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Register of the Secours français records
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Collection Overview
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The collection consists of correspondence, memoranda, writings, and the financial records of Le Secours Français, an American relief organization founded by Mrs. Seton Porter during World War II. Mrs. Seton Porter originally founded the organization in New York City under the name of Le Paquet au Front in September 1939 to send packages to soldiers in the French military. In September 1940, after the fall of France, the organization was renamed Le Secours Français and shifted its focus to providing wartime relief to French women and children.
Mrs. Seton Porter (maiden name: Frederica Berwind) married Henry Herman Harjes, a partner at Morgan Harjes & Co. in Paris, in 1911 after her marriage in 1903 to Charles L. Gilpin 3rd in 1903. During the First World War, H.H. Harjes was a chief representative of the American Red Cross in France and founder of an American ambulance section. Mrs. Seton Porter, then Mrs. Harjes, also aided in the war effort by establishing a military hospital named La Cantine de la Malmaison in September 1914 that operated until the end of the war in 1918. For her efforts she was decorated by the French army with the Legion d’honneur and the Croix de Guerre with Palm. H. H. Harjes died in 1926, leaving Frederica with a desire to aid war-torn France, as she had done with her late husband. Harjes’s widow married Mr. Seton Porter in 1936, three years before she would found Le Paquet au Front, the organization that would later become Le Secours Français. Mrs. Seton Porter acted as chairman for the organization, with Miss Gladys Lillie as her executive secretary. Mrs. Seton Porter died in June 1954.
2 manuscript boxes (0.8 linear feet)
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