American Field Service Hat Badge

American Field Service Hat Badge

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The reasons why men signed on with the American Field Service have been written about repeatedly but how did potential drivers find out about the AFS to begin with?  The American Field Service used all means of communication that were available at the time--letters, articles, books, lectures, slide show presentation and film were used to raise funds, recruit new drivers, and create awareness of their service to the French and Allied cause.

A. Piatt Andrew in his introduction to the three volume History of the American Field Service in France makes a further point-

By personal and published letters, by articles, by books, by lectures, by photograph and cinematograph, they were bringing the war ever nearer to those on the other side of the Atlantic and by the organization of committees in almost every college and university and in nearly every city and town in the United States, they were developing a deeper and more active interest in American participation.  This was the aspect of the Field Service which in the thought of those of us who were privileged to direct it seemed heavily to outweigh all others.  Herin lay by all counts the greatest contribution which the men of the Field Service could make and did make to France.

 Harry Crosby's prep school, St Mark's, donated a ambulance to the AFS and also hosted a lecture and viewing of moving pictures of AFS sevice with the French army in January of 1917.  Above is a article from the St. Mark's school paper, The Vindix, about the event.

Above is a announcement for a lecture to be given by a returning driver.  Clafin Davis was a member of SSU 4.

Above center is a program for a fundraiser held in Philadelphia in the Winter of 1916-1917.  The glass slides are part of the presentation used for lectures.  The "Important From Your Club" is a announcement for a lecture given by John Lloyd of SSU 12 to the Business Men's Club of Cincinnati Ohio on November 12th 1917.

Posters were also a good recruiting tool for the AFS.  Two of the posters above represent the camion service while the other poster has Columbia holding off death from a wounded poilu.

Magazines, phamplets and epherma probably had the biggest reach to all Americans.  Several important articles were placed in magazines with wide circulations.  James Rogers McConnell and A. Piatt Andrew were published in The Outlook.  The American Verdict on the War was a 1915 response to German propaganda and favored by Andrew.  Our Friend France was written by Witney Warren who was a loyal supporter of the AFS and France. 
Finally, a poster for the film used by the American Field Service during the war.  Two programs are displayed each representing a different date and venue for the showing of the film.