The Union Franco-Americaine was a formal arrangement between the American YMCA and the French Army, lead by Emmanuel Sautter. In February 1918, the French ministry of war agreed to provide the YMCA with buildings, tables, benches, light, and heat in order to establish new foyers. In return, the American YMCA provided secretaries and programming. By February 1919, they had established 1,452 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 Franco-Americaine YMCA, into which the tired solder 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 [and] you sheltered all that work in the shadow of the finest ideals, the principle of humanity––unselfish service.” The artist, Justin Marie Georges Dorival (1879-1968), trained in Paris at the National School of Decorative Arts. Before the war, he was a well-known poster artist for tourism and advertising industries. During World War I, Dorival designed posters for the French Red Cross, the YMCA, and the Women’s Union of France. Throughout his career as a graphic artist, he signed his work “Geo Dorival.”
Text and images are owned, held, or licensed by Springfield College and are available for personal, non-commercial, and educational use, provided that ownership is properly cited. A credit line is required and should read: Courtesy of Springfield College, Babson Library, Archives and Special Collections. Any commercial use without written permission from Springfield College is strictly prohibited. Other individuals or entities other than, and in addition to, Springfield College may also own copyrights and other propriety rights. The publishing, exhibiting, or broadcasting party assumes all responsibility for clearing reproduction rights and for any infringement of United States copyright law.