Anne Morgan's War

Anne Morgan's War

Tue, 03/03/2020 - 2:00pm - 3:00pm

This film chronicles how American heiress Anne Morgan poured both her own fortune and the fruits of intense fundraising into rebuilding Picardy, a region in northern France which had been devastated by the Great War.

Anne Morgan's War tells the little-known story of how one American woman became an exemplary force in the recovery of Northern France’s World War I wartime devastation, and highlights the legacy of a woman in the vanguard of feminism and humanitarian action. From 1917 to 1924 a team of some 350 women, appalled by news of wartime destruction, left comfortable lives at home to volunteer in the devastated regions of France. Their dynamic leader was Anne Morgan (1873-1952), the wealthy daughter of the late financier J.P. Morgan. Anne Morgan's War airs Tuesday, March 3 at 2 p.m. on WXXI-WORLD.

As Anne rallied potential volunteers and donors on speaking tours across the United States, Morgan harnessed the power of documentary photography and moving pictures to instigate a humanitarian response to the devastation of war. She told her American women volunteers they needed to speak French, know how to drive a car and be prepared to travel to a warzone. Morgan and her troop of volunteers based themselves at the ruins of Chateau de Blerancourt in Picardy, France to help rebuild the region and bring aid to the few French civilians still living there.

This film documents the life of Miss Morgan and the work of the volunteers, using testimony of volunteers, interviews with historians and a significant amount of archival film from the period. She was one of the first to realize how powerful the latest techniques of photography and film could be in raising awareness along with the funds needed for the work. It also shows one of the early instances of volunteer humanitarian aid in rebuilding after a disastrous war in an effort completely managed by women.