Biography and History

The American Committee for Devastated France (ACDF) had its origins in the Civilian Division of the American Fund for French Wounded (est. 1916) and was organized in 1918 to provide emergency relief and restoration aid to the citizens of post-World War I France. Its original stated purpose was to establish a community center which would determine the needs of French citizens, and act as a liaison between them and American relief workers. The group was also to “further understanding and friendship between France and the United States.”

The ACDF, staffed primarily by American women of a professional background, set out first to provide basic necessities: food, clothing, shelter and day care. Beginning in 1919, it concentrated on more constructive aid, such as vocational, educational, and physical training, providing farm equipment, housing and building restoration, public health facilities, libraries and scouting camps. The organization collected nearly five million dollars from over one million U.S. donors and members through canvassing and fund-raising benefits. ACDF received numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of French Reconnaissance (1920).

In March 1924, ACDF announced that it had completed its work and officially disbanded. All assets were liquidated and remitted to French organizations to carry on projects begun by ACDF, such as the Camp-École de Scoutisme and the Comité Francais de la Bibliothéque Moderne.

Source: From the finding aid for MC026

  • American Committee for Devastated France Records. 1919-1926 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC026

    The American Committee for Devastated France collection contains the annual reports, promotional pamphlets and minutes of this post-World War I relief organization. Newspaper clippings and routine correspondence between the group's treasurer and other staff members are also included in the collection.