A ‘Work in Progress’ List …

1915, May 03:    Canadian Physician Major John McCrae wrote his poem ‘We Shall Not Sleep’ … later known as ‘In Flanders Fields’.

1915, Dec. 08:    The poem called ‘In Flanders Fields’ was published in this day’s edition of ‘Punch’ magazine. 

1916, 27 May:    The St. Michael’s War Work Party, in South Shields (England), held a Poppy Day “IN AID OF THE BRITISH AND RUSSIAN PRISONERS OF WAR” for ‘The Prisoners of War Fund’.  (Shields Daily Gazette, 08 May 1916).  It was held “to send many welcome parcels to our men who are prisoners of war in Germany”.   “Hundreds of people in Shields helped to make the poppies, and thousands bought them …” (Shields Daily Gazette, 6 September 1916.

1916, 19 Aug:     The Sleights Red Cross Hospital, on the Yorkshire Moors (England), held a Poppy Day in Whitby – to raise additional funds for their Hospital’s war effort.   “Ninety-two gross of poppies made by the Crippled Girls’ Guild, were purchased …” ahead of the event.  The Crippled Girls’ Guild was well-known for making beautiful artificial flowers – which included the roses for the Queen Alexandra Rose Days.

1916, 26 Aug:     Poppy Day in Nottingham, England.  “POPPY DAY TOMORROW.  REMEMBER THE ORPHANS.” (Nottingham Evening Post, 25 August 1916)

1918, Apr. 05:   A Poppy Drive was held in Wall Street, New York this afternoon.   Women sold artificial poppies to “plethoric” brokers – the drive made $2,000 to help finance American women doctors going to France.   The earliest Poppy Sale, or Distribution, discovered.

1918, Jun. 06:   New York’s ‘Evening World’ edition of that day reported that American soldiers decorated their steel helmets with poppies from the fields”, before going into battle at Veuilly-la-Poterie, France.

1918, Sept. 05:   Nebraska State Fair held this day:- “The Red Cross, Food For France organisation, YM. & Y.W.C.A. War Fund and National League for Service are gathered together fraternally just outside the textile building where the government exhibit is located.   Madame Guérin, with her sister, Mademoiselle Boulle, sold buttons at ten cents apiece before the food fund tent.”  (“buttons” = boutonnières – when Madame Guérin distributed them for cash, they were poppies).  Anna and sister Juliette Boulle were staying in Lincoln, Nebraska, with Miss Anna May Pershing – the sister of the famous US Army General John Joseph Pershing.

1918, Nov. 09:    Not for the first time, 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.   On this occasion, it appeared alongside a very emotively illustrated advertisement for Druggists ‘Bauer & Black’ – which depicted poppies “between the crosses, row on row” and soldiers ascending high above the horrors of the battlefield.  She wrote a “reply” poem called ‘We Shall Keep The Faith’.

Moїna had her epiphany moment – she would always wear a poppy in remembrance.  This occurred whilst the ‘Overseas Y.M.C.A.’s 25th Conference was taking place at Columbia University, New York – where Moїna had been a volunteer since September 1918.

Moїna was given a cash contribution by some of the men attending the Conference – for creating (at her own expense) a homely environment with flower arrangements.  She had the idea to hand out poppies for the men to wear too.  With no poppies at her workplace/in her arrangements, Moїna went out to the shops and purchased some with this unassociated donation.  She gave them out to Conference men later that day.  She considered she was the first person to make a sale of a memorial poppy.  Was this a “sale”?

1918, Dec. 04:    A letter dated thus was written to Moїna Michael, from “Y.M.C.A. Conference, Columbia University, N.Y.City” (signed “John G. Jury” “Pres. 28th Conference Y.M.C.A.”) informing: “… that the twenty-eighth Conference of the Overseas Y.M.C.A. Workers, at their sessions adopted the Poppy as the emblem of their organization.  …”.   Reference “1918, Nov. 09”, shown above.

1918, Dec. 13:    Moїna Michael signed a contract with Lee Keedick (a publicity agent) and Otho L. Ferris (a Y.M.C.A. Secretary), enabling them to act on her behalf.   In doing so, she assigned and transferred the “rights and interests” of her poem to the two gentlemen and contracted them to act on her behalf with regard to her Torch of Liberty and Flanders Poppy design – her ‘Victory Emblem’.

1918, Dec. 26:    Moїna Michael applied for a patent for her ‘Victory Emblem’ badge design. This was Moїna Michael’s design of a torch and poppy combined as a victory emblem to be worn and to be displayed on banners, stationery, cards, escutcheons, etc as a memorial to the dead and a tribute to the living who served in defence of world liberty.”  (Moїna Michael’s Papers).

1918, Dec:           ‘La Ligue des enfants de France et d’Amérique’ was created in Paris – affiliated to the French government. The poppy is the organisation’s emblem.  Madame Guérin’s U.S. branch followed – called the ‘American and French Children’s League’ but sometimes referred to as ‘Fraternal League of the Children of France’ and the ‘Inter Allies Children League’.  It was not linked to the ‘Fatherless Children of France’ charity – it was a charity for fatherless children in France.

1919, Feb. 06:    The New York Tribune reported (under the heading “Calvary Church Adopts Flanders Victory Flag.  First Organization to Accept Design Inspired by Colonel McRae’s Poem”) that Moїna Michael’sflag of Flanders Field, with poppies entwined around the torch of Liberty, has been accepted by Calvary Baptist Church as its “Victory Flag”.

1919, Feb. 07:    ‘The Atlanta Constitution’ published an article about Moina Michael headed: “Georgia Girl Is Originator of New Victory Emblem Idea” … Miss Michael conceived the idea of having the Flanders fields poppy and the torch of Liberty adopted as a symbol … it contained the colors of the allied flags”.

1919, Feb. 14:     In a letter dated 24 December 1940, Lee Keedick (the “MANAGER OF THE WORLD’S MOST CELEBRATED LECTURERS”) replied to a letter from one Stella S. Center – giving answers to 3 questions posed in connection with Moїna Michael’s proposed book.  He wrote “Answering your communication December 21, I may say that all my records pertaining to the poppy were destroyed by fire, and I can only answer your questions from memory.”   “ … (3) Colonel Bishop lectured in Carnegie Hall, New York City, on February 14, 1919, under my direction, and as I recall, the Boy Scouts did sell the Memorial Poppy that night.”  (Source: Moїna Michael’s papers held at the Hargrett Library, Georgia).  This event was, of course, not the first poppy sale/distribution.

Lee Keedick was also the Manager/Agent of Colonel William A. Bishop (Canadian flying ace: “The Ace of Aces”).  Colonel Bishop gave several lectures at the Carnegie Hall in February (including the 14th) and reviews appeared in newspapers but none mentioned poppies and/or boy scouts.

1919, Feb. 15:    Moїna Michael’s “Poppy and Torch Banner” flag hung above the stage of the Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York, when the same Colonel Bishop gave another lecture.  (19 February 1919 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle).

1919, Mar. 11:    Moїna Michael’s badge design, the entwining torch and poppy ‘Victory Emblem’, was granted a US Patent. On this day (and other days), Moina Michael wrote a letter “to all parts of U.S.A.” promoting her Victory Emblem movement.

1919, June 06:    Milwaukee, Wisconsin staged an official celebratory homecoming for the US 32nd Division.  Mrs. Mary Hanecy is mentioned sometimes in the Poppy story because (at this event) she is reported to have decorated a donut and coffee booth with poppies; it was stripped twice of flowers as patriotic Americans took them; and money was left on the counter, in gratitude.  Apparently, this money was used for the benefit of disabled veterans.  It is reported that Mary suggested to her American Legion branch that poppies be sold on the streets of Milwaukee on Memorial Day (30 May 1920), to raise funds for US veterans.  Thus, Mary was behind Milwaukee American Legion Post 1 carrying out the first American Legion run ‘Poppy Day’ but it was not the first per se, nor was it a national one.

1919, Aug. 02:    Madame Guérin held a ‘Tag Day’ (Poppy Day) in Duluth, Minnesota.

1919, Oct. 08:     On this day, Madame Guérin addressed the first convention of the Gold Star Mothers of Baltimore and, after reading the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ to the audience, she proposed the idea of poppies being the “symbol befitting the heroes of the war”.   This proposal was accepted.    Plans were made that she use the Flanders poppies as a means to raise 1,000,000 francs for the children of devastated France, and it was decided that in each state one of the Gold Star Mothers would be her state president of the Flanders fields poppy days.  Immediately, she made a silk sample of the Flanders fields poppy and then had 10,000 silk poppies made in Baltimore and, two weeks after the convention, the first poppy day in the streets of Baltimore was held.

1919, Oct. 25:     Madame Guérin’s Poppy Day in Baltimore, with Baltimore-made poppies.

1919, Dec 27:      Madame Guérin was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  In an interview, she talked about her aim to hold a “Poppy Tag Day” everywhere in April 1920.

1920, Apr. 03:    “The first big Poppy Day for the American and French Children’s League “was in Denver, the day before Easter” – on this Saturday, ‘twixt Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

1920, Apr 05:     Madame Guérin  arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah to gave a series of lectures at various addresses, ahead of the ‘Poppy Day’ there on 10 April.

1920, Apr 06:     Madame Guérin  spoke before l’Alliance Française at the Hotel Utah, Salt Lake City.

1920, Apr. 08:    Madame Guérin spoke in Salt Lake City:- at the East Side high school in the morning; at St. Mary’s academy in the afternoon; and at the Assembly Hall in the evening, ahead of ‘Poppy Day’ there on 10 April.

1920, Apr. 10:    ‘Poppy Day’ in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The weather was so bad on 10 April that the distribution of poppies only happened in the morning.  However, in that short time, the distribution of poppies raised $2,760!

1920, Apr. 10:    ‘Poppy Day’ in Greeley, Colorado.  Greeley Daily Tribune:  “Today Greeley has been turned into a poppy field.  Every citizen wears a scarlet flower, on every street corner Greeley girls are selling poppies for the orphans of France.   Under the direction of Mme Celeste Oliver Dixon and Mlle. Lucienne Le Fraper, who are representing the American and French Children’s League today was made poppy day in Greeley.   Mrs. Howard Price, instructor in French and Latin at the Greeley high school has been on the street all day chaperoning the fair poppy sellers.   The poppy sellers will be on the streets until 10 o’clock tonight. …”  For Madame Guérin’s American and French Children’s League.

1920, Apr. 16:    Ogden, Utah:  Madame E. Guérin, representing the American and French Children’s League, spoke on the aims of the society and asked for the support of the women on Poppy Day, which is to be celebrated here tomorrow, when the population will be tagged in behalf of the work of the society.  Mrs. Georgina Marriott presided at the meeting of the Weber county women’s Republican committee meeting at the city hall last night.    300 school girls were the poppy girls.

1920, Apr. 17:    Madame Guérin in Ogden, Utah:  Poppy Day on this day.   Then going off to Brigham City, Logan, Park City (Utah) & Preston (Idaho) – promoting poppy drives.

1920, Apr. 17:    A second ‘Poppy Day’ in Salt Lake City, Utah – but only in the afternoon, to compensate for the curtailment of the ‘Poppy Day on the 10th.

1920, Apr. 22:    Poppy Day in Preston, Idaho … probably … Anna and Georgina Marriott returned to Ogden, Utah on 26 May after a “Poppy Day campaign” for “destitute children in France” in Preston.

1920, Apr. 22:    In Caldwell, Idaho, a total of one hundred fifty High School girls carried out a “tag day” “for the benefit of French children in the devastated sections of France”   The day was officially designated as “Poppy Day.”  Local lady Mrs. Amelia Anderson was in charge of the campaign in Caldwell.  “Tags to be sold are in the form of a poppy”.  Georgina Marriott had addressed an audience there on 15 May – and recruited the girls.  She was the accredited representative of Madame E. Guérin, the “French director of the movement”.    $2000 was raised.  (Caldwell Tribune, Idaho May 18).

1920, Apr. 24:    Utah: Poppy Day Drives began 24 April in Brigham City, Logan & Park City.  Provo and many others were other places which held Poppy Days (Le Semeur).

1920, May 08:    Poppy Day in Price, Utah.   Mrs. Georgina Marriott visited to organise the Day on behalf of Madame Guérin. 

1920, May:          Madame Guérin: “month’s trip through Idaho and Montana, where she conducted “Poppy Drives” for the relief of the children of the devastated section of France”.    Also a Poppy Drive in Seattle …. (written 27 May, Hartley Burr Alexander papers) “Mrs. Buckmaster came again to help me in Seattle.   We had $4700 not half enough girls …”.

1921, 20 May:    It was announced in Bridgeport, Connecticut, that the local American Legion had taken receipt of poppies made by disabled veterans at Allingtown hospital, Allingtown, Conn. – for their own poppy sale, for their own benefit.

1920, May 22:    Poppy Day in Caldwell, Idaho, a total of one hundred fifty High School girls carried out a “tag day” “for the benefit of French children in the devastated sections of France”   The day was officially designated “Poppy Day.”  Local lady Mrs. Amelia Anderson was in charge of the campaign in Caldwell.  “Tags to be sold are in the form of a poppy”.  Georgina Marriott had addressed audience there on 15 May – and recruited the girls.

1920, May 27:     Madame Guérin wrote from Portland, Oregon.  Miss Epperson has “several Poppy Days this week”; she was “speaking on average of 6 to 8 times a day”; there were “not half enough girls” to help; she was keen to get best exchange rate for donations (US$ to French francs); etc.    (Hartley Burr Alexander papers)

1920, May 28:    Madame Guérin was in Boise, Idaho for a Poppy day.   (Hartley Burr Alexander papers) 

1920, May 29:    Poppy Day in Plattsmouth, NebraskaMadame Guérinwas in charge of the efforts made to provide funds for the relief of the sufferers among the children of the war swept areas of France”.  “Mrs. R.P. Westover has been designated as the chairman for Plattsmouth”.   Ladies and campfire girls distributed poppies. (1920.5.24., Plattsmouth Journal)

1920, May 29:    Reference Mrs. Mary Hanecy (06 June 1919), the Milwaukee American Legion Post 1 carried out their first Poppy Day it was not the “first” per se.  However, it appears to be the first ‘Poppy Day’ organised and run by American Legion members in the USA.   Apparently, the event was at the suggestion of Mary Hanecy – she was a member of the Milwaukee American Legion Post 1 Auxiliary and President of the 32nd Division Women’s Corp.

1920, May 31:    Pocatello, IdahoMadame Guérin was there … ?arranging a future Poppy Drive.

1920, Jun. 02:    Portland, Oregon.   Madame Guérin was there … ?arranging a future Poppy Drive.

1920, Jun. 12:     Poppy Day in American Fork, Utah.   The American Fork Citizen (of that day) reported that Mrs. Charles Pankratz had been appointed as the local chairman of the American and French Children’s League.   She had appointed a Captain from each ward of the city – they, in turn had selected ten girls to carry out the distributing of poppies … or, as the article put it “soliciting”.    “The people are appealed to, to aid liberally in the upbuilding of the devasted part of France and the care of her thousands of diseased children. Hundreds of children are insane, as well as thousands of adults. Asylums must be built, sanitariums must be erected for the hundreds of tubercular children.   France cannot do it.  She is ruined financially. The children are orphans of the world war.   Give freely to aid a country whose only hope lies in our generosity.”

1920, Jun. 12:    Poppy Tag Day in Kansas.  Under direction of Mr. & Mrs. M.H. Gray of Denver, on behalf of the American and French Children’s League .   Funds collected held back because the A&FCL was not on the National Information Bureau’s approved list.  This was remedied in May 1921, when the League was granted a formal endorsement by The National Information Bureau – after a change of name and structure.

1920, Jun. 19:    Poppy Day in Rexburg, Idaho …. Madame E. Guérin  and Ogden’s Georgina Marriott held a “Poppy Day” tag sale.

1920, Jun. 19:    Poppy Day in Helena, Montana.  200 girl poppy sellers.  Miss Genevieve H. Parke carried out arrangements made by Madame Guérin.

1920, Jun. 26:   Great Falls Daily Tribune, Montana.  Miss G. H. Parke of American and French Children’s League gave a short talk explaining needs of fatherless children in devastated regions of France.   The auxiliary members “expressed themselves willing to assist in whatever way they may with the poppy day which the league expects soon to put on through Montana.    At this time, poppies, reminders of poppies of “Flanders Field” immortalized by Col. McCrae, will be sold on the streets.

1920, Jul. 04:     “Mrs. Georgiana Marriott has returned from a two months’ trip through Idaho and Montana, where she conducted “Poppy Drives” for the relief of the children of the devastated sections of France.   She was assisted by Madame Guérin, who is interested in relief work.  Mrs. Marriott is state organizer for Idaho of the American and French children’s league.”   Ogden Standard Examiner, Ogden, Utah.

1920, July:           ColoradoMadame Guérin was here at some point this month – for a Poppy Drive.   (Hartley Burr Alexander papers)

1920, Jul 14:        Poppy Day in Sacramento, California.  On 08 July: Madame Guérin gave a speech to the Lions Club in Sacramento. Madame LeGrande-Girarde (wife of French WW1 General Émile Edmond Legrand-Girarde) accompanied her and she gave addresses to the Rotary Club and at a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in the courthouse.  Plus several members of the New Jersey delegation (VFW?) were present and made short talks.   Madame Guérin was in the city for at least eight days: 08 – 15 July.

1920, Jul. 26:     Poppy Day in San FranciscoMadame Guérin was in the city on 19 July, to organise – she addressed “the women at the Fairmont meeting.  Poppy Day badges and banners inscribed:- “In Flanders Fields the Poppies Grow”.

1920, Jul 29:      Poppy Day in Berkeley, California.  Madame Guérin and Miss Patsy A. Epperson had been in Berkeley to organise a committee for the American and French Children’s League. On 27 July they addressed a meeting of women, after which a committee was formed to make arrangements for Poppy Day’.  Patsy Epperson was a “delegate” from the League’s “middlewest committee”.

1920, Aug. 07:    Oakland, California: Poppy Day in Oakland, “when California’s native blooms will be sold to help French orphans. Mrs. William Thornton White has been appointed chairman of the day and will superintend the sale of the blossoms by several score by the younger girls.   Madame Guerin is at the head of the committee raising funds for the erection of an orphanage for the fatherless children.”

1920, Aug 14:    Poppy Day in Santa Cruz; Capitola; East Santa Cruz; and Davenport in California.  Miss Patsy A. Epperson, representing the American and French Children’s League was there on 09 August to attend the “preliminaries”.  Madame Guérin followed during that week, ahead of the Poppy Day “to explain the aims and object of the league”.   The Native Daughters of Santa Cruz were in charge of the arrangements.  “Taking into consideration other drives of a like nature made for worthy causes in Santa Cruz, Poppy day was an unqualified success in Santa Cruz and other nearby districts.”

1920, Aug. 18:    The American Legion Georgia Post held a convention in Atlanta, on 18-20 August.   Ironwood Daily Globe (30 May 1944) reported:   “At the inspiration of Miss Michael, the poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower by the Georgia department of the American Legion in August 1920.   Georgia delegates were instructed to present a resolution to the Legion’s national convention in Cleveland that fall to make the flower the official memorial flower of the national organization.” 

1920, Aug. 19:    Los Angeles, CaliforniaMadame Guérin was there establishing a branch of the America and French Children’s league and organising a “poppy day” sale there – thousands of dollars were realized.   The poppies were made in France.   

1920, Aug. 22:    Long Beach, California: Madame Guérin was there … ?for a Poppy Drive. 

1920, Aug. 23:   San Diego, California: Madame Guérin met the State Governor and attended (and spoke at) the American Legion’s California State branch’s Convention at Balboa Park, San Diego, California, 23, 24, & 25 August, 1920. On this day, Madame wrote in a letter big idea” …  ”Have the Poppy as the Memorial flower and have the people of America wear a Poppy for Decoration Day – at least for 3 years.”  This is her ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme. The California American Legion told her to write to a Col. F.W. Galbraith who was to run for NAL national president.  Madame Guérin knew Galbraith personally and he agreed that her poppy idea would be a fitting memorial.  He told her he would make a reservation for her to speak on her subject at the National American Legion’s second convention in Cleveland, Ohio on 27-29 September. Thus, Madame Guérin attended in her own right and certainly not as a Y.W./Y.M.C.A. secretary – which has been widely reported.

1920, Sept 03:   Poppy Day held in Los Angeles.  Madame Guérin had devoted the day and the day before to a series of addresses before high school classes in the city, urging the girls to lend their aid after school.

1920, Sept 09:   Madame Guérin arrived in Santa Ana, California in the afternoon – to outline her preliminary plans for Poppy Days in Santa Ana (11 Sept) and Orange, Anaheim and Fullerton on 18 September. She spoke that evening at the regular meeting of the Santa Ana Post of the American Legion.  She also spoke in Orange and at a band concert in Anaheim.  The Rotary Club of Santa Ana endorsed the project.

1920, Sept 11:   Poppy Day campaign today in Santa Ana, California.    

1920, Sept 18:    Phoenix, ArizonaPoppy Day ran by 2 Red Cross representatives of the American & French Children’s League.  These were Mrs. Leonel  Ross O’Bryan of Denver, Colorado (“Polly Pry”) & Miss Helen Ahern, acting for Madame Guérin’s League.  Day made $1000.  Glendale, Peoria & Mesa joined with Phoenix – Arizona Republican, Phoenix,  14 September 1920.    O’Bryan was the director of the League’s regional headquarters, which was located in the Symes building, Denver.

1920, Sept 18:   Poppy Day in Santa Ana, Orange, Anaheim and Fullerton, California.

1920, Sept.19: Madame Guérin attended the Encampment Convention of the ‘Grand Army of the Republic’ and the ‘Sons and Daughters of the G.A.R.’ (19-25 September 1920) to ask permission to use Decoration Day (30 May 1921) for her Annual Flanders’ Poppy Day. At the Encampment, the delegates endorsed Madame Guérin’s idea.

1920, Sept.25:    Madame Guérin’s representatives Leonel O’Bryan & Helen Ahern were in charge of a “poppy tag day” in Tucson, Arizona – on behalf of the American & French Children’s League.

1920, Sept 27:    On 27-29 September, the National American Legion held their second Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.   Madame Guérin addressed the American Legion State Presidents about her “big idea” – ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme.

So many American Legion State Commanders had already adopted Madame Guérin’s poppy emblem for their individual Posts; they either personally knew her and her fundraising work; or they knew of her.  It must have been a foregone conclusion that the American League would adopt the poppy as their Memorial Flower at the convention.  The idea was adopted – in the form of the ‘Shirley’ poppy.

1920, Oct. 06:     Poppy Day in Bisbee, Arizona.  Mrs. Leonel Ross O’Bryan (“Polly Pry”) and Miss Helen Ahern had been there the week before, for the purpose of making the arrangements.

1920, Nov. 11:    Second Anniversary of Armistice Day.   Poppy Days were carried out in the USA on and around that day, under the auspices of the American-Franco Children’s  League.  For example:-  In New Castle, Pennsylvania, High School girls sold poppies.  The girls were divided into teams – one captain and four other girls to each team.  That Poppy Tag Day “netted the Legion $2,339.

1920, Nov. 13:    Poppy Day in Akron, Ohio.  Madame Guérin had visited Akron and Canton after the American Legion convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The Poppy Day in Canton raised $1,500 for Madame Guérin’s French orphans.

1920, Nov. 13:    Poppy Day in Indianapolis (home of the American Legion headquarters).  The Indianapolis newspapers reported on how a Poppy Tag Day had been observed in that city (and others in the State of Indiana) on that day. Madame Guérin and Mrs. Isabella Mack assisted in the Indianapolis drive.

1920, Nov. 27:    Poppy Day in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.

1921, Apr. 22:    Announced in Canada’s Winnipeg Tribune that, at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Winnipeg Chapter of the I.O.D.E. (at the Fort Garry hotel, Winnipeg), “A resolution was sent to the National I.O.D.E. , asking it to adopt “Poppy Day” as a feature of Armistice Day to raise funds for the War Memorial in all parts of Canada.

1921, Apr 28:      Madame Guérin’s representative, Isabelle Mack, was in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania – to make preparations for the ‘Poppy Day’ there on 28 May – the date of the designated American and French Children’s League’s ‘Poppy Day’ across the U.S.A.

1921, May 18:    Madame Guérin’s sister Juliette Boulle arrived in Detroit, Michigan.  The next day (19 May), Juliette met with American Legion officials to organise the poppy campaign in the city.

1921, May 20:    The Bridgeport Telegram (Connecticut) printed this article: “Poppy Sale Starts.  The American Legion poppy sale is on.  Poppies can be bought from any of the ex-service men at the cost of ten cents each.  A large shipment was received from the Allingtown hospital, Allingtown, Conn.   The disabled veterans made these flowers and the proceeds of the sale goes to them.  

1921, May 21:    Announced in the Winnipeg Tribune that (re the graves “of soldiers who died both in the Great War and other wars”) “Winnipeg Chapters of the I.O.D.E. to deck the graves with flags and red poppies.”

1921, May 28:   Designated National ‘Poppy Day’ organised by the American-Franco Children’s League, within the USA and, reportedly, in France also (Denver Post). 

1921, May 30:   USA Memorial Day.  Another Poppy Day conducted and, reportedly, poppies were placed on graves (Denver Post).    Leading up to this day, the American Legion made appeals asking for everyone to wear a poppy on this day, as a “mark of respect and tribute to the brave soldiers of the World war”.

1921, June 03:   Madame Anna E. Guerin, “The Poppy Lady of France”, has arrived in Toronto on a special mission, to speak to the conventions of the National Chapter, I.O.D.E. and the Catholic Women’s League of Canada on behalf of the women and children of the war devastated areas of her own country, “the real martyrs of the war”.” (Toronto Star).   The Ottawa Journal reported “In connection with the celebration of Armistice Day it was suggested that poppies should be sold to raise funds for the war memorial, but the majority of the ladies favored the use of the maple leaf in this connection and that was agreed upon.”   

1921, 20 Jun:      Madame Guérin addressed a meeting of the American Legion Delaware Post No.1 in Wilmington, Delaware.  She thanked the State of Delaware for “selling far more than its share” of poppies on Memorial Day.

1921, July 04:    Madame Anna Guérin spoke in Canada – to the Great War Veterans’ Association conference at the Prince Arthur Hotel, Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) about adopting the poppy as its remembrance flower.  American Legion National Commander Frederick W. Galbraith Jr. had given her a letter of recommendation to hand over.

1921, July 05:     Madame Guérin’s proposal of an ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme was discussed by the G.W.V.A.

1921, July 06:     The Canadian G.W.V.A. officially adopts the ‘Remembrance Poppy’ emblem.

1921, Jul 27:        In Winnipeg, the Women’s service League held a Poppy Day.  The League made several thousand poppies for weeks.  Proceeds went to furnish new club rooms for ex-servicemen.

1921, Aug. 05:    The Australian Returned Sailors and Soldiers’ Imperial League decided “… the red poppy, so conspicuous on the fields of France, should be adopted as an international emblem on armistice day …”, as part of Madame Anna Guérin’s proposal of an ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme.

1921, Aug. 06:     Colonel Samuel A. Moffat sailed from Vancouver, Canada … sent by Madame Guérin to promote her ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ idea.   He visited Australia and New Zealand (and possibly South Africa, en route to Europe afterwards).

1921, Sept. 16:    It was reported on this date in a New Zealand newspaper, that the American, Canadian and English* ex-service men’s organisations had “adopted the red poppy of Flanders as the national memorial flower”, as part of Madame Guérin’s proposal of an ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme.   *British Legion

1921, Sept. 26:   The New Zealand Dominion Executive of Returned Services’ Association officially adopted the poppy at their conference, as part of Madame Guérin’s proposal of an ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ scheme. 

1921, Oct. 20:     Women from ‘The Princess Patricia’ I.O.D.E. chapter in Winnipeg met in the evening to make poppies for Poppy Day.    

1921, Oct. 31:      At its convention in Kansas City, Missouri (31 October to 02 November 1921), the American Legion repudiated the action taken in 1920 and changed their allegiance from the poppy to the daisy.

1921, Nov. 08:    Moїna Michael wrote to The American Legion, concerning the adoption of the daisy and the poppy repudiation.  Adjutant Lemuel Bolles replied on 23 November, quoting the recommendation which was adopted at the Conference … to the detriment of the poppy.

1921, Nov. 11:    Third anniversary of Armistice Day.  Veteran organisations of Canada; Australia; Newfoundland; and Great Britain carried out their first Poppy Day campaigns, run by their respective WW1 veterans’ organisations.  It was reported that France participated also.  Madame Guérin wrote about visiting Belgium and Italy so they may have participated on this date. No evidence has been found relating to the date of the first Poppy Day in South Africa but it may have been this date, if Colonel Moffat carried Madame Guérin’s message.

1921, Dec. 06:      Mlle. Juliette Boulle and Mme Blanche Berneron sailed from Canada on Canadian Pacific ‘Sicilian’ – after helping to organise the Poppy distribution in Canada. They went to Cuba to establish a Poppy Committee there.

1922, Jan 23:       Madame Guérin learnt the American Legion’s Women’s Auxiliary’s decision on whether to give support for her 1922 ‘Inter-Allied  Poppy Day’ campaign or not.  In February 1922, Madame Guérin wrote “My deception was great on the 23rd January to hear that the American Legion Auxiliary had not taken the Idea to sponsor for themselves, the National Poppy Day of the U.S.”

1922, “early”:    Madame Guérin had been hurt by the American Legion’s rejection of the poppy (in October 1921), in favour of the daisy, and the Auxiliary’s decision not to support her (January 1922).   The ‘Veterans of Foreign Wars’ (VFW) and the ‘War Mothers helped run her 1922 ‘Inter-Allied Poppy Day’ campaign instead.  Other organisations, including individual American Legion Posts, helped too

1922, Feb:          The American Legion conducted a state wide “daisy drive”. 

1922, Mar.03:     Women in Wellington, New Zealand, held a “Diggers’ Poppy Day to benefit the Returned Soldiers’ Association.   A committee is to be set up to make the poppies.  The event took the shape of stalls situated along several streets, which sold various items.  The whole event raised £505 16s 9d “exclusive of donations”.

1922, Apr.24:      The first New Zealand Poppy Day – on the eve of Anzac Day.   The New Zealand Returned Soldiers’ Association veterans and women’s groups carried out New Zealand’s first Poppy campaign leading up to Anzac Day e.g. Christchurch held their Poppy Days on the 19 and 21 of April.

1922, May:          Newspapers began reporting that United States of America President Harding had endorsed the Poppy Day campaign of ‘Veterans of Foreign Wars’ and ‘American War Mothers’.  He was heartily in sympathy with the purpose” and trusted “that the people at large shall wear on Memorial day a poppy, and the Inter-Allied Memorial Flower.” 

1922, May 11:    On this day, Madame Guérin’s friend Madame Blanche Berneron spoke to the state convention of the VFW – making a plea that “the Inter-Allied Poppy Day be established for years to come …”    Additionally, Mrs. Leonel R. C. A. O’Bryan (of Denver), who had been Madame Guérin’s A.F.C.L. National Organizer, was described as Regional Director/Organizer of the VFW during the 1922 Poppy Drive.    

1922, May 22:    Poppy Week was May 22-30 inclusive, run by the ‘Veteran’s of Foreign Wars’.   The ‘American War Mothers’ also helped run this campaign and contributed to the success of it.   This was the first Poppy campaign run by US veterans (Veterans of Foreign Wars) in the USA.   It had been Madame Guérin’s American-Franco Children’s League that had run the very first poppy campaign ever – in the USA in 1921.   As aforementioned, the Milwaukee American Legion Post 1 carried out the first American Legion run Poppy Day on 29 May 1920.  Worldwide, this 1922 US campaign was the fifth Poppy campaign run by Allied veterans.   It is believed that the monies raised from this Poppy Week went entirely to the widows and orphans of devastated France.

1922, May 28:    This day (a Sunday) was designated ‘National Poppy Day’, in the USA.

1922, May 30:    USA Memorial Day, last day of the ‘Poppy Week’. 

1922, Jun 16/17:  The ‘American Legion’ conducted a state wide “daisy drive”.    It would seem that the ‘American Legion’ distanced itself from the recent VFW Poppy Drive: the 17 June 1922 edition of the Cambridge Chronicle (Massachusetts) carried an article headed “LEGION DAISY DRIVE” whereby the American Legion Commander J.  D. Crowley stated “In view of the apparent misunderstanding relative to the recent “poppy drive,” I wish to call the attention of the public to the fact that this “poppy drive has no connection whatsoever with the American Legion.  It is true that it has been the custom of the American Legion to have a “poppy drive” just before Memorial day, but at the last national convention the American Legion adopted the daisy as its flower in place of the poppy.” and he trusted that, from 16-22 June inclusive, “everyone will wear a daisy, symbolizing co-operation with the American Legion, the greatest organization of war veterans in existence today …”.

The reality was the American Legion rued their decision when the VFW; ‘American War Mothers’; American-Franco Chldren’s League1922 Poppy campaign was just as successful as the year before.

1922, Aug:           The ‘Veterans of Foreign Wars’ adopted the poppy as its official Memorial flower at a National Encampment held in Seattle, Washington.

1922, Oct:         At its convention in October 1922, the ‘American Legion’ “repudiated the daisy as its official flower and again adopted the poppy”.   Even before that decision was made, American Legion Posts were holding poppy days across the country.   

1922, Nov. 11:   Fourth anniversary of Armistice Day.

1923, March:      The American Legion asked Madame Guérin to supply “2 millions of silk Poppies made in France for them”.  She brought the supply into the country in March 1923.

1923, May:         The ‘American Legion’ conducted its first nationwide sale of poppies (French-made).

1924, Feb:          The ‘Veterans of Foreign Wars’ registered the design of the ‘Buddy’ poppy with the US Patent Office.

1924, May:         Since this date, the Veterans of Foreign Wars organisation has conducted annual sales of the ‘Buddy’ poppy (American-made) in the USA.* (*‘Mountain Democrat’: Placerville, California).   Today, the US ‘Buddy’ poppy is not seen or worn on the same scale as the poppies worn in Commonwealth countries.   The VFW always mentions Madame Guérin when it refers to the history of the Poppy emblem.

A Plethora of Remembrance Poppies. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

A Plethora of Remembrance Poppies. Courtesy of Heather Anne Johnson.

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