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Vive L'Amérique: French School Children Welcome Their American Ally

When the Great War started in the summer of 1914, a school teacher in the Montmartre district of Paris asked his students, boys ages 8-13, to write essays and express in drawings how the war would affect their daily lives.

The children produced hundreds of drawings and essays reflecting on the changing nature of the war, political leaders, letters to their relatives on the front line, and daily food rationing. Despite these changes, the students still went to class, did their homework, and continued their lives as normally as possible.

Vive l’Amérique: French School Children Welcome Their American Ally features 30 drawings and two essays on loan from Le Vieux Montmartre Historical Society. This marks the first time these drawings have been on exhibit anywhere in the world. The items predominantly focus on America entering the war, while other drawings depict the students playing war in the neighborhood, attending class, and one of an American relief organization’s workers serving meals to needy Parisians in the East railway station.

The drawings provide a unique lens in which to discuss war through the eyes of children, whose stories are often untold.

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