In Coral Gables there is a remarkable exhibit of female commitment to freedom.
American Women Rebuilding France 1917-1924, a photo exhibit capturing moments from the front lines of World War I, is on display until the end of the month at the Coral Gables Museum. Organized by the Franco-American Museum, Chateau de Blerancourt in Picardy, France, this exhibit brings a collection of inspiring pictures to South Florida as well as the intriguing story of Anne Morgan.
Morgan was a wealthy American philanthropist who provided relief to the French during and after World War I.
“What we know about Anne Morgan is from the memoirs of other women,” said Elaine Uzan Leary, Executive Director of American Friends of Blerancourt.
Leary said Morgan was an expert at fundraising and the images displayed inside Coral Gables Museum certainly reflect a feeling of destitute times as the Germans pillaged France’s northeast countryside. Morgan, daughter of American banking and finance giant John Pierpont Morgan, founded the American Committee for Devastated France.
“She was, by all accounts, very energetic and very strong,” Leary said. “She would often tell people, ‘I’m a working woman.’”
There are theories that Morgan could have been a lesbian due to her close relationships with fellow American female relief workers, a dominating spirit and the fact she was never married. Morgan died in 1952 at the age of 78 in her native New York.
“We do have a trace of a very, very independent woman,” Leary said.
The photography exhibit highlights how American woman, living in barracks, worked long hours to provide relief to the French and those fleeing from Kaiser Wilheim II’s invading German Empire. The photographs were taken by Harry B. Lachmann (1886-1975).
“What you see in this exhibit is the power of volunteerism,” said Christine Rupp, Director of Coral Gables Museum.
The exhibit is on display through November 28. This year marks the centennial of World War I and the re-opening of the Franco-American Museum, founded by Anne Morgan.
Now is the perfect time for Francophones to see the exhibit as French Weeks Miami (Oct. 29 to Nov. 12) is in full swing. Launched by the French-American Chamber of Commerce 8 years ago in Miami, French Weeks Miami is organized in partnership with the Consulate General of France in Miami and held under the patronage of the Ambassador of France in the United States.
What: American Women Rebuilding France (1917-1924)
Where: Coral Gables Museum, 285 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134
More Info: http://www.coralgablesmuseum.org/ or 305-603-8067