Help him through the game, 10¢ a day will do it.

Michael Bushnell
Northeast News


In observance of Veteran’s Day, we bring you this circa 1919 postcard dedicated to raising funds for French orphans during and after WWI.


This postcard, published by Whitney Made Publishing Company, is a copy of a Norman Rockwell painting that was a Life Magazine cover on April 18, 1918. The original painting was entitled “An American Missionary” with the alternative title of “Soldier Playing Baseball.” It was the sixth Life Magazine cover by Rockwell. Over his career, Rockwell painted 28 Life Magazine covers, preferring instead the Saturday Evening Post as a better vehicle for visibility for aspiring artists.


The painting was used on the fundraising postcard with Rockwell’s permission by the Fatherless Children of France Society. The organization was founded in 1916 with the goal of relief for needy French children under the age of 16 whose fathers had been killed in The Great War. One essential feature of the organization was that it encouraged the maintenance of children in their own home in order to preserve the French tradition. That tradition being the traditional two-parent French family that was quite literally threatened with extinction during and after WWI given the number of French fathers that were killed in action. The adopted child was to be brought up by their mother or a qualified guardian in the family homestead, under as near normal conditions as possible.


Former President Theodore Roosevelt championed the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to assist France in their time of need, reporting that over 500,000 French children had lost their fathers in the war and that the French government, “staggering under the stupendous financial burdens of war,” could not fully support these orphaned children.


The DAR stepped up, working through the wife of the French ambassador to the United States and clearing house J.P. Morgan in New York City, sending quarterly payments to the Fatherless Children of France organization in Paris.


Those payments were then sent via the French Post Office directly to the children’s guardians to be used directly on the impacted family unit. DAR members together with the support of State Societies supported the orphans, often adopting entire families. By May 1, 1918 over 180 American adoption committees existed that served over 1,000 French children. The adopting Americans were often referred to as fairy godmothers of future French citizens.

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