterday by Judge Harris Dickson, who paid a high tribute to services which she is rendering to her people, who he stated are deserving of all possible support at the hands of patriotic Americans. Madame Guerin is an intensely interesting speaker, and brought home to those present, thoroughly the facts pertaining to the present war situation.
“I have just returned from a long journey through our war stricken country.” Madame Guerin stated “The scenes which confronted me inspire me more than ever to urge everyone to their full share towards bringing this terrible war which is for humanity, liberty and civilization to a successful end.”
Following Madame Guerin’s talk, Sergeant Robert Arbour addressed those present. His talk was impressive, plain and fully understood by an appreciative audience. He emphasized the fact that the French have never given up courage, and are just as determined as they were on the day the war began.
His talk was filled with interest from beginning to end, and conditions as existing at the front were accurately and thoroughly described. For three years he saw actual service in the front line trenches, and many touching incidents were related.”
The Vicksburg Evening Post (11 February 1918) reviewed that 9th of February event [sic]:
“FRENCH LECTURERS GET MANY SUBSCRIPTIONS.
At the close of their delightful lectures on Saturday night, at which Madame Guerin and Adjt. Arbour delighted all hearers, Adjt. Arbour made an irresistable appeal for funds for the incapacitated soldiers of France. He stated that a friend had rather depreciated the idea of taking up subscriptions when it had not been advertised, but the Frenchman stated frankly that he thought it was a poor reason, for he did not feel that a good action should ever be advertised. Prefaced by a few witty remarks, subscription plates were passed through the audience and a goodly collection made. After the proceeds were counted, both Madame Guerin and the adjutant were all smiles, and it was announced that since leaving New Orleans a short time ago, they had passed the $1,000 mark in Vicksburg.”
Madame Guérin and “Adjutant Arbour” then set off swiftly for Shreveport, Louisiana – for their next appointment on Sunday the 10th February! Shreveport had been pre-warned about the visit on Friday 8th February, by Mr. John T. Buddecke, of New Orleans – who was an advance representative of the French lecturers. Madame Guérin, it was announced, was “a great patriotic and famous speaker”.
The Sunday 10 February 1918 lecture evening was reviewed the next day in The Times (of Shreveport, Louisiana) – which included an in-depth description of Madame Guérin’s speech [sic]:
“WAR LECTURES INTEREST MANY. City Hall Auditorium Crowded to Hear Noted Speakers.
Messages from the injured soldiers of France to Shreveport citizens, was eloquently and dramatically delivered at the City Hall Sunday night to an audience of 600 by Madame E. Guerin and Lieut. Robert Arbour of France who are touring the United State in their behalf.
Madame Guerin, who was the first speaker, was introduced by Mayor John McW. Ford in a few well-chosen words. Mrs. Guerin is the wife of a judge of the French court and has given more than 600 lectures in the United States since 1914. For more than an hour she held the audience spellbound, though at times she was forced to stop for a minute or more on account of the prolonged cheering that greeted her.
Although she spoke in broken English, her address was forceful and at times the audience was moved to tears, when she would speak of her “beloved France,” of heroic Belgium or of the atrocities of Germany. When her address was finished the cheering lasted for several minutes.
The stage was decorated with the flags of the allies, with the Stars and Stripes and the tri-colors of France bound together. Madame Guerin entered the auditorium with Hon. Thomas C. Barret, followed by Mayor Ford, Dr. James E. Owen and Rabbi N. P. Jacobson.
Lieutenant Arbour, who was officially appointed by the French authorities to speak for the benefit of the French invalids, made an interesting address on “Conditions Over There,” which was frequently applauded. Lieutenant Arbour’s address was at times pathetic, especially when describing conditions of trench warfare and of what France has suffered. Throughout his address he swayed his audience to laughter, with his inimitable manner of relating odd bits of humor with which his address was interspersed.
Following the address of Lieutenant Arbour, he showed illustrated slides of actual scenes taken at the front. It was estimated that between 600 and 700 persons attended the lectures Sunday night.
Madame Guerin will give a lecture to the school children Tuesday at 3.30 p.m. at the City Hall. An admission of 10 cents will be charged for each child and 25 cents for each woman.
The address of Madame Guerin in part is as follows:
At first call to colors in August 1914, France and her allise, as all the world now know, were loath to believe that war in this enlightened day was possible. But when Belgium was criminally attacked, France rose. And when I say France, I mean all France. It was a marvellous spectacle. All dissensions vanished. Every son of France cried: “I do not know my name anymore, I am called Patrie” (country).
Awakened, France took solemn oath to sacrifice herself, if need be, in defense of liberty and humanity. And that oath she keeps, standing as an invincible rampart against German culture, sciences, civilization turned into savage hordes, rushing like their Hun forebears upon helpless women and children and priests, burning houses and churches and monumental edifices, destroying whole towns and villages, trampling under foot all law—civil and divine.
After Belgium was put to fire and sword it was the invasion of France, it was the epic struggle of our soldiers during the long retreat of Charlerio; it was the victory of the Marne, it was the beginning without end of this modern Odyersy of the sons of France, this Odyersy where all from proudest to humblest, from oldest to youngest, out-rival each other in courage and sacrifice made for God, country nad liberty.
Have you heard of the young solder horribly disfigured by a shell explosion who, upon beholding his reflexion in a mirror, said: What if father saw me? Bah, He did not make me to beautiful but to be brave.”
Ah, what heroic pages have been added to the history of France by the armies of the Marn, Ainse, Artois, Champagne, Alsace.
Ah, where—oh, where—are heroes to surpass those of Verdun. Thrown into a veritable hell, they fought week in and week out, hopeful, unfalteringly, meeting death that France, Europe, civilization might live.
“Madame,” said to me a young white headed soldier, “I was at Verdun. It was my brigade that took Fort Thiaumont. Day and night the shells pulverized everything in sight—earth, stones, corpses. When they came to relieve us from that glorious post of hell, I could not believe that I was alive. But I am proud to have been there an am ready to return.”
Yes, Americans at home and abroad are at last in this stupendous world drama.
American sons are brave, I know, but I pray you, impress upon them—you cannot impress it too strongly—that the most trying hour of soldier life is not that of combat.
It is the steady, unfaltering courage of the daily discipline of the trenches. It is the wearisome, fatiguing marches through unbroken country, with customs and language, climate and food manners and morals to which the American boys are strangers that make the invincible soldier-hero.
Well I know, it is no child’s play to make oneself understood in a foreign language. My heart goes out to the American soldier who sat in a little café and asked for honey to ease down his war bread. He had always had honey at home, he explained to a comrade, who sat opposite, and he wanted it here. But the little waitress in wooden sabots could not understand that strange word. The soldier scratched his head and found an inspiration. He waved his hand slowly about his head:
“Buzz, buzz, buzz,” he said, thinking even a French girl must know that bees make honey.
“Ah, oui, oui,” said the waitress, her face lighting up, “aeroplane.”
“No, aeroplane,” said the up-stater indignantly, “here, I will show you,” and on a slip o paper he drew his conception of a bee.
“Ah, oui, oui,” again said the waitress, after scanning the drawing; “J’ai dit, aeroplane.”
The soldier gave it up. Not so his comrade, who had ordered salad, and being a true backwoods American, wanted to eat it with both knife and fork. He had only a fork. He, too, pondered a moment, then held up the fork reproachfully before the waitress.
“Comarade, comarade,” he pleaded.
“Ah, oui, oui,” said the waitress, dashing out to the kitchen, to return in a moment with a spoon.
Here was a poser for the soldier. He spent a moment in deep thought, then beckoned again to the waitress. With the air of a Christopher Columbus or a Balboa, he pointed again to the fork.
“Fiance, fiance,” said he. That time he got the knife.
These are both true stories.
The war will be for those who stay at home no less a school of sacrifice and suffering. If you demand of your soldier boys silent acceptation of heroic duty, they have a right to count upon yours. Steel your hearts with patriotic courage. Parents, wives, sisters, fiancées, fortify for the hour when your beloved ones will be in the thick of battle.
Courage, patience, privation must be your watchword.
Let me say to you in closing, guard well your faith in the inevitable victory, which will bring back to deserted fire sides their martial exiles.
Let your courage be that of the brave American youth who wrote from the front:
“My Dear Parents. I recommend that everybody at home be calm and cool. But there it is with rage and delirium we meet the enemy. If I live, so much the better. If I die on the battlefield, better still. There can be no more beautiful death. I am ready. I only pray that I may be equal to my task, my duty. In a word, that I may remain faithful to my ideal—the ideal of Washington and Lincoln, and the Stars and the Stripes. Long life to America!”
Let us say with him, “Long Life to America, Long Life to Immortal France.”
On 11 February 1918, Madame Guérin was still in Shreveport, Louisiana. She visited several schools in the morning – to offer invitations to attend talks given by her and French Adjutant Robert Oliveau (Arbour) – one being the State Normal School. Madame also gave an informal talk at the Elks Home, Shreveport to lady bridge players of the Shreveport Chapter, Red Cross – ahead of their game session. In the afternoon, Madame Guerin visited St. Mary’s Convent and St. Vincent’s Academy.
Shreveport’s ‘The Times’ on 12 February 1918, was awash with mentions of Madame Guérin’s activities:-
In the column ‘JUST AS IT HAPPENS’, on pages 6 (continued on page 7), a glowing report was printed:
“The bridge game of the Shreveport Chapter, Red Cross, played yesterday afternoon in the Elks Home, was a brilliant success. There were over 50 tables of players enjoying the game. The preliminary feature was the informal talk by Madame E. Guerin, when she stated the purpose of her talks in behalf of the wounded French soldiers, and asked the attendance of those present. Most sweetly and ingenuously did madame apologize for her musical English, and assure her friends present of her earnest efforts to master their language. As she said, dramatically: “In French I may place the accent where I please; in English I must place it where I am told which makes it so hard.” Madame looked disarmingly handsome in a toilet of black net and jet worn with a black hat trimmed in helmet fashion with black aigrettes.
In addition to the afternoon talk to school children and ladies. Madame Guerin also told of her response to the request of the French society, through Mr. Andrew Querbes, to speak in the City Hall auditorium in the French language. Madame Guerin assured her hearers that she would do herself and her language justice when speaking in her native tongue, for she was most careful of her enunciation. She also added that her lecture in English had been memorized and was delivered with more precision and careful enunciation and pronounciation than when she “extemporized,” as when then speaking.
Still another opportunity will be offered to aid Madame Guerin in her splendid cause, for on Thursday afternoon Mrs. J. H. Breffeilh has placed her home at the disposal of her friends and will give a bridge and rook party for the benefit of the French soldiers of the second class, wounded and incapable but not of the pension class. The game is set for 2.30 o’clock, and Mrs. Breffeilf assures everyone that there will be plenty of room for all players for her whole home will be at their disposal. … …
Mrs. Allen Rendall drove Madame Guerin to the different schools yesterday morning to present her invitation to hear her talk and that of Mr. Arbour on the needs of the French soldiers, incapacitated for work, but not in the pension class. As Madame Guerin declared, she “loved children,” and the visits were a delight to her. These visits were made in the morning. In the afternoon after meeting the ladies assembled for the Red Cross bridge game, Mrs. Rendall again drove Madame Guerin to visit St. Mary’s Convent and St. Vincent’s Academy, to extend her invitation and to delight the gracious sisters with her talk to them in the native tongue of the majority.
If Madame Guerin has a gracious and eloquent presence, Mr. Arbour is the embodiment of wit and vitality. Although disabled after three years’ service in the trenches, not able to continue active service, he is certainly serving his country in his trenchant manner of presenting the needs of his fellow workers of the past. Think of it, the French soldier receives one nickel a day for defending his country. When he loses his limbs or his sight he receives a pension. When his ills are not so grievous apparently he receilves no pension, and yet he is often incapable of earning his living. There are 400,000 of these soldiers needing aid. It is the mission of Madame Guerin and Mr. Arbour to obtain that aid. To listen to their story is to yearn to assist in every way possible.
Madame Guerin claims a daughter, 18 years of age, which seems incredible. And she has lived for ten years in the miasmic climate of Madagascar, where her husband held high official position, and yet she retains her youth, her beauty and vitality. To hear her is an instruction, to meet her is a high privilege.”
Also in the page 6 column ‘JUST AS IT HAPPENS’ (12 February 1918), three other notices [sic]:
“Special matinee for school children, also open to adults, by Madame E. Guerin and Mr. Robert Arbour, in behalf of wounded French soldiers of Class 2; auditorium, City Hall, 3:30 o’clock. A large number of slides will be shown for special entertainment of the school children.”
“At 8 o’clock on this, Tuesday evening, Madame E. Guerin will speak in the auditorium of the Cty Hall, under the auspices of the French Society, in French, the meeting open to the public.”
“Mrs. J. H. Breffeilh will give a rook and bridge party Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock for the benefit of French soldiers of the second class unable to support themselves, the whole proceeds to be turned over to Madame E. Guerin for that purpose. The games will be played in Mrs. Breffeilh’s home, 904 Elmwood avenue, Cumberland phone 841. There will be plenty of room for all who desire to attend. Fairfield car line to the door.”
On page 10 of the same edition, another article duplicated some of the facts that had already gone before:
“MME. GUERIN AND LIEUT. ARBOUR SPEAK TUESDAY. Will Address Citizens at City Hall in French Under Auspices of Aid Society.
Madame E. Guerin and Lieut. Robert Arbour of France, who lectured in English to a large Shreveport audience at the City Hall Sunday night, will again appear at the same place Tuesday night, speaking in French under auspices of the French Mutual Aid and Benevolent Society of Shreveport, of which M. Lafargue is president. All members of the society and all other citizens who understand the French language are invited to attend, and are assured most interesting entertainment which will begin promptly at 8 o’clock. There will be no charge for admission.
Madame Guerin and Lieutenant Arbour are making a tour of the United States in the interest of the injured soldiers of France. Several hundred citizens heard them Sunday night and were deeply impressed by their messages, which were presented in inspiring manner.
Tuesday afternoon, beginning at 3:30 Madame Guerin will address the school children at the City Hall, with a small admission of 10 cents for each child and 25 cents for each adult, charged.
The conditions “over there” are described by these representatives of France, whose lectures tell of the terrible suffering, through which the brave French and their brave allies have passed.”
On 13 February 1918, Shreveport’s The Times’ column ‘JUST AS IT HAPPENS’ printed two more relevant notices. The first piece was a result of comments made by Madame Guérin about American soldiers not knowing the French language [sic]:
“There is also a demand for French books of any and all kinds, to be used for study and for reading. The soldiers are very anxious to acquire some knowledge of the language before going “over there.” It will be remembered in the in her lecture Sunday evening Madame Guerin advised acquiring a working knowledge and gave humorous illustrations of the result of ignorance of ability to even order a meal. There are numbers of school books that are not being used, that could be turned over to the soldiers, and it is hoped that this repeated appeal will have effect. Books may be delivered either to Secretary Van Scoter, amusement committee, camp welfare, L.F.W.C., 318 Marshall street.”
The second piece notifies readers of a change of venue for Mrs. Breffeilh’s rook and bridge game … because of increased interest:
“On account of the extensive demand for tables, Mrs. J. H. Breffeilh has decided to hold the game party on Thursday afternoon for the benefit of wounded French soldiers not in the pension class at the Elks Home, 2:30 o’clock.
Everyone enjoying a game of rook or bridge is welcome to attend. Tables may be engaged or not, as desired. Mrs. Breffeilh has some eight nice prizes to bestow and the party promises to be a very enjoyable one. Telephone Cumberland 841.”
Shreveport’s ‘The Times’ on 14 February printed a short account of Madame Guérin and Adjutant Arbour’s engagement on the afternoon of Tuesday, 12 February 1918 [sic]:
“The meeting of school children and ladies, held Tuesday afternoon in the in the auditorium, City Hall, was excellently attended to hear the lectures given by Madame E. Guerin and Mr. Arbour, in behalf of French soldiers of class No. 2. As many ladies as children availed themselves of the opportunity, and also the Sisters and pupils from St. Vincent’s Academy and St. Mary’s Convent attended. Mr. Arbour made one strong point, and that was on the value of study and love of books. He said that often a soldier’s only entertainment and solace was a book. Each man would have a favourite book which he would read when he felt lonely or had leisure.
A pretty incident was the singing of “La Marseillaise” by Mr. Arbour, followed, it would seem, spontaneously by “The Star-Spangled Banner by the entire audience pouring forth in song.”
On the morning of 14 February 1918, Madame Guérin arrived in Alexandria, Louisiana – 125 miles south-east of Shreveport. At 3 p.m., she spoke to the ladies of the Rapides Chapter American Red Cross headquarters in Alexandria, Louisiana.
Alexandria’s ‘The Town Talk’ publication notified its readers the day before [sic]:
“–Madame E. Guerin, who with Lieut. Arbor, is to speak at the city hall on Friday evening at 8 o’clock, will address the ladies of the Rapides Chapter Red Cross at their headquarters on Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock. All members of the chapter are invited to be present. Madame Guerin is making a tour of the United States in the interest of the wounded and helpless soldiers of France. … Madame Guerin will arrive in the city tomorrow morning, and arrangements are being made to have her give a special lecture for the pupils of the schools.”
On 15 February 1918, Madame Guérin and Adjutant Robert Arbour both spoke at the City Hall in Alexandria, Louisiana, at 8 p.m.
On 19 February 1918, Madame Guérin was in San Antonio, Texas [“Remember the Alamo”]. Anna Guérin, together with Adjutant Arbour, gave a lecture at the College of Our Lady of the Lake. The San Antonio Express (20 Feb.) printed a short review:
“FRENCH BEAR UP, SHOWING TRUE TYPE OF PATRIOTISM. Conditions in War-ridden Country Ably Depicted in Lectures.
Two lectures of more than ordinary interest were delivered last night at the College of Our Lady of the Lake, one by Madam Guerin and the other by Adjutant Arbour. The latter is in America recuperating from wounds received in the trenches.
“Present Conditions in France” was the subject of Madam Guerin’s lecture. She told especially of the condition of the civilian population and how the French people were bearing up under the war and showing the truest type of patriotism.
The subject of Adjutant Arbour’s lecture was “Warfare in the Trenches.” He depicted the daily life of the French soldier with the aid of stereopticon slides and told realistic stories of bravery.”
On 20 February 1918, Madame Guérin was Houston, Texas. Several articles were printed in the newspapers about her lectures. She was accompanied by Adjutant Robert Arbour.
On Tuesday 19 February 1918, The Houston Post announced forthcoming lectures by Madame E. Guérin: “Interesting French Lecturer. One of the most interesting events of the week will be the lectures to be given by Madame E. Guerin, the distinguished woman who is touring the country on behalf of the French invalids of class No. 2. Madame Guerin, who has been called Sarah Bernhardt the second, is said to be a most interesting speaker and her subject certainly can not fail to stir the sympathies of her audience. Madame Guerin will arrive in Houston Wednesday and will remain several days, during which time informal social courtesies will be extended her.”
On 20 February 1918, the Houston Post printed an article headed “To Tell of Inoculation Of French by Germans. Few subjects of today are more interesting to the public than those which relate to conditions in bleeding France and when Madame E, Guerin and Robert Arbour arrive in Houston Wednesday for a series of lectures on the number of tubercular patients in French hospitals she will find receptive audiences awaiting her.
Madame Guerin’s message will be weighted with woe. She will tell of the inoculation of able bodied Frenchmen with tuberculosis serum in order to unfit them for further service. This was done, it is said, under the pretext of giving them inoculation from typhoid and was not known until thousands developed the dread disease.
The first lecture will be given in the ball room of the Rice hotel Thursday night. During the four or five days Madame Guerin and Mr. Arbour will remain in Houston they will arrange a lecture for school children and another under the auspices of the city administration at the city auditorium.
The object of the lectures is to enlist the sympathetic interest of America in the conditions described and to secure aid in caring for the large class of invalided Frenchmen afflicted with tuberculosis as a result of the deadly inoculation.”
On 21 February 1918, the Houston Post kept its readers informed about the Guérin visit: “Conditions Over There. “Conditions Over There” will be the subject of a lecture to be given at 8 o’clock this evening at the Rice by Madame E. Guerin, wife of a judge of the French court. Robert Arbour, adjutant of the 9th regiment of Tirailleurs, will also speak, giving his experiences of three years’ service in France and illustrating his talk with stereopticon views,
Madame Guerin, Adjutant Arbour, Mlle. Boule and Joseph T. Buddecke arrived in the city Wednesday and are guests at the Rice for the remainder of the week.
Madame Guerin, who is a woman of rare charm, and Mr. Arbour are officially appointed by the French authorities to tour the United States in the interest of French invalids class 2, and much interest is being manifested in their visit. Mayor J. C. Hutcheson Jr. will present the speakers this evening.”
True to form, again the Houston Post enlightened its readers about the Guérin and Arbour lectures. On 22 February 1918, its article read: “SACRIFICES BEING MADE BY SOLDIERS. People Left at Home Are Not Sacrificing, Only Doing Duty. Forceful Talk, Bringing Home Facts, Made Friday Night by Adjutant Robert Arbour of French Army.
“Everywhere one hears of the ‘sacrifices’ that have to be met since this country is at war, and the ‘duty’ of the soldier, as he goes to the front to fight for his country’s ideals and safety. But it is not the citizen who remains at home who makes the sacrifices, but the soldier who gives up “all,” even his life, while the person at home does only his duty. There is a difference.”
That is the opinion Robert Arbour, adjutant of the 9th regiment of Tirailleurs, who has spent three years in the trenches, expressed before an audience of less than 200 persons at a meeting in the Rice hotel ball room Thursday night. In his brief but stirring address Adjutant Arbour drew a dramatic picture of just what the boys in the trenches were facing, not once but every day and night, some of them receiving only 5 cents a day pay.
The audience was composed chiefly of society women and several French officers who are located as instructors at the army camps. They were kept to a pitch of the highest interest in the addresses especially that of Madame E. Guerin, wife of a judge of a French court, who delivered an address on “Conditions Over There” in her broken English. Both she and Mr. Arbour have been officially appointed by the French government to tour the United States in the interest of the French invalids, class 2. The speakers were introduced by Major J. C. Hutcheson Jr., who expressed his highest praise of their efforts and the cause which they represent.
ASKED TO LOAN MONEY TO GOVERNMENT.
“Many people remark about the many ‘less’ days – the wheatless, meatless, porkless, heatless or lightless days, but who ever heard of any of the soldier boys, living in the hell holes, called trenches, having a fightless or horrorless day? Is there a comparison,” Adjutant Arbour asked. “American men and women have been asked to back their government with their money and resources, and they will have to do it or the fight will be lost. But so far they have been only asked to lend their money, and lend it at a good rate of interest, or to lend their time and efforts.
“What is asked of a soldier, who goes forward to meet the foe? The man who is he falls in the task allotted to him will cause the failure of the entire cause? He is asked to suffer hardships that would make you suffer to even think of; he is asked to go against those hardships without a protest, and to go till he wins or dies in the attempt. If he dies, his relatives and loved ones, but in the darkness, far from home.
“The United States entered the war for the sake of humanity, and for ideals true to the principles of God, but it also entered the war for its own safety. If Germany conquers France or England, Germany will be far along the road to conquering the world, therefore, the allies must work hand in hand, doing and dying for the same cause. The French soldiers have been fighting for the safety of the Stars and Stripes for three long years, thousands upon thousands of them fighting and dying and receiving 5 cents a day pay from the government and if entirely disabled so as to not be fit for war service, they are not pensioned. But the French ‘boys’ are there yet and are still at it. They have fought some, in fact many of the greatest battles waged in the history of the war.
MANY FRENCH KILLED BY AMERICAN MUNITIONS.
“No doubt there have been many and many French soldiers killed by shells and munitions manufactured in the United States prior to its entrance into the war. The French people hold no hard feelings against the Americans for that, but if there is a wrong the American people should be willing to right it. On the sale of those munitions, the United States became the richest country in the world. No matter what is asked of you men and women at home, no matter how hard it seems, give your all, and then remember that you are giving nothing as compared to the husband, father or brother who is sleeping with icy mud for a bed, eating when he can and what he can get, and often times dying a death so terrible as to be hardly conceivable. Give till it hurts you, and then realize just how little you have given, for the Germans have to be beaten or you are lost.”
Madame Guerin gave a graphic picture of how the French women were working for their country; how many times women could be seen striving to hold a plow to the furrow, or wield the heavy tools formerly used by men. She said that more than half the French women were dressed in black, mourning the lives of loved ones, but worked on without ceasing. She also told of the many miles of barren country, made desolate by the onrush of the Germans. Many villages, she said, had completely disappeared.
Announcement was made that the two speakers would again be heard at a large meeting to be held at the city auditorium Sunday night. Definite arrangements have not been completed.”
The 24 February 1918 lecture by Madame Guérin and Adjutant Arbour was reviewed in The Houston Post the next day [sic]:
“DEFEAT OF ALLIES MEANS U.S. RUIN. Germans Must Not Be Allowed to Break Through Western Front. Adjutant Robert Arbour of French Army and Mme. E. Guerin Gave Picture of What Defeat Would Mean in Sunday Addresses.
Defeat of the allied nations by Germany means the complete enslavement of the American people and the disappearance of freedom and civilization from the earth, was the declaration of Robert Arbour, adjutant of the 9th regiment of French Trailleurs who spent three years in the trenches opposing the Boche invasion of France, at the banquet hall of the city auditorium Sunday night.
Adjutant Arbour proceeded to drive home to the minds of his 500 auditors, some impressive facts concerning the organized military efficiency of the German war machine, and warned all Americans that no sacrifice that shall be demanded of them will be too great to make, in the face of the fight for existence that the United States is now engaged in.
The defeat of France by the German hordes, means the defeat of England, of Italy and subsequently the defeat and subjugation of the American people, asserted the speaker.
Should Germany accomplish the defeat of the allies, the fleets of France, England, Italy and Japan would become the weapon of Germany to attack the United States, and Adjutant Arbour left it to the intelligence of his hearers to estimate the success the American nation would have in withstanding such overwhelming odds.
He concluded his address with a passionate appeal to every one to give everything they possessed, without stopping to count the cost in dollars and cents, remembering that the soldier gives everything including his life, that those at home may enjoy freedom and the blessings of civilization. A free will offering was contributed for the benefit of invalid French soldiers, in whose behalf Adjutant Arbour is touring the country.
A series of slides were shown after the lecture depicting the desolation wrought in Northern France by the passage of the Hun hordes.
Mme. E. Guerin, wife of a judge of a French court, made the opening address of the evening. She told of the heroic struggle of the French nation to stem the tide of ruthless vandalism that threatened the life of the world, with a vividness that held her hearers spellbound. Her portrayal of the sufferings and the fortitude with which the people of France have passed through three years of war, fighting for liberty, equality and civilization, was one of the most eloquent appeals to duty and self-sacrifice that have been heard here. Her epitome of the French nation as the “tragic symbol of duty” struck home with a force and meaning that few in that audience will forget.
With inimitable humor she described the trials and difficulties encountered by American soldiers in France, in trying to make their wants known, ignorant as most of them are of the French tongue.”
With Anna’s sister Mlle. Boulle (Mademoiselle Juliette Virginie Boulle) being mentioned present in Houston, perhaps it is a good time to introduce her. It is not known exactly how often Juliette helped, when Anna was in North America but it is known that she did do so and, sometimes, both Anna and Juliette were accompanied by their mutual French friend – widow Blanche Berneron.
Juliette was born on 03 July 1892 in Vallon, Ardèche, France – making her 14 years younger than Anna. She had the family nick-name of ‘Jette’. Juliette had a lame left leg and walked with a limp. It is known that she underwent an operation on it in 1920, in the USA.
Juliette’s ‘Declaration of Intention’ to become a US citizen, revealed she had brown eyes and hair; she was 5′ 6″ tall; and weighed 124 lbs. She had made New York her home, and held the position of “Vice-President” (of a French Antiques company).
Juliette intended to become a US citizen on 27 January 1931. Juliette never married – she died on 26 January 1974, 5 Square Charles Dickens, Paris 75016, France. Juliette was cremated at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris on 02 February 1974 – her ashes were transported home to Vallon (-Pont-d’Arc) on 12 April 1977.
Blanche (née ?) was born 04 December 1882 in Paris, France. It is known that Blanche married Eugène Berneron on 04 January 1912 in Paris but, to date, her maiden name has not been discovered. Eugène was born 15 June 1878 Grenoble, France – he died in February 1914. Blanche was first found arriving in the US in August 1916.
On her ‘Declaration of Intention’ to become a US citizen, it is revealed Blanche had brown eyes and hair; she was 5′ 2″ tall; and weighed 130 lbs. She had made her home in New York and was a “Manager of Antiques Company”. She intended to become a US citizen on 06 January 1931. Blanche never re-married – she died in August 1970 in New York.
Blanche (née ?) was born 04 December 1882 in Paris, France. It is known that Blanche married Eugène Berneron on 04 January 1912 in Paris but, to date, her maiden name has not been discovered. Eugène was born 15 June 1878 Grenoble, France – he died in February 1914. Blanche was first found arriving in the US in August 1916.
On her ‘Declaration of Intention’ to become a US citizen, it is revealed Blanche had brown eyes and hair; she was 5′ 2″ tall; and weighed 130 lbs. She had made her home in New York and was a “Manager of Antiques Company”. She intended to become a US citizen on 06 January 1931. Blanche never re-married – she died in August 1970 in New York.
To digress further, “Adjutant Robert Arbour” is an interesting character – it is learnt from newspaper articles that “Robert Arbour” was a pen name for a “Robert Oliveau” but research has discovered much more intrigue. All clues lead to him being known, initially, as one François Robert Le Breton Oliveau from Bordeaux. Over time, he was found with several name variations.
The birth of “François Robert Le Breton Oliveau” on 26 June 1890 in Bordeaux, France was registered the next day (27 June). His parents were Jean Henri Le Breton Oliveau (born c1854, aged “35” at the time of the birth,) and his wife Marie Magdeleine Saliné (born c1870, aged “19” at the time of the birth). François had at least two siblings – brothers Henri, Armand and Jean. The family home was always found to be “Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux” – “6”; “7”; and “4-9”. It is noted that an online decennial tables list for Bordeaux gives “Robert” and the birth registration date 27 June 1890.
Online records show “Robert Oliveau” arriving in New York on 30 December 1911 on the ship St. Laurent, from Dunkirk, France. He obviously returns to France because, on 11 November 1912, “Robert Oliveau” is arriving in New York again, this time from Le Havre, France. He is travelling with his brother “Jean Oliveau”, Paper Maker (born c1895, Bordeaux). Their nearest relative is “Father, Oliveau, Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux”. Their final destination was Canada. It is deduced that François, at least, remained in North America until the First World War broke out.
“François Robert” enlisted into the French army, when the First World War began. Apparently, he is awarded at least two citations “by the French General Staff for bravery, but on account of ill health he was honourably discharged after three years’ service.” (12 March 1918, Daily Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock). He was also reported, in the press, as being Adjutant of the 9th regiment of Algerian Tirailleurs. Citation information found:
1914, 3/4 November: “… in front of the canal of Ypres, Adjutant Arbour has approached himself singly to the German trenches to spy the movements of the enemy. Next morning, during the attack, he remained alone in a conquered trench, giving the greatest example of courage and nerve.” (The Morning Tulsa Daily World, 07 April 1918). This was during the First Battle of Ypres and the Tirailleurs have been definitely found in this location.
1915, 20/21 April: “During the night of 20th to the 21st of April, 1915, Adjutant Arbour gave proof of a remarkable coolness and courage, approaching himself to the first firing line of the German trenches and carrying away, despite the fire of the enemy, two flags placed in the middle of the barbed-wire entanglements of the German trenches.” (The Morning Tulsa Daily World, 07 April 1918). At that time, the 45th Algerian Division was at the front line between Steenstraat, to the north of Ypres, and the Belgian coast (http://www.greatwar.co.uk/) and it seems possible that Oliveau was “in the thick of it” in this particular area.
On 22 August 1917, “Jean Le Breton Oliveau” (brother of “Francois”/”Robert”) arrived in New York. He was a “Diplomat” “On foreign mission”. His nearest relative was “Brother. Henri Oliveau, 6 Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux”. He was joining: “Wife – Mrs. J. Oliveau, 501 W. 187 St. N.Y.”. Bn: “Bordeaux”.
On 25 October 1917, “Francois Le Breton-Oliveau” arrived in New York from Bordeaux, on ship La Touraine. This passenger was aged “27 Years 4 Months”, which equates to the deduced birth date of this intriguing fellow. “Francois” gave his occupation as “Real Estate Agent”. His last ‘Permanent Residence’ was “Canada, Edmonton”. His nearest relative was “Father. Mr. Le Breton Oliveau, 4-9 Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux”. He was joining “Friend. Mr. David Willard, 132E. 24th St. New-York City”. Madame Guérin was travelling on the same ship.
“Adjutant Robert Arbour” was next found on 15 February 1918, with Madame Guérin. They were in San Antonio, Texas, where they lectured at the College of Our Lady of the Lake- on behalf . ‘Twixt then and 06 April 1918, Adjutant Arbour was found lecturing on behalf of French war invalids, No 2 class – non-pensionable invalided soldiers, who can no longer work (with Madame Guérin, as documented in this chapter).
In May 1918, the name of a “Robert Arbour” appeared in The Wichita Beacon (04 May 1918) relating to Tulsa, Oklahoma – which Adjutant Arbour had visited during his lecture tour. It is believed this is right man: “OKLAHOMA CHARTER GRANTS. Oklahoma City, May 4. – The following charters have been issued by J. L. Lyon, secretary of state: Franco-American Oil Company, Perry, capital $300,000; incorporators, Robert Oliveau, A. J. Murry, Henry A. B. Bellmont, Tulsa.”
On 01 August 1918, “Francois Oliveau” was a passenger into New York from Bordeaux, on ship Niagara. The “Francois” was aged 28. His nearest relative was “Brother. LeBreton Oliveau, 7 Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux”. His final destination was Tulsa, Ok. – “home”.
On a WW1 US Draft Card document dated 12 September 1918, a “Robert Oliveau” was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Nearest relative: “father Henri Oliveau, 7 Quai de la Douane, Bordeaux”.
On 28 December 1926, François Robert Le Breton Oliveau married Marie Marguerite Degonde at Paris (5th arrondissement). The couple’s divorce was finalised on 13 April 1946. Wasting no time, François married Jeanne Marie Mathilda Charlotte Lombard de Servan on 29 April 1946 – at Eysines, Gironde. It appears that she was just known as “Mathilda”.
During World War Two, one “Robert Oliveau” of Bordeaux was a member of the French Resistance. This is a passage relating to 1940, translated from the French book ‘BORDEAUX BRÛLE-T-IL. La Libération de la Gironde’ by Dominique Lormier, 2003: “From the month of August, a few Bordelais, eager to answer the call of General de Gaulle and continue the struggle against the invader, gathered at the bar of Robert Oliveau “Jack”, rue Voltaire in Bordeaux. Oliveau put them in touch with a Basque fisherman from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Lesso Urustelia, who agreed to take them on a tuna boat to England. The departure was set for November 15. Unfortunately, the Gestapo put an end to their projects. Fifteen of them were arrested on 6 November 1940 at the same bar. None the less, Oliveau, continued his work in the Resistance, in collaboration with George Bonnet, former Foreign Minister and Yvon Delbos.”
On 16 October 1947, “Robert Le Breton Oliveau” arrived in New York on S.S. de Grasse, from Le Havre, France. He was a “Journalist”. His last permanent address was “Le Vigean” – thought to be Le Vigeant, Poitou-Charentes, France. His wife was named as “Matilde Le Breton Oliveau – Le Vigeant, France”. He was last in USA “1917/1918”. “Robert” was going to “sister-in-law, Mrs. Le Breton Oliveau, 45 Grove St., NY City” – probably wife of brother Jean? A “Jean Le Breton-Oliveau” is recorded as a WW2 POW.
François Robert Le Breton Oliveau died on 26 April 1951, at Eysines, Gironde.
This above research is another digression from Madame Guérin and her ‘Poppy Path’ but it is best to document all that has been found on this French gentleman … one day, another person may have cause to research him and this may help them in their quest.
Returning to Madame Anna Guérin’s tour …
On 08 March 1918, Madame Guérin and Adjutant Arbour lectured at Texarkana in Texas. The Daily Arkansas Little Rock Gazette ran this short notice: “FOR FRENCH INVALIDS. Special to the Gazette. Texarkana, March 9. – Adjt. Robert Arbour of the French army and Mme. E. Guerin, who are touring this country to raise money for the relief of French invalids of Class No. 2, lectured to a large audience at the Texas City Hall last night.”
On 13 March 1918, Madame Anna Guérin had arrived in Little Rock, Arkansas. Her fellow lecturer was a Robert Arbour. The Daily Arkansas Gazette had announced Anna’s arrival the day before: “FRENCH SPEAKERS HERE TOMORROW. Madame Guerin and Robert Arbour to Appear at the City Hall. …
Before the war Madame Guerin delivered 1,200 lectures in England, Scotland and Ireland, and since the war began has delivered 600 lectures in the United States. M. Arbour, which is the pen name for M. Robert Oliveau, was a soldier of fortune when the war broke out and was in British Columbia. He joined his regiment on has been with nine different regiments of Algerian tirailleurs. He participated in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Ypres and the Somme. He was cited twice by the French General Staff for bravery, but on account of ill health he was honourably discharged after three years’ service. …”
The Daily Arkansas Gazette (13 March 1918) printed a long and very informative article about the visit. A sketch of Anna accompanied the article. Here it is in full:
“MADAME E. GUERIN OF FRANCE IS HERE. Says Her Country Looks to America to Win for the Allies. “Your country, it is so large, I shall never see the end of it,” said Madame E. Guerin, wife of a French judge, at the Hotel Marion last night. Madame Guerin and Adjt. Robert Arbour, who served three years in the French army, will lecture at the Hotel Marion auditorium at 8:15 tomorrow night on present conditions in France. They will be introduced by George B. Rose, president of the Alliance Francaise. They were asked by the Alliance Francaise to give a lecture before it, but because of their short stay in Little Rock were forced to decline. The lecture tomorrow night will be in English.
Madame Guerin’s husband enlisted at the beginning of the war. For the last 15 months he has been on a mission in Northern Africa. Madame Guerin, besides her husband, has had two brothers and 15 cousins in the French army since the war began. Several of them have been killed. She has been lecturing in the United States every winter since 1914 and has spent her summers in the war stricken part of France. She arrived in the United States on her present tour last November.
Sees Germans’ Work.
“I visited in one village,” she said, “where all the men from 50 to 80 years old had been lined against a wall and shot. The Germans did it because one of them had fired a gun. It was just an excuse, I saw at another village one poor mother who told me that her only boy of 14 had been hanged from a tree by the German soldiers because he refused to say ‘Long live the kaiser.’
“I spent three months in the devastated region around Rheims and Soissons. It is impossible to describe this territory without seeming to exaggerate. All the north of France is a dessert. It must be rebuilt, refarmed, as if it were virgin soil. The poor inhabitants have been forced by the Germans to labor for three years. Some are living in the ruins of their homes, some in cellars and some in temporary shacks. But in spite of all the destruction, all the misery, the spirit of France is not crushed. The French are ready to fight to the end.
Base Hope on America.
“I gave several lectures while in France to explain to the French people what America is and what it can and will do for the allies. In France now all hopes lay in America, all eyes are turned to America.”
Madame Guerin could make no prediction concerning the end of the war. From the shrug of her shoulders, it was evident that she does not think the war would end for a long time. Her sister, who is accompanying her, held up five fingers in an expressive fashion to show how long she thought it would continue. Among Madame Guerin’s papers were several photographs of her young daughter, which she showed with much pride, as she asked “Is she not beautiful?” The daughter is in school in France.
“Do say something about Adjutant Arbour. He is a wonderful speaker,” said Madame Guerin. “He has been in many battles and he has been in many battles and he has won a French medal with two stars on it for his brilliant services in the front line trenches. He has been officially sent to the United States by the French authorities to speak in behalf of the French invalids of Class No. 2, which include all the human wrecks coming from the trenches with tuberculosis, heart disease, rheumatism and other diseases.”
M. Arbour will arrive in Little Rock today.”
The Daily Arkansas Gazette ran two more articles on consecutive days. Here is the article of 14 March 1918:
“FRENCH LECTURERS TO SPEAK TONIGHT. Adjt. Robert Arbour, Poilu, and Mme. Guerin to Talk on War. Adjt. Robert Arbour, who has seen three years of service with the French army during the world war, arrived last night from Hot Springs, and with Madame E. Guerin, wife of a French jurist, and patriotic lecturer, will speak at the Hotel Marion auditorium tonight at 8:15. Madame Guerin arrived in Little Rock Tuesday, accompanied by her sister. She called on the bankers of the city yesterday and asked them to buy tickets for high school students. Many bankers bought 25 tickets each to give to the students. The stirring address of M. Arbour, who is 27 years old, makes a particularly deep impression upon students, according to Mme. Guerin. Slides will be used to illustrate the lectures.
M. Arbour lived five years in America before the war. He was in British Columbia when the war broke out and joined his regiment at the first call. He has been fighting at with nine different regiments of Algerian tirailleurs in the battle of the Marne and in the battles of Aisne, Ypres and the Somme. He was twice cited by the French General Staff in recognition of his bravery. Mme. Guerin has a strong personality and is said to have the emotional talents necessary for making an impressive lecture. The tickets will be 25 and 50 cents at the door of the ballroom.”
The article printed on 15 March 1918, reviewed the lectures the night before, at the Hotel Marion in Little Rock:
“TELL OF CRUEL DEEDS OF GERMANS. Madame Guerin and M. Arbour Tell of Conditions on French Front. Madame E. Guerin, wife of a French judge, and Adjt. Robert Arbour, for three years in the French army, who spoke at the Hotel Marion auditorium last night, are eloquent orators.
“The real France,” said Madame Guerin, “is far away from the boulevards of Paris. It was through the malicious stories told by Germany that France before the war won the name of being a degenerate nation. The real spirit of France was shown when Germany criminally entered Belgium. France today is standing as an individual against Germany.
“Remember,” said Madame Guerin in relating instances of German brutality which she saw, “that all the misery, all the destruction in France and Belgium, is not an inevitable result of war. It is the work of brutes. Only Huns could conceive such cruelties. I cannot tell you how many men France has lost, but I know that there is not a family among my relatives and friends in which some member has not been killed.”
“You can’t know how the entry of the Americans into the war heartened the allies,” she said. The work of the American Red Cross in France, she said, had seemed a miracle.”
M. Arbour’s Address.
“I am a soldier,” not a speaker,” said M. Arbour in beginning his lecture. But he spoke with an amazing, staccato quickness that was especially effective in describing France at war. “The war,” he said, “will only be ended when German militarism is crushed. The Kaiser will no more stop at this stage of the game than a business man would stop making money when everything was prosperous for him. The Kaiser must go on until he is defeated. Never forget that the United States is not only fighting for liberty, right and humanity, but for its national safety.
“We are not yet through with the submarine danger. The U-boats are still sinking two times the tonnage of the ships now being built.”
M. Arbour told of a young French soldier in the same ambulance with him one night who could speak English and who, as his stretched was being taken into the hospital, turned his white face toward the American ambulance driver and said “Good night and good luck to you.” A minute later word came to the ambulance that he had died. The soldier, M. Arbour said, was representative of a nation which would never be conquered.
“He made a plea for the invalided French soldiers of Class No. 2, those with minor wounds and those subject to tuberculosis and other diseases, for whom no pension was provided upon their discharge when they were no longer thought fit for the trenches.
Such soldiers, he said, while being classed as fit for work, often were incapacitated for it and it was for these that at the end of his lecture he, with Madame Guerin, took up a collection.
America Hasn’t Begun to Suffer.
The soldier who loses his life gives all and the civilian who subscribes to the Liberty loan is merely making a good investment, according to M. Arbour. “The price of money is going up and the price of blood is going down,” he said. America, he declared, has not realized what it is to suffer.
“The French soldier receives five cents a day and still he keeps on fighting and dying, and dying with a smile,” he said. “The nation is only doing its duty in supporting its soldiers.”
Confidence in President Wilson is the keynote of victory, according to M. Arbour. President Wilson, he says, has shown to France that he has the vision of a statesman.
George B. Rose, president of the Alliance Francaise, introduced the speakers.”
On 25 March 1918, Anna arrived in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Adjutant Robert Arbour was still accompanying her.
The Muskogee Times (Monday, 25 March 1918) printed this article ahead of the pair’s lecture – which would take place at the Hotel Severs parlor [sic]:
“ANOTHER FRENCH WAR HERO WILL BRING MESSAGE. Adjutant Robert Arbour and Madame Guerin to Speak Here Wednesday Night. Bearing credentials from the French government as well as letters of commendation from Pershing and other war leaders, Adjutant Robert Arbour of the French army is coming to Muskogee with his message of how France is bearing up under the hardships of war, and will speak probably Wednesday night.
Accompanying M. Arbour is Madame E. Guerin, one of the foremost of French women speakers. She is known as “the Sarah Bernhardt of the French platform.” Madame Guerin is the wife of a judge of the French court now engaged in war work.
Madame Guerin arrived in Muskogee Monday morning.
The lecturers are speaking throughout the country for the benefit of the French war invalids of class No. 2. The receipts from their lectures will go to that cause.
M. Arbour is a typical French gentleman, 27 years old, and has travelled around the world. He lived in America for five years before the war. Joining the colors at the first call, he distinguished himself in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Ypres and Somme. Two citations for bravery were given him by the French general staff before he was honourably discharged after three years’ service because of the change in his health.
M. Arbour is a speaker of tremendous vigor and dash. Comment on his speeches has been universally complimentary of the vivid and forceful manner in which he depicts the personal side of the life of our soldiers over there, the good which is done by the war relief workers, and the strength of the morale of France by the arrival of American fighters.”
On Wednesday, 27 March, The Muskogee Times promoted the lecture. The following is the section of the article that concentrated on Anna:
“TALENTED WOMAN TO SPEAK TONIGHT. Madame Guerin First of Fairer Sex to Plead Cause of France in Muskogee. Muskogee has heard the war message of two heroes from the trenches of Flanders and France, but the first woman to bring the story of what war means to the women of France waiting and praying for the victory of their brave defenders is Mme. E. Guerin, who speaks tonight at the Severs parlor. Madame Guerin is one of the foremost speakers of the French platform and is known in English and American university circles for the hundreds of lectures she has given in these countries.
Since the beginning of the war, Madame Guerin has given 600 talks in 24 states of the United States, using her talents for the cause in which her husband, a judge of the French court, two brothers, and other relatives are giving their lives.
Patriotic with the intense loyalty typical of French womanhood, Madame Guerin’s purpose is to strengthen the ties of sympathy between the American people and the French.
With Madame Guerin is Adjutant Robert Arbour of the French army, who tells of the “blood and iron” side of the war, the actual trench fighting. His experiences in three years of fighting including the Marne, Aisne, Ypres and Verdun, will be illustrated with slides taken at the front. Mr. Arbour is a speaker of rare power. After winning the war cross with two stars, he was honourably discharged because of ill health, and was commissioned to speak in behalf of the French army invalids.
Four hundred thousand Frenchmen, discharged from the army when the rigors of trench warfare had disabled them, are now helpless and without pensions. French soldiers do not receive pensions unless they have been severely wounded in actual combat, have lost an arm or leg, or received a serious bullet wound.
France is filled with men who have succumbed to tuberculosis, rheumatism, neurasthenia or similar diseases which incapacitate them for life. Thousands have become insane from shell shock. These men, says Madame Guerin, are really the most pitiable of all the human wrecks that come back from the fighting lines. It is for their benefit that Adjutant Arbour has been commissioned.“
On 28 March 1918, the Muskogee Times Democrat reviewed Madame Guérin and Robert Arbour’s lecture from the evening before. Anna Guérin described how the heroic peasant women were working in the French countryside, something she knew much about [sic]:
“SPEAKERS BRING TALE OF FRENCH WAR SUFFERINGS. Victory Doesn’t Measure Sacrifices Says Adjutant Arbour at Hotel Severs.
“Victory will rest with the nation that does not measure its sacrifices nor limit its duty.” In this sentence was struck the keynote of Adjutant Robert Arbour’s war address at the Severs parlor Wednesday night.
“You will say,” he told his hearers, “that you have already been asked to give and give, and you have given until you think you can give no more, but you have yet to learn to give. You must learn to give your dollars to the cause until it hurts you as much as it hurts a soldier to be wounded.”
Referring to the Liberty loan, Lieutenant Arbour spoke his heart freely in comparing the sacrifice of the soldier who gives his life-blood without hope of reward and the civilian who receives a lucrative rate of interest on the money he lends the government. “The French soldier,” he reminded them, “fights in the mud and blood of the trenches for a nickel a day. The soldier is ordered to give his life: you must be given a sound and paying investment on which to ‘give’ your money. Every civilian in America may give his money by hundreds and thousands of dollars, and yet the sum of their sacrifices will not be so great as the sacrifice of a single soldier who sinks dying into the mud with a shell splinter through his breast.”
Hell Won’t Be War.
The lieutenant dwelt briefly but tellingly upon the hardships of the fighting me. “One of your generals,” he said, “once remarked, ‘war is hell.’ That is true, but if any of you should go to hell, take this thought with you for consolation, hell won’t be war.”
Preceding Adjutant Arbour, Madame E. Guerin related how the indomitable spirit of France has borne up beneath the onslaught of the Huns. “How many men we have lost I do not pretend to know,” she said, “but I do know this, that among all my acquaintances in France there is not a family but from which at least one man, father, brother or husband, has given his life in the fray. Practically every woman in France is in mourning, but their spirit is not broken. Amid all their sacrifices they keep the thought, ‘It is for France.’
French Women Heroines.
“Whether it ne in trenches or at home that they serve,” she declared, “there is not a Frenchman nor a Frenchwoman who does not work for the salvation of France. The war will know no greater heroes than the French peasant women. I have seen them holding the plow to the furrow or riding the mower in the fields where the men have gone to war, and I have seen them working in the munitions factories and I say to you that there is no greater courage of fortitude than theirs.
“Young boys and grandfathers now labor in the fields to keep them green and productive until the men who have gone to war come back. These peasant people at the bone and sinew of France, and Americans should learn that these are the real Frenchmen and the real Frenchwomen.
Adjutant Arbour is a speaker for the aid of the unpensioned soldier invalids of France. There are 400,000 such invalids in France, he said, and many of them are unable much of the time to make a living. Their only help comes through the funds voluntarily given for their relief.
Following his talk, a collection of $53.20 was taken up when the “instruments of torture,” as the lieutenant dubbed the collection platters, were passed around. This money is sent to the treasurer of the fund for the relief of the war invalids.”
On 02 April 1918, Adjutant Robert Arbour was present at the Convention Hall in Tulsa. Addressing the audience was the former President of the United States, William H. Taft – the former President gave “the most complete and ablest presentation of America’s case against Germany” that had been made in that city.
The Morning Tulsa Daily World reported on the gathering the next day. It was a very long article, starting on the front page and continuing on page 5. The following extract is relevant to the Adjutant [sic]:-
“… … French Army Officer Cheered.
One of the big demonstrations of the Convention hall meeting was that given Robert Arbour, a young French army officer who is in Tulsa in behalf of French invalid soldiers. When he was presented to the crowd every man, woman and child in the audience rose to their feet and shouted themselves hoarse. President Taft, in beginning his speech, expressed his pleasure and said he felt it an honor to be on the stage with a French hero.
It was announced that Adjutant Arbour will deliver a free speech in the auditorium of the high school next Monday night at 8:30 o’clock, when he will tell why he believes, as he said, the French, English and American armies, fighting side by side, cannot fail to be victorious in the war. … …”
On the afternoon of Friday 05 April 1918, a group of women held a ‘Poppy Drive’ on Wall Street, New York. It was carried out to help fund American women doctors, who were mainly going to small hospitals in France.
“The poppy drive in Wall Street yesterday afternoon, when women sold poppies – artificial – to plethoric brokers netted $2,000.” (06 April 1918: The Sun, of New York).
On 08 April 1918, Madame Guérin was in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was there to give another lecture, with Adjutant Robert Arbour – on behalf of French war invalids, No 2 class – non-pensionable invalided soldiers, who can no longer work. (The Morning Tulsa Daily World, 09 October 1918).
On 09 April 1918, The Morning Tulsa Daily World reviewed the lectures given by Madame Guérin and Adjutant Arbour the evening before, in the Tulsa high school. Some of the quoted pieces from Robert Arbour’s speech are similar to those already found spoken by Anna Guérin – perhaps she had been mentoring him. On this particular occasion, the review actually concentrated on Adjutant Arbour rather than Madame Guérin [sic]:
“FRENCH HERO TELLS NATION’S SACRIFICE. Adjutant Arbour Brings Vivid Story to Crowd That Packs High School Auditorium. PURSE STRINGS ARE LOOSED. Liberal Tulsans Give $450 to French Charity Fund by Free-Will Offering.
To a crowd that packed every available inch of space in the high school auditorium last night Adjutant Robert Arbour, a French hero from the front, told the story of the sacrifice that his country has made and stirred anew the patriotic ardour of his hearers. He was scheduled to speak at 8.30 but fully an hour before that time every seat and all standing room was taken. Two thousand persons, eager to see and hear the French warrior, were unable to gain admission.
So vivid was the story of Adjutant Arbour and so direct an appeal did his account of the valor of the poilus and gratitude for help of America make on his hearers that the sum of $450 was raised by voluntary contribution to go to the relief of the French orphans and those who have suffered from the ravages of war. No admission was charged, nor was it advertised that a collection would be taken. The sum raised was given out of a feeling to help those who have suffered most.
Apologising for any faulty pronunciation of English words, Lieutenant Arbour stated that there can never be any real misunderstanding between France and America.
“The time has passed for America to look backward.” He said. “Your country entered the war not only for right and liberty, but for its own safety.”
Here he drew an analogy between Caesar, Napoleon and the Kaiser, all of whom have made an effort to conquer the world. Organization means power, and for this reason the Kaiser has organized an elaborate spy system, so that now he imagines he knows the whole world. But he doesn’t and he will not stop until he is hopelessly defeated. The war will end only when German militarism is completely crushed.
“If France is defeated,” he declared, “the allied nations one after another will have to turn over to Germany everything they possess and if Germany gets control of the fleets of the allies the Kaiser can easily bring his troops to America just as Adrian took his army to the Highlands of Scotland.”
Lieutenant Arbour told of the vastness of the war, and lauded President Wilson for his foresightedness. “Have confidence in Wilson,” he said, “for his is the keynote of victory. A man may pass the draft age but if he is a real man he will never pass the duty age. You must sacrifice to the point of exhaustion, but you must do it silently, as a soldier does. Those who can not fight must help, or the war is lost.”
Lieutenant Arbour urged that Americans subscribe heavily to the Liberty loans. “A soldier gives his life,” he said, “while the civilians at home only lend their dollars, and if every man in America and France would give his last dollar or franc he would not give as much as one American or French soldier, who gives his life.” Here the lieutenant was interrupted by a storm of applause. “What is life without money, someone may ask,” he continued. “Nothing, many will say, but life without money is just what most of the soldiers will have when this world catastrophe is over.”
Speaking of the great valor of his countrymen. Lieutenant Arbour exclaimed: “They can’t be beaten, for as long as there is a single French soldier in the trenches Hindenburg will never crush the French line. The winner in the war will be the one who will not measure or set a limit to his sacrifice. As long as France goes undefeated, America will never know what France has known. France and America are now, as they have always been, bound together to live together or die together or die one after the other.
No Peace With Burglar.
“Would you make peace with a burglar who has entered your house, trampled your wives and children under his heels and still retains his weapon for future use?” he asked. “Neither will France. And let me tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that French soldiers today are fighting for the Stars and Stripes just as much as your brave American soldiers are fighting now for the glorious Tri-Color of France, side by side, shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart.”
Speaking of the French relief work, he said that four hundred thousand French soldiers have been discharged from active service without pensions, and that they must be provided for.
“Some of you may object to the wheatless and meatless days and lightless nights,” he continued, “but never forget for a single minute that the soldier in France knows no fightless day.”
Lieutenant Arbor closed his address by telling several instances of the indomitable courage of French soldiers in meeting death, and exhibited a number of lantern slides made from pictures take in the trenches. Lieutenant Arbour spent three years in the front lines and was twice wounded, one in a barbed-wire entanglement, and one by bullets. He fought at the Marne and Verdun.
After exhibiting his lantern slides he sang “The Marseillaise” in French and received hearty and applause.
Mme. Guerin Also Speaks.
Preceding Lieutenant Arbour, Mme. Guerin, wife of a French judge, told of German atrocities and the invincible courage of the French army.
“Although unquestionable courage flows in the French trenches,” she said, “it has never been greater than since the first day your American boys entered the front line in defense of liberty and humanity.” ”
To conclude this Tulsa visit, The Morning Tulsa Daily World (08 April 1918) gave an insight into an Atlantic voyage during 1918: “… … It takes fifteen days to cross the Atlantic now. We go in a zig-zag course, no one excepting the captain being aware of our whereabouts at any time. … …” It was reviewing a speech given by local Tulsa newspaperman, Glen Condon, about “his experiences and observations at the great battle front in France” during the previous afternoon. He had left Tulsa to go across to France and Flanders – after he returned to the U.S.A., he gave lectures to benefit the war effort.
It appears the states of Kansas and Missouri were next on the list for Anna Guérin – for the May 1918 Red Cross War Fund Drives. Newspapers reported on how Anna attended. The second Kansas Red Cross Drive was officially held between 20 – 27 May 1918 – although it appears to have embodied a few days either side too.
The Red Cross Drive followed the Third Liberty Loan Drive – it is wondered whether Anna had been canvassing for this Liberty Loan Drive in Kansas, ahead of the Red Cross Drive – as she has not been discovered elsewhere, during the first half of May.
The Liberal Democrat of Liberal, Kansas (02 May 1918) informed its readers: “THE RED CROSS DRIVE IS NEXT. WILL LAST ONE WEEK MAY 20 TO 27. GET READY. COUNTY MUST RAISE BIG SUM. Committees Already Arranging to Handle Second War Fund Red Cross Drive.
The boys in the trenches have a steady job and the folks at home are going to have a steady job keeping them on the job.
Following right on the heels of the Third Liberty Loan Drive comes a Red Cross War Fund Drive. This is scheduled to take place for one week, May 20 to 27.
Already the committees are getting things in shape for the drive and as usual Seward county is expected to get over the top. This is getting to be a habit out here and there is no doubt but what the coming drive will be handled easily.
Better begin preparing right now to hand out the checks to the solicitors; They will have to work without any salary, and you are not supposed to take up their time. You know you want to help and that you are expected to help, so be ready when you are called upon.”
The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) wrote about Madame Guérin and that Red Cross War Drive drive in May: “… Her services were recognized by a letter of thanks from the director of the campaign and she was made the guest of honor at a reception at one of the country clubs there. She has been honored and feted in many places in the United States, having already spoken in twenty-two of the eastern states and in a few west of the Mississippi river. …”. Kansas State’s “… Lieut. Gov. W. Y. Morgan, of Hutchinson … had heard Madame Guerin in Kansas City. “She is the greatest of all the war speakers,” he told his Topeka friends. He learned that it was possible to get her for a patriotic meeting in Hutchinson and immediately wire to his home town to make arrangements for her coming.” (11 June, 1918)
The Emporia Gazette (Emporia, Kansas), added a little more about the Kansas Red Cross War Fund Drive and Anna: “…Madame Guerin is the wife of the presiding judge of one of the French courts. She spoke for about two weeks at various meetings in Kansas City, and, in one day during the Red Cross drive, made nineteen speeches and raised $32,000 in a territory which already had been canvassed. In Paris she was an officer of public instruction, and twice has been decorated by the French government. …” (17 June 1918)
On 06 June 1918, Madame Guérin was in Kansas City, Kansas State. The Kansas City Kansan newspaper (Kansas, 03 June) announced, under a plea to buy War Savings Stamps [sic]:
“– Buy W S S – MME. GUERIN TO CLUB COUNCIL. Last Meeting of Season Next Thursday Afternoon. Madame M. Guerin of France will address the Council of Clubs at the last meeting of the season to be held Thursday afternoon at 3 o’clock at the Ninth street high school. Although it was planned to hold the annual social meeting at this time, Mrs. Lillian Welsh, the chairman, has arranged instead for the French woman to tell of the war work of her countrymen. The meeting is open to the public. The Council of Clubs is disbanding for the summer, will be subject to any call for war work.
On 06 June 1918, a US newspaper article described how American soldiers had decorated their steel helmets “with poppies from the fields” before they went into battle at Veuilly-La-Poterie in France. It is apparent that many women on the US Home Front were feeling the same, as far as the poppy’s significance was concerned. In several states, unconnected women were utilising the poppy in a memorial emblem way – before Moina Michael’s epiphany moment on 09 November 1918.
On 08 June 1918, a long article in the Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) included news about the American soldiers in Picardy, France:
“BOCHE HAMMERED BACK BY ALLIES. Many Villages Are Stormed on Picardy Front. AMERICAN TROOPS VICTORS. Veuilly-La Poterie, …
WITH THE FRENCH ARMY IN FRANCE, June 7. – (By the Associated Press.) – The sharpest fighting continues around the sector of Veuilly-la-Poterie, Bussieries and Bouresches, where the Americans and French have been attacking shoulder to shoulder for some days, making almost uninterrupted progress, notwithstanding strong enemy resistance. … …
Much Progress Recorded.
Battling shoulder to shoulder over a front of six miles from Vinly, which lies just to the northwest of Veuilly-la-Poterie, to Bouresches, the Americans and French have captured the towns of Veuilly-la-Poterie and Bouresches and also made progress all along the front. Previously Torcy had fallen into the hands of the Americans.
Nowhere on this battle line have the Germans been able to stay the efforts of the allied troops, although they have fought with great tenacity. … …”
On 09 June 1918, Anna gave a lecture at the Grand Avenue church in Great Bend, Kansas. The Great Bend Tribune printed a long, informative article [sic]:
“UNTHINKABLE ATROCITIES. The civilized world has often shuddered at the stories of the bestial barbarity of the Kurds, the Turks and other races pretending to at least semi-civilization, but generally it has let the matter rest with shudders. At the most there have been feeble protests, mass meetings, memorials to congress and other perfunctory expressions of indignation which as a matter of fact marked the limit of possible action within the sphere of international law,” says an editorial writer in the Kansas City Journal.
But none of the stories of Armenian atrocities,” he continues, “has ever revealed the inherent beastliness which the Huns have displayed ever since the war began. The horrible crimes committed against the women of France and Belgium have been common knowledge for nearly four years. They have been part of the deliberate plan to undermine the moral stamina of the enemies of Germany and to impress upon them German invincibility through ruthlessness. At the same time the innate lasciviousness of the Prussian character has been displayed and the very name of German has been trailed in the mire of a universal loathing horror, before which the world has thus far stood in soul-sickened impotency.
“In her address at the Grand avenue church Sunday night Mme. Guerin, an accredited representative of the French government, told a story which brings the war home in all its frightfulness to the people of America and of Missouri in particular. It is a story which has been common report in Kansas City circles for a long time and is not the exaggerated rumor of sensation-mongers, much less the deliberate falsification of “Germany’s enemies.” A young nurse from Mexico, Mo., went to the front with the Red Cross a year or so ago and after one of the engagements near the point where she was stationed she was reported missing. Nothing was heard of her for many months until a few weeks ago a letter was received at her home asking for someone to meet her in New York. When she was met at the dock it was found that both her arms had been cut off and her tongue split. In addition she had been for months the victim of German officers and was about to become a mother.
“This is only one incident in a black and damning list of hideous crimes which ought to make the name of Prussian forever hated wherever there are civilized people. The Kurds, the Turks, and semi-barbarous peons of Mexico, the most benighted savages on the earth are Christian gentlemen compared with these infamously lecherous beasts who prey on womanhood in the guise of “a war of defense, for a place in the sun.” It is against such an enemy that America’s brave men are fighting today, and if the people of the United States could be roused to an adequate realization of the kind of enemy we are fighting there would be an awakening compared with which the wonderful activities of the past year would be as nothing. The ravages of Attila, “the Scourge of God,” from whom the Kaiser is proud to trace his descent and whom he has often invoked in his appeals to his soldier, are mild in comparison with the wholesale infamies practiced not alone by the common soldiers, but by the officers who disgrace their uniforms an desecrate the very name of manhood.
“Every American woman who goes to France to minister to the young manhood of this country risks not only her life at the hands of the women and baby killers who shell hospitals and towns and churches, but her womanhood, imperiled by these libels on the name of manhood. Yet American women are willing to run these frightful hazards in the name of patriotism, of humanity and of civilization. All honor to them and all power to the people who have “pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” to the success of the cause in which men risk their lives and women more than life.”
The image above shows Anna wearing her familiar fund-raising ‘uniform’. In the 07 June 1918 issue of ‘Kansas City Kansan’ newspaper, a description reads: “Madame Guerin wore “a simple tailor-made suit, modelled after the French soldiers’ uniform and a hat of the same material. In telling of the need of France, she said that there was very little money being spent for fashionable clothing but that everything was purchased from an economical standpoint.”
On 14 June 1918, Anna Guérin was in Baxter Springs, Kansas giving one of her stirring lectures. A week later, the local newspaper Baxter Springs News (21 June 1918) gave an excellent account of the speech. Here it is in full [sic]:
“MADAME GUERIN DREW A CROWD. TABERNACLE FILLED TO SEATING CAPACITY AND MANY STANDING. TOLD STORY LOVE AND HATE. Baxter Quartet Made a Hit – Took Large Collection for the French Maimed and Suffering.
That the French soldier fights for a nickle a day and when he comes home is not pensioned, except in a trifling way and that his morale after years of bloodshed and the most acute sacrifice is still wonderful was a part of the story told by Madame Guerin, the Friday night.
Madam Guerin is possessed of the characteristics which we all like to believe are typical of only the country of Layfayette and Bonaparte vivacious, emotional, dramatic.
She told two stories one of love, and the other of hate. Madam Guerin, under the handicap of the foreign English language, reached the hearts and minds of her audience in a way that made one wonder to what depths she could stir one who could have understood her native tongue. The Allies overlooked a mighty instrument for war stimulation in the French speakers.
“I have come across the seas to thank America.” She told of the coming of the Sammies. France bleeding, stumbling about, almost crushed in body – mourning in every home, weary, but struggling on in the unquenchable, unconquerable spirit of France – welcomed the coming of the Americans as the saviors of the cause and spread the path of the marching Sammies with flowers. We love those brave boys of America and we give them the best that is left in France.”
Madam Guerin then related some of the atrocities perpetrated upon the French, their finest boys taken prisoners and innoculated with the bacilli of tuberculosis sent home to die and spread the horror among their families. The daughters of France thrown back across the borders, outraged and broken and never to know the joys of love and mating, others the near mothers of German children victims of the lust of the German officers. In tragic pathos Madame Guerin told the sad story of the neighbor man gassed by the fiends of Prussia, who toiled in the fields to support his three little children and died in sorrow with the hungry and unprotected faces of his little ones about him. Other stories were told that brought moistness to the eyes of the audience. Madame Guerin had 16 cousins in the army, but 9 of them have been killed. In France one person out of every five in the nation counting the entire population, is in the army. Over 1,000,000 men have been killed and 1,500,000 hopelessly maimed and crippled. Thousands are dying with tuberculosis instilled by the Germans to weaken the nation. She told of the boy taken prisoner with a scratch on his foot. The German physician chloroformed him and amputated his leg at the thigh and told him it made one less soldier to fight against the armies of Germany
Bringing the horrors a little closer home the speaker produced a letter from the Governor of Missouri verifying her statement of the little American nurse who was captured by the Germans and sent back into France maimed for life and to be the mother of a child by a German officer. She told of the little Belgian children whose hands and ears were cut off and who were branded with a brand to show. Women, the young and pretty, after being used by the officers were inoculated with disease and then branded to keep the German soldiers from becoming contaminated men and children of the land. Madam Guerin says there is 200,000 people in France who are destitute and starving at this time.
Other numbers of the program will be mentioned in another column with them.
From the pathetic Madam Guerin in fiery manner and voice repeated the watch word of France: “They Shall Not Pass!”.
Madame Guerin said that we had 120,000,000 people and that an army of 2,000,000. 5,000,000 or 7,000,000 was not enough but we needed an army of 120,000,000 to win the war.
At the close of the meeting a liberal collection was taken up for the French helpless and the destitute wo …” The article ends abruptly here, with no continuation found.
On the 17 June 1918, Madame Anna Guérin gave a lecture in Neoscho, Missouri. The Neosho Daily News/Democrat and the Neosho Times (12 and 13 June, respectively), ran this article: “Tells of France. Madame E. Guerin, wife of a noted French Judge, will speak at the High School Monday evening, June 17. Admission free. Madame Guerin represents the cause of the French orphans and widows. The address will be illustrated.”
The Neosho Daily News/Democrat (17 June) ran this article about that evening’s lecture by Madame Anna Guérin: “An event Neosho people cannot afford to miss will be the lecture tonight at the High School Auditorium by Madame E. Guerin. Madame Guerin is the wife of a noted French jurist. She is in this country under the direction of the French government to tell of war conditions in France. Lantern slides will illustrate the address. Madame Guerin travels at her own expense and all the offerings given and subscriptions made go to the relief of French orphans and widows through the American Red Cross society. Admission is free.”
On 18 June 1918, Madame Guérin gave a speech in Emporia, Kansas. Insight into Anna’s magnetism can be gleaned from a long review of it in The Emporia Weekly Gazette on 20 June 1918 reported:
“Madame Guerin’s Address.
Vividly and with an earnestness which evinced a determination to achieve victory at any cost, Madame Guerin gave a true and characteristic manifestation of the spirit of France, when she addressed an audience of Emporia people which filled the auditorium in the First Presbyterian Church, Tuesday night.
Though Madame Guerin only recently learned to speak the English language, and though she could be understood at times only with difficulty, one held the attention of her audience from the moment she raised her voice in grateful appreciation of America’s aid, to the close of her talk.
Madame Guerin is making a tour of the country on behalf of the fatherless children of France. Without a desire to incite to hatred, yet with a belief that Americans ought to know what war with Germany means, she told of the horrors Germany had committed upon the civil populations of France and Belgium.
“I am here to thank you and to tell you that in spite of all France has endured, never has she been brighter than since American soldiers have been fighting with her soldiers for liberty, democracy and humanity”, said Madame Guerin.
“We are determined to win this war at any cost. Anything would be preferable to subjugation to Germany. We know what German culture, German science and German civilization mean. She then told how “Germany had wantonly destroyed sacred property, burned and looted property and maimed and tortured the helpless children and old men and women.
A year ago last April the French were almost exhausted” Madame Guerin said, but they were fighting and bleeding for France when things looked darkest for them. “General Pershing and a handful of American soldiers came” she continued. “This gave us new courage and hope – not the few men Pershing had but our realization that they represented 120,000,000 people. “You cannot realize the wonders your American soldiers accomplished in France. France took new courage and she will never give up.
Germany confronts us upon a battle line 17 miles long. France has had to hold most of this line. But now American soldiers are scattered from the English Channel to Switzerland. And American soldiers are arriving fast. Your soldiers and our soldiers are fighting in the great cause. They are not soldiers of France or America, but citizens of the world, fighting for liberty and humanity.”
In referring to the American soldiers, Madame Guerin repeatedly and proudly said they “fight like lions.” She told why the American soldiers were fighting so furiously, saying, “They realize what will come in America if Germany should win. But with American boys and the sons of France opposing her, Germany can never win.
“During the past twelve days, we have lost 80,000 men but the Germans have lost 600,000. Americans and Frenchmen are fighting and dying together. And they will win together. The news has been bad lately. You cannot realize what this means for us all. I can see thousands of wounded soldiers, towns burning, and women and children fleeing from the Germans. But we shall hold them. The Germans shall never pass. The sons of France are dying and the women and children are suffering and sacrificing. But they are glad to do it – for France. They know what defeat means.”
She told of the terrible atrocities and ruthlessness of the Huns reciting how they had destroyed the homes in Northern France and Belgium saying that there was not a house standing in all that section “put with his house destroyed and his people, persecuted and tortured, our Belgian smiles proudly. He will never give up.” she said.
“Nine-tenths of the barbarities of the Germans never has been published” Madame Guerin declared. “Germany has carried off our girls as young as 13 and 11 years of age and they have become the victims of German lust. Oh you cannot know the agony the French women are undergoing. Mothers have seen their own daughters carried away to become victims of a fate worse than death, and they undergo terrible, agony waiting for some news of them.
In France, we have more than 300,000 tubercular soldiers. All French soldiers’ children being returned to France are infected with the germs of tuberculosis. Yet all France will gladly bear their sacrifices.”
The speaker told what the women and children and old men were suffering in France. “Day and night they are working,” she said. “Children from 7 years old to old men and women are working like slaves. They have to help plow and do all manner of hard work. If you only knew what the peasants of France were bearing you would realize what victory means to us.
“Raise your hats to these women of France. They are a symbol of duty. They are not only bearing heavy burdens and sacrifices but they are buying bonds. Every family of France has an average of $336 in bonds. And they are not complaining. When you complain about porkless and wheatless, remember there are no fightless days in the army: and the women of France are taking no workless days.
“You Americans do not know what it is to sacrifice. Here, you have your families and homes. In France we have given everything. Our homes and families have been destroyed or met fates worse than death. Do you know we have 1,000,000 wounded men, 1,000,000 widows and 2,000,000 orphans?
“When you are asked to give in their behalf, don’t insult us by thinking we are asking charity. For four years we have fought and bled to defend you for as certainly as Germany wins, all America must prepare for a long, bloody war. Don’t be afraid to give too much. We are terribly in need of money. Give every time your government asks it.
“Remember that while you are laughing and joking, the people of France are weeping and dying. Your American boys are giving their best. Your soldiers and our soldiers are fighting for the great cause of liberty and humanity. You cannot fail to do your duty.”
Preceding Madame Guerin’s talk, Sgt. O.C. Hawkins, 168th Infantry, who spent six months at the front line trenches in France, spoke briefly of the life of a soldier in the trenches. He told of the hardest part of a soldier’s life. It is, he said, the period of several hours of bombardment preceding a signal to go “over the top”. During this time shells are literally showering the trenches. Sergeant Hawkins exhibited a gas mask and showed how it was used. Also, he displayed a steel helmet. The gas masks, he said, lasted forty-eight hours, after which a new one must be procured. It takes only five seconds to put a mask on, during which time a soldier dare not breathe.
Following Madame Guerin’s talk, H.E. Ganse, who presided, announced that a committee to collect money for the fatherless children of France would canvass the town. He urged everyone to contribute most generously. France, he said, had fought for four years that the war may not come to the shores of America. We must do our part, he concluded. F.A. Beach, of the Normal, led the audience in singing America and “God Save Our Splendid Men”.
Madame Guerin will return to Emporia to make an address Sunday evening*, at 8:30 o’clock, in Albert Taylor Hall. This will give an opportunity to the Summer School students, and Emporia people who did not hear her last night, to hear Madame Guerin.” [*23 June 1918]
The French rallying cry “Ils ne passeront pas” (“They shall not pass“) was regularly quoted after it was first used at the end of a French ‘Order of the Day’ during the Battle of Verdun in June 1916.
It was said of Anna that she illuminated and strengthened ties between France and America and “quickened the moral of her auditors”. Anna made no charges for such lectures and her expenses, it appears, were paid for by the French government – to which the ‘Fatherless Children of France’ was affiliated. No mention was ever made about the mode of transport used by Anna – she arrives and she departs. It is assumed that she travelled everywhere by train and was met at railway stations by local people, who were her contacts at each location.
Anna said “there is 200,000 people in France who are destitute and starving at this time.” “From the pathetic Madam Guerin in fiery manner and voice repeated the watch word of France: “They Shall Not Pass!” The quotes could go on and on but have to be limited here. At the lecture’s end, it is known that Anna appealed to the audience for donations of clothes as well as for donations of money. By the middle of August, approximately 350 garments of good quality had been donated and were ready to be shipped across the Atlantic for the destitute men, women and children in the devastated areas of France.
On 19 June 1918, Madame Guérin gave a lecture in Aurora, Missouri. The Monett Times (14 June) alerted its readers – in one sentence: “A number of Monett people will go to Aurora Wednesday night to attend the lecture of Madame Guerin at the Congregational church.”
On 21 June 1918, Madame Guérin was lecturing in Leavenworth, Kansas. The Leavenworth Times (19 June) promoted her lecture – it enlightens us to the fact that the Commercial Club was bearing the cost of Anna’s expenses [sic]:
“WAR LECTURER TO SPEAK HERE FRIDAY NIGHT. Mme. E. Guerin, Native of Paris, Will Give Free Address at High School in Interest of War Orphans.
Mme. E. Guerin of Paris, an officer of public instruction and twice decorated by the French government, will give what will prove the most stirring war lecture heard here yet, at the high school auditorium Friday evening. Her subject will be “France and the War.”
Mme. Guerin is the wife of the presiding judge of a French court. During a tour through England and part of America, she has become famous for her stirring patriotic addresses. In the last few weeks she has been travelling through Missouri. She spoke at Kansas City during the recent Red Cross drive and in one day made nineteen speeches. The result was $32,000 from a territory that had already been canvassed.
The speaker is being brought here by the Chamber of Commerce. E. Y. Blum, secretary-manager, was active in securing her. He had heard her highly recommended by others who had been present at her addresses. The commercial club is bearing all the expenses of bringing Mme. Guerin here.
The lecture Friday evening will be free. And this means absolutely free as no collections or subscriptions of any kind will be asked for. The general public is cordially invited to attend.
“France and the War.” Is an address that deals with conditions as they are in the overseas country today. The speaker is competent to deal with the subject in hand as she is a native of Paris and lived there until a few months ago. Although there will be no charge connected with the lecture Mme. Guerin is making her speaking tour in the interest of the many destitute war orphans in France at the present time.”
The Leavenworth Times promoted the lecture again, the day before on 20 June 1918 [sic]:
“WAR SPEAKER WILL BE HERE FRIDAY. Mme. Guerin called from K. C. to Assure Commercial Club She Would Not Fail to Be Present.
Mme. E. Guerin, native of Paris who will lecture on “France and the War” at the high school Friday night, called the Chamber of Commerce from Kansas City yesterday to assure them that she will not fail to be here at the appointed time. The lecture Friday evening at the school auditorium will begin promptly at 8:15 o’clock.
Plans are underway to arrange a musical programme that will go with the speaker’s address. No definite program has been fixed up yet and if one is included it will probably feature local talent.
The war lecture tomorrow evening is expected to be the most stirring ever delivered before a local audience. Mme. Guerin, who was born and raised in the country across the water, is well able to tell about conditions there. She made a tour through England several months ago which made her famous as a public speaker. During the Liberty Loan and Red Cross campaign she traveled through America donating her talent to the causes.”
On the morning of the lecture, The Leavenworth Times promoted again – with an article nearly one whole column in length. The following is the first two and last two paragraphs of it [sic]:
“WAR SPEAKER WILL TELL ABOUT U.S. TROOPS IN FRANCE. Mme. Guerin, Who Will Be Here Tonight Will Describe Sammee’s Trials With Language. DESCRIBE GERMAN CRUELTY. Has First Hand Information About Teuton Method of Treating Prisoners – Everyone Should Be Present at Meeting.
While her husband is working for France in Central Africa where he has been sent to arrange diplomatic matters, and while her two brothers are fighting under the Tr-Color on the western front, Mme. E. Guerin, who will speak at the high school tonight. Is traveling through America donating her services to the success of the war. The lecture, which is free to the public, will be delivered at the high school auditorium at 8:15 tonight.
Although slightly hampered by being compelled to speak in unfamiliar English, the speaker makes a stirring and earnest appeal to her audiences according to the reports from towns at which she has appeared. Her subject “France and the War” is an interesting one. In it she tells of the spirit of the French soldier, who fights for a nickel a day, and who is not pensioned on coming home; but whose morale is still unchanged after almost four years of bloodshed. … … …
Mme. Guerin comes to Leavenworth well recommended from cities all over the eastern part of the country at which she has spoken. Kansas City was especially loud in praising her ability. J. C. Nichols, director of the recent Red Cross campaign there, wrote a letter thanking her for the service she did in helping raise funds.
Every Leavenworth citizen should make it a point to here Mme. Guerin if he possibly can, according to E. Y. Blum, secretary-manager of the Chamber of Commerce, under whose auspices she is being brought here. There is no reason at all why everyone should not hear her, either as the affair will be absolutely free. It promises to be by far the best war lecture ever heard here and a record crowd is looked for at the high school this evening.”
Finally, The Leavenworth Times reviewed the lecture of the evening before – in their edition of 22 June 1918 [sic]:
“FRENCH WOMAN TELLS HOW HER PEOPLE SUFFER. Mme. Guerin Speaks to a Good Sized Audience at the High School Auditorium. WILL FIGHT TO A FINISH. France Will Never Forgive the Devastation of the Country – Great Stress Laid on the Help of Americans.
Last evening at the high school Mme. Guerin, a French woman who is in the United States to raise a fund for French war orphans, delivered a very interesting address on the war. In her address she spoke of the horrors and miseries which are being and have been sustained by the French people, and she also told of what great help it was to the French when America entered the war.
The evenings program started with “America” being sung by all present. Following this the speaker was introduced by E. Y. Blum, who acted as chairman. Mme. Guerin has three members of the family to which she belongs in the service of France. One is in French service in Africa and two fighting in France. Although Mme. Guerin had a French accent which made her English a little hard to understand, it only made the address more interesting.
Mme. Guerin first spoke of her accent. She requested that no one laugh at it as the French people did not laugh at the vain attempts of the American soldiers to speak French. She said that she was here to thank us for our help in the war. She said that it was impossible for us to realize what a tremendous help our coming into the war was, as before that time the people of France had only had the strength of France to count on to win the war, but with the entrance of America, France’s strength was twice doubled. She said that if America put out, proportionately, the same effort that France has put out, America could raize an army of fifteen million men.
Mme. Guerin said that France had lost over one and one-half million men, had one million men wounded and many sick and dying of exposure, but in the face of all these miseries and discouragements, the courage of France was invincible.
She told of how devastated France was. She said that everywhere were large holes, no trees, but merely the stumps where they used to be. She said that this devastation only increased the determination of the French, and that at present all France is in the war.
Mme. Guerin said that nine-tenths of the horrible stories of the war have not been told, they are too horrible. She says that at times soldiers have found Fench soldiers in the trenches with their heads cut off. One French boy, who had a slight flesh wound, was taken prisoner by the Germans and rather than take the trouble to cure the wound, the German doctors amputated the leg.
Mme. Guerin said that she came in contact in the village from which she lived with one of these sad cases. One of the men of the village had enlisted and had come back gassed and with tuberculosis in his system. He was married and had a family before the war and when he died this fact oppressed him because he could secure no pension for his wife and children. Mme. Guerin said that for such cases of orphans as this was what she was traveling in America to raise funds for. She said that this country could well afford to give the money, and the need is so dire over there that it is a good way to spend the money.”
Madame Anna Guérin had been due in Topeka, Kansas on 24 June 1918 to lecture, and in Wichita on 26 and 27 June. However, there was an unfortunate misunderstanding – which was later settled satisfactorily.
Madame Anna Guérin’s visit to Wichita on 26 & 27 June 1918 had been promoted by the Wichita Beacon (12 June), ahead of her intended visit:
“Distinguished French Woman to Lecture Here.
Wichita is soon to have the pleasure of hearing one of the most distinguished of the women speakers the war has brought to this country, Madame E. Guerin of Paris, who is in the States to raise money for the Society of the Fatherless Children of France and who in addition to this task, has done splendid work for the Red Cross and for the third Liberty Loan.
Madame Guerin is an officer in public instruction in Paris and is the wife of the presiding judge of a French court. Her fluent command of French and English and her ability as a speaker especially fit her to put before the American people the plight of thousands of French orphans. She has twice been decorated for her patriotic work.
Theodore Buddecke, editor and publisher of New York City, is in Wichita today arranging for Madame Guerin’s appearance here which will be on June 26 and 27.”
On 23 June 1918, The Wichita Daily Eagle (Wichita, Kansas) reported at the start of the misunderstanding of the matter and it must have made Anna Guérin squirm [sic]:
“CALLING OFF FRENCH WOMAN’S SPEECH HERE. Gov. Capper Wires Mme. Guerin Not Authorized to Collect for Orphans. WELL RECOMMENDED. Mme. Guerin of Paris, said to be the wife of the presiding judge of a French court, and a patriotic speaker, who was scheduled to be in Wichita June 26 and 27, will not appear as arrangements for her coming have been cancelled, according to a message received from Governor Arthur Capper Saturday by Mrs. Thor Jager, Wichita chairman of the movement for fatherless children of France.
The governor’s telegram follows: “We have cancelled all arrangementh for Madame Guerin, since she was not authorized.”
Madame Guerin was to be in Topeka June 24, at which time an elaborate reception was to be held at Governor Capper’s home.
Other messages received here from the New York Times and the headquarters office of the fatherless children of France movement were interpreted to mean that Madame Guerin is not an authorized speaker for that movement. It was after these investigations had been made that Governor Capper cancelled all arrangements for her entertainment,
Joseph T. Buddecke, who was in Wichita June 12, representing Mme. Guerin, stated that on a recent visit to Kansas City, during the Red Cross drive, she had raised $30,000, a portion of which was for the fatherless children of France.
Upon an inquiry made by Mrs. Jager, C. J. Moss of Kansas City replied that a per cent of the money Madame Guerin raised while in Kansas City was sent to the French cities at her request.
Madame Guerin was recommended highly by a number of persons. Lieut. Gov. W. Y. Morgan, who heard her in Kansas City, is reported to have said she was one of the greatest of all war speakers.”
It would seem that the majority of the misunderstanding can be explained by the statement the devil is in the detail … fatherless children of France and ‘Fatherless Children of France’ organisation.
The next day, on 24 June 1918, Madame Guérin was reportedly in Wichita – no doubt trying to resolve the misunderstanding and arranging for her planned lectures there to go ahead. On the same day, the Topeka State Journal printed an article that would have made Anna Guérin squirm had she not been confident of explaining the situation [sic]:
“MME. GUERIN NOT HERE. Capper cancels Arrangements, Saying Woman “Not Authorised.”
Arrangements for the appearance of Mme. Guerin, of Paris, said to be the wife of a presiding judge of a French court and a patriotic speaker, have been cancelled in Kansas, according to Governor Capper. Mme. Guerin was to have appeared in Topeka today and was to have been the guest at a reception at the Sapper home tonight. She was scheduled to appear in Wichita June 26 and 27.
Governor Capper stated today that all arrangements for the French woman had been cancelled, as she is “not authorised.” Mme. Guerin was slated to speak on behalf o the fatherless children of France. An investigation conducted by the New York Times, it is said, disclosed the fact that the Frenchwoman was not an authorised representative of the movement.
Mme. Guerin has been recommended highly by a number of persons, including W. Y. Morgan Hutchinson who stated she was one of the most forceful speakers of the war. tI is said that only a per cent of the money raised by Mme. Guerin went to France and that it was sent to the mayor of a French city.”
On 26 June 1918, The Topeka Daily Capital (Topeka, Kansas) tried to explain and redress the terrible mistake:
“GIVING FREELY OF TIME – AND TALENT TO FRANCE. Mme. E. Guerin Doing a Noble Work for France. Unfortunate Misunderstanding Led to the Cancellation of Her Speaking Dates in Topeka. Thru an unfortunate misunderstanding that led the local committee to think that Mme. E. Guerin, the noted Frenchwoman, who is lecturing in this country in behalf of various French charities, had decided not to come to Topeka, the reception and meetings planned for her coming were abandoned. Madame Guerin was in Topeka yesterday and explained to the satisfaction of everyone with whom she talked the facts in regard to her tour.
She is working for the widows and orphans of France. Her expenses are paid from a special fund, and do not come out of the proceeds of her lectures. All the money collected from her lectures is sent directly to the American Red Cross, Washington, D.C., which forwards it immediately to France. A mistake was made by her representative when here, which did lead people to believe that she was an authorised representative of the fatherless children of France, which Mme. Guerin admits she is not. She saw Governor Capper yesterday morning, and the error was fully explained. Madame Guerin may speak in Topeka at a later date.
Lectured for Four Winters.
During four winters Mme. Guerin has been lecturing in the United States with the greatest success. Her charming and kind manners arouse the sympathy of everyone for France. She has a long trail of friends in town after town in the twenty-eight states she has visited.
After having given more than sixty speeches or lectures in Kansas City for the benefit of the American Red Cross drive, Madame Guerin gave some special lectures in order to send some money to the mayor of a village in the center of France. This money will allow him to hire horses or machinery to help the poor women and children to gather their crops.
Mme. Guerin knows that the men will have no furlough for the harvesting, as the drive is going on, and the Germans are ready to rush to Paris and her heart is bleeding for all the women of France, but especially for the women of this village, every one of whom she knows personally.
She deprives herself of the pleasure to return near to her two daughters, as she was doing every summer in order to make money for the new widows and new orphans of those last German drives. “As the battle are going on.” She says, “my lectures must go on.”
Doesn’t Handle Remittances.
But she considers that she has some right to speak sometimes for some special cases brought to her knowledge. The money sent already, or what will be sent to the mayor of this village, has been sent to the mayor of this village, has been sent by Andrew Young, of Montgomery, Ward & Co., Kansas City. Madame Guerin has nothing to do with the sending of it.
Madame Guerin’s husband, E. Guerin, is president of a French court, Alsasian by birth, has been now twenty months in the center of Africa, settling German business for the French government. Her two brothers have been on the firing line since October, 1914. She has had several relatives killed; the family of her husband has been driven back from Champagne as refugees; she, herself, has been twice decorated by the French government for her educational work.
She will lecture in several cities in Kansas, and hopes that everyone who will hear her will be of the same opinion as Lieutenant Governor W. Y. Morgan – that she is one of the most forceful speakers of the war.”
It appears that Anna Guérin did keep the appointment in Wichita after all – certainly, Anna had “explained to the satisfaction of everyone” her position on 25 June in Topeka. The following article in the Wichita Beacon was printed on 26 June – it appeared within the ‘Evening Gossip’ column of that edition:
“Mme. E. Guerin, the French woman who is making a speaking tour of this country for the benefit of the Fatherless Children of France Society, will be in Wichita Thursday and will make a number of talks, the places for which are announced in another part of The Beacon. At noon Madame Guerin will be guest of honor at a luncheon, given at the Wichita Club by members of the local committee for the Fatherless Children Society, which is comprised of Mrs. George Shyrock, Mrs. Thor Jager, Mrs. S. W. Shattuck, Mrs. Samuel P. Wallingford, Mrs. Frank Carson, Miss Carolyn Clapp and Miss Constance Smyth. Miss Gabrielle Guldner also will be a guest at the luncheon. One hundred French orphans have been adopted in Wichita thru the efforts of this committee.”
The aforementioned article referred to in the above Wichita Beacon is transcribed below. It enlightened its readers about the alteration in the lecture itinerary during this period – 26 June, International Rotarians’ Convention, Kansas City; 27 June, 10 a.m. Wichita City Library lecture; 1 p.m. Wichita Club in Wichita; and 31 June, Topeka Auditorium evening lecture Topeka. The article also reiterated other interesting facts about Anna’s lecturing etc:
“FRENCH WOMAN TO SPEAK HERE. Her Lectures Are for Red Cross. Under Auspices of Local Committee She Will Make Two Talks.
Mme. E. Guerin, the French speaker who is touring the United States in the interest of her people, will arrive in Wichita Thursday morning. Her lectures here are being arranged thru the local committee of the Fatherless Children of France, of which Mrs. Thor Jager is chairman. Mme. Guerin will be heard in a morning address, open to the public, at the city library at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning. At one o’clock she will address the Wichita Club. She is highly recommended by those in Kansas City where she gave more than 60 speeches for the benefit of the Red Cross drive.
The expenses of Mme. Guerin are paid by a special fund. All the money collected in her lectures is sent directly to the American Red Cross, Washington, D.C., which forwards it immediately to France. A mistake was made by her representative, who was here a few weeks ago, which let people believe that she was working for the fatherless children in France, which she has not done yet. When it was found that this impression had been given Mme. Guerin went to Governor Capper and explained matters, as a result he arranged for her to speak Monday night at the Topeka Auditorium after the lecture of the Honorable Lentz. Tuesday she addressed the International Rotarians at their convention in Kansas City.
The celebrated “Blue Devil’s” uniform is worn by Mme. Guerin for her addresses. Each year since the war began she spent the months from May to October in France, lecturing the rest of the year. This year, however, she announced, that as the battles were going on all summer, so her lecture would go on, and she herself take no rest. As a result, she is scheduled for 100 additional lectures.
It is but natural that the French woman should not only be interested to the extent of giving her services to the cause of France, but that she should be well informed in regard to the condition of the country. Her husband, president of a French court, and an Alsatian by birth, has been now 20 months in the center of Africa, setting German business for the French government. Her two brothers have been on the firing line since October of 1914. Several of her relatives have been killed, and the family of her husband driven back from Champagne as refugees. Mme. Guerin has been twice decorated by the French government for her educational work.”
With reference Madame Guérin’s lectures of 27 June 1918 at Wichita, she had a full day addressing an audience at the City Library, at 10 in the morning; luncheon at the Wichita Club, at noon; addressing members of the Cooperative Club at the Wichita Club, at 1 p.m; and the women of the Eastern Star Red Cross auxiliary, at the Rorabaugh workrooms, at 3 p.m. Additionally, Anna made short talks at the Palace and Princess Theatre in the evening.
On the morning of 27 June, The Wichita Daily Eagle promoted Madame Guérin’s itinerary further:
“MME. GUERIN WILL TALK HERE TODAY. The Frenchwoman Will Have Busy Day in Wichita Speaking at Several Meetings.
Mme. E. Guerin, who is on a speaking tour through Kansas telling of conditions in France, talked in Topeka Tuesday night, and will speak in Wichita this morning at the city library, at 10 o’clock. Her day in Wichita is to be very full. The committee of the Fatherless Children of France, with Mrs. Thor Jager as chairman, will entertain her at luncheon at the Wichita club. At 1 o’clock Mme. Guerin will address the members of the Co-operative club, and at 3 she will talk to the women of the Eastern Star Red Cross auxiliary at the Rorabaugh work rooms.
Mme. Guerin is said to be authorized by the Speakers’ Bureau of the Red Cross and has been recommended by several prominent Kansas people, who have heard her. She was in Wichita Monday and the chairman of the committee, under the auspices she will make the talks, was very much impressed with her sincerity, personality and appearance. Mrs. David McGonigle, of Kansas City, wrote to her mother, Mrs. J. J. McNamara, that she had heard and met Mme. Guerin there and she hoped that all would be done for her in Wichita that could, as she is a very charming woman.
Mme. Guerin is working for the widows and orphans of France, and it is said her expenses are paid from a special fund. In Kansas City she made 60 speeches for the Red Cross drive and gave some special lectures for a French village where money was needed to hire horses and machinery to help the women and children to gather their crops. This money was forwarded, it is reported, to Andrew Young, of Montgomery, Ward & Co., Kansas City, who saw its ultimate destination.
Advertisements for Mme. Guerin state that she has been lecturing in the United States for four years with great success for the cause of her bleeding country, which is very near her heart. It was first announced that she was lecturing for the organization of the Fatherless Children of France, but this is a mistake.”
The local press printed the following reviews the next day, 28 June 1918 [sic]:
The Wichita Beacon: “AMERICANS LOVED BY ALL FRANCE. Mme. E. Guerin Brings an Appeal. Huns Can Never Pass Thru the French and American Lines.
“What miracles, what wonders the American Red Cross has done, not only for France, but for all the Allies” exclaimed Mme. E. Guerin in the tribute she paid in this city yesterday at the City Library and at the Wichita Club.
Altho the crowd at the library was small, it was an intensely interested crowd. Wichita audiences have heard many war lectures, but this is perhaps the first time that a French woman, a civilian, has spoken here. Mme. Guerin is an especially attractive speaker, with her simple, yet fiery earnestness, and her appealing French accent. She was dressed in the grayish blue uniform of the “blue devils.”
Fighting Side By Side.
“Fighting side by side with our boys, your troops are holding the line from the Huns,” said the speaker. “In France our boys admire and love the big boys from your country. If you do not hear more about the French soldiers, it is because for four years, they have been fighting, dying smilingly and silently. They ask me if we in France are not afraid for the outcome of the struggle against the Huns. We in France know, and I in America know, that as long as the French soldiers are on the field, as long as the American boys are there, the Huns shall not pass.
France Wholly In.
“All France is engaged, directly or indirectly in the struggle. Just as our soldiers are dying smilingly and silently, so all of the citizens of France are suffering smilingly and silently. Where all before was beautiful fields, everywhere is trenches now; everywhere huge holes, the country stripped of every sign of vegetation. French villages have literally vanished from the earth, Can you visualize it?” An exceedingly vivid picture of the cruelties and atrocities of the Germans was given by the French woman, whose male relatives are taking part in the struggle, and whose other friends and relatives have suffered at their hands.
Child’s Hands Cut Off.
“I have seen a little girl of five years old,” said Mme. Guerin, “a beautiful little baby, in a hospital with her hands cut off. ‘Do you think,’ she asked me, ‘that if I am good my hands will grow on again?’ I have seen girls of thirteen and fourteen who will never laugh again. I have seen older men and women in hospitals ill with loathsome diseases the German doctors had inoculated them with. I know of French soldiers who have been crucified.”
At the close of her address Mme. Guerin said she would give her listeners a chance to contribute for the relief of the French people, but she said, warningly:
Don’t Call It Charity.
“Do not think this is charity. The French people do not want charity. Don’t say that you have given many times before, but you will make another sacrifice. Don’t dare to use the word sacrifice here. Don’t dare to think of the giving of money as sacrifice. Only those boys who are offering their lives for their country and humanity, only their mothers and wives, are making any effort worthy to be called sacrifice.”
The audience at the library gave $53.00 in response to the appeal of the French woman. At the Wichita Club, where Mme. Guerin spoke at noon, and at the Eastern Star auxiliary meeting where she spoke at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon $92.00 and $26.75, respectively, was given for the cause.
The Wichita Daily Eagle ran as long a review as The Wichita Beacon but mentioned different things [sic]:
“MME. GUERIN’S TALKS ARE OF MUCH INTEREST. She Tells Graphic Stories of the Wrongs Inflicted By the Unspeakable Hun. GOOD SUMS COLLECTED.
“If you could realize what the war means, you would never speak of your privations, of your wheatless meals.” Mme. E. Guerin tald her audience in the City Library yesterday morning. She was pleading the cause of her own people who have suffered and are still suffering.
Mme. Guerin speaks English, much broken, with great dramatic effect, in a vivid earnest and impressive manner. She is a handsome woman and wears picturesquely an olive drab costume of military effect. She talks of the things which she says “are not the inevitable results of a war but of Prussian desire to conquer everything” things that she has learned of by intimate acquaintance. Her brothers have been in the trenches and have told her of their days and nights of terror; she has had an aunt who spent five months in a German prison, half starved, wearing the same clothes through the period of her imprisonment; girl cousins who were the object of German soldiers brutality and lust and will bear the mark forever; relaitevs who have lost their lives in battle; neighbours, strong, fine men, who have returned to their families wrecks from tuberculosis and ill treatment.
“What wonderful help your country has been to us. For four years we have been fighting our battles and your battles and now you have come to help us. Fifteen days ago your boys occupied only eight miles on the fighting front, now they are scattered from the English channel to Switzerland and side by side with our soldiers have been holding back the rush of the Huns. Your boys and our boys will never be conquered on the face of the earth.
“Two thousand towns and villages have been taken and laid in ruins in France by the Germans,” continued Mme. Guerin. “265 big towns have been devastated and 4,000,000 French people are homeless. Everything has been systematically burned by the Huns.”
“As courageous as our people are I do not believe they could have found the courage to fight as they have had it not been for your help.. If our soldiers have died silently, smilingly, it is our women who have suffered.”
Mme. Guerin tells vividly of the things she has herself seen and of what has been told by those who have suffered. In German hospitals there are many instances of the cruel, deliberte cruelty of that nation.
“They take the strongest and finest of the men prisoners and inoculate them with tuberculosis. Clever doctors do this so that not only these men should be diseased but that it shall spread all over France. I was told of this by one of those boys. When they were chosen from their comrades it was supposed by them to be for some hard labor but instead they were inoculated in the shoulder for they knew not what. It was tuberculosis.
“Fifteen days ago, France had lost 1,500,000 soldiers and since that they have lost 80,000 more. There are 1,000,000 widow in my country and nearly 2,000,000 orphans and fatherless. It is not charity; they are my brothers and sisters and your brothers and sisters and they are suffering for us. Do not talk of charity, it is wrong.”
Mme Guerin … … was received with kindness wherever she spoke and her story fired her audiences to respond generously to the call for funds for the stricken women and children of her country.
O. E. S. AUXILIARY ELECTS OFFICERS. [N.B. Order of the Eastern Star]
At the regular all day meeting of the Eastern Star Red Cross auxiliary yesterday election of officers was held with this result: Mrs. M. P. Babb, chairman of surgical dressings work at headquarters; Mrs. G. M. West, chairman of the auxiliary; Mrs. E. J. Cromwell, secretary; Mrs. H. E. Miles, treasurer.
Mme. E. Guerin made a stirring plea to the women of this auxiliary for her people in France and was so well received that at the close of her talk $26.75 was raised in a few minutes among the members. … … …” [N.B. Order of the Eastern Star]
As an update to Madame Guérin’s visit to Wichita, The Wichita Daily Eagle printed a short article on 06 July 1918:
“GOOD CHECK FOR FRENCH WAR ORPHANS. Mme. Guerin’s Talks Brought Splendid Results In Wichita.
Mrs. Margaret Case Jager turned into Sedgwick county chapter of the Red Cross a check for $304.61 which has been collected for the benefit of the French widows and children for whom Mme. E. Guerin made such an eloquent and earnest plea when she was in Wichita last week. This money will be forwarded to the headquarters of the Southwestern division of St. Louis and from there be sent to the national headquarters at Washington, D. C. It will then be sent to its ultimate destination in France through responsible Red Cross officials. This is considered a very fine response for a very worthy cause.”
On 28 June 1918, Madame Guérin found herself in Hutchinson, Kansas – as planned. The aforementioned misunderstandings had been put aside. Lieut. Gov. of Kansas William Yoast Morgan heard her and arranged it.
William Morgan was a member of the corporation that owned the local Hutchinson News newspaper. On Thursday, 27 June 1918, that Hutchinson News (Kansas) printed the programme for the next Sunday’s event (30th) where Madame Guérin was to speak:
“BAND CONCERT SUNDAY. To Be Given at the Convention Hall at Three o’Clock.
Following is the splendid program which has been announced for the band concert to be given Sunday afternoon at the Convention hall. An address will be given by Madame Guerin on “The Fatherless Children of France.” The program follows:
Patriotic March – “Nation’s Awakening” …. Lucien Denni
Overture – “Lustspiel” …. Keler-Bela
Violin Solo – “Ave Maria” …. Schubert. Mrs. E. E. Yaggy.
At piano, Mrs. Susie Rallengor-Newman.
Address – “The Fatherless Children of France” … Madame Guerin.
French National Hymn – “La Marseillaise” …. De Lisle. Mrs. Asher Aford.
Grand March – “Semiramide” …. Rossini.
Characteristic Piece – “Simplicity” …. Theo. Moses.
March – “The Red Cross” …. Huit.
The Star Spangled Banner.”
On 29 June 1918, Madame Guérin was in Hutchinson. She spoke from the balconies of the Rorabaugh-Willey, Curtis and Pegues-Wright stores for five minutes each – on conditions in France and the French orphans. The day before, The Hutchinson News ran a large advertisement:
On 30 June 1918, Madame Guérin spoke at the Hutchinson Convention Hall in the afternoon (as the aforementioned programme suggested) and the Royal Theatre in the evening. All the money raised went direct to the American Red Cross in Washington D.C.
On 31 June 1918, Madame Guérin gave an evening lecture at Auditorium in Topeka, Kansas.
On 01 July 1918, Madame Anna Guérin was found in Salina, Kansas for her fundraising – addressing the Rotary Club etc. The Salina Daily Union had alerted its readers on 17 June of the forthcoming event:
“FAMOUS SPEAKER IS COMING HERE. Mme E. Guerin of Paris, an officer of public instruction and twice decorated by the French government, will speak in Salina on July 1. She comes here on the invitation of the Rotary club. The place has not been selected where she will make her address … … she is in America speaking in the interests of the fatherless children of France. She has spent the last few weeks in Kansas City and in Missouri.”
The next day, The Salina Evening Journal newspaper (18 June 1918) printed a short article which was headed: “RALLY FOR FRENCH ORPHANS. Mme. Guerin Will Speak at Claflin Hall July 2. To quote from part of the article [sic]: “… Mme. Guerin, a French woman who has twice been decorated for her war activities, will speak at Claflin hall in the evening, at a meeting held there for all Salina. The Salina band will play, and Red Cross women of Salina will preside on the platform. Mme. Guerin is a forceful speaker and will tell in Salina her own experiences in war stricken France.”
Below: “THEY LEAD OUR BOYS”. Edited from The Salina Daily Union, 19 June 1918. “Brig. Gen James G. Harbord, at left, commander of the American marines in France, and General Pershing, commander-in-chief of the American army in France, photographed recently after a conference at Pershing’s headquarters. Harbord’s men have electrified America and her allies by the manner in which they plunged into the German line on the Marne, making a three-mile gain and capturing several villages.”
Ahead of Madame Guérin’s speech on 01 July 1918 to Salina, Kansas, the local press (true to form) alerted their readers about the forthcoming event on 28 June:
The Salina Daily Union wrote [sic]: “MME. GUERIN TALKS FOR FRENCH ORPHANS. Arrangements have been completed for the big meeting at Claflin Hall Monday at which Madam Guerin the famous French woman will address the people of Salina in the interest of the French orphans. Madam Querin is endorsed by the patriotic societies of the country and her coming here will be an event of great interest. Everybody should plan to hear her. The meeting will be held at 8 p. m. and there will be no charge for admission.”
The Salina Evening Journal wrote [sic]: “DINNER FOR MME. GUERIN. Ladies Invited to First M. E. Church Monday. In honor of Madam E. Guerin, a noted patriotic speaker to be here July 1, the chamber of commerce will lunch at the dining room of the First Methodist church Monday.
Salina ladies are especially invited to be present and hear a graphic description of war conditions by a woman who has seen them and is familiar with them.
All chamber of commerce members desiring to attend are asked to notify the secretary.”
On the day of the lecture, 01 July 1918, the Salina Daily Union newspaper printed the same image of Madame Guérin on the front page (as above) – with a sentence of explanation underneath: “MADAME GUERIN. The Great French Patriot Who Speaks at Claflin Hall Tonight.”
As an update on the same day, The Salina Evening Journal reported on “Salina’s Charming Visitor.” [sic – for “sons” read “brothers”]:
“Dressed in the military blue of her country’s soldier’s uniform with a jaunty hat of the same on her dark hair and the snappy eyes of the French woman, the visitor seen today on the streets of Saline is one whom the people of France reverence and honor most highly. For to Madam E. Guerin, our esteemed and charming visitor, the winning of the war had but one side which the busy men of France could not devote their time, namely looking after the widows and orphans of that war stricken land. So leaving he home near Lyon, with her husband in service in South Africa, her two sons in the trenches fighting since 1914 and her daughters, Raymonde, eighteen years of age, and Renee, aged seventeen years, finishing their education, with their aged grandmother, Madam Guerin, who will be heard at Claflin hall tonight, is speaking for funds for these widows and children of a war devasted country.
A complimentary luncheon was given in the dining room of the First Methodist church this noon for Madam Guerin, and at this time she proved her ability as one of the “greatest of war speakers.”
The next day, 02 July 1918, the Salina local press printed very long reviews of Madame Guérin’s lecture [sic]:
Salina Daily Union: “MADAME GUERIN TOLD PEOPLE OF STRICKEN FRANCE. Salina turned out en masse last night to honor to the noted French woman, Madam E. Guerin who is touring this country in the interest of the widows and orphans of France. The big auditorium was well filled with earnest, enthusiastic listeners. The local part of the program which had been prepared in compliment to Madam Guerin was well rendered and greatly appreciated by the audience as well as by our distinguished visitor.
Howells Band rendered some especially fine numbers, and the Mindora Ukulala Quartet delighted the audience with their sweet singing. Lawrence Timbers enthused everybody with his fine interpretation of the patriotic reading “Here’s to the Flag.” In special compliment to Madame Guerin, the pupils of the Hawthorne school under the direction of Mrs, Earhart and Miss Hoffman, presented a flag drill, singing the Marseillaise, which is the French national air. The vocal numbers by Miss Helen Smith of Kansas City were wonderful in their appeal to the hearts of the people. Miss Smith has a voice of rare richness and beauty, but she sings not only with her voice; she sings with her heart as well and every word brings with it a thrill that goes straight to the heart of every listener. There is a tenderness and sympathy that stirs every instinct of love and loyalty in the human heart, and to hear her is to know why she has been chosen to go to France to sing for our boys over there.
Madam Guerin was greeted with great enthusiasm when she was introduced to the audience by Mrs. May Belleville Brown, and she responded with a graceful French salute. She is a typical French woman, with her brilliant dark eyes and dark hair and that distinctive air that is some indefinable way proclaims her nationality. She was dressed in a tailored suit of the French blue-gray of the army uniform with a hat of the same and looked almost soldier-like herself. She is a woman of great personal charm and is doing as true a service to her country as the soldiers who stand in the trenches fighting with gun and bayonet.
Madam Guerin’s accent is strongly French, yet she was not difficult to follow. She talked for over an hour and the people were not weary of hearing her touching story.
“I am just back from a long journey through stricken, bleeding France,” she said, “and I am here to thank you and to tell you that in spite of all France has endured never has her courage been greater than when she realizes that American is fighting by her side. When General Pershing marched through Paris on that memorable day on his way to the tomb of LaFayette, people knelt in the streets and blessed your boys for they knew that help had come at last, those boys represented America. During the years of this war, we have been fighting out battles and yours, but now every day your boys are crossing by thousands and they are received in France with the greatest enthusiasm. The French soldiers have been surprised at the fighting qualities of the Americans. They say the Americans dig down with one hand, fight with the other, and keep always a smile.
“I shall tell you why your boys over there are fighting like lions; they realize that France and America are banded together for war or for peace, and we shall win together if America is willing to be not one million, nor five million, but a hundred million strong. We have a beautiful saying in France, that a man may have passed the age for active military service, but a man who is a man has never passed the duty age until he dies. All France is engaged in this struggle, the women, the old men, the children. But the watchword of France is “Courage,” while that of the soldier is “They shall not pass, and they never will pass while a French or an American soldier lives.”
She then told how the people of France are sacrificing in order to win the war. For four years they have kept an army of 7,000,000 men in the field, and at the same time bought liberty bonds to the amount of $356 for every man woman and child in France, with their soldiers receiving only five cents a say.
She then spoke of the heroic work of the women in this great war; of the one million widows and two million orphans which this awful war is responsible for; of the devastation of the 2,000 villages and towns taken by the Germans; of the nameless outrages which they have committed; then made a strong appeal for help for the widows and orphans upon whom the burden of war has fallen heaviest.
Supt. Huesner then made a short talk ringing with enthusiasm and patriotism and sympathy for the unfortunate ones of France who are looking to us for aid in their time of affliction. The audience responded heartily to these appeals with an offering of approximately $350.
Madam Guerin left today for Lincoln, Nebraska, to continue her work of knitting together the bonds that already exist between this country and France.”
The above image is a carving at “Carriere Suzanne” in Northern France – a World War One underground hospital. (Courtesy/© of Marc Askat). It depicts the French Republic muse ‘Marianne’. She is dressed as a legionnaire soldier saying “PASSER … JAMAIS!!” or “PASSING … NEVER!!” – just as Madame Guérin would quote during her fundraising lectures.
Also on 02 July 1918, The Salina Evening Journal ran an article just as long as The Salina Daily Union, but mentioned different things. Here are some of the paragraphs:
“THEY SHALL NOT PASS. FRENCH FEEL THAT CONFIDENCE SAYS MME. GUERIN. Addressing Large Crowd She Brings Here the Tragedy of War.
Full of pathos, with high lights of sparkling humor, and yet withal showing the deep tragedy of France in this war, the speech of Mme. Guerin, at Claflin hall last night stirred Salina as few war talks have done. A daughter of France, whose nearest and dearest are now in the fight or numbered on the last roll of honor, Mme. Guerin is spending her time now caring for the orphans of her country. She is a forceful speaker, and while speaking with a decided accent, her English is of excellent diction and her personality charming. Mme. Guerin was dressed in the blue grey uniform of her beloved France, with soft crushed hat of the same shade.
“I am sometimes asked.” Mme. Guerin said, “if we in France do not fear that the Germans will crush our lines. But in France and here I know, and so does all France, that as long as there is a French or American boy alive ‘they will not pass.’ They may have their U-boats at the gate of New York, if they want, and it will not frighten us; if we have given ground in this struggle of the past few weeks it has been to spare our men. France and America are banded together to win this war side by side or die the same way. We will win, we will win, if America is ready to be not only one, two or three million strong, but 100, million strong.
“In France we have a saying, ‘A man has not reached the draft age or a man aspires to reach the draft age, but a man who is really a man will never pass the duty age until he dies.’ France has opened its homes to the American soldiers who have come as our salvation, and realizes that the Yanks can do anything they can do; they admire the fine big fellows, who dig in with one hand and fight like lions with the other, and keep smiling always. You will never realize, you people of this great free country, what it means to France to have the American boys over there fighting side by side with our men. Last April, when my country was so near despair and word came that America was sending help, the people fell to the pavement and cried for joy, that help was at last to be received in our great misery. … …
A picture of France, as it is now, was presented by Mme. Guerin, the streets thronged with maimed soldiers, with widows, orphans, and human wrecks, who have given their all for the cause. … …
If your boys fight like lions, it is because they see all our villages empty, a waste o former beauty, a desert. The watchword of our citizens is ‘to conquer’ and of the soldiers ‘They will not pass.’ The Germans have taken now 2000 of our villages and hamlets, laid bare the country round about, and taken our girls and men into slavery.
The atrocities committed by the enemy are awful. I have seen whole hospitals full of girls and women to whom German doctors have given loathsome diseases, and marked them to warn German soldiers not to associate with them; I have seen hospitals filled with young girls of thirteen and fourteen, who will never laugh again, marked for life as victims of the Hun; my own cousin was taken with a group of girls into the trenches, never to return; and all over my country we see children with hands cut off and faces and bodies horrible mutilated. It is war, I ask you! And because your boys have seen these things too, it is that they fight like lions for victory. … …
This war must be fought to the end, and your boys are fighting under the tri-colors of France just as the French soldiers fight under the Stars and Stripes. As the California soldier wrote to his mother, ‘Long life to America and democracy’ let us all say that, and ‘Down with militarism of Prussia.’”
A footnote completed the article: “Mr. and Mrs. Fred Conrow, Mr. and Mrs. Rex Clemons and Miss Helen Rollman drove down to Salina Monday evening to hear the address given by Mme. Guerin. It was one of the most touching stories of the life over there that we have yet heard.”
As the first review stated, Anna left Salina on 02 July 1918 – heading for Lincoln, Nebraska.
On Wednesday, 03 July 1918, the Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News of Lincoln, Nebraska reviewed a stirring and forceful lecture which had been given by Madame Guérin that day at noon, with a mention about another one given earlier, at 9.30 a.m:
“ARE FIGHTING OUR BATTLES. Poilus Are Defending the Stars and Stripes Until Americans Get into Action. !”French boys are now over there dying by the thousands for your stars and stripes,” declared Madame E. Guerin, French visitor to America speaking to the Lincoln Commercial club at luncheon Wednesday noon, “and soon your American boys will be over there by the millions fighting for the tri-color of France.”
Madame Guerin made a stirring appeal for close co-operation and warm friendship between the United States and France. She told of the trials that France had undergone since the outbreak of the war, how, in stopping the hordes of the enemy France had sacrificed her soldiers by the thousands, and how the four years of war had left France peopled with one million widows and more than two million orphans.
A special appeal was made for the French orphans fund. The speaker appreciated what had been done for France and paid tribute to the work of America in sending relief. But she was convinced that still further sacrifices could be made.
“Did I say sacrifice? No. Most of you do not have the right to use that holy word. Only two kinds of people have any right to say that they have sacrificed. In one class are the soldiers who go out to offer their lives on the battle field. In the other are the mothers and fathers who have given up their sons to fight the battle for liberty,” declared the speaker in ringing tones that brought a hearty round of applause from the diners.
The condition of France today was brought forcefully to the attention of those who heard Madame Guerin. Thousands of square miles of the country are ruined, men and boys are dying by the thousands in the trenches, and the country must now rely on America, her ally, for support.
Madame Guerin spoke in the same general vein at the state university convocation at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. She told the summer school students of the work that France has done and of the work that remains for America to do.”
On 5 July 1918, The Salina Daily Union newspaper printed a short paragraph mentioning Madame Guérin’s talk in Salina on 1 July [sic]:
“BROOKVILLE, Kans., July 6—Mr. and Mrs. Fred Conrow, Mr. and Mrs. Rex Clemons and Miss Helen Rollman drove down to Salina Monday evening to hear the address given by Mme. Geurin. It was one of the most touching stories of the life over there that we have yet heard. The affair was largely attended and one that will be remembered by all who were there.”
On 01 August 1918, within an article in the Wichita Daily Eagle headed “BOY SCOUTS OF WICHITA HAVE GREAT RECORD”, this sentence appeared – relating to Anna Guérin’s speeches there:
“The Scouts have sold $8,964.25 worth of War Saving stamps in the past five weeks and rendered great service in the collection of Red Cross funds at various theatres after addresses delivered by Mme. Guerin.”
On 16 August 1918, the Baxter Springs News (Kansas) gave an update to one of Madame Guérin’s personal appeals that had been made three months previous:
“BAXTER PEOPLE GAVE GENEROUSLY. Shipment of 350 Garments Now Ready to Go Forward to Relieve French Sufferers of World War.
In response to the appeal made to the people of Baxter Springs by Madame Guerin at the conclusion of her lecture here in June for clothing for the people in war-stricken France, the collection of a large number of garments has been made by the committee of which Mrs. J. E. Wiles is chairman. The ladies have finished their work and as a result there are five boxes of clothing of good quality consisting of coats and suits for men and women and a large quantity of children’s clothing. All told there are some 350 garments and the shipment will go forward this week to the French Relief Society Headquarters at New York City. The ladies assisting Mrs. Wiles in this good work were: Mesdames F. M. Perkins, O. M. Spratt, E. K. Brown, H. Hartley, J. F. Wingfield, E. M. Richardson, J. Griffard, W. E. Merrill, J. C. Stephens, J. W. Barnes.”
On 05 September 1918, Anna and her sister Juliette attended the Nebraska State Fair. The Red Cross, Food For France organisation, YM. & Y.W. War Fund and National League for Service had “gathered together fraternally just outside the textile building” where the government exhibit was located. The Evening State Journal & Lincoln Daily News reported [sic]:
“SUN SHONE ON FAIR AFTER CHILLY MORN. INFLOW OF ATTENDANTS WAS HEAVY ALL MORNING. People From the Farflung Reaches of the State on the Grounds Early for a Big Day.
Thursday began a little chilly and cloudy for fair goers. But Nebraska and western Iowa automobiles had not been parked long before the sun came out brightly to warm blue fingers and limber riding-stiffened joints. The fun began Thursday morning where it left off Wednesday evening, with a crowd that promised to be as big. Taking his leave at 10 o’clock in the forenoon, one was fairly caught by the incoming tide. At the gates car after car was unloading, and uptown people in on the later morning trains were streaming toward the state fair cars. Families in the far reaches of Nebraska and along the edge of Iowa, who had been waiting to see what the day would bring forth in the way of weather were encouraged by the turn it had taken and ventured forth early Thursday morning.
The morning circus parade, with elephants, camels, a judiciously generous exhibit of wild animals and a band, started things off at the proper gait. The increasing warmth and inspiration of the day and of the music brought off dingy riding coats, and light dresses began to flutter in the sunshine as the crowd dispersed at the first corner on the grounds. … … …
The Red Cross, Food for France fund organization, Y. M. and Y. W. war fund and National League for Service are gathered together fraternally just outside the textile building where the government exhibit is located. Madame Guerin, dressed in French blue and conversing in broken but delightful English, with her sister, Mademoiselle Boulle, sold buttons at ten cents apiece before the food fund tent. “We have 2,000,000 orphans and 1,000,000 widows in France” she said. “Ten cents will keep a child a day. To those who pass ten cents is nothing. For four years our soldiers have received but five cents a day. If one falls it is not much to leave to his widow.””
It is believed that Anna and Juliette distributed, in reality, floral boutonnières. Certainly, soon after, newspaper reports refer to Anna selling “boutonnières” at her ‘Poppy Drives’.
The next day, on 06 September 1918, Madame Guérin was principal speaker at a mass meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Lincoln Evening Journal (03 Sept.) reported ahead of the event:
“PEOPLE YOU KNOW. Mrs. Fred C. Williams is chairman of the committee of Deborah Avery chapter, D. A. R., which is making arrangements for the celebration of Lafayette-Marne day September 6. In accordance with the national movement started by the American defense society, of which B. C. Hubbell is local chairman, Lincoln will celebrate the birthday of Lafayette and the fourth anniversary of the first victory of the Marne with a mass meeting at the city auditorium at 8 p. m. Friday. Madame Guerin, a French woman who spoke in Lincoln several weeks ago, will return to be the principal speaker of the evening and E. J. Burkett will preside.”
Anna Guérin and sister Juilette Boulle were staying in Lincoln, Nebraska, with Miss Anna May Pershing (often just called May or Mae) – sister to the famous American General John Joseph Pershing.
Anna May Pershing was the younger, spinster sister of the famous American General John Joseph Pershing. She was born 30 June 1867 Linn County, Missouri. May (or Mae) was a Music Teacher by profession. When brother “Black Jack” John’s wife and three daughters were killed in the San Francisco fire of 1915, May and her sister Mary (Mrs. Butler) helped to bring up the General’s son Francis Warren in Lincoln, Nebraska – who had survived the fire.
In the 1920 Census (01 January), May Pershing was living with widowed sister, nephew Warren and one servant at the Pershing home of 1748 B street, Lincoln, Nebraska.
On 12 September 1918, the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) under General Pershing launched their first major offensive in Europe as an independent army. Until then, the American Expeditionary Forces’ troops were under French command.
On 28 September 1918, the Fourth Liberty loan campaign began in Lincoln, Nebraska. Madame Guérin joined a small group of “outside” speakers who toured Lincoln County – she was named as one of the principal speakers. The Lincoln Evening Journal (17 Sept.) informed [sic]:
“CAMPAIGN SOON TO START. Advertising Drive Begins Next Week With Boy Scouts Leading the Charge.
The Fourth liberty loan campaign will start in Lincoln September 28: according to plans announced Tuesday by the war finance committee of Lancaster county. The first week will be a public campaign, in which two or more outside speakers will tour the country.
The boy scouts will play an important part in the first week of the Lincoln campaign. They will parade thru the streets, carry liberty loan posters, and scouts will be stationed at the theatre entrances with dodgers reminding people of the campaign.
Madame Guerin, who spoke in Lincoln last winter for the war orphans will be one of the speakers who will assist in the county campaign. Another will be Sergeant Douglas, a war veteran from the western front.
No definite word has been received as to the size of Lancaster county’s quota. It will be based upon the individual bank deposits for August 13, with due allawance made for the crop failures in this county.
According to recent information received from the east by the comittee, the date on which interest on the Fourth bonds will be due are April 13 and October 13. The interest rate remains at 4 1-4 percent.”
Helping to promote the Liberty Loan, Anna’s heavy continued … …
On 03 October 1918, Madame Guérin spoke at Denton andd Emerald during the afternoon – approx. 13 miles S.W. and 9 miles west of Lincoln, respectively. In the evening, Madame Guérin spoke at Prairie Home (approx. 10 miles NE of Lincoln) and at Union college.
On 04 October 1918, Madame Guérin spoke to students at Cotner University (at convocation) and, in the evening, she “addressed the people of University Place at the First Methodist church.
On 05 October 1918, Madame Guérin spoke Hickman at 3 o’clock and at Firth at 8 o’clock – approx. 17 miles and 23 miles south of Lincoln, respectively.
On 06 October 1918, there was a Liberty loan meeting in the evening and, no doubt, Anna Guérin was present.
On 07 October 1918, a send-off parade took place through Lincoln and, no doubt, Anna Guérin would have watched it.
The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News (04 October) described some of Madame Guérin’s itinerary within this article [sic]:
“PEOPLE MUCH INTERESTED. Liberty Loan Speakers Are Greeted With Rousing Enthusiasm Wherever They Talked.
The quota for the fourth Liberty loan for the city of Lincoln is $1,934.250. For Lancaster county outside Lincoln, it is $859,000, making a total quota of $2,803.350.
Rousing meetings for the fourth Liberty loan campaign were addressed Thursday afternoon at Denton and Emerald. Both meeting places were crowded to the doors and the greatest patriotic feeling prevailed. District Chairman C. E. Matson presided. Madam Guerin talked to an immense crowd at Prairie Home Thursday night. Music was furnished by Gladys Kendall, Marcella Coyle, Mr. Hyde and George H. Walters.
Madame Guerin talked for the loan at convocation at Cotner university Friday morning. She will address the people of University Place Friday night at the First Methodist church. John T. Prince will also speak. Mr. Prince spent Friday talking liberty loan to the school children of the city. Madame Guerin addressed a big meeting at Union college Thursday night.
The Lincoln union band nan the Walt Brothers’ quartet will furnish the music at the Liberty loan meeting at the city auditorium Sunday night. To give the campaign a sendoff a parade will be held Monday at 10:30 a. m. It will form at the state university campus, Eleventh and R streets, move south on Eleventh to Q; east on Q to Seventeenth street; south on Seventeenth to O; west on O to Ninth; north on Ninth to P; east on P to Eleventh; north on Eleventh to the university campus. Mayor Miller will review the parade at the city hall.
“- – Buy Liberty Bonds – -”
The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News (05 October) adds confirmation and further enlightened readers [sic]:
“BOOSTING FOR LIBERTY LOAN. Large Audience Turn Out to Hear Speakers in County.
Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock a meeting of the solicitors for the fourth Liberty loan campaign for Lincoln and Lancaster county with City Chairman C. D. Mullen presiding. A. W. Richardson, will make an address relative to the job in hand. At this meeting the solicitors will receive their final instructions. Between four and five hundred are expected to be on hand Sunday.
Madam Guerin and John T. Prince addressed a large and enthousiastic audience at the First Methodist church at University Place Friday night. … …
Madame Guerin will also deliver an address at the Lincoln Auditorium, there will be special band music and the Walt Brothers quartet will render special war songs.
Madam Guerin addressed the students of Union College at Convocation Friday afternoon. She was introduced by W. A. Forsythe, president of the Commercial club of College View. She was enthusiastically received. … …
Madam Guerin speaks at Hickman at three o’clock and at Firth at eight o’clock.”
“- – Buy Liberty Bonds – -”
On 11 October 1918, Madame Guérin spoke at Plymouth – 50 miles SW of Lincoln. The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News (Thursday, 10 October) announced: “Madame Guerin who has spoken several times in Lincoln, will address the women of Plymouth at the Plymouth Congregational church Friday afternoon at 2.30 o’clock. … The women of the organization have invited all the women of south Lincoln to attend the meeting. …”
On 12 October 1918, Madame Guérin spoke at Havelock – approx. 5 miles NE of Lincoln. The Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News (12 Oct) reported under heading: “Moves Up Another Notch. Liberty Loan Total Now Within $300,000 Of Total Fixed For Lincoln”: “The Liberty loan total moved up another sixty thousand dollars Saturday morning, bringing it within $300,000 of the quota of $1,900,000 … Madame Guerin spoke to the men in the Havelock shops Saturday morning in the interest of the loan. She also spoke this afternoon at 12:45, 2:15 and 4:15 to the men employed in the railroad yards.”
It must have been soon after these last addresses, certainly during October, that Madame Guérin’s Loan tour was cut short because of an Influenza Pandemic. This “Spanish ‘Flu” pandemic had been raging across America, and around the world. It is reported that that more died from the influenza than died because of the First World War. In the US, it began in Kansas around the March/April. Anna Guérin wrote in her 1941 Synopsis [sic]: “the epidemic of Influenza stop all gatherings , so I decided to return to France , in order to gather new material for other lectures .”
On 20 October 1918, the New York Times printed an article about the ‘flu epidemic and the help the American Red Cross was giving in this regard. Additionally, the article detailed acknowledgements of donations of “$100, or more” by committees and organisations listed. Within this list was recorded a donation totalling $1,326, given to the ‘Food for France’ charity by the “Mme Guerin’s appeal”. Approximately 240 donations were listed for 23 charities but only four individuals gave a higher donation than Anna – which is worth about US$ 17,491 or UK £11294.35 in 2015. This is the last newspaper mention found of Anna in the USA in 1918, before she left New York – sailing for France in mid-November.
On 09 November, teacher Moїna Michael read John McCrae’s poem ‘We Shall Not Sleep’ (later known as ‘In Flanders Fields’) in the ‘Ladies Home Journal’ edition of this day. It was printed alongside a very emotive, illustrated advertisement for Druggists ‘Bauer & Black’.
In a 1939 interview (for a local history oral study called ‘American Memory’), Moїna told how she took “a leave of absence from the Normal school, now the Co-ordinate College, and went to the Y. M. C. A. training Conference of at Columbia University in New York. It was there the final step in the generation of the poppy idea came, for it was there I read a challenging poem.”
Upon having her epiphany moment about the poppy as an emblem, Moїna wrote a ‘reply’ poem called ‘We Shall Keep The Faith’. Interestingly, some of these reply poems share uncannily similar lines – perhaps ‘In Flanders Fields’ lends itself to this phenomenon.
In the same interview, Moїna hinted at an underlying uneasiness towards Anna Guérin “… I met with a notable difficulty, a French woman, Madame E. Guerin, took up the poppy cause for France, and brought poppies to this country. The result was competition for the disabled American veterans, who were fashioning the poppies in government hospitals for one cent each. I proved that I [was the first to originate] had originated the idea. She gave up
her the work here and later took her poppies, made by the French war widows, to Earl Haig and in England.”
- When Anna “brought poppies” to America (for the 1920 Memorial Day poppy campaign), it is accurate to state that no organisation of American veterans was making poppies … thus, no competition with veterans. However, for May 1921, some US veterans made poppies for the American Legion Poppy Days in Connecticut. But for the 1923 campaign, the US veterans could not make enough poppies and the American Legion had to seek a supply of Anna Guérin’s French-made poppies. It was not until 1924 that the USA had 100% American-made poppies (see Chapter 8). Additionally, Anna Guérin had been using the poppy as an emblem since at least September 1918 and other women since April 1918.
- Anna had not given up (ref “She gave up …”), in the defeatist sense of the phrase – she just moved on and took her poppy idea to the other First World War Allies, namely the Empire countries (now Commonwealth) – having successfully persuaded American Legion men to adopt her poppy idea at their 1920 convention. See Empire chapters.
Upon embarking on this quest, there was no intention of mentioning Miss Michael much because this was all about Madame Guérin. However, the intention of these chapters is to enlighten readers about the forgotten sequence of events that places Anna Guérin at the very conception of the poppy becoming the remembrance emblem and, as a result of research, there has to be further mentions of Moїna Michael.
To bring 1918 to a close, as far as Madame Guérin is concerned, the Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News (Nebraska) printed this on 13 December – with regard to news learnt on the 11th [sic]:
“Wednesday. Madame B. Guerin, the French woman who lectured here during the week of the state fair on behalf of the fund for French wounded, has arrived in France according, to a letter dated November 17 which Mrs. Myrtle Cull received. She says that the hundreds of packages that she took back to France with her to be delivered to Americans have been sent to the soldiers. She expects to return to Lincoln about the first of the year.”
On 15 December 1918, the following text accompanied the edited photograph (now out of copyright) as shown below – from the New York Tribune: “In the background is General Pershing’s automobile, identified by the four stars on the windscreen. This is one of a number of limousines used by the General Staff of the Army and built by the Locomobile Company of America at Bridgeport, Conn. A special limousine of the same make was purchased and shipped to France for the use of the President of the United States during the Peace Conference.”