Oblong quarto measuring 11 ” x 7 ” dark brown leather over hard boards. Post binding with gromets and cord tie at spine. Contains 152 black & white photographs. Photographs affixed with mounting corners. 5 photographs are laid in. Slight rubbing and wear thus very good with fine photographs. This album records a visit to France, soon after the close of World War One, sometime in the spring or summer of 1920. While many different people are captured in this album, many of the photographs document a group of women visiting memorial sites to U.S. servicemen who were killed during the battle of the Hindenburg Line. Other sites include a laid-in photograph of Notre Dame Cathedral taken from a vantage point across the Seine. Several photographs of the ancient Roman aqueduct (Pont du Gard), and amphitheater (the Arena of Nimes). The majority of the photographs document the “Vacation Camp at Dannes-Camiers” and the women highlighted in this album may have been instructor participants in this special event.
During the heaviest fighting in WWI, the French towns of Dannes and Camiers were the site of strategic Base hospitals for the Allied powers. In addition to military bases, the Y.M.C.A. was one of three official welfare organizations who set up canteens for soldiers while on leave, offering respite and entertainment; Les Foyers du Soldat and the Red Cross were the other two. The work of these international organizations continued after the war to help civilians and veterans rebuild their lives. The November 1920 YMCA Report on Foreign Work explains the events documented in the photographs of Dannes-Camiers in this album: “The Department of the North, under the direction of the French Minister of the Liberated Regions, has been conducting a huge vacation camp at Camiers (Pas de Calais) for the children of the northern part of France who have been suffering from the weakness and illness resulting from the hardships of the war.
With funds supplied by philanthropic Americans, the Government has bought from the British Government a former hospital camp. … The camp was opened on May 15 with an enrollment of 5,000 girls between the ages of six and fourteen. The entire responsibility of the program of play and recreation was given over to the Société des Foyers l'Union Franco-Americaine. Dr. W. W. Hastings was in charge of the direction of the physical activities of the camp, which was conducted for a period of eight weeks. He was assisted by a group of Y. W. C. A. secretaries and the Foyer physical director.”.