Digital Commonwealth

World War I Poster - Les Foyers du Soldat et du Marin

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World War I Poster - Les Foyers du Soldat et du Marin
This image depicts Baie du bouley (the Bouley Bay), a scenic coast on the northeast corner of Jersey island off the northern coast of France. The image shows trees through which you can see a quiet ocean and rocky coast. At the bottom it reads “LES FOYERS du SOLDAT et du MARIN” (trans: The Home of the Soldier and the Sailor) and “Union Franco-Americaine” (trans: The French American Union). The YMCA emblem is on both bottom corners, near the words “Coquemer imp. paris.” Inscribed in the bottom left corner are the words "Visa No. 14786."
Duval, Constant
Coquemer Imprimeur, Paris
Springfield College Archives and Special Collections
Collection (local):
College Archives Digital Collections
World War, 1914-1918
International Young Men's Christian Association
106 x 75 cm
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Springfield College
The Union Franco-Americaine was a formal arrangement between the American YMCA and the French Army, and Emmanuel Sautter was in charge of the Foyer du Soldat program. In February 1918, the French ministry of war agreed to provide the YMCA with buildings, tables, benches, light, and heat to establish new foyers (the quartermaster general provided necessary supplies and the French army transported them). In return, the American YMCA provided secretaries and programming. By February 1919, they had established 1452 Foyers du Soldat for the French army. They operated at the front and behind the lines, just as American canteens did. At the conclusion of World War I, supreme allied commander Marshal Foch commented on the massive support that was provided by the YMCA during hostilities in an address to YMCA officials and staff: “Thanks to your powerful help we were able to maintain our morale; thanks to the Foyer du Soldat Union Franco-Americaine YMCA, into which the tired soldier came for new strength, and to find a touch of that family life, or at least that familiar contact which seemed to him an infinite comfort. This was the means by which resistance was maintained [and] you sheltered all that work in the shadow of the finest ideals, the principle of humanity - unselfish service.” The illustrator, Constant Duval, was a prolific posterist for railway companies in the 1910s and 1920s.
There is a small amount of wear in the bottom left-hand corner.