Anne Tracy Morgan

Anne Tracy Morgan

Anne Tracy Morgan (July 25, 1873 – January 29, 1952) was born in New York in 1873 to wealthy philanthropist parents who inspired and encouraged both her love of travel and helping those less fortunate than themselves. This trend of philanthropy was consistent throughout Anne’s life and it comes as no surprise that she was one of the founding members of the American Committee for Devastated France in 1914. Although the United States was neutral until 1917, Anne, and other women like her, saw it as their duty to alleviate the suffering of the refugees and people of Northern France. Anne traveled across the United States giving lectures, hosting photography exhibitions of war torn France and rallying like-minded women to rally to her cause.

Anne was one of the first people to understand the campaigning and fund-raising power of film. She realized that people would become more moved by moving images, rather than the static images found in photographs. Anne harnessed the new medium of film to obtain newsreels shot only weeks before on the front in France to show potential donors. The situation became more real for people watching the terrible conditions refugees faced in France and Belgium. Most women who joined the committee had to speak French, drive a car and fund both their stay in France and their uniform. Thus only wealthy women applied, and although there were only 350 women in total in the committee, their impact on the relief of the refugees was profound.

As women who had obtained medical degrees where barred from serving in the American army, organisations like the American Committee accepted doctors, nurses, anesthetists, psychiatrists, and so forth to serve in their committee. The result was that many children who were scared of male doctors because of negative associations with male soldiers were instead treated by these women, therefore alleviating the struggle to find medical aid from Allied soldiers. Anne Morgan, and her fellow committee members, were recognized by the French government as being angels on the front. Anne continued her work in Northern France, even re-organizing the American Committee on the outbreak of World War II in 1939, to again alleviate the suffering of a new generation of refugees.

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