Fragment of a letter from Anne Morgan, 30 April 1919

Anne Morgan's War: Rebuilding Devastated France, 1917–1924
September 3 through November 21, 2010

Fragment of a letter from Anne Morgan to her mother, Frances Tracy Morgan
Blérancourt, 30 April 1919

. . . situation with our farmers of the north, here they only ask to be given the chance of starting work again, and the politicians are so occupied with these other questions that all their rights are woefully neglected.

It is hard at times to go on being optimistic when one sees what six months delay in the signing of peace has brought about, and at the same time to have the desperate need for immediate action one eyes.

Our own work grows more and more interesting, and more full of color. The other day our doctor at Blérancourt had a hurry call for a baby that she had heard nothing of at St. Paul [aux Bois], one of our most destroyed villages; there are about three hundred people back and practically not a house standing; the baby was born in a trench with a corrugated roof, five people living together and no light unless one left the door open, poor Dr. McLoughlin [Dr. Mary MacLachlan] said she had never thought to bring a baby into the world under such conditions. Fortunately her sense of humor runs strong, for when she asked who the father was, she was told he had died two years ago!

We are now starting in on the educational campaign of typhoid vaccination in all the villages, and it is a big job. The doctors are very depressed if they only get forty or fifty victims to a village for the first attack, but we think that is a wonderful success. The sanitary conditions are beyond words as there are still so many bodies of men and horses that are barely below the surface of the ground. We had proudly repaired a room to be used for the school at Camelin, when the Mayor came in and told us that in the brook just outside the door of the school house the head of a Boche had appeared in the water, as the brook had washed away the covering of soil that was over the body.

Tomorrow is our May Day festival at Boullay-Thierry and we are preparing a wonderful celebration. The weather is a trifle against us as it has been as cold as winter with rain almost every day. However the sun is now out, and it is so much warmer that we are no longer in agonies about the paper dresses that all our kids have had prepared. The Y.M.C.A. is sending us a jazz band, which with the ice cream that we are sending down in the morning by our own camion, will fill their hearts with joy. We are expecting Préfets, educational celebrities of all descriptions, and mean to have a real party.

Our tractors are the great excitement this week, for twenty five Fordsons are arriving for us at Soissons. They are the very first to be delivered in France except the two that Mr F. [Henry Ford] gave us as a present last year. The new agents are now getting more orders than our friend Leucheur will let them deliver for many a long day, for in the concours [competition] that was held the other day at St. Germain they were the most successful of any mark. The government goes on promising state tractors in our region, but they do not materialize; the only ones that have appeared are two German Konninck that look like large spiders are not at all suitable for our region, so you can imagine what it means to have these actually on hand.

Our first American Holstein cows are also arriving this week, the ones that Mrs. Hewitt put through for us; of course it was rather a sorrow when we heard that put of the hundred cows that had been promised only two bulls and two cows had gotten off by this ship. However we have made arrangements with the [André] Tardieu Mission who do everything they can for us, to send us a whole wagon out of this ship full, and we will give them ours in exchange when they arrive. It will be a busy week for livestock for we are also receiving a wagon of one thousand rabbits and two hundred chickens. . . .